Hi all and welcome to Dream vs. Dream's Spriting section! We're very glad that you have an interest in sprites and hope you'll lend us your talents with helping make these characters come alive.
If you have any questions about any of the information here, ask one of the admins.
I understand that this is a lot to take in, despite the revisions we have made. Its best to post in this thread as many people will probably have the same question as you. If you would prefer to PM someone however there is Whitepool (aka Night) for artistic details and Mathew for technical details.
Art Program (Prefered Gimp or Photoshop), Dropbox (used to store and share files), and optionally Skype to join the discussion group
Where we do Sprites:
Sprites are mainly done outside of the forum in our sprite Dropbox folder, and via (instant messaging) discussion on the spriter Skype group. This is to make instant updates rather then hoping that everyone talks on the forums. By keeping it to one area, we are able to manage it a lot easier. If you wish to become a spriter, PM Mathew your e-mail (and optionally, but strongly recommended, Skype name) so that he can send you the invitations.
Inside the Dropbox directory are reference sheets detailing character proportions and color palettes. Do not ignore these. Colors must be exact for the sprite to appear correctly in the game engine.
How we do Sprites:
There are four teams each with their own name that you can be a part of. These teams exist so that one person doesn't have the stress of having to work on a sprite by themselves and so that people with different abilities and talents can all contribute. They are:
Team 1: Skeleton -> The skeleton team is where the character is just a rough "stick man" outline. A proportion template is provided in the Dropbox references folder for each character. The template is twice the resolution as a completed sprite and will be scaled down later in the assembly line. Its main focus is on the number of frames the animation takes up and how smooth it is. By making this look smooth and correct, we are able to take the right step towards a fantastic animation. This requires little drawing skill as it is mainly shapes (circles, lines, sometimes triangles, etc.), but requires a good understanding of anatomy and basic animation.
Team 2: Details-> The Details team is where the "stick man" becomes the character. Things like hair, clothes, props, facial expression, etc. are drawn over top the skeleton from the last team. You will then scale it down by 2 for the next team. You should be adaptable to changing your style to the set one we have and have a great drawing skill in order to give the characters the details they need. Keep an eye on the animation as well though, as the skeleton animation does not account for things like hair/clothes moving.
Details (Note that this is different from the other examples to help show clothes and hair animation)
Team 3: Pixel+Color-> The pixel and color team is where the drawing from before is changed into pixel art and flat colors are added. The drawing is turned into a pixel drawing by making use of alias vs. anti-alias element and flat colors are filled in with the bucket tool (make sure anti-alias is turned off). The colors needed can be found on that characters color map. Please note that when you trace the drawing, to trace it in the "line" color from the color map. You should know what aliasing is and be good at tracing.
Pixel (after resizing)
Alias (what we want) vs. Anti-Alias (what we don't want)
Team 4: Shading->The sprite gets shaded and more depth is added while making sure to be using alias settings. Shades and highlights are found in the characters color map. You must have a excellent understanding on shading and know what aliasing is. This is usually done be profession spriters.
Team 5: Admins-> Team 5 is the group of people that are admins for the spriting. They are required to check the sprite before it moves onto the next team (each step) and will check it over a final time before placing it in the finished category. They are there to prevent a bad animation from reaching completion. This is a team chosen by the Sprite Director Whitepool.
How you Sign-Up:
In the characters Dropbox folder under Sprites, there is a text document titled the team's name. This is the sign-up sheet for that particular team. Inside will be a list of all the animations that character has. To sign up you enter your name and the date you signed up beside that skill and then save that file. Please understand that if the spot is already taken you are not allowed to steal it. You are allowed to sign up for more then one team. Here is a basic procedure:
1. Go to Character's folder then Sprites
2. Open the team(s) you wish to participate in text document
3. Scroll down until you find the animation you wish to do
4. Put your name and the date beside it; "Your Name" [dd/mm/yyyy]
->After finished you work
5. Add the detail "Awaiting Approval" beside the date you sign up.
Example: I want to signup for Madotsuki's forward walk animation. I want to be in Team 1 and 3.
1. Go to Madotsuki's folder then Sprites
2. Open the "1 (Skeletons)" text document
3. Scroll down until I find "Forward Walk"
4. Put my name and the date; inujuju [19/11/2012]
-> I do the same thing for Team 3, only I open the "3 (Pixel+Color)" text document
5. Once I'm done I add the line; inujuju [19/11/2012] Awaiting Approval
Where you get Sprites:
All sprites that have been green-lit will be in their Character folder in the team folder you've signed up for. If you are in team 2 then all the sprite you will need are in the "2 (Details)" folder.
Where you send Sprites: You will keep the sprite you're working on in the team folder and keep a backup copy of it on your computer. Once the admin has approved it they will move the file to the next team folder (deleting it from the old team folder). If you were from team 2 they would move your sprite to the next team folder "3 (Pixel+Color)".
When a sprite has been fully completed the admin will move it to the "Finished" folder. You are NOT allowed to edit this sprite. If you feel there is something wrong with the sprite please bring it up with the admin. Remember that just because you feel its a great sprite does not mean it is. We need to be accepting to change and scrapping sprites that are poor if we want good results.
Note: I'm posting this as a favor to Night! She is the one in charge of sprites and has approved the changes we've made. I'm merely here to write out this large posts. Happy spriting!