Modding Discussion New to pixel art? Looking for pixel art programs? Here are some suggestions!

Discussion in 'Mods' started by Kamirose, Mar 16, 2016.

  1. Kamirose

    Kamirose Big Damn Hero

    Hey everyone! I've been doing pixel art for 10+ years now, and have been having a great time modding this game. I've been seeing many people mention that they're just trying pixel art out for the first time, and that gives me the warm fuzzies. I just thought I'd share some resources here, to the tune of pixel art programs information and pros/cons. As a note, the pros/cons are mostly my opinions, but I feel like they are fairly common opinions for people who use these programs for pixel art.

    I guess I'll just get started!

    Photoshop/GIMP/Paint Tool SAI
    • Pros:
      • If you already have them, you don't need to get a new program.
      • GIMP = Free
      • You can use the same program for other mediums as well.
    • Cons:
      • Photoshop = $$$
      • SAI, while more affordable than PS, still costs more than specialized pixel art programs.
      • Not optimized for pixel art. These programs come with more tools than you need for pixel art, so they are more resourse intensive and require working around and modifying the basic functions of the programs in order to work well for it.
    GraphicsGale (Free/$20)
    I haven't used GraphicsGale personally, so pros/cons are what I've heard from others and aren't from personal experience.
    • Pros:
      • Free!
      • Specifically for pixel art.
      • Well used and respected in the pixel art community. Seems to do the job well.
    • Cons:
      • Free version can't save some file types, most notably .gif.
      • UI seems a bit clunky and hard to parse, at least to me.

    Aseprite ($15)
    • Pros:
      • Free if you can compile code from Github.
      • Open source.
      • Available on Steam, if that's your jam.
      • Specialized for pixel art. Much less resourse-intensive than full suite digital art programs.
      • Very good animation tools, great if you're getting into animated spriting.
      • Easy import/export of spritesheets.
      • Frequent updates and new feature additions.
    • Cons:
      • The aesthetic may not appeal to many people.
      • Purchase is for 1.0-1.x. When the program gets to version 2.0 if you want to update you'll need to repurchase. This is a long time down the road, though.
    Pyxel Edit ($9)
    • Pros:
      • Specialized for pixel art. Much less resourse-intensive than full suite digital art programs.
      • Affordable.
      • There are some great quality of life things to the program (ex, shift+scroll wheel to change brush size).
      • Specialized for tile sheet/sprite sheet management. Excellent program if you're getting into game dev art.
      • UI is similar to Photoshop, so if you're transitioning from there it's familiar.
    • Cons:
      • Early beta, so there are bugs/optimization issues.
      • Infrequent updates - it's programmed by one guy who also has other things on his plate.
      • Programmed in Adobe Air. I don't know much about programming, but I've heard Air is like Flash for desktop programs.
    If you guys have any questions, any thing to add, or any other programs, let me know! I hope this was useful :DD

    Suggestions from the thread:
      Last edited: Mar 16, 2016
    • Drogean

      Drogean Scruffy Nerf-Herder

      i'd add, in between photoshop and MS paint in terms of in depth-ness, also FREE
        BlushingCreep likes this.
      • Kamirose

        Kamirose Big Damn Hero

        Cool, I'll add that to the first post. I've never used it, but I've heard decent things about it.
        • dintern

          dintern Astral Cartographer

          Thanks for the program suggestions!

          I'm completely new to modding and pixel art but I'm interested in creating some character portraits. I have GIMP 2. Would you know where to find the correct dimensions for the character portraits, in terms of pixel by pixel size? Or does it not really matter? Are there any guidelines I should follow (technically, not stylistically) when creating character portraits?

          Sorry for all the questions but I am pretty clueless about all this.
          • Superior_s

            Superior_s Sandwich Man

            You could extract the png from the Xnb, off the top of my head I want to say they are 64x64 pixels.
              dintern likes this.
            • Tetsero

              Tetsero Void-Bound Voyager

              You forgot

              I personally use gimp but used this before and it worked well, but since I do many different types of graphics it wasn't for me.
              • Superior_s

                Superior_s Sandwich Man

              • Ciriun

                Ciriun Big Damn Hero

                Seconding the suggestion. I've been using it for awhile and it is amazingly good.

                -Toggle on/off pixel grid.
                -Toggle on/off anti-aliasing on tools.
                -Customize with plugins.
                -Good community support.

                -Does not allow scrolling beyond the edge of the canvas.
                -Without plugins it lacks some useful features that may be found in other programs.
                -Resizing or rotating pixel art distorts it.

                Just my suggested summary of it. Others may have different ideas about it, or be using different versions.

                Also, I'd love to see some links to good pixel art tutorials. I've had a hard time finding ones that cover the basic principles without getting way more detailed than most people need.
                • Teban100

                  Teban100 Void-Bound Voyager

                  There's a neat little tool made by the old developers of the MMO Fantasy Online: Pixelshop 3000 (PS3k)

                  The MMO closed long ago, but the dev left the program for public use. It even does spritesheet animation.
                    sourpuss333 likes this.
                  • barfyscorpion

                    barfyscorpion Pangalactic Porcupine

                    Photoshop is my editor of choice. I might do a tutorial on how to get started doing pixel art in Photoshop; PS is daunting to new users due to the hordes of features, but it's a pretty powerful tool when you simplify it to only the things you need.

                    I use SAI for my illustration and paintings, but would NOT recommend it for pixel art work. It works fine for cartoonish or painterly portrait replacements though (for example).
                    • お茶Mi's

                      お茶Mi's Big Damn Hero

                      I personally use Paint Tool SAI but with making pixel art can be challenge, when i move it with the "Selection" Tool it darkens the outlines.
                      So i tend to switch between SAI and Photoshop CS2, it can be very tiring...any suggestion is appreciated.
                      • JoJos

                        JoJos Void-Bound Voyager

                        A nice little addition is Krita.
                        Currently use it on a few different projects. It's like a free photoshop, not quite as powerful as photoshop but still good enough to get the job done.

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