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color separation methods/tips (Read 3871 times)

Started by Bastard Mami, December 26, 2007, 02:16:16 am
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color separation methods/tips
#1  December 26, 2007, 02:16:16 am
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share any method/tips you have on increasing the color depth of the character's sprites.

[EDIT]
i will start sharing mine, as well as a short story on recoloring from me.

when i made my first 5 or so characters, i did not care too much about recoloring, it was not until i started working on sakura for the second time that i did. i first separated her legs, so she could have tights, later on i went for the hair and eyes, to allow for different skin colors and dark shirts. in this point is when i started looking fo better methods to recolor, because of the amount of time it took to edit her 500 or so sprites. here are some of the steps/things i found out.

first thing first, making a target sprite, some sprites that already have a properly separated palette and no overlapping colors. those can be used as guide.
next thing, it was coloring using the bruch or fill tool, after some sprites i started using the color replace brush (note that i used psp at first, and i am currently using gfx gale). with that tool it was much easier as the risk of editing over other colors was minimal and i could even use bigger sized brushes because of that, thus working faster.

next, it was pretty bothersome changing colors, and since i knew that i was going to go for all the sprites i started opening all the sprites and then recoloring one single color entry, once i was done with that, i would reopen all the sprites, choose a different pair of colors and keep on recoloring.

that last method is still use by me a lot especially fo small areas, like eyes, but after/while working on cvs mai, i decided to try something new. instead of manually coloring over the sprites, i would recolor them by using a batchmethod, i.e., applying a new palette with the new color, that way the recoloring by itself should be done in less than 5 minutes, the problem there lies in teh fact that i did not want to recolor would also be recolored, making the recoloring "useless", so the next step on this was deleting the area that i wanted to keep it's original color and just pasting the recolored sprite over the original sprite while respecting the transparency, so i could get a new sprite.

explaining the last method furtherly and using the legs example, it goes like:
1) apply the normal palette to the sprites, so they get color reduced, if you sprites already have a palette you are already done with this. the legs, face and arms share the same indexes, i call this set "bottom".
2) apply a new palette, just changing the values of the indexes for the skin (legs, face and arms) to the new color that i am going to use for the legs, let's say blue, note that i am modifying 5 palette entries.this one is the same palette as the previous one, except that the skin colors are replaced by blue i call this set "top".
3) apply a new palette to the "top" set in which the blue palette entries are shifted to a different position on the global palette, ideally the position they are going to get for the final palette. this is still set "top".
*note1) i made a small program that does the palette shifting for the topset autamatically, but anybody used to applying palettes knows that he can just use preserve indexes for step 2 and nearest color matching for step 3.

*note2) now i have two sets, "bottom" which is the original set, and "top" which is the set with the legs with the new colors, there is a problem with "top", and that is that the arms and face have the same color as the legs. the previous steps should have only  taken a few minutes and if they took longer, at least you should have learned to manage your palettes better. now if i applyed the previously mentioned methods, i would have to recolor the legs manually (and  the steps 2 and 3 would be useless), but in this method what i will do is delete, which means using only one color, the transparent one, and even use a bigger brush, depending on the sprite.

4) i open all the sprites of the "top" set, choose a relatively big brush, use the trasnaprent color for it, nd i start deleting the arms and face, while keeping the legs, any other object can or not be deleted, as it is competely irrelevant. deleting is much faster than coloring over, so i can get done with a set of 400 sprites in one or two hours.

5) after the deletion is done i open the first sprite of the "top" set and the first sprite of the bottom set (which used to be the same sprite before recoloring and deleting), and paste the top sprite over the bottom one. this can be either done manually, some guys who use psp regularly mentioned that it can be scripted, or the way i did it, programming a small tool that does the pasting for me.

after this i am done with the recoloring. the only thing that it required to do manually was deleting the unneeded parts, though i have only tried this method for one object, i will try and develop it better so i can also work with more stuff. my next try will be coloring a lycra suit over the skin as well as recoloring the hair for a certain wip, i will keep you infromed on how it goes.

now, onto other methods, one guys splits the sprite into psp layers, one for each object, though, while i find teh splitting part a bit bothersome, it is still a great method that gave me some ideas and made me drop a method iw as about to try.
Last Edit: December 26, 2007, 03:58:13 am by R[E]ika
color separation methods/tips - The Tony 3rd way.
#2  April 03, 2008, 06:54:39 pm
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Reviving this since it was brougth up here, and i want to share my methods.


I preety much use 2 methods: the first (already mentioned by the topic starter) is the "manual" method. using a graphic editor, like Photoshop, Paintshop Pro etc... (i use Ulead Photoimpact, due to its palette editor), re-color every single sprite, having diferent colors for the diferent parts of the sprites

an example i gave on the topic linked above.

for instance, Ryu have 2 colors of his hair being shared with his clothes and skin.

in order to separate, you will take every single Ryu sprite, recolor the hair to green (with the apropriate shading), the skin to orange (again, with the apropriate shading) and... you can leave his clothes alone, since nothing else is sharing colors with it. but nothing prevents you from re-shading the clothes. all of this has to be done to each sprite individualy, and be aware to use the exact same colors on each sprite (same RGB values).

and there you go. the colors are separate. now just relax and create some kick ass palettes.

this one is the easiest. specially if you are an advanced user of your favorite graphic editor. it is quite long, but the process is easy to understand, and once you get it, its just raw work now.


the other method i use ( specially if all i want to do is to make details, like separate the teeth and eyes from the clothes), is to use fighter factory. the only disadvantage is that FF does not have a "back" function or a "replacement tool", so if you mess up, you need to fix manualy the sprite. to avoid this, save the sff after every single sprite you change. so, if you mess up, you close without saving and open the sff again. [I know it sucks but for a program that don't have the main purpose of editting sprites...]


Using Fighter Factory Palette editor, create a new palette doing the same thing on the previous method. the diference here is that you will add more colors, using any empty space that the palette might have (more advanced FF users can even recreate and re-organize the whole palette and applying it to the sprites). this "new colors" will be the the ones you will use to separate the shared ones.

so, getting back to the example, here in this palette we would have a Ryu with green hair. but his orange skin would have a green shade on the darkest color, as well as his clothes. so, using 2 empty spaces on Ryu's palette, you would add 2 more colors. a dark shade of orange for the skin, and a light shade of brown  for the clothes (since they are white and it is a SF2 Ryu).

now, get the sff to use the palette you just created, use the brush tool (or the bucket tool if possible) and start replacing the green shades on clothes and skin by the colors you added.


i find this good for details because you can see how it will act during the animation as well. and you don't have to open a new file everytime you finish a sprite. not to mention that, since you are already working with a palette, you will be sure that the colors are always using the exact same colors.
Re: color separation methods/tips
#3  January 09, 2009, 07:49:33 pm
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I hate to bump this ancient topic, but the answer to my question would fall directly in line [E]'s method of color separation and I figured it'd be useful to have the info in one location.

I'm about halfway through separating a character into several layers using a slight variation of [E]'s deletion technique and I need to know how I can utilize Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop to layer these images together for me using the batch process. As far as I know neither program can actually seek out specific file names and know to layer them in correct order, but maybe I'm wrong.

If there is any other program that could do this as well I'd be more than willing to download.
Re: color separation methods/tips
#4  January 09, 2009, 08:12:29 pm
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is there any heavily palette inclined program?
I mean with feats like drag and drop color slots (changing order of colors) or sorting colors depending on their hex code order and other stuff that make easy the tedious processes that are more trouble than they are worth
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Re: color separation methods/tips
#5  January 09, 2009, 09:08:28 pm
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Gimp's color map tool is decent, at least, for rearranging the order of an existing palette though I only use it to rearrange the index of the transparent color of my portraits. I usually use the color index converter in Photoshop to color pick from the sprite in the order I want the palette. Paint Shop can arrange existing palettes by luminance and hue.
Re: color separation methods/tips
#6  January 09, 2009, 10:35:24 pm
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gfx gale's can copy paste palette indexes and the load palette dialog also let's you do it color by color to merge palettes.

I'm about halfway through separating a character into several layers using a slight variation of [E]'s deletion technique and I need to know how I can utilize Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop to layer these images together for me using the batch process. As far as I know neither program can actually seek out specific file names and know to layer them in correct order, but maybe I'm wrong.

If there is any other program that could do this as well I'd be more than willing to download.

I use/made this program.

http://rapidshare.com/files/172834478/mergelayers.rar

it works only with png files, IIRC it has a readme so I won't explain it much further, but still feel free to ask any questions about it in this topic.
Re: color separation methods/tips
#7  January 09, 2009, 10:40:23 pm
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Good god THANK YOU! I really didn't want to end up copy-pasting 670 x 9 times.
Re: color separation methods/tips
#8  January 10, 2009, 04:51:08 am
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it works only with png files, IIRC it has a readme so I won't explain it much further, but still feel free to ask any questions about it in this topic.

Which color table does this use: Top or Bottom.
i think we should call it an "engine" so we don't look like total idiots because otherwise we'd be arguing about a "game" and that would be somehow "dumber" than arguing about an "engine" on the "internet" for countless hours

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Re: color separation methods/tips
#9  January 10, 2009, 04:52:13 am
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is there any heavily palette inclined program?
I mean with feats like drag and drop color slots (changing order of colors) or sorting colors depending on their hex code order and other stuff that make easy the tedious processes that are more trouble than they are worth
In charamaker pro you have that feature
Re: color separation methods/tips
#10  January 10, 2009, 05:00:26 am
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it works only with png files, IIRC it has a readme so I won't explain it much further, but still feel free to ask any questions about it in this topic.

Which color table does this use: Top or Bottom.

I don't know, but when I tested it I had already made sure both sprite sets were utilizing the same new palette before starting the process and it worked out perfectly. I says this in the readm[E] :D, but make sure you transparent color is in the 0 index. That means if the palette is being viewed in Fighter Factory the transparent color should be in the upper left hand corner instead of the bottom right.
Re: color separation methods/tips
#11  January 10, 2009, 05:44:38 am
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It's as he said, you have to set the transparencies before hand, same for the palette.