What is your process for creating graphics for the SNES?

Discussion of hardware and software development for Super NES and Super Famicom.

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Pokun
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Re: What is your process for creating graphics for the SNES?

Post by Pokun » Fri Jan 29, 2021 6:44 am

That's what I meant by too heavy. Too many features that are not useful for pixel art and a user-interface that isn't ideal for pixel art (because it's an all-in-one image editing tool). It also still quite slow to execute.

I couldn't get into Aseprite's interface and then it turned shareware. But I have yet to check Grafx2 sometime, it's supposedly also inspired by Deluxe Paint. I had a friend with an Amiga as a kid so I remember Deluxe Paint from there.
There's also GraphicsGale which turned freeware a few years ago.

marshoepial
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Re: What is your process for creating graphics for the SNES?

Post by marshoepial » Fri Jan 29, 2021 10:00 am

I couldn't get into Aseprite's interface and then it turned shareware.
I thought Asperite was paid? Or am I missing something?

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Re: What is your process for creating graphics for the SNES?

Post by lidnariq » Fri Jan 29, 2021 12:05 pm

Asesprite is open source readable source, but precompiled binaries are sold.
Last edited by lidnariq on Fri Jan 29, 2021 12:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: need a better word for "look but don't share" source licenses

turboxray
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Re: What is your process for creating graphics for the SNES?

Post by turboxray » Fri Jan 29, 2021 12:18 pm

93143 wrote:
Wed Jan 27, 2021 6:38 pm
Unfortunately it's source-only, and I had some trouble compiling it because I don't develop on Windows.
Which is one of the reasons why I've switched from C/C++ over to python for most of my utilities now - ultra portability with simplicity.
Oziphantom wrote:
Thu Jan 28, 2021 9:49 pm
Pokun wrote:
Thu Jan 28, 2021 11:37 am
I use Gimp after learning how to set it up for pixel art. I used to think that Photoshop and Gimp are both way too heavy for something as simple as pixel art, but on modern computers they start a bit faster than they used to. I like that Gimp allows full control of the palette and you can use the grid and stuff.
For me its not to heavy but too light. Photoshop and Gimp are not very good pixel editors they focus more on Photo editing. What will be pain and takes ages to do in PS or GIMP will take 3 clicks to do in DPV.
I had to look up when DPV came out.. early 90's? So you're running it on a real or emulated Amiga? That seems like a lot of hassle for something limited like DP.

I've used PS for years for pixel art, but I've even used it to create tilemaps/levels for retro systems - for systems like PCE/GEN/SMS/NES/etc - there's even a way to do subpalettes (up to 16 subpalettes) in PS. I by no means a PS power user, but I find apps like GIMP and others just convoluted and/or limiting in comparison to PS. Just because it has 'photo' in the name, doesn't mean it's just for photos. It's literally designed for anything graphic art related.

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Re: What is your process for creating graphics for the SNES?

Post by tepples » Fri Jan 29, 2021 12:21 pm

lidnariq wrote:
Fri Jan 29, 2021 12:05 pm
Asesprite is open source, but precompiled binaries are sold
A license forbidding distribution in object code form does not meet the Open Source Definition (or the Debian Free Software Guidelines, on which the OSD is very closely based).

From the point of view of a free software advocate: LibreSprite (formerly Aseprite) is free software, also called open source software. Aseprite, a nonfree fork of LibreSprite, can be used without charge provided you have the appropriate build toolchain installed on your PC. This can prove somewhat less trivial to install on Windows than on X11/Linux.

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Re: What is your process for creating graphics for the SNES?

Post by Oziphantom » Fri Jan 29, 2021 11:39 pm

turboxray wrote:
Fri Jan 29, 2021 12:18 pm
I had to look up when DPV came out.. early 90's? So you're running it on a real or emulated Amiga? That seems like a lot of hassle for something limited like DP.
The artists use real A1200 or A4000s. The benefit is those are the machine they actually used on their commercial SNES games. The other benfit is they are drawing on a CRT, so you can get a much better idea of how the colours will look and blend as the Amiga outputs 15Khz. Also the mouse is better on the Amiga. DPV is not limited, only having a single undo is a pain, but there are ways around it. However some of its features are "best in class" and even Pro Motion NG which is very good, still can't match. Sadly Pro Motion NG has moved away from DP compat while the original Pro Motion was very DP like.

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Re: What is your process for creating graphics for the SNES?

Post by Nikku4211 » Sat Jan 30, 2021 3:03 am

Oziphantom wrote:
Fri Jan 29, 2021 11:39 pm
The artists use real A1200 or A4000s. The benefit is those are the machine they actually used on their commercial SNES games. The other benfit is they are drawing on a CRT, so you can get a much better idea of how the colours will look and blend as the Amiga outputs 15Khz. Also the mouse is better on the Amiga. DPV is not limited, only having a single undo is a pain, but there are ways around it. However some of its features are "best in class" and even Pro Motion NG which is very good, still can't match. Sadly Pro Motion NG has moved away from DP compat while the original Pro Motion was very DP like.
The thing is that the Amiga has very different pixel aspect ratios from the SNES, so your SNES graphics aren't going to be of proper proportions.

And is there a Commodore Amiga drawing tablet? I've heard one exists, but it's rare.

The KoalaPad did not support the Commodore Amiga, either, so that's not an example.
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Re: What is your process for creating graphics for the SNES?

Post by Oziphantom » Sat Jan 30, 2021 3:46 am

well sure the PAR of the Amiga is different but the artist know that it is and compensate when drawing. Although we need to get a live preview system working again. Which makes it faster for them to fix anything that is off. But compensating for the aspect ratio is much easier than trying to imagine how the colours blend or how a differ looks.

Sure the amiga had Tablets, had a bunch of them, it was a multimedia machine. However for most of the pixel work Mouse + keyboard is what you would use. You're not drawing, your plotting with pixel work, and using the built in hermit curves and the flood fill with tinting , rub through and Animated brushes etc. Colour cycling is handy to have on a button as well. So you place pixels, sprites are 16x24 or 32x32 each pixel is carefully selected and coarse enough that a good mouse covers it fine. But these days you can use a Wacom if you want http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=92068 see http://aminet.net/package/driver/input/Wacom_150

Commodores never stopped, while the company went broke, it had such market mass, that it continued. So while every other machine from the era bit the dust and is now a curiosity, Commodore's lived on and got upgraded and still are.

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Re: What is your process for creating graphics for the SNES?

Post by Bananmos » Sat Jan 30, 2021 10:54 am

tepples wrote:
Fri Jan 29, 2021 12:21 pm
lidnariq wrote:
Fri Jan 29, 2021 12:05 pm
Asesprite is open source, but precompiled binaries are sold
A license forbidding distribution in object code form does not meet the Open Source Definition (or the Debian Free Software Guidelines, on which the OSD is very closely based).

From the point of view of a free software advocate: LibreSprite (formerly Aseprite) is free software, also called open source software. Aseprite, a nonfree fork of LibreSprite, can be used without charge provided you have the appropriate build toolchain installed on your PC. This can prove somewhat less trivial to install on Windows than on X11/Linux.
While you are technically correct - all forks are created equal at the point of forking - I can't help finding the description of Asesprite as a "nonfree fork of LibreSprite" both over-zealous and border-line deceptive. Your choice of wording here implies that Asesprite would be a less legitimate continuation of "Libresprite" in line with when a popular long-term community-developed project with a permissive license is suddenly monetized by proprietary companies.

But in reality Libresprite is a (pretty outdated and inactive) fork off Asesprite from 2016, when the authors of Asesprite changed the license from GPL to a slightly more restrictive license to restrict pre-built binary distribution rights. An unfortunate change, yes. But unless some contributors to the prior GPL source got shafted in this process, it's within the original code contributors' full rights legally and morally to change a license that isn't working out the way it was intended. And perhaps even a cause for reflection on whether the purity of free software over pragmatism creates too many casualties in practical situations - even among free software advocates. :wink:

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Re: What is your process for creating graphics for the SNES?

Post by Pokun » Sat Jan 30, 2021 11:07 am

Oziphantom wrote:
Sat Jan 30, 2021 3:46 am
well sure the PAR of the Amiga is different but the artist know that it is and compensate when drawing. Although we need to get a live preview system working again. Which makes it faster for them to fix anything that is off. But compensating for the aspect ratio is much easier than trying to imagine how the colours blend or how a differ looks.

Sure the amiga had Tablets, had a bunch of them, it was a multimedia machine. However for most of the pixel work Mouse + keyboard is what you would use. You're not drawing, your plotting with pixel work, and using the built in hermit curves and the flood fill with tinting , rub through and Animated brushes etc. Colour cycling is handy to have on a button as well. So you place pixels, sprites are 16x24 or 32x32 each pixel is carefully selected and coarse enough that a good mouse covers it fine. But these days you can use a Wacom if you want http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=92068 see http://aminet.net/package/driver/input/Wacom_150

Commodores never stopped, while the company went broke, it had such market mass, that it continued. So while every other machine from the era bit the dust and is now a curiosity, Commodore's lived on and got upgraded and still are.
But Amiga isn't produced anymore right? There's probably an "Amiga Mini" emulator machine though.

Yeah I don't find a drawing tablet very useful for pixel art. Especially not common sprites and tiles. It's useful for larger pictures like parallax backgrounds or large characters in higher resolution, and in that case I use Photoshop as it has good pen tablet support (I use the old Wacom Bamboo Fun which is nice enough but probably not produced anymore).

It's an interesting idea to draw on a CRT TV. The only classic computer I have is an MSX2+ including a mouse. MSX is kind of similar to the NES and SNES PPU. I don't know much about image editing software for the MSX though.

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Re: What is your process for creating graphics for the SNES?

Post by Nikku4211 » Sat Jan 30, 2021 12:23 pm

Oziphantom wrote:
Sat Jan 30, 2021 3:46 am
well sure the PAR of the Amiga is different but the artist know that it is and compensate when drawing. Although we need to get a live preview system working again. Which makes it faster for them to fix anything that is off. But compensating for the aspect ratio is much easier than trying to imagine how the colours blend or how a differ looks.
How would you compensate for the pixel aspect ratio in your head and get an accurate result?
Oziphantom wrote:
Sat Jan 30, 2021 3:46 am
Sure the amiga had Tablets, had a bunch of them, it was a multimedia machine. However for most of the pixel work Mouse + keyboard is what you would use. You're not drawing, your plotting with pixel work, and using the built in hermit curves and the flood fill with tinting , rub through and Animated brushes etc. Colour cycling is handy to have on a button as well. So you place pixels, sprites are 16x24 or 32x32 each pixel is carefully selected and coarse enough that a good mouse covers it fine.
:thonk:

I usually think of pixel art as drawing, so it's weird to think of it instead as plotting, like on a graph.

Then again, I've never been good with using a mouse for drawi-- oh, excuse me, plotting pixels.
Oziphantom wrote:
Sat Jan 30, 2021 3:46 am
But these days you can use a Wacom if you want http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=92068 see http://aminet.net/package/driver/input/Wacom_150
How would you even connect it to your Amiga? Is there any Amiga (68000-based) computer that has USB?
Oziphantom wrote:
Sat Jan 30, 2021 3:46 am
Commodores never stopped, while the company went broke, it had such market mass, that it continued. So while every other machine from the era bit the dust and is now a curiosity, Commodore's lived on and got upgraded and still are.
If only I could find a Commodore Amiga for a good price. I'm US by the way, so I'd have to pay import taxes for anything European. Plus, there's the whole PAL-50hz-625-line-video-not-outputting-correctly-on-NTSC-60hz-525-line-TVs-HD-or-not issue, and I guess desk space, too(the space in my room is already filled with electronics so I wouldn't be able to fit a giant bulky computer with bulky monitor. I've heard there's an unofficial Amiga laptop project, but I doubt I can afford it anyway).
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Re: What is your process for creating graphics for the SNES?

Post by Pokun » Sat Jan 30, 2021 2:23 pm

Sinclair computers are mainly PAL only, but Commodore is an American company, and was at least as popular in America as in western Europe. I'd be surprised if you couldn't easily find an NTSC Amiga.


Pixel art is done by plotting, much like mosaic or bead art. The resolution is too low for free-hand drawing to be any useful, as you usually don't draw large figures, and lines often looks weird when doing it that way. Of course the plotting can be done with a pen tablet, but there's no real advantage in most cases. At least I find a mouse being faster at plotting pixels. The exception might be if you have a pen tablet screen where you draw directly on the screen instead of on a blank tablet and try to hit the correct place on the screen. I imagine that would be superior to a mouse for both drawing and pixel plotting.

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Re: What is your process for creating graphics for the SNES?

Post by Nikku4211 » Sat Jan 30, 2021 4:21 pm

Pokun wrote:
Sat Jan 30, 2021 2:23 pm
Commodore is an American company, and was at least as popular in America as in western Europe. I'd be surprised if you couldn't easily find an NTSC Amiga.
From what I've heard, the Commodore Amiga bombed in the United States, despite all the advertising for it.
Pokun wrote:
Sat Jan 30, 2021 2:23 pm
Pixel art is done by plotting, much like mosaic or bead art. The resolution is too low for free-hand drawing to be any useful, as you usually don't draw large figures, and lines often looks weird when doing it that way. Of course the plotting can be done with a pen tablet, but there's no real advantage in most cases. At least I find a mouse being faster at plotting pixels. The exception might be if you have a pen tablet screen where you draw directly on the screen instead of on a blank tablet and try to hit the correct place on the screen. I imagine that would be superior to a mouse for both drawing and pixel plotting.
At what resolution does free-hand drawing become superior to mouse drawing?
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Re: What is your process for creating graphics for the SNES?

Post by creaothceann » Sat Jan 30, 2021 5:53 pm

Pokun wrote:
Sat Jan 30, 2021 2:23 pm
Of course the plotting can be done with a pen tablet, but there's no real advantage in most cases. At least I find a mouse being faster at plotting pixels. The exception might be if you have a pen tablet screen where you draw directly on the screen instead of on a blank tablet and try to hit the correct place on the screen. I imagine that would be superior to a mouse for both drawing and pixel plotting.
There also seems to be a light pen for the Amiga.
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Re: What is your process for creating graphics for the SNES?

Post by 93143 » Sat Jan 30, 2021 8:19 pm

Nikku4211 wrote:
Sat Jan 30, 2021 4:21 pm
At what resolution does free-hand drawing become superior to mouse drawing?
I'd say 640x480.

But it's a very difficult question to answer authoritatively, so I'm not being entirely serious. I'm just expressing my feeling of the point where clearly pixelated graphics give way to something that could be called "high-resolution". Pixel art gets pretty tedious at this point, and precise control over every pixel starts to get less important as the pixels get smaller. Also, this roughly corresponds to when PCs broke through the 256-colour ceiling, which further tips the balance away from pixel plotting and towards more sweeping and imprecise techniques.

Look at Master of Orion. The first game was in 320x200, and the second was in 640x480. Both games were a mix of pre-rendered CGI and hand-drawn art, and both games used 8bpp indexed graphics. But in the first game virtually all of the hand-drawn stuff was clearly pixel art, whereas in the second game the bulk of it clearly wasn't; it was mostly small icons that retained the appearance of having been drawn one pixel at a time (and not all of those; even the stars didn't look like pixel art in MoOII).

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