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Pixel art (raster) drawing softwares for Windows
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Author:  koitsu [ Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:12 am ]
Post subject:  Pixel art (raster) drawing softwares for Windows

What do people use these days for doing actual pixel art? (I'm not referring to the NES specifically, just speaking general pixel art)

I've tried 5 different applications, all of which are just insane and mindboggling in different ways (I think the one that took the cake was GIMP and how you can't draw boxes/circles/shapes other than using some wacky render filter or by using the selection rectangle -- shoot me now. There were two Japanese programs I tried though, one of which had some kind of utterly *bizarre* File/Open dialog that made me think I was smoking crack (seriously, I actually stopped and pondered my sanity or if the GDI layer had gone apeshit)).

Back in the late 90s I actually had access to a legal copy of Photoshop (my girlfriend had a copy on her Mac) and I was able to get shit done in that, but that was then/this is now -- there's no way I'm shelling out nearly a thousand bucks for Photoshop. And the last time I tried present-day Photoshop (trial), I watched it take a full 2 seconds to draw GUI menus -- 3.4GHz 4-core CPU, yet.....

Paint.NET is what I've used for "general image editing", which is not the same as drawing pixel art. Paint.NET also enjoys anti-aliasing the hell out of every single thing it renders, which is infuriating at times.

And prior to all this nonsense, "back in the day" (80s/very early 90s), I used to use DreamGrafix on my IIGS, which was a godsend (that screenshot doesn't do it justice in the least). On the PC (DOS) I think I used to use some version of DPaint, I just can't remember which.

Discuss!

P.S. -- Tepples, I'm well aware of the Wikipedia article, so don't even think about referring me to it. ;-)

Author:  TmEE [ Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pixel art (raster) drawing softwares for Windows

I use Graphics Gale for some stuff but I don't really like its UI and how tools work.
My main use tool is Win98 or 95 version of MS-Paint (there's some annoyances in later versions...).
Sometimes I use one editor I made long ago in QB45 that is called TGFedit.

Author:  Shiru [ Thu Jun 13, 2013 7:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pixel art (raster) drawing softwares for Windows

Graphics Gale is my weapon of choice for many years now. Has minor problems, though, like, can't open a BMP file saved with latest GIMP versions when extra info, color space or something, is added into the file (GIMP does it by default).

Author:  Grapeshot [ Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pixel art (raster) drawing softwares for Windows

Photoshop CS2 is still available for download direct from Adobe (because they shut down the licensing servers, and it won't run on a current Mac OS). That's what I've been using.

Author:  thefox [ Thu Jun 13, 2013 10:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pixel art (raster) drawing softwares for Windows

Grapeshot wrote:
Photoshop CS2 is still available for download direct from Adobe (because they shut down the licensing servers, and it won't run on a current Mac OS). That's what I've been using.

Just because Adobe offers CS2 for download, doesn't make it any more legal for you to use it without a license. So you could as well pirate the latest Creative Suite.

Author:  rainwarrior [ Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pixel art (raster) drawing softwares for Windows

I used Paint.NET for a long time because it's simple and intuitive, but also has layers. You can turn off its aliasing, by the way. I made quite a bit of pixel art with it (e.g. this was made with Paint.NET: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Rom8jyaqoo).

Later I learned GIMP, and it drastically supersedes Paint.NET in capability, but many things in it are not intuitive. This video helped me get started: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PONe4IIYSnQ

Most recently, for animated pixel art, I discovered Aseprite. It's really awesome for animation, and good for pixel art in general. A few things are unintuitive, but otherwise I cannot think of a better tool for this kind of work. It's also far better at handling palettes than GIMP is, and of course GIMP has almost no animation facility. Also it's free, like the other two tools I've mentioned here.

http://www.aseprite.org/

Author:  lidnariq [ Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pixel art (raster) drawing softwares for Windows

I've been using mtpaint a bit lately. It's only a bit idiosyncratic, but less so than the Gimp.

Author:  tokumaru [ Thu Jun 13, 2013 12:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pixel art (raster) drawing softwares for Windows

I've always used MSPaint and still think it's the best pixel art tool out there. I like the XP version best, but the one in Windows 7 is still usable if you can dodge the anti-aliasing and such. The only thing it lacks IMO is layering, which is useful for making animations. I often open Photoshop or GIMP just to test animations. If I don't want/can't use Photoshop/GIMP, I either abuse the undo/redo commands or put different animation frames in different windows and switch between them to test frame transitions (no way to test the speed of the animations, though).

Author:  mikejmoffitt [ Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pixel art (raster) drawing softwares for Windows

I embarassingly use Multimedia Fusion 2's pixel editor, despite having long ago departed to other languages for actual game development.

Author:  tepples [ Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pixel art (raster) drawing softwares for Windows

I use GIMP.

thefox wrote:
Grapeshot wrote:
Photoshop CS2 is still available for download direct from Adobe

Just because Adobe offers CS2 for download, doesn't make it any more legal for you to use it without a license.

Under U.S. copyright law, 17 USC 101, a "copy" is a physical medium on which a work is recorded. If you download something, your PC's hard drive becomes a "copy". For example, your PC's hard drive is now a copy of this post because your browser downloaded it to cache. If you download something with the copyright owner's permission, your PC's hard drive becomes a "lawfully made copy", and according to 17 USC 117(a), the owner of a lawfully made copy of a computer program does not infringe when making additional copies needed to run that program. Thus the question becomes under what exact conditions "Adobe offers CS2 for download".

rainwarrior wrote:
of course GIMP has almost no animation facility

If you put an animation on one frame per layer, GIMP can play it back, and you can control playback speed by putting things like (100ms) at the end of the layer name. But I agree that that's still very limiting.

Author:  koitsu [ Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pixel art (raster) drawing softwares for Windows

Thank you everyone. I had no idea of the other softwares mentioned (Graphics Gale, Aseprite, mtpaint, or Multimedia Fusion 2 (had no idea it even HAD a graphics/pixel editor). I'll give them a try. Historically (these days) I've just used MS Paint (stock version with XP).

Also, special thank you to rainwarrior for that GIMP tutorial -- amazingly useful, I cannot stress this enough. It's worth watching even if you don't use GIMP; just proves my point of how much utter crap you have to turn off/change/set up just to get what you need -- hence the difference (in primary operation) of an "image editor" vs. "graphics drawing software". The two adjustments that I NEVER would have found were the "Hard edge" option for the eraser and the "Sample merged" option for the colour picker. I also never would have found the "Save tool options" stuff (end of the video). Narrator has a decent voice and gives you lots of good tips along the way too (like drawing the perspective lines for shadows -- I never would have thought to do that. You clever dogs...)

There's just so many other "editor" tools that don't let you do things like snap-to-grid (or even view a grid) for pixel precision, which just baffles me.

Author:  rainwarrior [ Thu Jun 13, 2013 3:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pixel art (raster) drawing softwares for Windows

I had actually been putting off learning GIMP for years and years just because of how goddamn counter-intuitive it is. I forced myself to learn it a few months ago, and I actually find it quite good for most of my image editing needs (beyond simple stuff I can just do in irfanview). I've used it to make some pixel art and animations as well, and now that I know my way around it I have no reason to ever go back to Paint.NET.

The thing tepples described (annotated layers, GIF animation plugin) is what I mean by "almost no" animation support in GIMP. You can functionally make and preview animated GIFs, and do a few other things, but if you compare it to real animation features like what Aseprite has (onionskin, mutli-layer frames, keyboard keys for back and forth frame navigation, etc.) you should see why I refer to it as almost no animation support.

Author:  ccovell [ Thu Jun 13, 2013 4:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pixel art (raster) drawing softwares for Windows

Sad to say, I still always fire up an Amiga emulator and run Deluxe Paint IV/V, Brilliance, or Personal Paint. All 3 are excellent and have features that no Windows/Linux (whatever) pixel art program has satisfactorily reproduced.

Author:  Kasumi [ Thu Jun 13, 2013 4:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pixel art (raster) drawing softwares for Windows

Seems the problem is solved, but I second ASEPRITE. I also used to use only Microsoft Paint (no other software kept its features and simplicity). I used to animate with undo/redo. ASEPRITE finally made me switch. I recommend anyone who really likes MS Paint (Tokumaru, TmEE) to check it out. Really, I was looking for a program with MS Paint's workflow, with hotkeys. It's that and so much more. Keeps all of the MS Paint things you're probably used to (use the opposite click to undo the last stroke, etc.) One feature of MS paint I really liked was it's "draw opaque" checkbox that let you make the secondary color of a selection transparent. ASEPRITE can do this, but it takes one extra step. I wrote a giant post elsewhere about switching from MS Paint to ASEPRITE, but it seems to have got lost when some posts were lost :(. The only thing from MS Paint it's really missing is the text tool. Everything else I can think of is not only there, but also easier to do. (except draw opaque, which is one more step) Animation support and lots more features make up for this.

Just try it.

Edit: With further thought (wish I still had that old post :( ), there is one thing I don't like ASEPRITE. For whatever reason, the author has pixels scaled up by 200% by default. You have to change the ini to get 100% zoom. (See the FAQ) You have to do it once, and never again but I'm not sure why it's the default.

Right click erase primary color with secondary color from MS Paint? Check.
Easy Canvas resize? Sort of. You have to open a menu for it rather than dragging the boxes, though. Sprite, canvas size. Then you can type in values, or click and drag the blue lines.

Graphics Gale beats its frame management as far as features (though adding a frame is SUCH a pain in GG), but ASEPRITE's animation editor is getting better soonish.

If there's anything in ASEPRITE you don't like or can't figure out I want to know about it! I don't see why more people aren't using it. Anyway...

Author:  Bregalad [ Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pixel art (raster) drawing softwares for Windows

I often use a combination of YY-CHR and TileMolester.
For animation I tend to do them with page up and page down keys, putting each animation frame on a different page.

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