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what software are you using? late 2017 edition
http://forums.nesdev.com/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=16642
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Author:  mickbeaver [ Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:27 am ]
Post subject:  what software are you using? late 2017 edition

Hello,

Which software are people currently using to create NES graphics? I've found a number of tools, but some are quite old and appear to be unmaintained.

Ideally, I'd like to sit down with a handful of tools and evaluate them, but I'm not sure which of them should be on the short list.

Thanks for any pointers!

-Mick

Author:  rainwarrior [ Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: what software are you using? late 2017 edition

Here's what I use:
  • GIMP for just drawing.
  • Aseprite for animation.
  • NES Screen Tool for assembly and preparation for NES.
  • Other custom tools that work similarly to NES Screen Tool, just modified for more specific purposes.

You may note that GIMP and Aseprite are just regular graphics tools (though Aseprite has an explicit pixel focus, and GIMP works well for pixel art too). It doesn't matter that they're not NES-specific, once you know the rules of what the NES can do it's easy to make NES-ready art in most good graphics programs.

YY-CHR is also popular because it can edit graphics tiles directly from a ROM, but it hasn't been updated in many years and it's not really that capable as an art program. I don't like to use it because once you learn to get the data out of or into a ROM, there's no advantage left for YY-CHR.

Author:  mickbeaver [ Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: what software are you using? late 2017 edition

Brad,

You have to be one of the nicest people on the Internet! Thanks for the detailed response.

P.S.
I can't wait for Lizard!

Author:  pubby [ Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: what software are you using? late 2017 edition

I use mtpaint mostly

Author:  FrankenGraphics [ Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: what software are you using? late 2017 edition

If NESST was great when i began a year and a half ago, it's indispensible now with the lasest added features. I really recommend reading through the readme/changelog because there's quite a few neat features you might miss otherwise.

The only feature i think i "miss" frequently at this point is something like a "save selection to file" + "load file to clipboard" combo so i could easily cut and paste between several NESST instances.

Since i need the adobe suite for other things, i'm also using PS and AE for some stuff, especially for trying out sprites/animations on top of backgrounds and see how they fare.

Author:  calima [ Mon Oct 30, 2017 12:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: what software are you using? late 2017 edition

Gimp and mtPaint to draw, then my tools at https://github.com/clbr/nes to convert to/from PNG and manipulate tiles.

Author:  tokumaru [ Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: what software are you using? late 2017 edition

I use Paint for static stuff, and Photoshop or GIMP for animations.

Author:  dougeff [ Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: what software are you using? late 2017 edition

I like to hand draw as much as possible to start.

Well, I just bought Aseprite to convert the sketch to 8-bit, by manually redrawing it (it can do 8-bit animations).

But then I have to redraw it AGAIN in YY-CHR, save the CHR. (I'm sure tepples has automated this part).

And I open it in NES Screen Tool, and make metatiles and metasprites. Export the metasprites. Screenshot to save a pic of the metatiles. Crop in GIMP.

Use Tiled to construct the levels from the screenshot of the metatiles. Export csv. Use a python script to compress the data. Import into game.

Author:  Sumez [ Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: what software are you using? late 2017 edition

I can't recommend PyxelEdit enough. Especially for background graphics, it's really good for making tilesets.

Aseprite is cool too, though, once you learn all the shortcut keys.

Author:  freem [ Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: what software are you using? late 2017 edition

A combination of Paint Shop Pro 7 (super old, but super useful for pixel art) combined with YY-CHR.net, which allows me to copy/paste between it and PSP7.

I'm very particular in that I want to see the graphics in their final form as I'd arrange them in CHR (even when dealing with smaller chunks or graphics that will be compressed later).

(Though I'm also biased in that I've written a plugin for YY-CHR.net to deal with Neo-Geo FIX format tiles...)

For nametable layout stuff, I'll echo NES Screen Tool; really good software there. Haven't really gotten to the point where I use its sprite facilities, but the few times I've messed around with it, I've found it easy to use.

Author:  Kasumi [ Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: what software are you using? late 2017 edition

Well, it might be shameless, but the credits file included with Indivisible has basically all the software I used, where to get it, and what I used it for.

Aseprite (Nearly all animation, tileset planning, some promotional material editing) - http://www.aseprite.org/

Pyxel Edit (Ensuring tile counts/Tileset finalization) - http://pyxeledit.com/

NES Screen Tool (Metasprite layouts) - https://shiru.untergrund.net/software.shtml

YY-CHR (Conversion of some of my graphics to the format NES understands) - http://www.geocities.jp/yy_6502/yychr/

Custom stuff: Two tools to remove duplicate tiles and prepare sprite data made in NES Screen Tool for the extreme bank swapping Indivisible does, and one tool that will take a (possibly animated) image, check it for background errors and create a tileset compatible with bankswapping animation, a metatileset, and a tilemap to be used with Tiled so levels can be built with 16x16 parts.

Pyxel Edit lacking easy tile copying really harms it... I share this image a lot: http://i.imgur.com/qigHvaN.gif

But it also doesn't really allow one to work with palettized images. I'm working on a small replacement of it for my workflow.

Even without those things it still beats everything for a tile-based workflow, but I always get a little sad that it's really close to being way better than it is...

Edit: Though I really, really don't like it, it's worth looking at Pro Motion. If you can get used to its UI, it is very powerful, and also allows tilemap editing.

And for good measure, one obscure program which fixes some of Pyxel Edit's tile problems, but I still end up preferring Pyxel Edit: https://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=14983.0

Author:  Bregalad [ Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: what software are you using? late 2017 edition

I'm amazed people mention GIMP for drawing things. That program seems like it was designed to be impossible to use from the start. I once tried to use it to resize an image, but even that simple task is almost impossible to do with GIMP (at least not without looking up a tutorial) so much is this program counter-intuitive. I can't imagine drawing anything with that.

Author:  FrankenGraphics [ Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: what software are you using? late 2017 edition

Several years ago i was on a budget and used a combo of GIMP and irfanview as a substitute for PS.
. Can't say i liked it - everything just took a little longer and i never got used to it.

Author:  rainwarrior [ Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:36 am ]
Post subject:  Re: what software are you using? late 2017 edition

For years I looked at GIMP and didn't know where to start with it and gave up and uninstalled before every figuring out how to use it every time. (I used Paint.NET instead, which is a pretty good simple paint program but it's not very powerful.)

Then I watched this tutorial, and it really got me started:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PONe4IIYSnQ

Since then I've been pretty comfortable with it.

So, in case anyone is interested in learning GIMP for pixel art, I highly recommend that video. (Otherwise there's plenty of other good art tools. I just happen to like GIMP.)

Sorry, I linked it already in my post above, but it was kind of buried as a footnote.

Author:  Sumez [ Tue Oct 31, 2017 1:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: what software are you using? late 2017 edition

Yeah I would never recommend GIMP to anyone :P

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