Spriter Pro: A Whole New World of Characters

in Tips and Tricks

So you want even MORE customization in creating characters, but you aren’t an artist. Or maybe you are an artist but you want to increase variety in your game by working with component parts.

Well, Over the last couple of weeks, between bouts of PAX East mania, I’ve sat down with Spriter Pro and its RPG Heroes Essentials Art Pack to see what it can do for us.

And the answer? A lot. Now, I’m not going to write a tutorial on using Spriter Pro. Mostly because, I doubt I could do better than the creators, who have a great series of tutorial videos and tips videos on Youtube, including one specific to this pack, and mostly because Spriter is a super powerful program that I myself am only just scratching the surface of. There is a LOT more you can do that I never even touched.

What I am going to do, is show you an overview of what you can do, and how easy it is to do. I’m planning to create a sprite for RPG Maker MV. So I load up the Female_48.smcl in the RPG Heroes pack and get to work. Now, the first thing you are going to see when you open this is what seems to be a character that took a tumble through a costume shop and yet somehow missed finding a shirt on the way down.

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And suddenly your brain explodes cause you’re like “oh man, what do I do, do I have to delete each part I don’t want individually on each frame, this is going to take all day!”
Well, fear not, just go up to Window and Select Character Maps. Now you can just drag and drop from the list on the right to the list on the left to make your sprite from component parts.

You can quickly drop NO HEADGEAR, NO WINGS, etc to get rid of what you aren’t using, then start dragging across individual parts to get what you want. You can even have two different arm pieces. It took me just a few minutes to create this:

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Though I’m sure you are probably thinking now, “But what if I don’t WANT all my characters to wear purple and blue, even if it is a very heroic shade of purple.” Well, that too is absolutely no problem. Just click the button with the image of a painter’s palette on it in the lower corner of the Character Maps and you can select whatever colors you want for your base colors, accents, skin, etc.

With just a few more minutes, I had this (ok, I really like the black on red aesthetics, probably something to do with where I grew up).

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Now it’s just a few clicks, select the FullSpriteSheet animation in the animations window in the lower right, select File=>Export Animation to PNG/GIF. Switch up the settings to Keyframes only, sprite strip, with 3 horizontal and 4 vertical and done. You have an RPG Maker MV formatted sprite ready to use.

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You can also export some animations for activating things like treasure chests and such, just check in the Animations window to see the automatically generated activation animations, and export those, as well as down sprites, too.

But what if you want a faceset to go with your character? Don’t tell me we’re going to have to draw that from scratch… nope. Spriter still has you covered. All of the portrait art is higher res, so we’ll need to move to Female_128.scml for this one.

But first, I can very quickly save the character I was using as shown in the export character tutorial, I’m sure you saw the save and load icons on the character maps window, and then load it up in Female_128.scml. Really I should have probably gone in the other direction, using the 128 size first, but I was just so focused on getting that sprite down, I neglected my need for a faceset!

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There are also breathing and blinking animations for the portrait, though they would be a bit tricky to use in RPG Maker at this time. But they give you a small taste of what Spriter Pro can really do. You can even make custom animations for the sprites, it just takes a bit of experience in the editor, and you can have your character moving in ways that would be incredibly time-consuming to replicate with just hand spriting skills in a graphics editor.

You can use it for creating more monsters. You can even animate them if you are using an animation script. You can use it to design battle animations. You can do almost anything with 2D graphics you can think of.

If you aren’t an artist, Spriter Pro gives you a good framework to use the pieces it comes with and its many packs. There is plenty to work with, and you can make a staggering array of sprites and faces with just what you get in the RPG Heroes set. If you are an artist: The sky is the limit. You could make almost anything. Build the component parts and then you can put it together any way you like.

Spriter Pro is nearly perfect for RPG Maker. And in the future, I believe we can even bridge that gap between nearly perfect and perfect. Keep an ear to the ground for more news

Have you ever used Spriter Pro? What did you think of it? Or maybe you have questions about it? Join us in the Comments below!

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