Pixel Spriter

Before starting this post, please let me apologize if I had already created a post about this software. I searched, yet I couldn’t find it. Apologies if this was the case.

First of all, what’s Pixel Spriter?
Months ago, I wrote, on my website, that we were planning on starting work on a small image-editor made especially for sprite-making. For those unfamiliar with the term, sprites are 2D images usually used in games. 2D Platform Games usually make use of these type of images, although almost all genres have used them. Pixel Spriter won’t be a collection of images, but will let users create and edit their own sprites - an image-editor dedicated to Pixel Art and the Spriting workflow.

What makes Pixel Spriter special?
This software will be open-source. Users will be able to create their own effects – such as noise-generation, lighten, darken etc… The product will only be released as open-source upon release. As for effects creation, potential developers will be able to use templates and documentation to help them. However, Pixel Spriter won’t be aimed just at potential developers of the program, but to anyone who might want to learn jME from a complete project. This software will be available for Mac, Windows and Linux users. This will make Pixel Spriter the first of such programs available on all three platforms for free and as open-source.

And features? What about them?
The first thing on our to-do list was to gather information about what users wanted from a spriting program. We are still accepting feature requests, so if you have one yourself, do tell us!

Onion Skinning – This is a process used in animating, where the prior and subsequent frames are displayed in low-opacity to let the user know how the animation would look like.
Layers – Layers will let the user apply effects on just one layer. Layers might also be used to customize a character’s attire among other things.
Tiling – Pixel Spriter will allow users to see their tiles tiled horizontally, vertically, or in a box. This would let users see how the tiles would look in-game and make them seamless quickly.
Real-Time Animation – If enabled, the animation would continue running while the user is editing, thus showing any changes in real-time.
It will be possible to apply effects on the whole layer/canvas, in a selection, and at the mouse-point.
Multiple copy-paste slots to facilitate workflow.

To help those who would want to use Pixel Spriter to learn jME or Java in general, we also aim to facilitate things:

Program Documentation – there won’t be any in-line documentation in Pixel Spriter. Yes, in-line documentation would be optimal, but since this is an open-source software, we want it to be very well-documented and explained. As such, documentation is generally detailed, and we don’t want to unnecessarily clutter Pixel Spriter with lines of detailed documentation. This doesn’t rule out the possibility of releasing the program twice; one of which with in-line documentation.
Program Design – a more general explanation of how the program works.
Program Formulae – we spent hours banging our heads on the keyboard, and we don’t want future developers to spend too much time doing the same as they try to understand what each formula does. As such, there is a document explaining the function of each formula.

The base framework is 50% ready, so we expect to have something to show for our progress by the end of January at the latest.

Want to support us?
We’re not on Kickstarter or any other crowd-funding sites. It costs us €0 to work. We don’t need the money. It only costs us our own time - time we are happily giving to see and help jME grow. As such, we demand no money. But if you really want to help, even a short ‘go go go’ comment means a lot. You can also help us spread the word via Facebook, Twitter or just by visiting our website.

That’s all there is to say for now. Meanwhile, to all monkeys, merry Christmas and a joyful new year!

4 Likes

It’s an interesting idea. The main question I have though is why would I use this rather than using Gimp/Photoshop with a few macros/scripts to provide the added features needed? …

I won’t go into Photoshop, because it really beats the purpose of a free program. Now, I respect your opinion/s on this matter, but I’ll say what I think.

For GIMP, I don’t know whether there are any scripts etc… but I would think that yes, there are. However, look at these main features (more to come in the next weeks when the new list is compiled): Onion Skinning, Tiling, Real-Time Animation, Multiple copy-paste. I would probably say that for some, there are micros/scripts. For others, it would be possible to do them manually. But think of it - sometimes, is it worthwhile doing all these things manually? Or would it take too long? If the script doesn’t do what you want, you would probably have to write one yourself, and as someone who doesn’t know how such scripts work, I probably would just back out of this. And I know I wouldn’t be the only one.

Bottom line, Pixel Spriter isn’t your normal image editor. I would say it’s a software that aims to help developers/graphic artists by reducing the time taken to work on graphics. Features like Real-Time Animation and Onion Skinning aren’t all that common, and in my opinion difficult to find, in software such as GIMP/PS. For this reason these two features were requested more than once.

I hope I answered your question and was convincing. Thanks a lot for your contribution zarch. Please, if anyone has any more questions, I’d happily do my best to respond. Thanks a lot.

Gimp scripts (python ones anyway - schema is a nightmare) are easy to write. Photoshop actions don’t require any programming knowledge at all - although to do more complicated things would require some knowledge.

I don’t want to belittle what you are doing and wish you every success, I’m just pointing out that you are effectively entering into competition with some very big and extensive already existing projects. You are targeting a niche so maybe it will work out but I would suggest at least evaluating how easy it would be to provide what you want as a gimp plugin and then using all the existing functionality from gimp and as a result both giving your product a wider market and add something to the existing gimp functionality.

If you want to do your own thing that’s fine too, and it sounds like a fun project tbh, but you will be fighting inertia to get adoption :slight_smile:

Thanks for the pointers :slight_smile: I’ll see where this goes, then decide.