Sketch->Pixel Tutorial [PTGigi]

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Sketch->Pixel Tutorial [PTGigi]

Post by ChibiMaestro on Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:02 am

Created by PTGigi
Hi people. A short while ago I began to start sketching my drawings before converting them into pixel drawings. I figured I'd make a quick tutorial about it since I hadn't seen one around.

What you need:
A Camera/Scanner
An Art Program that has layers
An Art Program that you are comfortable making Pixels with.

For me I use my crappy camera (it is better than my scanner, who knew!), Photoshop CS3/Elements 7 (at school I use CS3, at home Elements 7), and Paint. So I will be switching operating systems through this tutorial but you don't have to if you have the right programs on one computer.

NOTE: Most images will be links since they are big and there are about 30 of them (we are only allowed to post 10 images...)
In this tutorial I will be converting this:
Into this:

Step 0:
Draw something and take a picture/scan it. Then upload the image to your computer and put it somewhere where you can find it.

Step 1:
Get your drawing and open it up in your program of choice (for me Photoshop):

Step 2:
(On Photoshop) Go to Image->Adjustments->Variations. You want to make the Shadows very dark, and the Highlights very light. You have to watch what your final result will look like. Too much light will make it hard to see the lines because of the white and too much Shadows make it hard to see the lines because of the black. Your corners will get black marks, that's fine.

Step 3:
Crop the image. It is okay if you flip step 3 and 4. It really doesn't matter.

Step 4:
Shrink the image to the size you want. I want mine to be around 70 Pixels:

Step 5:
Click on Zoom (z), and then hit Fit to Screen. This will blow-up the image to a nice size:

Step 6:
Make a new layer above your Background layer. I usually do this by hitting COMMAND+SHIFT+N or CTRL+SHIFT+N. I completely forgot the location of the button for this though. XD

Step 7:
Choose two to three colors to use for details. I usually pick Red, Neon Green, Black, and/or Neon Blue (Cyan). For this I picked Green and Red. Red for the main body and green for the extra parts. You can also use this method to mark out markings on your creation such as stripes, spots, etc.

Step 8:
Go over the outline of your drawing. It helps to open up another copy of your drawing in its full size so you can see all the details that may have disappeared when you shrunk it. When you first start (pic 1) you don't have to care about how your lines are drawn. As long as they follow the outline you're good. Very Happy (pic 2)
Pic 1-
Pic 2-

Step 9:
Now either you can make a new layer or work on the one you are now. Either is fine. If you used a new layer this is what it should look like now:

Step 10:
Go over any details that you have. Details may include hair, patterns, markings, pretty much areas of different colors from your base. Repeat steps 8 and 9 as many times as you need. Example here:

Step 11:
After that hide your background image by clicking on the eye next to the background. Example (layer bar is second image):

Step 12:
Right click on any of your layers and hit 'Flatten Image'. This will combine all layers and drop the transparent background for a white one. If you prefer to use a program that supports transparency (Paint for me does not like transparency) then hit Merge Visible instead and delete your Background image.

Step 13:
Hit Zoom and return to normal size (1:1). Save your image as a .png.
1) MyAdopts supports ONLY lowercase pngs, be careful!
2) Pngs support transparency
3) Pngs keep quality and are a smaller file size than bitmaps.

Step 14:
Now I will be switching over to Paint on an older Windows computer. I do have a much better version of Paint at home but I was at school. Anyway, open your image in your program (unless you're using the same program as before).

Step 15:
Once again, zoom in Full Screen. Right now I'm at x6, x8 would have made it bigger than my screen.

Step 16:
Go to Colors->Edit Colors. Then select the color you'd like to use. Depending on the kind of 'color wheel' your program shows up depends on how to adjust the settings. I'm going to pick a dark purple for my demon horse creature. Very Happy

Step 17:
Fill in all areas where your main color will be (pic 1). Then pick a color much, much darker than your current color. Black is not suggested unless you are working with a dark creature (pic 2).
Pic 1-
Pic 2-

Step 18
Color in the outlines using the Paint Eraser trick. Short version of the Paint Eraser trick:
1-The color you want to change is in the left slot
2-The color you want it to be is in the right color slot (your eraser box should show up as this color)
3-Hold down the right mouse button while over your drawing and ONLY the areas of the left color should change
Look in the top left corner of this image:
The final product:

Step 19
Then select a color lighter than your base color. This will be our highlight. Try not to stray far from the original base but in some cases added a hint of another color may make the highlight or shadow look better.

Step 20
Repeat step 19 for as many highlights or shadows as you need. Personally I use about 3-5 shadows while I only use about 1-3 highlights. The choice is yours. Very Happy

Step 21
Now you need to go through and select your secondary color. I'm going with a dark green for the mane and tail. To make the colors fit a bit together I took may base color purple and went left til I hit green and worked with that.

Step 22
After you repeat steps 16-20 on all your colors you are almost done!

Step 23
Zoom out and save your new creation. Then (if you aren't already) open a program that supports transparency or a website (like and select the white areas and delete them. Congrats! You're done!

I'd post a couple more examples of what I've done (OMG this technique helps with small details!) but since all my examples I'm releasing on my site in a HUGE release I'll post them after I release them there. Very Happy


Ploop! Boop! Beep! Boppety! Bloop! ^-^

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