Unchibifying (Heightening) RMXP Sprites
What is unchibifying? Well, basically, RMXP and its counter parts have a character sprite theme where an over-sized head is planted on a baby body, chibi style. Unchibifying is a term that I use to describe taking the people sprites of RMXP and giving them a taller, more articulate appearance. Basically, endowing the characters of the game with elbows, knees, a waist, and (sometimes) necks, drawing attention away from the gigantisized heads. This tutorial will try to illustrate the process I use using the Arshes sprite.Tutorial
Before starting I'll just mention a few things.
- Try to keep consistency of the char in mind when editing.
- I ususaly save intermitent stages to keep track of progress. this may also save time if you decide that what you've had before looked and animated better. just load up that file and paste the better parts in.
- Paint works well enough for this, but there's a free program called graphicsgale that was basically designed for sprite editing and animation. it's not necessary but it can make things easier at times (especially when it comes to shifting pixels).
Starting off we want to give ourselves room to work with. First decide how much taller you want the sprite to be. I usually choose between 5-7 extra pixels of height. This may depend on the shape of the sprite you want to work with. If the char has a lot of armor clumped on it or has complex shape/patterns, 5 pixels height increase should suffice and be less of a hassle. This is what I've done for Arshes.
Export the sprite you want to work on, open it up in paint. Check if the top row has enough space to grow. if not, add the extra number of pixels needed, 'X', (*4), to the height of the canvas, & and shift each row by X * the row number, starting with the lowest row. Well that's the easy part.
Next we look at the sprites and decide where to add the height. I distribute the extra height pixels evenly among the legs and arms, with the odd pixel of height remaining to add a neck or one more height to the legs. but before we start amputating, look for where the best areas are to add the extra pixels. For legs this is usually in the middle or above the boots. For arms and waist, consider the waist first, between the belt and breast/chest area we make the incision, leaving the hands behind as we raise the torso and arms. If the chars is lacking a neck, go ahead and raise the head above the chin as well. Next the fine touches. If you separate parts of gloves/clothing/ shoulders while moving the body around, you should reconnect these to save work later on.
Repeat the process for the first two sprites in the top and lowest row, and the 1st, 2nd and 4th sprites in the second row. As you do this keep consistency in mind, separating groups of pixels by the same distance and at the same junction points. the remaining unchanged sprites are basically repeats, which you should paste over at the end (or now if you want to see the overall picture or animation).
Here he is so far, not too happy:
Well now comes the more creative part. In general, you will be using the eyedropper and filling in the blanks, starting with an outline and followed by pixel pushing. I usually have RMXP open at the same time so I can import the sprite and animate it with an event that faces the player. You can do this to check for inconsistency, misplaced pixels, misaligned sprites or to refine the animation.
Start off by moving stray pixels back to their relative components, ie, reconnecting gloves, boots and clothing paterns. Fill in the blanks with surrounding colours, and check the look of it by zooming out to 2x magnification. Keep in mind which parts should extend in which direction. You may want to move the arms and legs away from each other more to keep the lines smooth, and to account for the longer limbs. The back leg in a step sprite may be moved back, or the front leg forward as well. This applies mostly to the even numbered colums. Check the animation in rmxp if needed.
Besides the animation and outline, it's mostly a matter of creative pixel selection. When you are filling the pixels in, try to reproduce them like wise in the subsequent frames for smooth animation. Some times odd placed pixels may seem to jump or appear to move on a part of a body that should have no localized motion. When you flip and paste for the remaining sprites keep in mind that the head may have to be flipped again for consistency. When working on male chars square out their chests or risk the appearance of moobs.
Well that's about all I can say on that part.
Here is Arshes before and after HGH:
So now we have transformed Shorty McNubs, upgraded him if you like. Arshes has finally reached puberty. Anyway, he could be a giant/adult char living in a world inhabited by armor clad tykes. Conversely, to not make him an outcast you could convert all his human friends as well. This may seem daunting at first, but with practice unchibifying goes quicker and becomes less off a chore. Well, if you decide to unchibify, and post the result, there will be more chars to go around, and less work for the unchibi game.
Here are some more of mine. The three where a bit more than an hour each to make.
This is my first tutorial, hope it is clear and helpful.