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Background Transparency on Sprites Tutorial

Discussion in 'Creative Archive' started by Hedj, Jun 12, 2007.

  1. I figure I might as well start writing this now, since it'll help a lot of people.
    I'll be documenting the use of three different programs. Two of them you have to pay for, but one of them is free. The two purchasable ones are Animation Shop and Adobe Photoshop. The free one is The GIMP.

    However, you can download trials of the purchasable programs, and I'll also provide a link to where you download The GIMP, which is a bit more complicated to download and install.

    • Animation Shop's trial version is available from Jasc's website. I'm not sure if it'll allow the feature I use to add transparency as I have the full version.
    • Adobe Photoshop's trial version is available from Adobe's website. I'm pretty sure the trial will have the feature I use to add transparency, but again, I have the full version.
    • The GIMP is available from TheGIMP.org for free. Note that it is available for most operating systems. For Windows you need to download the GTK runtime as well. Make sure to choose the one appropriate to your operating system.

    The first tutorial will be put up now, with images.

    [size=30pt]The GIMP Tutorial[/size]
    Okay, so first off, we have the interface for The GIMP. It's a slightly more complicated program than most, in that it doesn't just hand features to you on a plate: you have to figure them out yourself, for the most part. It took me a while to get used to, and I still prefer Photoshop, but it's a good program.

    For now, I'll only show the tool and canvas windows, because we don't need the layers/channels/paths window for making things transparent.


    White background? We can't be having that! ... But hold on, there's a way to fix this. Select the Magic Wand, either by pressing Z, or clicking it on the Tools bar.


    For the next step, you need to either hold the Control key, or push the "Add to current selection" button (I'll have it pushed in my screenshot), and make sure to turn off antialiasing. Most sprites aren't antialiased, so we don't need it.


    The last step is actually quite simple... There's a drop-down box in the canvas window, with an Edit option. Click it, and go down to Clear, as shown here:


    Of course, when you click that - poof! The white bits you selected will be gone, as the image will now have a transparent background. It's like magic!


    The resulting sprite is here:
    Unfortunately, PNG transparency works in limited browsers, but I think the two main ones are the most up-to-date version of Internet Explorer, and also Firefox. I myself use Firefox, not sure what browsers can't handle PNG transparency because I haven't checked.

    Keep in mind, however, that the only filetypes you can use when making a transparent image is .gif and .png, and .png is favoured, especially if you're submitting to the Trainer Card Maker.​

    [size=30pt]Animation Shop Tutorial[/size]

    Animation Shop's trial version is available from Jasc's website. I'm not sure if it'll allow the feature I use to add transparency as I have the full version. But, let's see what we can do with this! We'll start off with the interface, like with The GIMP.

    I don't know if the interface has been updated recently, but I use version 3.


    Once you've got your sprite in there, you'll have it up, and it'll look a bit like the following...


    The best way of making things transparent in Animation Shop is to use the Replace Colour tool. But keep in mind that when you do this, it replaces every instance of a colour on the image. So that's why I selected the green - it's not used on my actual sprite, so it's safe to make a transparent background with!


    The next step is to use the Replace Colour tool, in the Animation option. You'll get an option box come up when you click it:


    To further explain the Tolerance value: the higher it is, the more similar shades are replaced. The lower it is, the less. For sprites, you're best setting it to 1 - this means the colour you select, and that colour and exact shade only, will be the only colour to be replaced. Mine happens to be on 8 by default, but since my sprite is mostly blues, and I selected a green background, it doesn't really matter too much.


    The resulting sprite is here:

    Keep in mind, however, that the only filetypes you can use when making a transparent image is .gif and .png, and .png is favoured, especially if you're submitting to the Trainer Card Maker.

    And there's the Animation Shop tutorial concluded. Animation Shop is one of the easiest programs to use for making animated sprites that are also transparent. However, my favourite program, Adobe Photoshop, comes next - watch this space!​

    [size=30pt]Photoshop Tutorial[/size]

    I finally got this one done! Woohoo! It's fairly simple, mostly shown in the screenshots. Sorry that they're so text-heavy.



    Finished product:

    And there we have it. I may go through other programs some day, but these are my main three.

    [size=30pt]Paint Shop Pro Tutorial[/size]

    Artiste was kind enough to write/screengrab a Paint Shop Pro tutorial for making sprites transparent - click here to be taken to the post with it. Or scroll down in the thread.

    Toodles for now! :)
  2. Good show, and something we've needed for a while. :p I think this needs a sticky.
  3. I'm glad you made this, but I have a question: Which thing on the downloads page of thegimp.com do you pick? There's a ton and whenever I click one, there are a bunch of files to open.
  4. Wow GIMP can do that. Kewl, I use Photoshop's export transparent image wizard....so will you include that in your tutorials?
  5. If you're using, say, Windows XP, there should be a link on the menu of thegimp.org that says "Windows". You then click "Download", download the GTK Runtime appropriate to Windows XP (there's one for older operating systems, one for newer ones), and then download the installer. If you had, say, Windows 98, you would get the other GTK Runtime, not the same one you'd get if using Windows XP.

    If you're on another operating system than a Windows OS, feel free to tell me and I'll go through the process. Me being on Windows, however, I've only actually done a Windows download, so you'll have to bear with me on that one. ^^;;

    Clicking the GIMP for Windows link will lead to the following page...

    And, subsequently, clicking Automated Installer leads to another page, in which you click the Download option on the menu, leading to this:


    I hope that helped! :)

    [quote author=Rocket X link=topic=2184.msg22757#msg22757 date=1181694691]
    Wow GIMP can do that. Kewl, I use Photoshop's export transparent image wizard....so will you include that in your tutorials?
    I've never actually used that (unless you mean Save For Web) and I don't know if it's even available on CS3, but there's a method using tools that's similar to The GIMP's method, that is accessible by most, if not all, versions of Photoshop, to my knowledge, which I use when I'm making things have a transparent background. Any chance you could explain what the feature is and how you use it?

    UPDATE: I added the Animation Shop tutorial! I may separate it into different posts if the first post's a bit long for people. All you gotta do is ask. :)
  6. Thank you very much! You rock!
  7. Yes you do Hedj. YOU ROCK OUT LOUD! ;D
    Also, thanks for making my sprite transparent. Sorry for off topic... Had to get it out. :D
  8. Hmm... I'm having problems with it. I follow all the instructions, and after hitting clear it stays white. Why won't it show the checkered pattern that indicates transparency?
  9. Is there an empty layer under the sprite?
  10. No. Maybe that's my problem...

    EDIT: Problem solved. Thank you.
  11. Aye, perhaps I should've mentioned that, but the screenshots would've been way too big if I'd included the Layers window... ^^;;

    Yeah, you need to have just the one layer on the image.
  12. I have:
    Photoshop, Freehand, Flash and some others image editing programs... i guess i coud make some of them, and if i cant ill brek the game file and edit it in PS..
  13. Because I was doing a tutorial for someone, until I realized they were a guest and I couldn't get it to them, Hedj asked me to put it up.

    [size=15pt]PAINT SHOP PRO 7 TUTORIAL:[/size]

    [size=15pt]Okay, click on the paint bucket, and fill in the white with a color you will never EVER use.[/size]

    [size=15pt]Click "Yes"(XD).[/size]

    [size=15pt]Make SURE you have these settings, or else the colors will get distorted.[/size]

    [size=15pt]That text says it all. I also made it an 80x80 during this, be sure to do that. Click "New", and make the settings "80x80", and copy your sprite onto it.[/size]

    [size=15pt]Click on the highlight.[/size]

  14. my GIMP won't make all sprites transparent. In fact, most of them it just leaves the white. I'd say around 8% of them it will actually make transparent, but I did what you said. Any clue as to why this happens?
  15. Sorry for such a late reply - I've been playing the heck out of a lovely devious PC game called Overlord. XD

    But, you should check the layers, because using Clear with no layers underneath the layer your sprite's on, I'm pretty sure, is guaranteed to make the selected areas transparent...

    Also, I will get off my ass and make a Photoshop tutorial! ... eventually.

    ET DUN! The Photoshop tutorial is included in the first post as of now.
  16. Thanks for starting this. ^^ Now I know how to make mine transparent. ^^
  17. Okay, I FINALLY installed GIMP and I think I got it.
  18. i got the gimp one and its not doing the hole clear thing when i hit clear it makes the hole sprite go away how do i fix this please help also when i opened it up again all the layers and stuff (like the things you told use to un check are gone
  19. Kumi

    Kumi Guest

    Yay! This really helped me! *gives award* :D
  20. hey, is it possible to do a clear backround in microsoft paint? It is the only spriting system I can use, and the backrounds are always white. Someone please help me.:'(
  21. You can not use Micro. Paint to make transparent sprites. Any other program can I think.
  22. right... that stinks, that's the onl;y one I have. :'(
  23. If you're allowed to install software on the computer(s) you use, or that you have the space for it, get GIMP. It's free and there are several tutorials (on this forum and around the web) for it.

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