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Bead-Sprites How-To

 
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Oobgarm
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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 3:21 pm    Post subject: Bead-Sprites How-To Reply with quote

Or, how I do it. Smile Everyone's got their own style of compiling and translating the images to the board. I invite each of you to contribute ideas. There may be a more efficient way to do things!

\-----------------------------------------
I have Photoshop as my main image editor. I understand that not everyone has the funds or means to procure themselves a copy of it, but for the sake of this particular post I'm going to use it as a reference. My techniques will NOT work in MSPaint. Sure, you can just look at the sprite and create one that way, but a grid makes things much, much easier.

-Supplies first

There are two major vendors of these beads-Perler and Hama. Perler beads are more prolific in the US, while Hama is the more common one in Europe and the UK. Aside from the slight differences in color(i.e. Hama red is a little darker than Perler red, but not by much), it is important to note that Hama beads are smaller than Perler beads, both in height and circumference. That's not to say that they won't work together, but it's just a little more difficult when you're creating a piece that has a large mixture of both brands.

I suggest staring out with ONE manufacturer and honing your skills. Once you feel confident enough with your skills, try adding in the other brand. I've been doing these for a while now and I still have trouble when mixing them. Smile

This is a great thread with pointers and sites for supplies: The Best place to get Materials

When it comes to pegboards, I wholly recommend Hama boards over Perler, despite their limited availability in the US. Both manufacturer's boards will 'lock' together to allow for large sprites to be created. Therein lies my reasoning for recommending Hama-they have two locking notches instead of Perler's one-creating a more sturdy work surface.

-Locating a sprite

Most websites that have repositories of sprites have archived 'ripped' sprites, meaning the image has been taken directly from the game in it's native resolution. No enhancements, no resizing. Fire up a console emulator and note the size of the window when you play a game-that's the native resolution. This is not entirely crucial in the grand scheme of things, but it certainly makes it easier with my method. I'll explain that in a bit.

Some excellent sprite sites:

http://spriters-resource.com/
http://www.gsarchives.net/
http://www.videogamesprites.net/
http://www.pokemonelite2000.com/sprites.html
http://www.sprites-inc.co.uk/

Those are just a small handful of the sites I've used to find sprites. Sometimes, doing a Google image search for the sprite I want will turn up results, other times I have to rip the sprite myself from an emulator. In general, though, 95% of all popular games from the NES/SNES/Genesis era are online somewhere.

The main thing to note when searching for a sprite is the amount of colors used to create the image. The fuse beads used to make these pieces of art have a limited palette. Varying shades of red, gray, green, orange, and brown(to a lesser extent) can be difficult or impossible to reproduce faithfully. You're pretty much set when it comes to NES sprites, but you have to be careful when jumping into sprites from SNES and beyond.

-Creating a nice reference

I've created a nice grid to use when creating sprites. I was tired of fooling with Photoshop's grid tool, so I created my own. I outlined the 29x29 grid in blue, so multiple boards are visible when lined up, which I find to be quite helpful. It's got a transparent background, so when you copy and paste it onto an image, just the grid will show up.



Once I've located sprites, I open up Photoshop, load my basic grid template, and load the sprite itself. Provided it's in the native resolution(what I touched on earlier), I follow these steps:

1. Ensure that the image is in GIF format or 'indexed color' mode. This ensures that each pixel will remain nice and square when it's resized, and won't bleed over or look funny.

2. Increase the image 800% while maintaining proportions(should be checked by default anyway). *This number is dependent on the original 'native' resolution.*

3. Change the image to RGB Color. This will allow for layers, which will help you line the grid up the way you want.

4. Copy my grid and paste it over the top of the image, repeating as necessary for large images.

5. Save it as a .gif file if you want to keep it for future reference.

-Laying the beads

I always find it best to start with the outline. Each person will differ on this, so you should do what is most comfortable for you.

Perler sells small green plastic tweezers for placing beads. I use them occasionally.

-Ironing the piece

This step is one that takes some practice. I suggest making some small designs with some spare beads and practice your ironing technique. Once you're comfortable doing it, then move on to an actual sprite.

Leaving the design on the pegboard, lay a piece of ironing paper over the board and use the iron to 'fuse' the beads together. Try to keep the iron moving, as stopping in one spot for too long can melt the beads too much, creating a glob of plastic, and possibly even melt the board they're on.

Once you've completely ironed one side and ensured that all of the beads are fused, carefully flip the piece over and iron the opposite side. This step is completely optional, but will add rigidity to the piece once completed.

While the piece is still warm, place something heavy on top of it to minimize bending/curling. The heat will cause the beads to curl upwards, a heavy object on top will help it stay flat.

--------------------------------\

That's how I do it. If you need clarification on anything at all, don't hesitate to ask.


Last edited by Oobgarm on Fri Jun 24, 2011 2:44 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Zaghrenaut
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PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2007 4:51 pm    Post subject: Bead-Sprites How-To Reply with quote

That's a great instructional step by step how to for beginners. I hope mouse finds this thread...

It is also noted that the only reason the technique above will NOT work in Microsoft Paint is because you use that grid picture that has transparent pixels in it, and MSPaint doesn't support transparent pixels.

Before I got Photoshop, I used MSPaint, I admit, and it worked alright. You can zoom into the sprite in x1 (actual size), x2, x6, and x8... Even at x8, some sprites (namely sprite sheets) are still not zoomed in enough. but at least its better than the blurry zoomed in version that windows picture and fax viewer offers...

Until you can buy or "obtain" photoshop, MSPaint is adequate. it automatically fills in the transparent pixels with a different color than the sprite, usually a contrasting color... otherwise, it's a great way to deplict a sprite pixel by pixel...

-Zaghrenaut
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Silver
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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2007 5:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This thread looks great so far!

If you don't have Photoshop, Irfanview is another good program to use.
I make mine pretty big when I resize them, and a grid isn't really needed. I can see how it helps, though, but I'm just too lazy to use it every time I make another sprite. xD

When I'm done ironing my sprite, I'll turn it over and iron it just a bit on the back. I usually only do it for a third to half of the time I spent on the front. I've found that if I iron it for any longer than that, the plastic will become too flat and won't look as nice. Neutral
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dick01
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

so apparently im crazy for the way i do mine.

i find the sprite i want, then use the magnifier found it windows xp.
max it out, then take a screen shot.
paste it into mspaint.
then if its not big enough i can magnify even more in mspaint.
both magnifications dont distort the sprite at all.
then when i get the right size.
i do it without a graph.
takes alot longer.
but i find it more relaxing almost.
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Oobgarm
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick01 wrote:
so apparently im crazy for the way i do mine.

i find the sprite i want, then use the magnifier found it windows xp.
max it out, then take a screen shot.
paste it into mspaint.
then if its not big enough i can magnify even more in mspaint.
both magnifications dont distort the sprite at all.
then when i get the right size.
i do it without a graph.
takes alot longer.
but i find it more relaxing almost.


Crazy? Nah, you do what's best for you. I'm kinda stuck, seeing that the computer I'm using is Windows 98 (!), so that's how I figured on making my sprite guides. It worked well enough that I just carried over the process to other computers as well.
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Zaghrenaut
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 5:19 pm    Post subject: Bead-Sprite How-To Reply with quote

Hey Dick01, that isn't a bad way to do it... a bit time consuming, but not bad... and you're right, it doesn't distort the pixels 9f it's large enough), but it does make it a jpeg, which can make things blurry if it's not a large file type. assuming that your resolution on your screen is 1024x786 or larger that makes for a decent screen capture... anyway, the problem I see with your method (which isn't really that bad) is that a pixel is now 40 pixels or more when you convert it to MSPaint. I stick to the gifs and pngs which usually stay to the 1 pixel equals 1 pixel thing... you can zoom in super far in Adobe Photoshop, or up to 8x in MSPaint... it keeps the pixels nice and square...
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linkjun



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When you flip the beads over after fusing the top, do you lay the iron directly on top of the back of the pegboard? Or do you need another piece of ironing paper?
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zeroclash



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

About the tweezers that perler gives you, I didn't get a pair of those but I use a pair of flat surgical tweezers to pull beads from the bag and to lay them down they work really well.

Also I use a program called Paint.net thats free and will put a grid up by pixel.
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pinkdramon
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

linkjun wrote:
When you flip the beads over after fusing the top, do you lay the iron directly on top of the back of the pegboard? Or do you need another piece of ironing paper?


You must use a piece of ironing paper between the beads and the iron, always.

Otherwise you wind up with Burn Victim Sprites.

Quote:
About the tweezers that perler gives you, I didn't get a pair of those but I use a pair of flat surgical tweezers to pull beads from the bag and to lay them down they work really well.


My makeup tweezers are too expensive & don't open wide enough to hold perler beads. I need to use the plastic ones.
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Gdn_kirby
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

is there a way to get a grid similar to his that he uses in photoshop on ifranview i think that would help me alot.
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AnimeFur
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 8:45 pm    Post subject: Animefur's Tutorial Reply with quote

My Tutorial. MS Paint. With pictures. NOTE:when dealing with Pixels in MSPAINT,
ALWAYS save as a PNG or BMP, or the picture will look corrupted.

Get a full sprite sheet if possible. If you played the game, you probably
remember the character a certain way, this is usually your best sprite choice,
but sometimes you want the others for themes/edits. To show this, I chose a
sheet with some of my early pixel art.

Open the sprite sheet in MS Paint.

Go to View on the top bar, choose Zoom. Size the graphics so that you can easily see the
differences in the sprites. (Note: Large Size is 400%)



When you find the Sprite you want use the Dotted Rectangle selection tool

(top of second/right row of tools) to select the sprite.

Note: Make the outline traced on top of the outermost pixels, this provides an accurate pixel count.
Shown here is the selection rectangle you draw, and the placement of the box when you release the mouse.


Then Go to file, New, and resize the box as small as possible(especially if using small sprites). Then Edit-Paste.
As you can see, you have just the sprite you wanted, at its Normal size.

As you have taken off all unnecessary rows of pixels, now is the time to get the size of your work.
To do this, go to Image, then Attributes. Note: an interlocking square base grid for beads is 29 x 29.


To make a "Grid", as I call them, Go back to View, Custom, then choose a larger size depending on the graphic.
It should be made to fit to 1 screen unless it is a massive sprite for ease of making the grid.
Go back to View again, and choose "Show grid". Then, hit Print Screen, then Create another new File, then paste the screengrab.
You will see a screen like this, notice the grid marks remain and the picture is much larger.

Trace around the sprite, and then Edit, Copy once more.

Create one more new file, paste and then save as "Spritenamegrid" or what have you.
Now you will have a clean, saved piece to share and work off of to make your own fusebead creation.


Last edited by AnimeFur on Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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AnimeFur
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pinkdramon wrote:
linkjun wrote:
When you flip the beads over after fusing the top, do you lay the iron directly on top of the back of the pegboard? Or do you need another piece of ironing paper?


You must use a piece of ironing paper between the beads and the iron, always.

Otherwise you wind up with Burn Victim Sprites.

I also suggest Parchment Paper for the job. Wax Paper is a evil thing, sticking to your work. Parchment also handles about 4 sides before it is less then perfect, and you can see the hole size of your work(in case you are going for a full squash with no holes, etc).

Quote:
About the tweezers that perler gives you, I didn't get a pair of those but I use a pair of flat surgical tweezers to pull beads from the bag and to lay them down they work really well.


My makeup tweezers are too expensive & don't open wide enough to hold perler beads. I need to use the plastic ones.


I also suggest Parchment Paper for the job. Wax Paper is a evil thing, sticking to your work. Parchment also handles about 4 sides before it is less then perfect, and you can see the hole size of your work(in case you are going for a full squash with no holes, etc).


I suggest a toothpick. its simple, you can easily move stuff one over (if I had a nickel) and you can "load"2-3 beads to move/extract at once.
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DoctorOctoroc
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 4:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I never even considered buying those "tweezees" (which probably stand for some combo of 'tweezer' and 'easy') but one of the ebay sellers sent one in an order cause they're cool like that.

Anyways, I find it extremely useful, except for the fact that they're not the easiest to keep a handle on and occasionally, they'll slip and fall onto your loosely beaded creation - you do the math - frustration!

Still, anything smaller than your fingers helps immensly, and the toothpick, yes, great for multiple beads. If you get one of those long club sandwhich toothpicks (not one FROM a club sandwhich, mayo an perler beads don't mix well) you can get close to a dozen beads at once.

I also find drafting or masking tape very usedful for larger sections of beads. You can even tear the tape down to size and stick it to groups of beads at once. I know sometimes I'm not sure what color I wanted to use and I just can't be satisfied until I see it as part of the whole piece, and often find I don't like the first color I tried, so I use the tape to remove all of that color.
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Tel B
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeh, I use toothpicks. never tweezers!
If I'm doing a lot of one particular color, i load up 4 or 5 toothpicks at a time with the same color beads. you can get about 10 beads on a toothpick.
Once you get the hang of using toothpicks, you will never use tweezers again- they're WAAAYYYY faster!
(they're also useful for picking out mistakes lol)

T
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stinlin
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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you have Paint Shop Pro, there's an awesome 1 x 1 pixel grid layover. Smile

EDIT: I don't really mind tweezers. Why the hate?
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Tel B
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not hate... I just find toothpicks a lot easier.. Hell, if you can do beads with tweezers, use tweezers.. If you can do beads with a shovel, use a shovel...

Laughing

T Smile
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dick01
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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2008 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tel B wrote:
It's not hate... I just find toothpicks a lot easier.. Hell, if you can do beads with tweezers, use tweezers.. If you can do beads with a shovel, use a shovel...

Laughing

T Smile



now im just waiting for a video of that happening.

shovel beads we can call em.
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stinlin
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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2008 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I lol'd at the thought of beading with a shovel. :-P
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NoHardFelines



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AnimeFur, that MSPaint technique is AWESOME. I just tried it out using an earthworm jim sprite and i'll be doing it this way from here on out. Thanks!
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crazyotto



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:40 pm    Post subject: Help me, Oobi-Garm! You're my only hope. Reply with quote

I usually use MS Paint but I also use GIMP for some editing so I thought I could use your grid technique with GIMP. I copied your grid and pasted it onto my image but the grid is magnified when I paste it. I can't figure out how to paste the grid in its original size or to shrink it once I paste it. I tried to resize the grid layer but it did not shrink it, just mess it up. Any ideas? Are you familiar with GIMP?
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Oobgarm
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 10:29 am    Post subject: Re: Help me, Oobi-Garm! You're my only hope. Reply with quote

crazyotto wrote:
I usually use MS Paint but I also use GIMP for some editing so I thought I could use your grid technique with GIMP. I copied your grid and pasted it onto my image but the grid is magnified when I paste it. I can't figure out how to paste the grid in its original size or to shrink it once I paste it. I tried to resize the grid layer but it did not shrink it, just mess it up. Any ideas? Are you familiar with GIMP?


You shouldn't have to shrink the grid. If you do, you'll lose the 1:1 sprite ratio I've set it up for.

I've used GIMP a few times, and it's kinda close to how Photoshop works.

Just make sure you enlarge the sprite by 800% before you paste the grid. If GIMP is pasting the grid bigger than it should, I don't know what the problem could be.
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