How to make pixel art

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Introduction[edit | edit source | hide | hide all]

This page is intended as a reference point for people starting out making art, but will also have links to guides explaining how to do specific things and sections on tips and tricks so even if you've been making art for a while you might find something interesting here. There will be plenty of links to other guides and tutorials so that this page helps to organise the available information so it's easier for people to figure out what help is available.

Guides[edit | edit source | hide]

Getting started[edit | edit source | hide]

Helpful Programs - A list of programs useful to modding, including those for making art

Helpful Websites - Specifically make sure you check out the Sundrop Art Guide which is a guide written by the Sundrop team to help artists mimick CA's artstyle and one of the most useful general guides currently in existence.

Creating Pixel Art - A Pixeljoint forum thread with great tips for beginners; in particular, check out the Things to Avoid section, as it has illustrations of many common pixel art errors.

How to Start Making Pixel Art - An 8-part series of pixel art tips and tutorials by Pedro Medeiro, one of the artists for Celeste.

Tutorials[edit | edit source | hide]

Generally speaking all these tutorials can be found on the Category:Tutorials page, but there are some listed here as well just in case you didn't scroll down when you were on the homepage. More general tutorials on pixel art, and not just stardew pixel art, can be found all over the internet but DeviantArt is one good place to look.

Tutorial: Recoloring Sprites

Tutorial: Making a New Crop:

Art Tutorial: Creating a Sweater Texture

Tutorial: Recoloring Sprites

Tips and tricks[edit | edit source | hide]

This is basically a list of tips which come up in conversation and people say "why don't you add that to the wiki". This section will just generally be allowed to grow organically until enough information is added to warrant separate tutorials.

Creating shadows[edit | edit source | hide]

Shadows vary in opacity and colour by object type. 40% opacity in black is usually standard for Furniture, with about one pixel width left and two pixel width down. but some other objects will have different colours. For animals apparently it's 42% or something awkward like that. To figure it out sometimes I copy paste a piece of shadow over itself until it reaches 100% and then I crop a section and line it flush against an OG shadow and type in variations until the boundary is seamless. This technique also works for other things like recreating aquarium glass as well.

Light source[edit | edit source | hide]

For portraits, SDV uses a top-right & slightly forward light source - for example, a character's right shoulder, right cheek, and the top-right side of their hair will be more brightly lit than their equivalent on the left, which will be more in shadow. Check the vanilla art for reference.

Colour limits[edit | edit source | hide]

SDV uses a limited colour palette for sprites and portraits (discussed in more detail in the Sundrop art guide). Character sprites normally use 3-4 shades of each colour for clothing and skin and 4-5 shades for hair, portraits for minor characters use 4-5 shades for clothing, skin & hair and 3-4 shades for eyes & accessories, and portraits for major characters use 5-6 shades for clothing, skin & hair.

Hue shifting[edit | edit source | hide]

In order to give colours more depth and contrast, you can use a technique called hue shifting (discussed in more detail in the Recoloring Sprites tutorial). When creating shadow and highlight colours for your palette, make sure to change the hue as well as the lightness value to avoid colours looking washed out or muddy. A good rule of thumb is to shift shadows to a cooler hue and highlights to a warmer hue - for example, if your base colour is green, shift your shadows to teal or blue and your highlights to yellow.