“I’m done. I’m done trying so hard only for you to never even look in my direction.”
“I can’t fall in love with you. I don’t want all the pain that comes with it.”
“My roommate had to go into my room and throw the sheets away because I haven’t been able to sleep in that bed since you left.”
“I keep asking myself “why isn’t the sun bright anymore” but then I remember you’re not in my life anymore and realize it’s just my own eyes.”
“I regret it all. I really do, I swear. Please, please– let’s fix this, please.”
“Remember when you promised we’d always be together? Because I remember when I thought you meant it.”
“I can’t move on from something that wasn’t supposed to end!”
“The phone calls aren’t the same… I can hear in your voice that it’s not the same anymore.”
“I’m trying to avoid talking because I know what it’ll lead to, and I don’t want that to come.”
“Don’t you think you can fall back in love with me?”
“This whole time I’ve been using you to make me feel better, and you never caught on. You never caught on. I want you to hate me now, but I don’t think you’re even able to.”
“Kissing me breaks the promise… remember?”
“Every time we fix things something else ends up breaking.”
“Why don’t we stop pretending we’re not on a road to destruction?”
“It wasn’t even fun at first, honestly. It was just like… Morphine.”
“You’re just not enough anymore.”
“It’s been too long since you’ve really smiled.”
“Ah, it was all my fault. Wasn’t it?”
“To think, we thought just the sex would be enough to keep us in love.”
“Back then, I lied when I told you I didn’t love you. You needed to move on from me– I needed to protect you from me.”
“You never had that shine in your eyes when you were with me.”
“Quit trying to fix me when you need to just fix yourself.”
“I’m so tired of everything about us, and about how we thought we were in love, and how we think forcing it can make us be in love– I’m so tired of it.”
“This whole time you’ve still been in love with him/her… Not me.”
“I couldn’t make you fall in love with me. I thought I could do it, I really did, but… But I know you… And this isn’t love.”
“Did you really think I needed that kiss back then when all that you conveyed in it was pity?”
“To think I’ve changed so much to get you to like me, and you still never really look my way.”
“I know I deserve better than you. I realize that, but you were so broken… I didn’t want to be the one that made you shatter.”
“All of this was to protect myself.”
“I feel like I’ve been looking for who you used to be… Back when you were actually happy.”
“I never want to even hear your name during my life anymore.”
“Your lips used to be sanctuary, but now I just feel trapped.”
“Isn’t it time we both stopped pretending we make each other happy?”
“The thing I regret the most is giving you so much hope by agreeing to this date.”
“We have the kind of history anyone would never want to think about again, and you’re hear asking me on a date?”
“What makes you think I’ll be any different this time?”
“I’ll let you down. I will always let you down. I’m not enough for you to be satisfied.”
“Are you satisfied with the mess you’ve created out of me?”
“I should have listened to everyone who told me this was a bad idea.”
“I’ve never met someone who can so gently destroy me the way you do.”
“I can’t forget about him/her! It’s not in my power to forget how he/she felt when they loved me.”
“The saddest thing is that when I told him/her I loved him/her, he/she thought I was lying. He/she never believed someone could fall in love with him/her.”
“Listen… You’re his/her best friend… and I completely fucked up– it’s over between us, but… please, punch me, or punish me, or do something to me because he/she just… cried. He/she wasn’t even angry, they were just so sad– Please, be angry at me, please. Give me what I deserve.”
“It would have been better if we never met.”
“You’re my regret.”
“I’m not angry at you, just at myself… Because I knew this would happen, but I let myself fall in love with you anyways.”
“Don’t tell me to give up like everything is meaningless.”
“This is why I don’t let myself fall in love.”
“Somewhere deep inside me, I still have hope that you’ll fall in love. How pathetic.”
In this tutorial, I will explain you how to use a couple techniques I used to improve Planet Centauri’s sprites before implementing them into the game (or before animating them). Some of the rules shown here are very easy to use, and/or are purely methodical; so even if you aren’t very skilled, follow those simple guidelines to make your sprites cleaner.
A lot of basic mistakes will ruin the quality of your art. Thankfully, they’re also generally quite easy to fix with some experience, and by paying attention.
Too many colors
Pixel art is all about constraints. When two colors are very close, merge them into an intermediate one, so you see if it improves the result. Using a small palette will help you improving your skills much more easily, and will make creating sprites also easier. It also will make it easier to identify unwanted artifacts (i.e. misplaced pixels).
If you are constructing a palette with gradients, avoid at any cost independent gradients (i.e. only dimmed/lighted base colors). Use gradients that depends on each other.
You can also try to use yellow-ish or cyan-ish saturated light colors, and blue-ish and purple-ish desaturated dark colors. However, avoid using an over-saturated or an under-saturated palette. This usually ends up bad and breaks contrasts. You should also use gradients with outspread tints to avoid washy color contrasts.
Remember never to use more colors than necessary, and use gradients with contrasted brightness. Feel free to try using other generic palettes on your sprite to compare it with your palette so you can improve it.
Avoid as much as you can excessive contrasts between neighboring pixels. For example, a black line over a white background usually won’t look natural. A line that fits the background color well gives a realistic volume effect.
This is as true for outlines, which has to fit with both the inner color and the umbrage of the surface.
NB: Obviously, this doesn’t work with any graphic style.
Pillow shading is a nasty effect that occurs when the light source comes from the front.
Avoid pillow shading, unless you really know what you’re doing.
Lines and curves
Perfect line: A line that has a constant vertical and horizontal step.
Perfect curve: A curve made of perfect lines which step always depends on the other parts of the curve.
Dirty line: A line that has at least one sub-segment with more than one adjacent pixel on one end.
As you may have noticed on the pictures above, dirty lines should be avoided. You should use as much perfect lines and curves as possible.
A cluster is a group, a pack of connected pixels with the same color. Cluster shapes will greatly affect the final image. Bony and crude clusters will give a sketchy aspect. Round and straight lines are preferred so you get a precise, smooth and nice image.
Avoid lonely pixels. If one pixel is inside of a different color cluster without any adjacent pixel with the same color, remove it.
Dithering et texturing
Contrary to popular belief, dithering isn’t as great as it seems. A lot of dithering between heavily contrasted colors will often give a dirty and noisy image. It is also a very bad idea to use dithering when animating a sprite, because keeping coherent dithering will be awfully hard.
If you art style lets you do it, use texturing instead (the difference is that texturing does not induce color limitations). But don’t forget, texturing means harder animation and worse clarity. Again, it’s a matter of style. If you want a cartoon-ish look, do not use dithering nor texturing.
Antialiasing a technique that reduces the staircase effect (aliasing) which is clearly visible on two lines between two contrasted surfaces.
There are two use-cases for internal AA : Simply separating two surfaces, and using lines or curves cutting through two different surfaces.
In the first case, you may just need to insert an intermediate color where aliasing is visible to reduce it (generally, when the curve abruptly changes).
In the second case, you may just need to add a small intermediate color cluster between every horizontal or vertical sub-segment. Its size directly depends on the sub-segment size.
External AA suffers from an important restriction, unlike internal AA: The background color in a game will constantly change, so you need to have an effect that looks good on both dark and light backgrounds.
This rule is quite easy: You only apply the effect inside of the sprite. The end of an outline that neighbors with the background should never be modified.
In this image, the internal AA effect applied on the outer part of the sprite unveils some nasty artifacts, while external AA, even if it isn’t as efficient, gives a great effect on any background type.
“It’s nice to know that you can trust possums, small creatures with tiny hands, fit for picking up nice and shiny rocks from the ground and keeping them in their tiny house. Like, their small and warm, never hurting anyone- I’d feel safe if one cradled me in its arms.” Lance says as he looks toward his mami, as they’re sitting on a cloud in the middle of the ocean, looking up at the starry sky, that’s filled with- pepe? And normal, yellow, round stars. Wait- that’s not normal, but whatever.
Lance sits quietly with his mami as he sees small shadows of unidentifiable shapes by the horizon. “Mami, What do you think of possums?” He brings up, his mami looking at him and saying, “Hijo, I know you’re scared. Scared, empty, and sad.” Lance looks at his mami, questionmarks start popping up over his head- literally. “Que mami? What are you trying to say?” His mami smiles lightly and hugs him tightly. “You can’t hide anything from me.”
His mami starts singing in a familiar and calming tune, she used to sing this song to him everytime he’d have a nightmare, or couldn’t sleep. he looks up, and suddenly the sky changes its form, and the stars look different, it almost looks like the painting; Starry sky, a masterpiece created from an amazing artist, only to die young and in pain. Lance feels the warm embrace of his mami, and he closes his eyes, only to look up at the sky again. “Wow.”
The stars shine so brightly, like small twinkles in your eyes, it’s calming to know when your mami is with you.
“It’s time to say goodnight the the moon.”
She sings in a calm voice, so soft it can make even the waves fall asleep.
“It’s time to say bye-bye to the stars.”
She gives the warmest hugs, so calming and comfortable and makes you forget about everything bad.
“It’s time to say goodnight, and then dream away.”
I miss those hugs.
Lance wakes up with a chill running from the bottom of his back, traveling throughout his spine, having a dream of his mami doesn’t really make him feel good.
“Aargh, I really need a full eight hours of sleep for once.” Lance complains trying to ignore his homesickness, and having to go eat breakfast, he really just wants to lie in bed and do nothing. “Whatever.” He says before putting on his slippers and walking out of his room, towards the kitchen.
When he arrives at the kitchen he comes across Keith, Pidge- who’s having some sort of argument- and Hunk, who’s standing in the kitchen making some sort of breakfast-goo, whilst listening to Keith’s and Pidge’s argument.
“No, no, Pidge you don’t understand, MCR needs to come back together!” Pidge snorts at Keith’s comment, even making Hunk and Lance laugh. “Guys, please listen, they’re important!”
“Oh, and for what?” Pidge fires back with a mischievous smile on her face. “I- I don’t know! but they are good.” That comment only leads to Hunk, Pidge and Lance to whisper the same thing under their breaths in sync; “No one understands me, mom.” with Keith only shouting in anger and running up to Lance, trying to start another argument.
”So how was your beauty sleep, blue paladin?” Keith asks, and Lance responds with “W-well, better without you.” only to make it sound as if Keith has slept with lance in the same bed. “Well, whatever mullet-head. I’m hungry.” Lance says blushing before going to sit down on the table, waiting for breakfast to be ready, ignoring that conversation.
After a little while of chatting and waiting for breakfast to get ready, Shiro and Slav enters the room. “Good morning!” Shiro greets. “Morning!” Lance says smiling, with Shiro looking at Lance and smiling back. “So, Shiro, what do you think about MCR?” Pidge asks before anyone could do anything else. “MCR? Theyy uhh, they’re not a band anymore right??” Shiro responds confused. “Oh goooooo odd dd, lets us not bring that back up, please?” Keith asks with an annoyed tone. “Oh, don’t worry about it, I was just teasing you!” Pidge says whilst grinning. “Breakfast is ready!” Hunk shouts, when he soon comes with a bowl of green goo and puts it on the table. “Yaaas! Thanks, Hunk!” Lance shouts, and as he’s taking a spoonful of goo, the alarm sets off.
“Goddammit!” Lance says, as he drops the spoon and runs to get his suit.
“So, what happened now again?” Lance asks whilst sitting in his lion, Pidge, annoyed answers with; “Ugh, didn’t you listen?”, “Sorry..” Lance replies. “ouch.” Lance thinks, Pidge didn’t know was that that comment actually really hurt Lance, he’s not really good with insults. “Guys don’t fight, and Lance, pay attention now. Some village in some planet claimed that they saw a galra ship, so we’re gonna check it out.”, Lance nods, not really responding, he just feels kinda bummed out, it happens sometimes.
When they land, they’re on a watery planet, with small islands with, what it seems like, palm trees, and some type of pink trees- like cherry trees, there’s Krystal’s everywhere, and the sky is blue in some parts, pastel pink on either parts, with white clouds, Lance looks around curiously, this planet almost reminds him of home.
“GUys I’m gonNa get something I forgot in Blue,” Lance says, his voice cracking up at that sentence, and then just, walking off.
“Is he sad?” Pidge asks, looking at her teammates. “I… don’t think so? If he was sad he’d be really quiet?” Hunk says, kinda confused, with Pidge answering with “So, he’s basically never sad lol.” The others laugh, because, they think that it was true, although they don’t really mean to hurt lance with what Pidge said.
Lance sits crouched beside Blue and takes a few breaths, well, at least he tries. “Lance stop, don’t cry, please!” Lance whimpers to himself, then he can start hearing comforting purrs from blue, almost sounding like breaths, getting louder, then lower. “Follow my breath, little kitten.” Lance does as blue says and tries to follow those breaths with his own. “Thanks, Blue.” Lance says as he calms down, taking in some air and drying his eyes, hoping the others won’t notice that he cried. “Of course hey won’t.” “Shut up.”.
Lance walks back to the others, they didn’t wait. “Of course they didn’t.”, well, at least he can see them in the distance, walking towards a small wooden bridge built across the water.
It’s a good thing that they easily could find the village, the planet was quite small and there was really just three separate villages and one which had the “leader” for the villages.
The villages looks nicer than they expected, with small wooden houses built here and there, with pretty small paths made of some sort of white crystal, leading through different parts of the villages, and the place where the leader lived was just the same as the other houses, just a little inch bigger, and there were some pretty purple and black crystals growing in some parts of the walls. “Oh my god is the leader as emo as keef!?” Lance says jokingly, pointing at the crystals. “Lance, please, no more.” Keith begs, and Lance just laughs as Shiro walks up to the door and is about to knock when- the leader opens the door. “Hello, paladins! Welcome to my humble palace!”, being sarcastic at that comment. “How did you-” Shiro tries to ask before the leader abruptly responds with, “Aah, just a hunch!”.
The leader is quite tall and wrinkly, he’s green with blue spots all over his face, leading to his back, his legs are that of a frogs, but the rest of his body is almost like a humans, just that his skin is green, he has gills on his neck instead of having a nose on his face- he’s noseless, and he’s wearing some type of suit (More like bathing shorts and a crop top). He is quite muscular, but considering of the stick he uses to stand he’s probably quite old(ish), maybe as the age of Coran if he hadn’t been frozen so many years.
“Ah yes, come on give me a hug! Everybody now!” The leader says. “Oh no.” Lance thinks, as he’s not really comfortable hugging a guy he’s just met, as everyone gladly walks in for a warm hug by frog-grandpa except- “Except you, blue paladin, you don’t have to.” he says with, quite a comforting smile whilst looking at lance, as he lets go of the others. Lance, quite relieved, but confused asks “Why?” The leader looks at him and says “Say, have you been a victim of rape?” Lance steps back. “How did he know?” he looks at him dead in the eye, with sweat already running down from his forehead and tensed up says “No, why do you ask.” and the leader replies with “Just a hunch.”, shrugs and keeps walking whilst the others just kept staring in confusion. “W.. what.” Keith suddenly says, with everybody else just looking at him and agreeing, even Lance, because he doesn’t want them to know, something that’s supposed to be secret, he doesn’t want anyone to know.
The paladins keep on going with their mission, and it turns out that a Galran escape pod was launched from a Galran ship somewhere in space. Inside of the escape pod, there were some galran children that were forced to work with the captain, turns out they didn’t like the idea of them helping to destroy planets, so they escaped.
“What? Galran children!? We should keep them captive, they may be dangerous considering where they came from!” Allura hesitantly says as Keith looks down to the ground, and before he can protest, Lance tells Allura off. “Hey, princess, their kids, and, uh, I don’t know if you heard, but they didn’t want to destroy planets?? Rather just escape?? from CHILD LABOUR, perhaps?? Oh and didn’t I say they are just children?? Plus, not every Galra is bad.” He says, kind of irritated, looking at Keith, giving off a comforting smile, as Keith smiles back, it turns out it worked. “Oh, yes, my pardon Lance, they’re just children. But what are we going to do with them, maybe there is some type of childcare center somewhere, but would they then be comfortable taking care of Galran children?” Allura responds, ignoring the Not every Galra is bad phrase. “Maybe I can take care of them!” The leader says, smiling as he brought up the idea.
“Yeah, sounds good!” Shiro says, and before the galran children walk up to the leader they ask “But, what are we gonna do with the baby?” They say pointing at the ship.
The Paladins climb into the ship, only to see a small creature that is purple, looking almost galra, but it has horns and some type of antennas that you see on butterflies, it also has galra ears. Its eyes are yellow, but has pupils that looked more like if it would be from a lizard, and its skin is scaly on some parts, especially on its face, where its chin leading down to its neck is blue-purple scaly skin and with purple coloured fur on other parts. It is wearing ragged black clothes, well, more like cloth, and the little creature, who is quivering in the tiniest corner of the escape pod, what it looked like, it was probably about 7-8 years old, and, it wasn’t galra, well, maybe half galra. The team climbs out of the escape pod, only to ask the children where the creature came from. “W- we took it before we left, it was in the prison and its mother had been tortured to death, we don’t know if it’s a he or a she, and we couldn’t just leave it, so we took it with us but we, don’t know how to take off, like, smaller children.” One of the Galran children said. “But, can’t you take care of him??” Keith asks as he looks at the leader. “Nope.” The leader answers. “Why?” Hunk asks, with the leader responding with, “Just a hunch.”
As the other paladins start to argue about what they should do with the child Lance gets tired of their complaining, and shouts, “ENOUGH! I’ll take care of him! Jesus christ, climb in there and look at him! He’s scared to death as you guys are shouting!”
Lance climbs into the ship and tries to talk with the creature. Crouching, he looks at the boy with a small smile on his face, just to try and calm him. “Hey, little fella! You understand me?” He asks quietly, moving slowly toward it. The creature nods, hugging his legs to his chest and breathing heavily, looking down to the ground. “Hey, it’s ok, I’m gonna take care of you! J-just relax.” The child looks up at Lance, looking as if there is something lost in the child’s heart, a face with no emotions, and eyes without a spark. “My mami is dead.” it says, And it hits Lance, the way it said Mami, what he calls his mother, the word that hits too close to home, and Lance, with a broken face whimpers and says, “I’m sorry hijo.” And hugs the creature, that resists at first, but then hugs back.