This is a step-by-step tutorial on how to create a Pokemon sprite that can be submitted to PMU. People who want to make 5th (or 6th) gen sprites, as well as those who want to fill in missing frames of existing sprites, will want to read this to ensure that when they submit their files, the staff will approve of them.
First, it’s important to understand how a Pokemon sprite file is organized, and what the process is for creating and testing a sprite.
In order to get a good understanding of how things are done, you should follow along by downloading the zip file below.
When unzipping the folder, you will find 2 subfolders:
The first is contains a folder of Charmander’s sprite animations, and the second is a special tool that the staff use to check on their sprites before they’re added to PMU.
Every frame of every animation that a single Pokemon sprite has is kept inside a single folder, and each frame is labelled accordingly. As shown, the names for each of the files fit the pattern of “(Animation)-(Direction)-(Frame Number).png” You will also notice that sprites are aligned to the bottom-center of every frame, and that every frame is the same size. Submitted sprites need to have all of these qualities.
While PMU only has 4-directional movement right now, the sprites in the game actually support all 8 directions from PMD! There are also a number of animations that don’t show in PMU (yet), but are still valid as animations. A sprite will definitely have the following animations:
The other animations are optional:
This is due to the fact that some Pokemon in the actual PMD games have specific animations for certain attacks or special attacks [spriter’s resource link], while others[spriter’s resource link] only have one attack animation for both attack and special attack.
For certain Pokemon in PMD, there are special animations (for example, the starters making a pose[spriter’s resource link]). These can be ignored, and won’t be included in PMU.
Now, the PMU staff also use a special tool to test and make sure that their sprites will look good when used in the client. This is called the PMU Sprite Viewer Tool.
If you want to sprite, you should always test your animations with this tool before you submit!
To start using the sprite viewer, click on the executable in its folder.
When the window opens up, there’s really only two options of either changing the sprite directory, or loading the sprite from the directory.
Replace the starting path with location of the charmander folder.
When you click on the load button, the sprite viewer will scan all of the frames in that folder, and tell you which ones it found. This is important for checking to see if you mis-named or forgot any files, as it will turn up abnormal messages.
Afterwards, you can select an animation to view and the direction you want it to animate in, as well as changing the speed to look for frame-by-frame issues.
A tip: The most common mistakes are those in which the sprites are misaligned in an animation, or they have white backgrounds or loose pixels floating around.
To summarize, in order to make a good Pokemon sprite, it must:
-Use ALL of the animation frames found in the original PMD games, except for the special animations.
-Have animations that look exactly like they do in PMD.
-Be aligned to the bottom-center of the frame.
-Be named correctly according to the frame name pattern. Capitalization counts!
…And all of this can be tested using the sprite viewer.
If you have any questions, ask below.