Impressions of GraphicsGale

Because I’ve, of late, been dealing with sprites more than ever, I’ve begun seeking a better way to sprite. Photoshop, as obvious from its name, really is more focused on photo editing rather than image creation, and GIMP follows suit with that. Manga Studio, of which I’m a fan, is not really in a bitmap format, making it less than ideal for pixel art. After some further research, though, I have found a cool, free program, GraphicsGale.

As mentioned yesterday, I have sneaking suspicion that some of the functions of GraphicsGale probably are more intuitive for people who are used to using Japanese computers – not that I’ve ever used one, so I could be way off. But the functions make a lot of sense… they’re just not what I’m used to expecting from computer applications.

Left-click functions normally. It’s the A-button of the PC world. It’s used to select and utilize the selection’s primary functions. But rather than right-click operate like B-button, with its own functions (normally, a drop-menu), right-click in GraphicsGale serves as a secondary function to whatever tool you’ve selected. For example, you left-click to select the Selection Lasso, you lasso the part of the image you need to operate on, it’s selected and all is good… but rather than right-click to select separate functions like “Transform” or “Rotate,” you’d right-click to operate the Selection’s Lasso’s secondary function — deselect.

All of the tools work like that. Select the pen tool by left-clicking, operate its primary function (to fill pixels) by left-click… operate its secondary function (to select the fill color) by right-clicking. In some ways, this is more convenient, and I can image that if I were using a stylus with a left-and-right click function right on it, it’d be even more convenient (instead, I have to use my left hand to click the various buttons on my laptop). In other ways, and probably because I’m so used to the normal functions of a western PC, it’s less. Instead of the nifty drop-menu, I now have to navigate to the various functions on the tool bar.

Some of the tools work more conveniently. The Square Selector is great, displaying guidelines to show the edges of your selection. There’s even a magnified viewer on the left-hand side that offers somewhat of a pixel-view.

screen shot1

Other tools, such as Rotate (really, that’s the only one I can think of) operate with less ease.

screen shot2

My issue with Photoshop and GIMP, however, is resolved. While rotating/stretching/skewing images or selections isn’t perfect, it’s much closer. The colors don’t break-up and blur, and a clear outline of, say, my battler’s arm is still present.

GraphicsGale rendering after rotation:

screen shot3

Photoshop rendering of rotated arm:

screen shot4

One issue I had with GIMP is, however, present here too: layers seem to work more like sequential separate images rather than components of one image as in Photoshop and Manga Studio. This may be due to GraphicGale’s purpose of creating sprites and pixel art, rather than editing.

Overall I like this program for spriting, though I would never give up my beloved Manga Studio for portrait creation, nor does it replace other facets of Photoshop’s abilities, especially in the area of image editing. Although, like GIMP, adjustment is necessary on my part, the differences don’t feel like mere superficial distinguishing points; if a tool functions differently, it doesn’t feel as though it functions differently from Photoshop just to be different than Photoshop, but because the difference actually serves a purpose. It’s more of a balanced switch-out than a contrived annoyance.

Is anyone else working on Sprites? What kind of creation application have you tried?

One thought on “Impressions of GraphicsGale

  1. Pingback: A Summary of Game Progress – Characters and Portraits | The Creation of a War

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