Creating Unit Art
Here's the information needed to start doing units art for Wesnoth. Please update the wiki with links to examples and other tips and tricks realted to unit art. This page started from this forum thread.
Basic unit image specifications
- Final format: transparent PNG, 72 x 72 pixels
- 8 bits per RGB channel. may be listed as "PNG-24" or "8-bit RGBA".
- "Indexed color" or "color map" is different. These will work, but are not recommended.
- the units should be contained in the hex (the white in the attached template)
- Normal Units (humans and elves) are about 40px tall
- Small Units (dwarves and goblins) are a bit over 30px tall
- Tall Units (drakes and great trolls) are a bit under 50px tall
- note: standard unit heights are in flux
- Light comes from a specific direction (for shadings and highlights)
- Unit must look in the lower right direction
- Units are centered horizontally
- Unit's feet are positioned around 55 pixel from the top, lower for taller units
- Shadows at 60 opacity, black color (with blurred and soft borders, see Creating_Shadows_Under_Units).
- Outlines should be used, made with a darker, but similar colour to what they're surrounding, this makes the unit feel bigger then the amount of pixels you'd use for the same with a black outline. (Black outlines not welcome anymore)
- Use consistent names for your files, beginning with the unit name, so that they are kept together when browsing the files.
Unit animation specifications
- You can have as many frames for animations as you like. It depends on what you want to get accross
- Images and animations must be done for:
- normal image (1 frame)
- attack for each type (at least one frame - 2 is good - 4 better)
- directional attacks (spear and ranged)
- death frame
- magical attacks should have 'special effects'
You can also have multiple defense animations (like the thief.) Defense can be split into ranged and melee animations.
It is important that the unit moves its feet when doing a melee attack. During the attack the unit will move from its own hex to the hex it is attacking. If you don't have feet movement in your animation, the unit will be "sliding" toward it's target, which looks bad.
Additional Notes and examples
- Test early with different backgrounds. Go to your game terrain files, pick, say, 3 terrains, preferably with different colours, and have a look what they look like against the background, because that way if you have used alpha channels, it may look better in game than as the average standard sprite.
- Test your unit early in the game. Replacing an existing unit graphic with yours is the fastest way (be sure to make a copy of the originals so you don't lose them.)
- If you are animating a horse, you should base it on this example of an horse animation
- The thief is a very good example of what can be done. It has basically all possible animations. It doesn't use the multidirectional ranged images, though, since it's not a ranged unit.