Automating pixel art



Using filters to turn full-colour illustrations into pixel art usually results in a sloppy final product.

But… it’s much less time intensive than drawing each sprite by hand. I’ve iterated on my automated Photoshop action many times, and it really fits the style I’m going for. In lieu of a budget and artists, it’s a good fallback.

I appreciate how the low fidelity of pixel art allows your imagination to fill in the details. Of course, my opinion is overwhelmingly coloured by nostalgia.

Image from RPG Maker MV. A low-resolution version is used for the purposes of education and commentary.

Iterating on the enemy design

Iteration 1


Iteration 2


Notably, the palette has been restricted to match the rest of the game. True black no longer exists.

Shadows have been removed, since they’re difficult to do manage consistently, especially if characters will be floating/jumping.

Iteration 3



Between iterations, the average sprite size became a little larger, then scaled back down again. I’m trying to keep them all relatively the same size. Larger = psychologically more threatening, so I’m saving larger sprites for boss monsters.