CAP 6 Pre-Evo - Part 7 - Sprite Submissions

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Sprite submissions are now open for Cawmodore's prevo!

Sprite Rules
  • Sprites should be inspired by the winning design from the Art Poll. It does not need to be an exact rendition of every detail of the design; "artistic license" is granted to all spriters. However, drastic deviation from the selected art design is discouraged.
  • All sprites (front and back) can have a maximum size of 96x96.
  • All sprites (front and back) must have a complete, unbroken, distinguishable outline. It does not need to be a black outline, but it must be clearly distinguishable from the adjacent interior colors of the sprite
  • No action effects, move effects, environment effects or additional objects can be rendered on or around the pokemon.
  • Sprites must be in PNG format.
  • Use 8-bit truecolor (aka 8-bit RGB) or less. This does NOT mean 256 color mode.
  • Use transparent backgrounds.
  • All sprites must be scratch sprites that are completely original works by the spriter. Fusions of other sprites or pixel-overs of other artist's lineart are not allowed.
  • Do not alter, fuse, recolor or otherwise modify another spriter's submission unless the original artist explicitly gives permission.
  • All sprites (front and back) must use roughly the same size and pose when compared to each other.

Final Submission Post

All spriters must make a final submission post conforming to the sprite rules (listed above) and the following:
  • The post must have "Final Submission" (in bold) as the first line, with the sprites at the top, and any additional description or comments (if applicable) below them.
  • Final submissions must contain a minimum of 4 sprites - Front Normal, Front Shiny, Back Normal, Back Shiny. If spriters choose to include gender differences (Male and Female versions of each) then 8 sprites must be submitted. Gender differences are NOT required.
  • Only submit ONE PNG that contains all the submitted sprites. Please do not submit separate images for every sprite. One "cutsheet" makes it easier for mods to track submissions and ensure each complete set of sprites stay intact.
  • Only make one (1) final submission post.

All legal final submissions will be included in the sprite poll.

Advice for Spriters

There are 8 possible sprites:
  • Front Normal Male
  • Front Normal Female
  • Front Shiny Male
  • Front Shiny Female
  • Back Normal Male
  • Back Normal Female
  • Back Shiny Male
  • Back Shiny Female
In most cases, spriters post a Front Normal sprite first. Once feedback comes in and the poll nears, they make the other sprites. You do not have to make different Male and Female sprites. Typically there are only minute differences between male and female sprites, but some spriters make noticeable changes between genders, which is also fine. Shiny coloring is completely up to the spriter to choose, even if the design artist posted suggested shiny coloring with their art design submission. Please look at your transparent sprites against different colored backgrounds, not just white. In Pokémon Showdown, the sprite will be displayed on multiple background colors in battle.

Please don't post sprite animations in this thread. If you'd like to animate the winning sprite, please contact the CAP moderation team.

CAP 6 Pre-Evo so far:

Main Design:

An earlier iteration and back view by the design artist (Mos-Quitoxe) can be found here. Spriters are NOT obligated to use any design elements of artwork not represented in the Main Design. The only official reference artwork for this project is the Main Design and all other artwork is provided to be referenced at spriters' discretion.

Type: Steel/Flying
Abilities: Keen Eye / Volt Absorb / Big Pecks
Stats: 35 HP / 72 Atk / 85 Def / 40 SpA / 55 SpD / 88 Spe (375 BST)
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First draft. The angle of the anchor tail feathers were more drawn from the first sketch rather than the final drawing, although I could try to move them up if people want that.

What does the back of your anchorbird look like, Mos? o3o I based it off of your back sketch, but now that details have changed with that, I changed some of those details on the sprite's back.
I've updated the WIP to reflect how the mon looks now, so you can reference that if you like.

As for YOUR work in progress, I think it would be good if you made the head a little bit taller and/or moved the closest eye a little bit down. Right now he looks kinda lumpy.

All righty, so I've edited the head's shape, collar position, and tail feathers, and I made the back more accurate to Mos's drawing. :) (Although I noticed that the tail feathers are inaccurate. Whoops!)

  • Alakabooom: Aw, I love your sprite. C: It's an adorable little baby that's got an eager personality and nice lines. I like how you made the eyes, in particular! They're brighter than mine, which fits the happy-go-lucky anchorbird. Other nice things are the sprite's colors and balance (in comparison to mine). The claws on it look much more evident than mine. A minor thing I'd ask you to edit is the yellow markings on the body. The shading on them imply the yellow parts to have volume and are on top of the dark blue body rather than are solely color differences. The shading near the legs gives that impression of a thick diaper (like in Mos's sketch), and the bright color that quickly turns dark by the neck make the chest abruptly stick out before it heads to the neck. Another minor thing I'd like to point out are the difference in curves on the left and right arms. The left arm looks pretty rigid and straight compared to the bend of the right arm, which gives the sprite a tiny bit of lopsidedness. There's also a black pixel chunk on the underside of the head I just noticed, if you want to edit that. I can't wait to see the back!
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I mean this with zero disrespect to Mos at all (indeed, I LOVE this anchor bird design), but plain and simple I think Quanyails' backsprite looks much better without the metallic design elements on the back and head. It's a little much, imo. And since it's not in the main design, it doesn't have to be used if you don't like it.

(PS: again, please don't hate me for this, Mos. I really do like the main design a ton. <3 )
The head shape fix helps his head a ton with balance issues, Quanyails. I'd agree with srk that the anchor design on the back doesn't quite fit, it might be better if it were a thinner circle, maybe try that and then do a comparison without it.

Alakaboom, great job spriting, you must have a knack for it! The pose is excellent

Thanks for all the feedback guys! I've made some changes and started the back. I'm still not satisfied with the front tail feathers, though… too much yellowness. We'll see.
Quanyails: You were really helpful Quanyails! Your design represents Mos's drawing very well. All I have to say is that the upper chest of the sprite looks a bit flat… Maybe you could add a highlight or more shadows? Also, I'm not quite sure how Mos intended it, but a gentler outline between the vertical chest line and the rest of the body might make the metallic part seem more attached. Empoleon's sprite is a good example of how to integrate metal and skin.
Phew, after 2 or 3 years I'm back at smogon.

Starting off with a sprite ;D

(not transparent yet, I'll do that when I'm finished)

Edit: I did the tails over, but I think the legs are still awkward. Anyone has an opinion on this?
Edit 2: Made the blue colour darker, and redid the arms and legs. Also a WIP back sprite
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Thoughts on shiny palate? I'm leaning towards S2. S1 and S2 use colors from Shiny Cawmodore's sprite, included for reference. I tried to get reg. Cawmodore's red in there, but it didn't work well.



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Alakaboom said:
Thoughts on shiny palate? I'm leaning towards S2. S1 and S2 use colors from Shiny Cawmodore's sprite, included for reference. I tried to get reg. Cawmodore's red in there, but it didn't work well.
Alakaboom, I love your sprites! As far as the shiny palettes go, I'm leaning towards S1 personally, though S2 is still very close. The same head and body color for S1 bugs me very slightly, but I still like the lighter colors with the gold.


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Since Cawdet's normal form doesn't have the same colors as Cawmodore, I don't think the shiny version should have the same colors as shiny Cawmodore!
Since Cawdet's normal form doesn't have the same colors as Cawmodore, I don't think the shiny version should have the same colors as shiny Cawmodore!
It could work though. Gulpin is green, while Swalot is purple. However, both of their shinies are blue. I am not looking at S2 just because it matches, but because of the four, it is the nicest one. S3 is a pain on my eyes, and S4 looks alright, but not as nice as S1, which suffers from the same head/body colour scheme.

Closer to a final submission with these Cawdet sprites. I mused over multiple shiny palettes, but I ended up with pseudo-color swaps between Cawdet's and Cawmodore's shiny blue and Cawdet's shiny and Cawmodore's red. I've kept the slightly darker yellow, although it looks less metallic compared to Cawmodore, so the effect is less apparent without it just becoming darker. Perhaps I should change that yellow to be come lighter. It'd make the design have the colors of a life saver. :P I have noticed that the way I've arranged my palette makes the shiny's outlines/eyes slightly reddish because that color is also used as a shadow, and darkening it too much would make the back's colors have too much contrast. I may or may not fix that.

According to comments in this thread and on IRC, the backsprite looks better without the ring, so I've left it off. Let that be a voting factor for those who prefer accuracy! :P

  • Alakabooom: The symmetry on the sprites is really nice, and the shading makes the body less lumpy. :) I like the edits you've made to the yellow band across the legs, as it gives the sprite dimension. I left the front flat because the design doesn't have much of a contour across that area. You've interpreted it with a shape, as there are shadows on the torso, right below the arms. They are both interpretations, as are all sprites. I thank you for your criticism. I gave the parts between blue and yellow distinct outlines because of some sprite-y thing about contrasts, shape, necessitating anti-aliasing otherwise. In many other situations, those lines would not have outlines, but they do from my preferences on how it looks (I've tried anti-alising the colors, and that didn't turn out too well. :/) Do you go on IRC? Perhaps we could discuss that more. Okay, back to your sprite. The back is fantastic. The tail feathers are balanced, along with the rest of the body. I have no qualms with it! For your shiny: S1, S2, and S4 are, color-wise, fine by me. I'm less fond of S3 because the dark gray and blue don't provide much contrast, and therefore, it muddles the design. The others have enough contrast between the body color and band color. I must say, though, if S2 is intended to parallel Cawmodore's shiny: the head appears darker because of one shadow color on Cawmodore being used as a base color on Cawdet. If you lighten that color and the highlight white, Cawdet's head will look less dark in comparison. I don't mind if two colors on the normal palette become one color on the shiny. :P It's typically fine going from normal to shiny, although less so in Gen. V going from shiny to normal.
  • MikaDo: You are concerned about the legs, hmm? The feet are well-balanced, and the legs above them are fine. There could be an indent between the two legs so it's not just one blob upon two stilts. What I noticed more than the legs is the angling of the tail feathers. In particular, the left tail feather is a lot shorter (or the right tail feather longer) than the other, thus causing the sprite to be lopsided. There's not much foreshortening in the rest of the sprite, too, so it's trickier for me to use that as a justification for the unbalanced tail feathers. Perhaps if you make the eyes have different shapes, or if the shading was altered, that'd help give the illusion of foreshortening. Beyond that: Does the head look lumpy to you? I believe there's an area where pixels of a slope of -1/2 meet pixels with a slope of -2, and without a buffer pixel, that gives the impression of a 'corner' on the head (if that isn't too contrived an explanation). Would the sprite look better if you fill in that corner pixel, whether by adding a shadow color or changing the outline? Your back has several things that I may interpret as an artist's derivation from the concept art: The tail feathers are bent upwards. That works very well for an anchor! It's different compared to the straight feathers of the official drawing, but it works design-wise. I noticed that the anchor markings on the head that connect to the body are straight, while Cawdet in the front sprite looks to be leaning forward. I would think the back would have those lines be tilted as well instead of being straight, perpendicular to the ground.
  • DHR-107: Your question has a multifold response. :) Pixels are remarkable to work with because of the contrast in perception on the micro level versus on the macro level. You might know that some curves simply look 'better' than others. Those curves don't even need changes; some lines look better than others! I'll talk about the inherent smoothness/jaggedness of lines before going to working around line jaggedness:
We'll be talking about this mathematically, since pixels conform well to Cartesian grids.

Let me get this out of the way, first. Make sure that the second derivative of pixel curves does not fluctuate too much. If you have a line that goes four pixels across, (up) three pixels across, (up) five pixels across, the slope is then 1/4, 1/3, 1/5, which makes the second derivative 4/3 and 3/5 (or something like that). The line could be modified to go four pixels across, (up) four pixels across, (up) four pixels across--preserving the secant, but causing the slopes to become 1/4, 1/4, 1/4 and thus having a consistent second derivative of 0.

What's the best way of drawing a line with an angle of zero degrees off of the X-axis (completely horizontal)? In pixels, you would place pixels from left to right, without any vertical change, of course. This drawing of horizontal pixels has a 100% correlation with the mathematical line it follows.

Now say you change the line's angle from 0 to arctan(2/3)--for every three units (pixels) horizontal you move up one pixel (starting from the 'top' of the first pixel). How do you represent that using pixels? You could have two pixels on y = 0 and then move up one pixel on the next pixel, or have one pixel on y = 0 and then move to y = 1 for the next two pixels. Or, if you want to compromise, have the first pixel at y = 0 and the third pixel at y = 1, but have some anomalous in-between for the second pixel. The first and second anomalies causes what is perceived as an abrupt 'jump'; instead of a consistent change every few pixels, you get a change alternating between one pixels and two pixels, which causes the line to look squiggly. That is bad for making lines that are pixels rather than anti-aliased, so in sprites, lines with an angle of 33.69 degrees (and surrounding values) are typically avoided. Instead, values with a tangent of 1/2, 1/3, 1/4... and their reciprocals and negatives create what appear to be lines pleasing to the viewer. Unfortunately, that limits the direction and angles of lines sprites can be, although if one really wants a line without a integer (or integer reciprocal) tangent value, anti-aliasing comes in.

I mentioned that the third option for the line with an angle of arctan(2/3) involves doing something mysterious between the first and third pixels. If pixels were not so small, doing something in-between would make the line look less like a line and more like a solid, if small, shape. Mathematically, the line that connects the origin to (2, 3) is partially in the cell ((1, 2), (0, 1)) and partially in ((1, 2), (1, 2)), right? (A diagram might help, but that's more averse to those who'd rather not continue this analysis of sorts. XD) The upper left of the ((1, 2), (0, 1)) cell has the line, and the bottom right of the ((1, 2), (1, 2)) cell also has the line. Therefore, the cell doesn't have a line crossing directly through it. When the line is pixelated, therefore, the color does not have to fully be darkened to indicate its direct crossing. However, as individual pixels cannot be divided (as by definition, pixels are the base element of computer images), there is no way to partition the pixel into what section has the line and what does not. What can be done, however, is to indicate through a single color that, yes, a line passes through the cell, but not directly. That's one basis for anti-aliasing. Instead of coloring in one pixel completely to pinpoint the location of the line, two adjacent gray (or any color) pixels are placed to say, "The line is partially between this pixel and that pixel, but not completely in either." The 'blurriness' of anti-aliasing makes the eye understand that the line does not jump, even if the line itself isn't completely defined at every other interval.

Anti-aliasing also applies to other differentiations beyond line slopes. The boundary between two colors, for example, implies a sharp division. In digital art--both 'standard' and pixel art, anti-aliasing reduces this implication, so as to provide a smoother transition between colors. The division is still prevalent, but the implied line that marks the division becomes itself implied, leaving the eye to interpret the sprite correctly. In the Cawdet sprite, you can see such anti-aliasing on the right side of the front sprite's vertical band. It's got a few pixels of anti-aliasing so the line doesn't immediately jerk left one pixel.

Let's extend this application. Specifically, to shapes drawn on the Cartesian grid. Specifically, ellipses (as polygons are just lines, which was covered above). If you use the automatic elliptical shape tool in XP's MS Paint, you'll get an ellipse with your drawn x and y that approximates a true, unbound-by-pixels ellipse all right. However, as the calculation behind drawing that ellipse is based purely in math, some parts of it may look lumpy. If you're paying attention, the comment I made about keeping a consistent second derivative also applies here. Any 'indent' or 'protrusion' in these ellipses fools the eye regarding the shape's smoothness. Such different second derivatives can--and typically must--be edited manually, and therefore, causes the resulting ellipse to be less mathematically correct (with pixels under the curve at points and over the curve at others), but looks more elliptical to the viewer, due to the mostly consistent second derivative.

Cel-shading, which is typical of pixel art, relies on this principle as well. ouob

Okay, so I talked about how you can make lines look sharp but not jagged. What about when you want a shape to stand out but don't have enough space for a prominent line (which I find an uncommon, yet practical concern)? I mentioned two paragraphs above that the eye perceives a 'boundary' between two shades with contrast--acutance, the technical term is. In this case, you want to create a sharp enough contrast between two colors to imply an edge. Add a line or curve, anti-alias an anomalous boundary, and present the shape which has been given distinction without hard lines.


Well, that's my (completely dabbled) interpretation of the mathematics of pixel perceptions. :P
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Quanjails and Alakaboom those sprites are f***ing amazing! Nice job!

Anyway, I altered my front sprite a little and made a shiny sprite. Pink OP

Btw, thanks for the constructive feedback Quanjails, I really appreciate the effort :)
Final Submission

No changes to the image since last time.

  • MikaDo: Better! ouob If you don't mind, I have more criticism that might be helpful. I did mention to fill in the head's 'corners' with a darker color, but that color wasn't meant to be dark enough to look like a visible speck. A color between the lavender of the head and the darker purple of the outline si what I meant. I'm also a tad confused about those yellow markings above the legs; the lighting makes the center section stick out. The rest of the yellow section, as well as the legs, do not, which brings an unusual attention to that highlight. I wonder if the yellow markings look better there without the highlight? At least, it would draw less attention to the bulge. o3o Beyond the highlight, the right side fo the marking, atop the right leg, looks like it juts out from the body. Is that intentional? Ir so, then the yellow part above the left leg also has to do the same. If not, you may want to smooth out that marking. One last thing I've noticed: The 'collar' right below the neck looks thin on the left side. The left and right parts could be edited to have same thicknesses.


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Am I the only one who really likes S4? I don't know why, but it looks the crispest to me somehow

Also DHR wow I hope you were happy with that answer
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