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Graphics Ever used Spriter to make sprites? Is it safe? Is there something better?

I have used spriter before, it's alright and great once it's set up however if you already have a program you use there isn't much incentive to switch.
 

hippyman

Member
Just because things are free doesn't automatically mean that it's malware. It's actually a paid program that has a free limited version. I've owned and used the full version for quite a while now. It's nothing compared to Spine, Creature and Anima2D. But Spine and Creature are pretty expensive and Anima2D is for Unity only. It's a great budget skeletal animation software and somebody finally made a decent runtime for GM.
 

Mobie

Member
Just because things are free doesn't automatically mean that it's malware. It's actually a paid program that has a free limited version. I've owned and used the full version for quite a while now. It's nothing compared to Spine, Creature and Anima2D. But Spine and Creature are pretty expensive and Anima2D is for Unity only. It's a great budget skeletal animation software and somebody finally made a decent runtime for GM.
Exactly the info I was looking for. Thanks hippyman.

Woah, just looked at Spine and it is super cool. The limited edition is only $69, I might pull the trigger on that.
 
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hippyman

Member
Spine is also definitely worth it. It seems to be the leading 2D skeletal animation solution right now. The only reason I consider Spine expensive is because you don't get the cool features like FFD, meshes, IK, etc. with the essentials version. Spriter Pro is $60 and doesn't have meshes but at least has IK. The best thing about Spine is that GM comes with a Spine runtime built-in.
 

Mobie

Member
Spine is also definitely worth it. It seems to be the leading 2D skeletal animation solution right now. The only reason I consider Spine expensive is because you don't get the cool features like FFD, meshes, IK, etc. with the essentials version. Spriter Pro is $60 and doesn't have meshes but at least has IK. The best thing about Spine is that GM comes with a Spine runtime built-in.
SOLD! :) Is it time-consuming to learn? I currently just need to make a couple of simple running character sprites, and a skateboarder sprite; would the essentials version work for that?
 
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hippyman

Member
Well yes the essentials version gives you a good starting point minus the more advanced features but you do realize these aren't programs that you actually make the art assets in, right? These programs are only to make skeletons and animations with already made art.
 

Mobie

Member
Well yes the essentials version gives you a good starting point minus the more advanced features but you do realize these aren't programs that you actually make the art assets in, right? These programs are only to make skeletons and animations with already made art.
No, I'm pretty ignorant about that sort of thing. So the art would have to be done in something like Illustrator or Inkscape then? And Spine would just handle the animation of that art?
 

Perseus

Not Medusa
Forum Staff
Moderator
Moving to GDD&P from Community Chat, since this is a question about choice of tools involved in game development.

No, I'm pretty ignorant about that sort of thing. So the art would have to be done in something like Illustrator or Inkscape then? And Spine would just handle the animation of that art?
A sketelal animation is made up of and can be represented in two parts: its skin or mesh (surface representation used to draw the character) and its skeleton or rig (a hierarchical set of interconnected bones). Mesh is created using images and skeleton is made up of bones. You attach images to bones then animate the bones. In short, a skeleton is made up of images attached to bones. Spine does not edit images, so you will need to use your favorite image editing software (like Illustrator and Inkscape as you said) to create the art for your skeleton. Each part of the skeleton that will move independently needs to be a separate image file. So yeah, artwork needs to be done in a separate tool, since Spine will create the skeleton only. Further information about how Spine works can be found on this page. Then there's this documentation for reference as well.
 

JackTurbo

Member
Spriter is a good application for skeletal animations. It wont create sprites though so you will still need photoshop (or the image editor of your choice).

Spriter is simple to use and easy to understand, I found it pretty intuitive. Here's the first few examples of animations I made in spriter:

https://twitter.com/JackTurbo/status/825853726241992705

https://twitter.com/JackTurbo/status/826576931575443462
(n.b the muzzleflash/smoke is frame by frame rather than skeletal)

These were done in my first few days using the software, so I think its pretty easy to use.

Spriter doesn't have mesh deformation though, which is a bit of a negative imho.
 
S

sAint

Guest
Spriter is a good application for skeletal animations. It wont create sprites though so you will still need photoshop (or the image editor of your choice).

Spriter is simple to use and easy to understand, I found it pretty intuitive. Here's the first few examples of animations I made in spriter:

https://twitter.com/JackTurbo/status/825853726241992705

https://twitter.com/JackTurbo/status/826576931575443462
(n.b the muzzleflash/smoke is frame by frame rather than skeletal)

These were done in my first few days using the software, so I think its pretty easy to use.

Spriter doesn't have mesh deformation though, which is a bit of a negative imho.
*sigh* I really wish Spriter had mesh deform and GMS support. Spine's going to skewer my wallet.
 

RangerX

Member
Spriter is a 2D bone animation tool. I don't think you can even create sprites with it.
Yeah I realise the opening post hasn't been updated and its only later in the thread we can tell its about squeletal animation. Anyhow :p
If he also wants a software to draw sprites he got one more suggestion. ;)
 

hippyman

Member
Check out dragon bones also, it´s free and you can do advanced animations with meshes!
I forgot about Dragonbones. That's a really good option if you can figure out the program. The only issue I had with that program was the lack of documentation. If you're willing to stick through it and figure out how Dragonbones works, it's pretty impressive what you can do.

Now that we've cleared up the difference between drawing software and animation software, I personally recommend GIMP because it's free, open-source and can be as simple or as advanced as you need it to be. If you're looking for a program that's more tailored to pixel art, I would recommend Aseprite. It's only free if you can build the source yourself, otherwise it's $15. I don't personally own it because I haven't managed to build it successfully on my own and I don't want to pay for it, but a bunch of people on here have recommended it before. I've watched a few videos and read about some of the features and it does sound pretty nice for the price.
 

Mobie

Member
I forgot about Dragonbones. That's a really good option if you can figure out the program. The only issue I had with that program was the lack of documentation. If you're willing to stick through it and figure out how Dragonbones works, it's pretty impressive what you can do.

Now that we've cleared up the difference between drawing software and animation software, I personally recommend GIMP because it's free, open-source and can be as simple or as advanced as you need it to be. If you're looking for a program that's more tailored to pixel art, I would recommend Aseprite. It's only free if you can build the source yourself, otherwise it's $15. I don't personally own it because I haven't managed to build it successfully on my own and I don't want to pay for it, but a bunch of people on here have recommended it before. I've watched a few videos and read about some of the features and it does sound pretty nice for the price.
Thank you again, hippyman. I didn't understand the difference and the above posts have helped me quite a bit. Asprite seems to be a great choice. Cheap, and gets the job done.

But I'm liking the look of Spriter. A little pricey, probably over $120 to get full functionality with sufficient art packs, but it looks like you could make some nice characters mostly by just doing drag-and-drop. Not being much of an artist, this idea is appealing to me.
 
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Niels

Member
spriter is a program you can use to animate your sprites, so you can't actually draw in it.

I suggest Aseprite or PyxelEdit for drawing pixelart sprites
 
S

sAint

Guest
spriter is a program you can use to animate your sprites, so you can't actually draw in it.

I suggest Aseprite or PyxelEdit for drawing pixelart sprites
That's what I thought but I've never used it so I didn't want to say for sure.
I've tried out Spine and DragonBones which are similar packages.

Only Spine has GMS support at the moment. If you're not planning on using the bones in GMS it doesn't matter though.
I have seen people use these 2D bone tools to animate pixel art so if you're a spriter, you still might want to check them out.
 

hippyman

Member
Spriter has unofficial GMS support that seems to work okay but has a memory leak and the developer hasn't been replying to anything on the Spriter forums or his github. You don't need to buy the art packs. You can just pay the $60 for the software then draw all the parts that you need in a separate program to make a character and construct a skeleton in Spriter. Then you animate the skeleton and can either export it to a sprite sheet or you can use the SpriterGM extension and use the skeletal animation in your game with things like IK and animation blending.

Honestly it seems like what you're looking for is something like Aseprite. I suggest getting that or Pyxel Edit (one that I forgot about). I wouldn't spend the money on Spriter if you don't plan on drawing anything because you won't really be able to do anything with it until you have something to put in it.
 
S

sAint

Guest
Spriter has unofficial GMS support that seems to work okay but has a memory leak and the developer hasn't been replying to anything on the Spriter forums or his github. You don't need to buy the art packs. You can just pay the $60 for the software then draw all the parts that you need in a separate program to make a character and construct a skeleton in Spriter. Then you animate the skeleton and can either export it to a sprite sheet or you can use the SpriterGM extension and use the skeletal animation in your game with things like IK and animation blending.

Honestly it seems like what you're looking for is something like Aseprite. I suggest getting that or Pyxel Edit (one that I forgot about). I wouldn't spend the money on Spriter if you don't plan on drawing anything because you won't really be able to do anything with it until you have something to put in it.
From what I've heard, that unofficial GMS support is violating Spine's copyright since it basically converts Spriter's files into Spine format and Spine doesn't allow anyone to use their format with GMS without actually purchasing Spine. Source: https://forum.yoyogames.com/index.php?threads/free-skeletal-software.7793/page-2#post-70104

Correct me if you're talking about something else.

I think we're all getting kind of confused with what artstyle Mobie is going for.
To clarify, Mobie, you want hand-drawn 2D sprites, not pixel art sprites? (Because that's the kind of art Spriter sells via art packs.)

Then since Aseprite and Pyxel Edit are pixel art packages they won't suit that artstyle.
 

Mobie

Member
I think we're all getting kind of confused with what artstyle Mobie is going for.

To clarify, Mobie, you want hand-drawn 2D sprites, not pixel art sprites? (Because that's the kind of art Spriter sells via art packs.)

Then since Aseprite and Pyxel Edit are pixel art packages they won't suit that artstyle.
That's because Mobie was also confused about which style Mobie was going for. :) I'm leaning toward Spriter, and some of their artwork packs, because it seems like the easiest way for a non-artist to get some usable, professional grade characters. Aseprite seems great, but I'm afraid that trying to draw my own characters would be a train wreck. So yeah, I guess I want the drawn sprites.
 

hippyman

Member
From what I've heard, that unofficial GMS support is violating Spine's copyright since it basically converts Spriter's files into Spine format and Spine doesn't allow anyone to use their format with GMS without actually purchasing Spine. Source: https://forum.yoyogames.com/index.php?threads/free-skeletal-software.7793/page-2#post-70104

Correct me if you're talking about something else.
I'm talking about an extension that you can get on Github or the Gamemaker Marketplace.
https://github.com/Gillmog/spriterGM

You're talking about something completely different. Dragonbones has a spine runtime that you can export but it doesn't work for GM:S and as that post states, it's illegal to do so without actually owning Spine in the first place.
 
S

sAint

Guest
That's because Mobie was also confused about which style Mobie was going for. :) I'm leaning toward Spriter, and some of their artwork packs, because it seems like the easiest way for a non-artist to get some usable, professional grade characters. Aseprite seems great, but I'm afraid that trying to draw my own characters would be a train wreck. So yeah, I guess I want the drawn sprites.
Can you get all the assets that you'll need for your game from Spriter's art packs? Eventually you will need to create your own art or work with an artist.

I'm talking about an extension that you can get on Github or the Gamemaker Marketplace.
https://github.com/Gillmog/spriterGM

You're talking about something completely different. Dragonbones has a spine runtime that you can export but it doesn't work for GM:S and as that post states, it's illegal to do so without actually owning Spine in the first place.
I didn't know about this, thanks. I'm still not going to use Spriter until they get some mesh deform features but it seems like a good option if you're not going to use that.
 

hippyman

Member
I didn't know about this, thanks. I'm still not going to use Spriter until they get some mesh deform features but it seems like a good option if you're not going to use that.
Well they have an experimental skin mode, but they have proper FFD planned for Spriter 2 and it is going to be free for previous Spriter Pro owners. So it might not hurt to get Spriter at least on sale if you don't have it yet in case Spriter 2 is more expensive. That's really up to you though.
 

Mobie

Member
Can you get all the assets that you'll need for your game from Spriter's art packs? Eventually you will need to create your own art or work with an artist.
Yeah, you are probably right. I'm thinking I might can modify a few things, like faces and hair, with Inkscape. Just load a head in and do a little drawing and recoloring to get what I need. But, like I said before, I have no idea of what I'm doing. Might be fun to try....might be a disaster.
 

Niels

Member
I have used spriter for my vector based game character and it worked pretty good (most of the work is setting up skeletal bones and arranging body parts) but for my pixelart I prefer to just create a sprite sheet in aseprite with frames
 

Mobie

Member
I have used spriter for my vector based game character and it worked pretty good (most of the work is setting up skeletal bones and arranging body parts) but for my pixelart I prefer to just create a sprite sheet in aseprite with frames
Is aseprite a lot better than just using the pixel editor in Gamemaker? What makes it better? Probably an ignorant question; thanks for your patience.
 

Niels

Member
haven't used the gm:studio pixel editor much tbh, but aseprite has some excellent tools like layers, frames, onion skins, color schemes, and special algorithms for rotating pixeart which I believe are not found in the editor of gm:studio
 

JacobV

Member
As a long-time user of Spriter, it has a lot of pros and cons compared to Spine. First off, Spriter lets you change sprites mid-animation, allowing you to mix traditional animation with bone-based animation. It's also very simple and easy to use. However, it's also a buggy mess and you'll find yourself raging at common crashes and mediocre autosaving. Spine is more stable and allows for GM integration, but for such an expensive program it lacks a lot of seemingly basic features and can be frustrating to work with, mainly because there's almost 0 documentation and there's a lot of bizarre and stupid rules you'll have to deal with. I'd give both of them a really good try before deciding on a purchase.
 
S

sAint

Guest
As a long-time user of Spriter, it has a lot of pros and cons compared to Spine. First off, Spriter lets you change sprites mid-animation, allowing you to mix traditional animation with bone-based animation. It's also very simple and easy to use. However, it's also a buggy mess and you'll find yourself raging at common crashes and mediocre autosaving. Spine is more stable and allows for GM integration, but for such an expensive program it lacks a lot of seemingly basic features and can be frustrating to work with, mainly because there's almost 0 documentation and there's a lot of bizarre and stupid rules you'll have to deal with. I'd give both of them a really good try before deciding on a purchase.
Doesn't Spine allow you to change sprites mid-animation as well? Unless you're talking about the whole sprite, not pieces of it?

Anyway, thanks for the info! I'm still on the wall about buying Spine Pro. I heard Spriter 2 will have mesh deformation and there's unofficial GMS support for it.

Can you go into more detail about the "seemingly basic features" that Spine lacks and the "stupid rules"? I tried out the Spine trial but I didn't want to put too much work into something I can't save.
 

JacobV

Member
If it does let you, I have no idea. As I said, very little documentation.

As for the weird rules, here's a few. Any edits made to the "root" bone of the sprite will simply not happen in Gamemaker. So for instance, if you want to rotate the entire skeleton by rotating the root, that rotation won't show up in Gamemaker. Instead, you have to create a second root, and attach all the sprites to that instead. Furthermore, whenever you move bones around, they don't save their position automatically; you have to either enable autokeys, or press a button with every edit. Now, none of this would be a problem if it was well-documented, but for the most part I had to figure this out myself.
 
S

sAint

Guest
If it does let you, I have no idea. As I said, very little documentation.

As for the weird rules, here's a few. Any edits made to the "root" bone of the sprite will simply not happen in Gamemaker. So for instance, if you want to rotate the entire skeleton by rotating the root, that rotation won't show up in Gamemaker. Instead, you have to create a second root, and attach all the sprites to that instead. Furthermore, whenever you move bones around, they don't save their position automatically; you have to either enable autokeys, or press a button with every edit. Now, none of this would be a problem if it was well-documented, but for the most part I had to figure this out myself.
Yeah, that does seem like a pain in the behind. But it seems like the unofficial Spriter GMS support is buggy so it might be even worse. I also checked out the Spine forum and it seems very active. Also, I found some tutorials on YouTube and I remember it mentioned the autokey rule.

Still, I really wish GMS officially supported more 2D bone animation tools. They're not giving us much choice here.
 

Mobie

Member
haven't used the ....
As a long-time user of Spriter,........
Spriter has unofficial GMS support ...
Thank you all very much for your input. I ended up buying Spriter in a bundle with several art packages. Edited some with Inkscape and came up with a pretty good running hero animation. Spriter reminds me of Flash a little. Tricky to learn at first, but cool.[/QUOTE]
 

Teddyboy16

Member
Thank you all very much for your input. I ended up buying Spriter in a bundle with several art packages. Edited some with Inkscape and came up with a pretty good running hero animation. Spriter reminds me of Flash a little. Tricky to learn at first, but cool.
Mobie I think you'll be happy with Spriter. I just bought it and have been playing with it. I think you get a lot of value for $60. You can at least use the extension for GM for now to have some integration with both applications or at worst you can export them as sprite sheets.

It's not the tight integration that everyone wants, but it's a decent alternative. It's going to take yoyo games and brash monkey to work together as spriter will need access to GMS API's to create a run time that's tightly integrated as spines run time is. These are small companies with limited resources, so they really have to pick their priorities. I think it will happen eventually.
 
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