Posted by: Ocean's Dream | February 11, 2009

Test animations with Character Maker

Character Maker doesn’t create animations for you. I think it makes it really easy to test out your animations for you. I know other programs have onion skinning which is helpful too, this program does not.

First, what you want to do is save all of your frames in one PNG or BMP. I use PNG because it saves space. Remember the character size tutorial? If you don’t then maybe I didn’t write it in the first place, but I think I did. So, make the character size so that each frame fits in that selection. I’ll post this sprite I did a while ago as an example:


Each frame is 64×80 pixels. Go ahead and download this to try. Open this in Character Maker, then set the Character size to 64×80. Right click each of the 3 frames. You’ll see both the editting window and the small previous box change according to which frame you right clicked.

If they were not aligned correctly, when you right click a frame, you would notice that it’s not correct. It may jump over too far, be moved a pixel to the side when it shouldn’t be, and things like that. That’s when you would have to edit the frame.

What I wanted for this animation is for it to start on the 1st frame, go to the 2nd frame, then the 3rd frame, then back to the 2nd frame. If you cycle that, then it will loop from 1 to 3 and back to 1. You would have to check what program you are using to see what animation cycles they use and how many frames you’re allowed.

Now, if you don’t feel like right clicking to test the animation, there is a tool you can use. Before you do that though, right click, hold, and drag it out until ALL of the sprite frames are selected. If you are still using the bird sprites, make sure that the red and yellow marching ants are around all 3 frames. Click the running guy on the toolbar.

Then, you should get this:


Yeah great Ocean, it’s all weird, what do I do?

See the bird sprites on the top part? Left click it to add it to the animation cycle. You’ll see the X=0 Y=0 line appear on the side. If you clicked more than once, you can just click the line and press delete to get rid of it. The 200 ms is milliseconds I assume, but it’s the passing of time from one frame to the next. You can change it, I usually keep it at 200 ms.

So go ahead and complete the animation cycle. It starts from the 1st bird sprite, to the 2nd, to the 3rd, and ends at the 2nd. If done correctly, it should look like this:


I’ll explain whatever’s left of this before I stop. The (X=0, Y=0) part refers to the frames position on the top bar. Doesn’t matter where in the document you got it, and it’s not going to “place” it anywhere afterwards. So if there were a second row, the Y there would be 1. That’s really all it means.

“Delete all” just removes all the lines there, good if you did too much. Save turn will save each frame individually to a folder. I’m pretty sure the “File->Set backup folder” is where you can set where they save to.

OK, please let me know if you have any questions on this.



  1. Hey Ocean, do you have any advice on making monster sprites for RPG battles? I think I suck the most at making things like battlers in RMXP or RMVX (though I’m still pretty bad at spriting and making tiles, period). Given that most monsters and PC battler sprites are a lot larger than your typical “walking around the map” character sprites, do you have any techniques for creating them that are different from making smaller sprites?

  2. Ah yeah, depends on how big though. I know it’s “tileset tutorial” blog but hey, I could do some on monsters. I’ve been pretty busy recently so I dunno when I’ll get around to it, but hopefully soon.

    What I like to do first is get either a photo or some concept art of what I want. It’s not always easy to match a concept art especially if you’re working on a limited size, but can really help.

    Then specify the size you’re gonna be using for the monsters. 48×48? 32×32? 96×96?

    After that, I draw the outlines without worrying about it being sloppy, I’ll clean that up later. I’ll probably be able to get a concept art picture so I’ll show this when I get the chance. But anyway, thanks for the idea, I’ve been wondering what to add next here!

  3. HEy i have a question a big question that wehn i want to open an image it says image is not effective…

  4. Ah, yeah. You need the image to be 256 color/8 bit PNG or a BMP file. You can use Irfanview to convert it if you want.

    Since the color palette is limited to 256 colors (it is a pixel program after all), a 24 bit PNG won’t work.

    Also, gifs won’t work either, you’d have to convert them to a PNG.

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