How to make your own video game sprites

Written by courtney keene
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How to make your own video game sprites
Create stylish sprites for use in your own video games. (silhouette de mégane image by YvesBonnet from

When designing your own 2D video games, you will eventually need sprites: images used to represent characters and objects within your game. While you can download premade sprites at some resource sites, you will never find exactly what you need, and the legality of using the sprites for your own games becomes questionable. When you design your own video game sprites, you are in control of everything from the size and shape of the sprite to the complexity of the image.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Computer graphics program

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  1. 1

    Open a new document in your graphics program, and set the dimensions to 24 pixels wide by 32 pixels high. Choose "Transparent Background" from the drop-down list. Press "Z" on your keyboard to select the "Zoom" tool, and click five to nine times, increasing the image by 600 to 1,000 per cent.

  2. 2

    Select the "Pencil" tool, and set the diameter to "1px." Double-click the colour swatch on the left toolbar to access the Color Picker. Click your mouse on a hue, or select a premade grey swatch.

  3. 3

    Click and hold your mouse within your new document's canvas, and sketch a stick figure. Outline the head, body, arms and legs.

  4. 4

    Click on the black swatch in the Color Picker. Click on one of your outline strokes to leave one black pixel. Continue to click around the figure until you have traced your initial outline.

  5. 5

    Erase any stray marks by pressing "E" on your keyboard, clicking and holding your mouse button, then dragging your cursor over undesired pixels.

  6. 6

    Save your file as a .PNG with transparency enabled. Follow the file-naming conventions outlined in your game engine's help guide.

  7. 7

    Add your new sprite to the game library, using the "Import" function in your game engine's software.

  8. 8

    Select your sprite as the player graphic, and click "Test Play" to see your new sprite in the game.

Tips and warnings

  • Press "Ctrl+Z" to undo any mistakes.
  • Test a variety of sizes to determine the best level of detail needed for your game. Always start small and then work larger as needed.
  • To make an animated sprite, create a new image for each frame of the animation, and save them in the same file. Consult premade sprites for help with formatting.
  • Be aware of your game engine's limitations. You may need to use a limited amount of colours or pixels.
  • Always save your file in various stages before you save it as a .PNG. You never know when you will need to make changes.

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