Tips for Recoloring

I’ve seen a lot of Fantage recolors (well, it’s not just Fantage recolors that have this problem, but I digress) that could be a lot better if they just tweaked the colors a little. There are also a lot of recolors out there that fall into some common pitfalls that make them look, well, kind of ugly. In this post I’ll be outlining some coloring tips that you can use to take your Fantage recolors from okay to gorgeous.

Note: I’m not really an expert at Fantage recoloring. I’ve been editing/recoloring Pokémon sprites for about a year now, so that’s where most of my knowledge comes from. These are just things that all good sprites I’ve seen do.

Tip 1: Always have a dark enough outline for your recolor.
If you look at some of the better-pixeled Fantage items, you will see that they all have darker outlines, even if they’re white or a light color. Almost all sprites I’ve seen do this. This is so the sprite contrasts well against its background, among other reasons. Here are some examples of what I’m talking about.

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 12.15.12 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 12.15.36 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 12.16.24 PM
Credit goes to the people who put these items in their MyMall kiosks: qsd3, astyr_fan, and isra12.

With all of these items, you can see that (besides the fact I didn’t screencap them evenly) there is a definite outline. Since Fantagians have a definite outline for their skin/base, anything that doesn’t have an outline like that will look…off. Here are some more recent examples from Fantage itself of outlines that are just too light.

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 12.25.38 PM Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 12.26.39 PM

You might argue that the items don’t look as bad when you try them on. That’s true for the hat at least, but they both still look a little off compared to other items with a definite outline.

Note that you should not use a pure black outline unless the color you are making your item is medium to dark gray or, well, black. There are outlines that are too light, and then there are outlines that are too dark.

Tip 2: Make sure your colors contrast well enough – but not too much.
For colors to appear different from each other, they have to contrast with the colors they’re next to enough so that anyone seeing them can tell them apart easily. This is very, very important for hair, because Fantage hair tends to be very shiny, but it’s important to keep in mind for other items, too. One example of what NOT to do with your colors is make them look like the Blonde BB Hair. Yes, I went there.

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 12.05.49 PM

Besides not having a great outline, the Blonde BB Hair has very, very similar shades of yellow to fill it in. Yes, you can tell it’s not all the same color – but how many colors are there? Compare this to the Brown BB Hair, which (IMO at least) has better shading. Disclaimer: I do kind of prefer the blonde hair, but I’m a sucker for blonde hair and the red/white bow goes with more of my stuff.

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 12.39.44 PM

The Brown BB Hair isn’t perfect, either (I could come up with a lot of better-shaded hair right off the top of my head), but you can at least tell what the different colors are right away, especially the highlights.

But wait! Now that I’ve insulted half of Fantage by saying that the BB hair has mediocre shading, how about we look at some hairstyles that I think have good shading? For example…

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 12.44.31 PM

THIS! THIS is how you do blonde hair without having it look ugly or not contrast enough! I can tell you right now that this obviously took a long time for Kitty1929 and/or the Fantage pixel artists to shade, but it was time well spent. You can clearly tell which parts are lighter/darker, and where each of those parts begins/ends.

If you need help figuring out a color palette for your recolored items, try taking a color, selecting it for both saved colors (assuming you’re using Paint or Scratch) and making it lighter or darker depending on what color you’re trying to get. When it contrasts enough and looks like a natural continuation of the color you had before, keep it. I know that’s a crappy explanation, but it’s the best I can do. 😛

I think those are the main things recolor artists should keep in mind when recoloring an item. There are obviously more things to keep in mind, but if you know these, you should be well on your way to making fabulous recolors. ❤

Thanks for reading! If you want to ask me a question, throw tomatoes at me for insulting the BB hair, or just plain share your thoughts, please comment below. Though I don't recommend the tomatoes. 😆

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