The Art of Splitting Sprite Sheets

relevant in 2D game dev

artwork designed by momentsonline

Sprite Sheets splitting as an art stems from 2d game design where there is a need for different sprite poses of a character to be displayed in succession to create animation.

FRS (frame per second) represents how fast an image(sprite) appears on display.

To continue from here on, there is a need to know what sprite sheets are;

Sprite sheets are bitmap image files that are made up of smaller graphics arranged in a tiled grid.

One only needs to load a single file into an animation application, relevant to this topic i.e. a game engine to create an animation.

Sprite sheets skips the long process of adding individual sprite poses to get an animation and are therefore easier and faster to animate. Most game engines such as godot, stencyl, unity have sprite sheet splitters and allow for the use of sprite sheets.

This is not the case for other game engines that do not have sprite sheet splitting capabilities an example is the 2d game engine GDevelop.

GDevelop is an open source game engine for making 2d games in minutes

For such an engine, using sprite poses is the only option to create an animation.

The question remains “how will the developer be able to add sprite poses in an engine of such capability if sprite sheets are all the developer has in possession?”

Here is were the art of splitting sprite sheets come in handy

Sprite sheet splitter such as alferd spritesheet unpacker can easily help the developer split sprite sheets for occasions where splitting is not done automatically by a game engine.

alferd spritesheet unpacker splitting a sonic the hedgehog customs — blaze spritesheet

Where to download alferd spritesheet unpacker

Alferd spritesheet unpacker is a popular software in the world of game dev and can be found in most game dev forums and websites.

For this article, easily download this useful piece of software from the MomentsOnline itch.io platform.

How to download alferd spritesheet unpacker from itch.io

First, sign up for an itch.io account it’s absolutely free with a google, facebook account, or fill in the relevant details to get an account ready.

Now head over to this link and download alferd unpacker for free: click here

How to use alferd spritesheet unpacker — Image Tutorial

Alferd spritesheet unpacker is pretty easy to use, in these three(3) simple steps learn to use the application:

Step 1:

Launch or open the application and drag any spritesheet unto the space clearly written “Drag and drop image(s) here”.

SEE IMAGE BELOW

dragged spritesheet in alferd spritesheet unpacker

Step 2:

Select the sprites from the spritesheet needed for splitting.

SEE IMAGE BELOW

selection in alferd spritesheet unpacker

Step 3:

Click “export selected” to save selected sprites into a folder.

SEE IMAGE BELOW

exporting in alferd spritesheet unpacker

Viola!! Splitting is Done.

How to use alferd spritesheet unpacker — Video Tutorial

The YouTube video tutorial takes you through splitting a spritesheet with alferd spritesheet unpacker and exporting the selected sprite.

Timestamps:

Start- 1 minute 49 seconds.

End- 3 minutes 00 seconds.

The art of splitting a spritesheet can be done in the game engine GDevelop 5 -which is the recent version of the engine(remember this game engine does not have automatic sprite sheet splitting capabilities); here the splitting is done manually with the help of the editor piskel.

How to use GDevelop 5 to split sprite sheets — Video Tutorial

The YouTube video tutorial takes you through splitting a sprite sheet using piskel, a drawing tool in GDevelop 5.

In conclusion, the art of splitting sprite sheets is relevant in 2d game dev cases where sprite sheets cannot be used in themselves but needs to be split into sprite poses to be used for animation.

Indie game developer | Bsc. Information technology

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