I made this up for the other artists incase they needed to do glowy stuff for their projects, or on MK. This was (and still is) my process for making cool-ass glow effects. I use Photoshop for drawing all my pixel stuff these days so these steps are a Photoshop set. On the last step, if you just go in and manually anti-alias some of the lines you can smooth it out so it's perfect. The useful thing about this process is that the way it's done, you end up with the glow effect on a separate layer. So you can still go back and tweak the original animation and just re-glow it all, if you want to change stuff. It also keeps your color count reduced...because the actual swoosh effect doesn't change (unless you gaussian blur the whole thing at the end, but say you don't)...so if the swoosh was just white, light orange, and normal orange, so it's 3 colors. That glow effect is just an alpha-based version of those 3 colors (it's done with that same orange color, but just shown at various levels of translucency (we got 8 of 'em the way we were doing it), so at the end of the day, this final image (we used .PNG files because they have alpha channels built into them) is still only 3 colors, but with an alpha channel that makes it glowy. Hard to explain if you've never messed with it before, but it all feels very clean and organized in the end.
Various versions/stages of the Steam Knight walking. His walk cycle has more frames than other people's 'cause I wanted to get a stuttered robotic "clank clank" motion to his walk. He uses translucency with the little cloud poofs and sparks. All in all I dig how he came out...unfortunately he was ruined by having a 4 frame attack animation that looks awful compared to his walk cycle, heh...
Elf Warrior, here's his full frames...so each character had to have this at the minimum. An idle, a walk, and a melee attack in all directions...but if they could also cast spells or shoot, then they had to have a long distance attack animation as well. Lots of anims, bleh. This was the very first guy I made...we based the schedule off him. In retrospect, don't pick one of the simplest guys to draw to base your fucking schedule off of. Make that drummer guy and base it off THAT, heh. Anyway, he's pretty plain, but I like how the cloak designs came out on his upward walk cycle, with the shadow rippling across it. Because this guy was one of the first he looks a bit different than the other guys...a few characters in, I switched to more of a Capcom VS SNK style with less actual outlines because we were told they wanted "more colors" in the characters. I spent like a year day in and day out doing these characters so the ones I did at the start look different from the ones at the end, not surprisingly, heh...
I still dig this healing effect. I basically made a circular selection in Photoshop, then airbrushed really lightly the green stuff...so it would never leave that perfect circle shape, and I could really gently trace the outsides of the circle to have it spread out at the edges and go thin in the middle. After I got the sphere motion down I did the random upward-flowing particles. Notice the timing in this (and the other spells too)...the sphere doesn't just get created and go, it starts out paused in a corner as a bit of light, then WHIPS around to form the circle, then slows down as it finishes forming the circle...then speeds up as the main light travels toward the center of the sphere...then pauses as it cross the center...then speeds up again as the circle vanishes away. It's that subtle timing shift and velocity stuff that can add a lot of style to your effects/actions. Watch a bunch of anime to study snap/timing, heh...they do it in everything.
This was the second character I did...A troll carrying around a tree-trunk to bash people with? Again, MK has some trippy designs. I like how this guy came out for his walk cycle (his back on his upward walk cycle, and his general "I weigh a lot" feel), but I hate the attack animations...The way the game was designed (using a hex grid), the characters had to attack really strange angles sometimes, depending on the character's design. So like when he attacks down he has to bend WAAAAY down. It's kind of weird.
Also I don't like the swoosh effects in this one...I hadn't decided how I wanted to do them yet (I ended up going with a specific set of streaks...3 colors, light to dark, with "bars" to divide them up in a consistent way...you can see it in the Ninja Turtle guy's attacks if you look at the frame). We actually didn't have it so the characters could use translucency for like, the first 3/4 of the project, it was reserved for spell effects...then at the end we changed some stuff around and suddenly the characters could use it...alas by then it was too late to do more than just add some translucent effects to the characters I hadn't made yet (like the Steam Knight). If there had been more time, or we had had translucency from the start, I would've made these swipe effects a cool alpha swipe instead of thick color blobs and it would've looked way cooler I'm sure.
Originally we were going to have him walk down, down/right, right, up/right, AND up (for some reason Up isn't in this pic but I remember drawing it). haha fuck that. That lasted like, a day. shit, I can't even comprehend how much more work that would have been...they would have found me cutting my wrists with a sharp pencil by the end of the project for sure haha
Steam Mauler...I think he ended up with glowy effects too for steam/sparks, but I can't remember. I'm just happy with how his hammer came out, heh. Again starting with the blocks/shading was a big help 'cause it made it clear where/how things should move/rotate to keep the form.
Stole this effect from Visionaries, haha..basically an object forms itself out of solid light, flashes bright and then fades into the actual form of the object, does it's thing while glowing solid, then flashes bright and blanks out. Visionaries did this for almost all of their sweet effects...mine isn't as good as theirs though, I couldn't think of much to do that'd make sense up close and stuff so somehow it turned out to be...an axe? I had a dragon head come out of the book and chomp but again the time limit killed that idea off. I think I used the same axe animation for each direction even. You might be able to find the intro to Visionaries on youtube or something...it's worth checking out for the old-school-ness, heh...glow stuff was hella hard to do back then so that they crammed that much into it was awesome.
Another random effect...starts as a solid white ball and then "bursts" into the forms. Again, playing with velocity/timing as the pieces rotate in smaller and smaller increments, and fade out from white to blue.
Evil priestess chick...I dig the folds on her skirt and the flowy motion of her arm cloths...only thing is that she looks a bit more like she's wearing pants than a skirt in the front walk cycle. She's a chick that has no weapons, and holds a chalice cup thing in her actual MK model figure, but was supposed to have a close-up melee attack...another "wtf am I supposed to do with this?" moment, so I went with her spitting glowy liquid at the enemy. It doesn't glow in this version though...this is the very first block-form of the spells that I do. Like I'll start solid and get the motion/particles flowing right, and then go back and add the shading/glowing/etc. when the form is down.
This was one of the first attack mock-up animations...to see how glows and streaking the arm over fast movements would look. I think his actual shooting effect in-game turned out to be crap (long story, a lot of stuff got cut in the end), but I dig the mock-up still. I based it off the shotgun blast in Metal Slug. Like the big Delphana chick's beam spell, note that the cannon blast starts out as a sphere and then "bursts" into a straight flare. If you just do the straight flare, it has less impact than starting from that bursting effect. The smoke just follows the motion of the blast and it slows down it's forward motion as it dissolves, to where the last two frames, the furthest forward edge of the smoke poofs stays where it is.
Flapping animation for the Sky Mage. There came a point where other artists were adding the details to the frames because we were so pressed for time, so I would do up the first frame in each direction how it should look, with detail and all, and then do the animation in block-form, so the artist could keep the style reasonably similar by using the first frame as a guide (unless they suck, heh). For some reason I'm really happy with the upward-facing flapping...I think I got the perspective on the wings right so it feels nicely 3d.
This was another situation of "she has to attack the hexagon down-right, AND it's someone on the ground while she's hovering, so I have to cover a lot of distance at a weird angle" but I think the stab worked out alright. She's one of the 4-frame attack animation people, but with her using such a small dagger, I think it actually works out decent. 4 frames is fine for a small weapon/motion...it's when you try to do a bigass sword slash that it starts looking ridiculous.
Two cheats: 1) She has a long-range spell animation, so I designed the attack so that I could just use the first two frames, where she raises her non-weapon arm in front of her, as a spell-casting animation, heh...and 2) the first two frames of the attack are the same for down/left and left...but you didn't notice till I told you, heh. I hope, anyway. I made her at the end of the project when I was having to do little cheats like this to save time.
Not sure this got into the game. I made it for a Smite effect but I don't know if that's in there. I like how it looks though...I used a flashing circle that "cuts out" a hole (so it starts bright, then black with just an orange outline, then white again before it bursts)...a little more "ka-pow!!" to it with that extra white circle flash. I also tried doing beam glows on this one...selecting a beam shape and just brushing over it with the Airbrush, getting less intense as it gets toward the far end. Then at the end I went back and drew in some particles flying out of it to have that layering "more than one thing going on at once" effect.
Needed to use red because it was a Vampirism spell but in retrospect I should've gone with purple or something...red looks like crap when you try to make it glowy. With other colors you can even use a white middle and trace around the outside with like, green or whatever, and it looks good, but with red it looks too separate, unless you go up to pink and that loses the intense impact. bleh, I hate red for glows.
Run cycle for the Veteran. Pretty simple, I'm just happy with how the swords came out jiggling on his back.
Quivering roar for the Warbeast...this was done REALLY fast 'cause I needed it for something else, so it's not awesome, but I like the quiver. Quivering in pixel art always looks sweet, heh...you can see down below that this guy ends up being 32 colors, this is his early 16 color version.
I wanted to make an effect like this...figured it'd work for the drum guy, like a sound shockwave bursting out. It starts bursting out really fast, then slows how fast it expands until it's not expanding anymore, just pausing for a moment in it's final form, then dissolving upward and fading out. Again all done by hand, I just made up the form of the rising flames, then broke them up as if they pulled themselves apart from the bottom, leaving little flakes behind, all travelling upward.
The way we did the effects, they were always overlain on top of the character...which is fine, normally. But for this effect, it's supposed to look like it goes BEHIND the character. The MK characters vary in size dramatically...tiny little thin chicks, and giant beefy monsters. So you erase just enough that it looks good on the thin chick and it looks weird on the beefy monster. You erase enough that it looks good on the beefy monster, and there's a big gap where it stops before going "behind" the thin chick. So if you zoom in close you can see that I erased the middle chunk more and more toward the center, but left it verrrry faintly. So generally you don't notice it on the big guys, and when it's a little character you can still see it a bit.
One of the first effects I did, to show everyone how worth it translucency was...this looked pretty "meh" without the glows, but once you have them on and have the middle chunk translucent and everything it looks really shiny-cool. Unfortunately, I was keen on the first part of it where the flames spiral up, but didn't know what to do with them from there because I didn't plan it out like I did with later spells...as a result I think the end is kind of sloppy the way it decides to vanish. You can tell I didn't know what to do with it and just got rid of it in a random way.
This one looks neat if you zoom in because you can see that I rotated the motion blurs on the small particles that fly out to the sides, as they fly out. Little subtle stuff you probably can't even see in-game, but it was a good learning experience.
This is why some of the earlier characters look different than the later. We started with a 16 color limit, but we were told to make things more realistic than cel-shaded...so we went with 32 colors for the characters. Unfortunately, that meant that the time to draw them was increased 'cause it wasn't just filling in line-art, now I had to go back and color all the lineart with selout and shit painstakingly. I like the end result, don't get me wrong, it was worth it, but that's so NOT something you want to hear halfway through a project, heh...we went back and added more colors to the earlier characters so they matched but some of them still stand out a bit if you know what to look for (like the black outlines still in places).
Glowy! Not sure this made it into the game...I think we took out the Sweep spell but I have no idea. I actually made this up for a different spell effect and we decided it looked "Sweep"y I think. Honestly though, I just wanted to try making an effect like this...like I say this was my first time doing bigass effects like this, so I was having fun experimenting with different types of them. This was inspired by some wind attack by the chick with the Naginata in Garou: Mark of the Wolves, I think...except theirs is on Neo Geo and doesn't use glowy shit, whereas mine was on DS so it could and I think it makes it look awesome...just adds that extra intensity to it. Those awesome effects in KoF would look a million times better if someone were able to go back and add glows to them, heh...Used a sketchy motion blur on this one instead of just a gaussian one...if you zoom in and look close at the top you can see the blue streaks that glow out from the shape actually slide along the circle edge in a cool flowing motion. This happened purely by chance, based on the way the colors inside the sweep were spinning. It "just happened", heh...I love glows.
How do you make a lightning based spell when you're trapped in a 64x64 box so it can't come from the top of the screen? This is all I could think of, heh...this got pretty ridiculous...I did it in pieces. First the starting "burst up from the ground into a curved streak" part...then the "form a circle and spike straight downward" part...then the "smack the ground with a bursting circle shape" part. I layered the animations so they overlap with their timing (one thing is dissolving while another is doing it's motion, instead of waiting for one to dissolve then the next to happen, it all just flows over itself), then going back and adding the glows and erasing parts of it to get it translucent all over. It looks pretty complicated, but if you break it down, and follow the steps of silhouetting it out and working on dissolving each part individually following the motion, it gets more manageable. Think of it as if the pieces are "tearing" away from eachother all the time. Everything tears away from everything else as it shrinks and dissolves, so there's little trails attatching all the pieces to eachother and then that trail breaks off as the piece fades and shrinks. Think of how when you stretch gum it gets thinner and thinner in the middle, I guess.
That's about it...any questions or anything, toss 'em here and I'll answer best I can. There are a lot of little problems I see in these, and probably you guys will catch, but I chalk most of it up to just a severe time limit. I'd rather have 10 really solid characters than 20 semi-solid ones, but then I'm an artist, haha I learned a TON of stuff on this project, got a massive handle on selout...Selout and I are like one now. Got a ton of practice animating shadows on cloth and making it flow and ripple and stuff...got to try my hand at making detailed spell effects (they really don't take as long as they look like they would, give it a go, I got pretty fast with it by the end of the project), and experiment with glow effects...
...but MAN am I glad that project is over, haha it was a long year.