Graphic guidelines

This page lists all the rules to create graphic for EvolOnline in a consistent way.

File formats

The official file format for graphics in Evol is the PNG format. This is valid for all graphics: player sprite-sheet, environment tile-sets, graphic effects, wallpaper and others.

Overview of PNG "ping" Format

All graphics for loading as client data must be in this format, even if the client can load other formats. PNG is a lossless export format supporting 32-bit RGBa, 16-bit Indexed, gray-scale, and 1-bit black-and-white modes. Note: Export your images as RGBa; otherwise the client has to convert it: Use palettes, but avoid indexed mode. Because it is lossless, the less detail in the image; the smaller the file’s size. An area of 1 color is easier to compress than “grainy” areas.

When your picture is ready to be used by the client, export using compression level 6 at maximum. Item icons often don’t need any compression. The image will load faster if it uses less compression. The update server sends clients ZIP archives anyhow.

Overview of XCF Format

An XCF is a project file used by the GIMP and any other editor offering the format as an option. When you can not finish an image in one session, save to the project-file format and return to it later. When your image has a combination of layers demonstrating more than one image to export, XCF is better than exporting every possible variation, as it allows someone to choose how to combine and export only what they need. An example of that is in tmw_art repository under Fother_J’s directory, in the bottle file. Should he have exported the “captive Pinkie”, a “captive Maggot”, or an empty bottle? You open it and decide which to export.

If your project file is not XCF, check that it can be opened in the GIMP. We dislike formats that are exclusive to some special editor. GIMP can open PSD files, but, since it is exclusive to its native editor, the GIMP may not be able to open future versions of the format. If your advanced raster graphic editing program can not export to XCF, it is probably an evil EULA program no one should use, let alone be forced to use.

The GIMP is an excellent tool. XCF can be implemented in any application that chooses to offer it. There are even command-line tools for those who need to do a frequent task where opening a large application each time would be wasteful.

Before transferring an XCF file, use bzip2 or gzip on it. Gimp can read and write .xcf.gz and .xcf.bz2.

When archiving to an optical file-system or flash memory where 8.3 style naming is conventional; group it in with an archive format such as TAR or ZIP.

(TAR is a legacy standard archive format that can be thought of like a CD-ISO for magnetic tape reels. It can be combined with any (single-file) compression format and renamed to a conventional 3 letter filename extension such as TGZ for tar.gz. TAR will remember the full file name, time-stamp, path, and permission bits while on a CD or USB where such information is otherwise discarded.)

Color Profile

No color profile should be attached to any content. GIMP automatically exports the Exif profile if you use any version greater than the 2.9.x, think to uncheck these data in the “advanced” menu of the “Export Image as PNG”.

Color palettes

One of the main aspect artists have to focus on in order to add new graphics to Evol without breaking style consistency is to make use of the same color palettes adopted by other artists for the same material.

Exeption: for some specific details or if strictly needed to achieve a specific effect, artist can use colors outside from the palette.

When creating new art or editing an existing one, usage of palettes for the following materials is mandatory. To correctly download the palette, click with the Right Mouse Button on the link and select Save Link As.. entry:

  • Metal Bronze: (N/A) [graphics/items/equipment/chest/copperarmor.png bronze is a dark color that becomes green with tarnish.]
  • Metal Gold: (N/A) [remember that gold is not yellow and has more than 1 hue.]
  • Metal Iron: Metal_Iron.gpl
  • Metal Silver: (N/A) [Silver does not rust and is very shiny, unlike iron]

Palette in GIMP

During the creation of EvolOnline graphics, the artist should always have the palette window opened in order to quickly choose colors from the available materials. To import and correctly use the palette in GIMP please follow steps below:

  1. Link client-data/palette.gpl to your palettes dir in gimp local config dir. do not copy-paste use ln -s (or mklink in msw?)
  2. In GIMP select Windows > Dockable Dialogs > Palettes from the main menu to show the Palette dockable window
  3. Click with the Right Mouse Button inside the Palette window and choose Import Palette..
  4. Select the Palette File option and choose the downloaded *.gpl file
  5. The new palette is now listed in the docked window. The entry is composed by a little image of the palette, a text with the name and number of colors in brackets
  6. Double-click on the little image of the palette to show the colors window

Set up symlinks from client-data palette file to the configuration directory, the file changes often, do not copy-paste it every time there is a change. make gimp follow a symlink to client-data/palette.gpl

ManaPlus requires palettes.gpl to have a unique name for each color, the names are then used for dying sprites in XML files (only the dye system needs colors to have unique labels in the palettes file)

When you make gfx for Evol, it saves us time picking colors from your image if you could upload the palette file or an image of the colors you chose for your work. Though the color picking helps inform of how the color was used.

Use only 4 to 6 colors per material. mix dots together to create illusion of shades and texture.