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Converting photos to sprites

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I've been experimenting with sprite creation from photos, specifically for weapons, inspired by the original workflow of Doom. However, finding the right color palette conversion algorithm has been tricky. Dithering is applied, or color gets lost in the way, and it looks like crap. How were the original sprites done? Is there a color LUT I can apply so when palletizing it fits the Doom aesthetic a bit better?

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I've done some experiments with this - the best route I've found is to start by converting the image to greyscale, then colourising individual bits of it to fit the Doom palette. (Slade is pretty useful for this, but you can also create a bunch of limited index palettes in photoshop if it's quicker.) Trying to naively convert a truecolour image to the Doom palette always results in horrible broken colours in my experience - the Doom palette is so very specific and lacks huge sections of the colour wheel.

 

Considering the original workflow: Adrian Carmack's monster models for the Doom 1 monsters were unpainted grey clay, scanned and then colourised using their own proprietary tools, and the raw scanned images we've got to see from the process are amazingly close to the finished sprites. Gregor Punchatz' Doom 2 monsters - which were much more detailed and colourful - required a huge amount more pixel cleanup and recolourisation.

 

My takeaway is: It's just not really worth trying to convert truecolour images to the Doom palette automatically - it's much easier - and gets better results - to start with greyscale, then colourise based on the palette.

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20 minutes ago, Nootrac4571 said:

My takeaway is: It's just not really worth trying to convert truecolour images to the Doom palette automatically - it's much easier - and gets better results - to start with greyscale, then colourise based on the palette.

 

I agree with this, and feel this is the way to go for best results. Of course one can try palette conversions but I find so much time is spent with manual fix-ups and touch-ups that it rarely justifies the effort.

 

I use a fixed palette in GIMP for the manual edits, in case that is helpful.

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As someone who's done quite a bit of photo source conversions for the Doom palette, I concur with @Nootrac4571. That said, there's some more advanced approaches you could try if you've got Photoshop. I made a video explaining this:

 

 

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58 minutes ago, ukiro said:

That said, there's some more advanced approaches you could try if you've got Photoshop.

 

Oh my gosh, that's an incredibly useful workflow method! Thanks!

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On 8/3/2021 at 2:01 PM, ukiro said:

As someone who's done quite a bit of photo source conversions for the Doom palette […] I made a video explaining this:


:v

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