How to make an animated GIF with 8-Bit Characters: Part 1: Design

How to make an animated GIF with 8-Bit Characters: Part 1: Design

Did you ever yearn to make an animated GIF, of 8-BIT characters, aimed at chopping each other?
Trust me, it’s such a handy job, and easy to create characters of your choice.
Well, that’s not sophisticated at all. My tutorial will take you to another level where you will create vectorised 8-BIT characters, that is to be used for creating an animated GIF.
The vector source file is also attached, so you could make one for your own animation creation.
So, let’s get started.
1.Setting up a document in illustrator.
The first step is to open the Illustrator.
Create a new document. (No matter what the size of the document is, because the vectors could be adjusted according to the needs). Since, the default 8.5 x 11 dimensions are absolutely ok.

2. Turning the Grid on.
The next step is to turn the Grid on. You can turn it on by two ways.
Either click on the VIEW menu and select the SHOW GRID option.
Or just hold the shift+Ctrl+ keys for a shortcut mode.
The grid helps as a guide for the pixels you will use while making the characters, or background, or even other items of GIF.
You can click on the “Snap To Grid option”. This helps in moving the pixel on the grid, not by lining them by hand as they may cause the wastage of time.

3.Squares creation (to be used for creation of characters).
Now it’s the time to work on vector 8-BIT characters.
You need to make a square that would be of the same size of the squares of the Grid. This single square will then serve as a single pixel which would be copied to make all the objects of the 8-BIT environment. Since, use the square tool and that is quite easy after we have a Snap to Grid option.

4. Create the dream on the grid.
Sketching or winging the characters is the two straightforward ways to bring your dream characters into life, on the grid.
For clarity while guiding you, I am just winging the characters from Final Fantasy. This is the point where we can’t waste much time. Work with one colour at the moment to move the pixel around quickly, so that the character is created efficiently.
The more fast way is to select the desired pixel, hold the key of ALT and then press the arrow in the direction, in which you want the pixel to set off. This will copy the pixel and move that copy in any direction you desire.

5. Color the characters
After you did the outlining the character, you will jump to the step of bringing them to life with adding the colors. Use the mouse to place the colors in the pixel. While choosing colors, always be mindful about using the authentic palate that portrays a true 8-BIT game. If it sounds helpful, you can put one pixel of each color, next to the character, since we preserve it for later use. It can be used easily latter when creating the 8-bit world you are planning to create.
And yes! How can you forget creating a weapon for your character?

6. Creating the other characters.
After you are done with the lead character, go for others as well. Like I made rivals. After all, our character needs someone to fight with. Don’t he?

7. Create your environment
Now it’s the time to create a surrounding environment. Some people find it tricky. But in retro games, there is a single block that is repeated across the screen.
Like i have used the trees and to make it even much realistic and adding depth to it, I have used the green and brown colors. Later, I used the HORIZONTAL DISTRIBUTE CENTER tool to distribute this tress in the background. They look uniform now.
I have also created a dirt road to place my characters on. If you want to block the larger background areas, it is easier to create these larger color sections, by using Square Tool.

8. Creating the more objects.
Yu will also want your character to interact with the other elements in the surrounding as well. For this purpose, I have created some other things such as mushrooms, torches and boxes as well. By creating these things, I have made a free vector pack.
Now work on an animated GIF and bring your characters to life.


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