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Home » , » Aseprite is an open source program to create animated sprites & pixel: Sprite structure.

Aseprite is an open source program to create animated sprites & pixel: Sprite structure.

Animations and visual effects are nowadays used to enhance nearly every form of multimedia, including video games. These are created by combining multiple images and effects, with an abundance of applications at your disposal.

Aseprite is one of them and offers a different approach on image editing and creating short animations.

Intuitive design makes it easy to use.

If you're nostalgic about the past era of pixel graphics and effects, you might just find this to be a suitable environment.

This is not only because of the application's aim to create such sprites, but the interface is fully designed this way as well. Although you get the impression of an old video game, with icons and tools being a little difficult to identify, accommodation is no problem at all.

Clever file support and drawing tools.

The result is either an enhanced picture or short animation to use in your project, but until you get there some effort needs to be invested.


Sprite structure.

In Aseprite a document/file/sprite has the following properties:

  1. It has a size in pixels (width and height).
  2. It has a color mode, which tell you how many colors the image can handle. All images in the sprite are in one specific mode, you cannot mix RGB images with Indexed images in the same sprite.
  3. It contains a set of layers. You can see them in the Timeline. The most important concept here is that there are two kind of layers: the background layer for opaque sprites, and transparen layers. A sprite can contain only one background layer, but several transparent layers.
  4. It contains animation frames. Each frame has a duration, i.e. how many milliseconds the frame must be on screen when the animation is being played.
  5. Each layer/frame intersection is called cel, and contains the image where you finally can paint.

The timeline show you the whole structure of the sprite like a grid. Rows are layers and columns are frames, each little cell of the matrix is a cel:

Cels MatrixSprite Size.

The sprite size is specified when you create a new sprite from File > New menu. But you can change it in several ways. You can change:

Canvas Size.

    The canvas is the visible area of the sprite. You can change the canvas size using Sprite > Canvas Size... menu.

    Canvas Preview

    In this window you can change the Width or Height manually, or using the blue rules in the editor window.


    You can change the canvas size using the current selection bounds:

    Crop PreviewTrim.

    You can remove transparent borders from canvas automatically using the Sprite > Trim menu.

    Trim Preview


    You can resize your sprite using Edit > Sprite Size menu option.


Also you can use the Command Line Interface for the same purpose.

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