Upgrade Graphics for ANY NES Game

Author:

NES Game Fan

Keywords:

Gaming,Photoshop,Zelda,The Legend of Zelda,NES,Nintendo Entertrainment System,Metroid: Rogue Dawn,Emulation,Mesen,Retro Gaming,Video Games,Graphic Design,Link to the Past

Subtitles:
what's up everyone we're gonna do one more tutorial on the Mason emulator and even though I've covered it quite a bit in some of my previous videos I wanted to do at least one more tutorial because there's a really cool feature that can be used for any game and it's replacing the graphics in one of the previous videos I went through the process to replace graphics for Metroid HD this new process I'm going to follow is a little more generalizing than can be used to for any game and the reason I wanted to do this is because I know there's a lot of talented artists out there that might not necessarily be programmers and in order to do this you actually don't need to be a programmer so it's it's a really cool opportunity for some artists out there to make some upgraded graphics for really any game out there in this case we're gonna do The Legend of Zelda partly because it's it's popular and also as far as I know no HD pack for it exists yet and so to begin first download it install the Mason emulator if you're not sure how to do that I can link I can provide a link in the description below of how to do that and that's the process I use for metroid HD and it can be used for this as well and is once you have Mason installed you can get it up and running and start recording graphics and editing those and that's what we're gonna get into now so we're gonna start Mason here we're gonna go to file open and open any ROM you have that you want to edit in this case again The Legend of Zelda and we're just gonna get it started to the point in the game where I have the sword so I'm just gonna grab that first and you'll see why in a minute go back down here okay and I'm also gonna need the sound so you can hear me a little bit better okay so the way that the pack works is that it starts the emulator records graphics that are happening in real time so from a big picture what you have to do is really play through an entire game and try to make every sprite appear on the screen and then the emulator will output those as PNG files which you can edit and the emulator will use those later and that really comprises the full HD pack in this case we're just gonna do a really small amount and I'll show you how that works first you go to tools and HD pack builder and right here all the options you have there's there's not a ton and really picking the best options comes down to a process of trial and error I've done this once before for Zelda so I know what the really the what seemed to be the best settings at least for editing the Linc sprite which is what we're gonna do I usually just leave this here for now you can try different values if you're not happy with how things are showing we're gonna keep this checked we're gonna uncheck this and check this one here again this is something that's trial and error it'll likely be different as far as the best results depending on the game so just try some different settings if what's coming out is a little bit confusing to you and before I actually hit record there's one thing one additional thing I want to mention it's the the scale and there's a whole lot of options Mason can output files as much as you know pretty high you know ten times the resolution of an NES game and honestly I don't really recommend that because it starts to look a little weird because the movements are still going to be like an NES game and personal taste I tend to prefer the 1x or 2x options that's when there's not you know a huge disconnect between how many frames are in an animation for a sprite and what the resolution is but again that's something that comes down to personal taste in this tutorial we're going to try just a simple 2 X or the resolution so we're gonna hit start recording okay you can see it already recorded a couple things right here okay and we're just gonna move around a little bit and use the stored a little bit as well okay so we're gonna stop recording and I'm also going to mention that in general what you can do is well in theory you could record the whole game at once but I don't really recommend that because what it outputs that it almost kind of looks like a puzzle and if you record too much at one time it can start to be a little bit overwhelming so I really just tend to recommend taking little bit little bytes record a little bit edit those record a little bit more and keep going through that process and that helps it not to get too overwhelming but again that comes down to a matter of personal taste but for now I think that's good we'll see how it shows up to find out where those PNG files that ik that it had just recorded a minute ago you go to HD fax and you find your game in this case is Zelda and these are all the PNG files that were just recorded now as I mentioned earlier we're gonna edit these in Photoshop so I'm gonna right click this is the one that looks like it has all the Linc sprites so that's the one we're gonna edit fit right click open with Photoshop and again if you want a free option you can try something called GIMP but again we're gonna use Photoshop okay and to look a little bit closer what you can do is just hit ctrl + on your keyboard and you can get a little bit closer look at what you're dealing with now there's a few different ways you can edit the sprites you can start you know using the pencil tool from scratch you could you know take other work from prior entries in the series like Link to the Past and try to scale those and adjust them as needed and it really just comes down to whatever you're most comfortable with and what you think will generate the best results in this case we're going to try looking at some sprites that were already generated online I'm just going to go to Chrome here and I'm just gonna look for links rights I did this once before and let's see if I can find the ones I found earlier it went down they actually these didn't look too bad I think I'm gonna try putting those in the game again you can try any one other ones but I'm kind of partial to these here and so we're gonna try this save as on the desktop okay and another thing I should mention if you go through this process that I'm gonna show you here and take sprites from the internet I would recommend first trying to contact the creator's to see if they're okay with it and if you can't do that at the very least credit them for their work but you know it's kind of a jerky move if if you rip some stuff from the internet then claim it as your own so as a disclaimer I did not create these sprites that are from this website here ZV RPG and I guess I'll have a little plug for them as a thank you for laughs well I guess be using their their work for this tutorial so I'm gonna go find the image I just downloaded in this case I just put up my desktop here and right click open with here like just drag into Photoshop here okay it looks like it's not the right format if I can just save it as yeah we're trying to into downloads this time look see if that worked a little better okay that's better okay so we're just gonna try changing one of these sprites and when you open up multiple files like I just did they appears different tabs on top here and a one other thing I'll mention about Photoshop and I mention it when I want to preview this video is that it operates in layers which you can see here and they're kind of like pieces of paper placed on top of one another so we're just gonna trim what we want here and then place that on the other file we want to edit so to do that we might want to make sure we're on the right layer and also before I proceed you'll notice it says index here I won't go into a ton of detail of what that means but it's it's a good way to save file size but for our purposes we want to change the mode to give us a little bit more freedom with what we want to do so in order to change the mode you go to image mode we're gonna change to RGB color okay and just take my word on that one it'll it'll make things a little bit easier for you so we're gonna want to take a closer look at what we've got here so we're gonna hit ctrl + + on our keyboard we're gonna hit the spacebar until this hand shows up we're gonna hold it down left-click and drag to move closer and I think I'm just going to use this here to replace a couple of these sprites so to select what I want we're gonna hit this marquee tool here this rectangular marquee tool make sure that's highlighted we're gonna left-click drag and release here and then we're gonna hit this crop button and then double click on the inside so that really just centers in and what we want and we're gonna move that over to this other layer here to do that what you do is highlight this layer here right click and say duplicate and we're gonna put it on this zero three file up here ok and okay so that's what it looks like and you'll notice right away so again ctrl + spacebar and move yeah you'll notice right away that it looks like it's too big and so what we're gonna have to do is try to resize it now careful when you're resizing things can get kind of distorted so depending on how you resize that you might have to do some cleanup later so in this case we're gonna see how it turns out when we resize it and see if any cleanups needed but there's a few things we don't we're not gonna need for this portion of the tutorial I'm gonna try to get rid of this sword here so to do that you can get you can use this eraser tool we're gonna click on that we're gonna make sure it's on mode pencil to make sure we have some crisp edges and if it's not the right size you can use this down arrow here to change the size of what we want in this case I'm actually pretty happy with the size we're gonna so we're gonna leave it and so again make sure you're highlighting the right layer I could actually rename this link so I keep track of it this and I'm gonna call this original ok so make sure you're highlighting left click on length and we're just gonna get rid of that sword there we don't need it okay and then so we left click on this marquee tool left click drag and then you can right click on that and hit something called free transform this is the option that's gonna allow us to scale it to whatever size we need okay and before I actually move anything I want to make sure that this interpolation is on nearest-neighbor sometimes it defaults to something else like bilinear or you know by cubic and in some cases that's fine but for these purposes we want nearest-neighbor because it gives us the sharpest edges and for pixel art that's really what we want so then what you do is you hold down the shift key to resize and hit left click on this arrow and you can move it and the reason you're holding down the shift key is to keep the ratios the same and you do that until it's about the right size I actually think that looks about right okay so to finalize everything you can just hit the enter key on your keyboard and that should finalize everything now we're gonna hit ctrl + spacebar to move up and that looks like it's actually probably gonna work pretty well and I'm actually gonna move the shield out of the way so you can do that a couple of different ways I'm actually gonna move move the shield to a new layer so we can move we can work on those independent of one another so to do that you just highlight just the shield and to do that I'm going to use this lasso tool and I'm gonna left click and drag until it's off circled around there and then I'm gonna right-click I'm gonna say layout layer via cut this time I did copy before and you'll notice now I have three layers this top one is now the shield so I'm gonna call the shield okay so to move that out of the way we're just gonna use this move tool up here left click we're gonna move the shield down there so now we're going to move link back into above where the the sprite needs to be so again highlight the links layer and use the Move tool to just move link up now make sure link is centered it looks about right now you'll notice one difference between these two things is the the link that we're using is doesn't appear to be walking like the link in the original file is and so we're just gonna edit some things to make it more look like link is walking so again we're gonna move up just a little bit okay spacebar to move it hope you just down a little bit okay so to actually get a better look of what's behind it you can select this little eyeball here it says indicates layer visibility if you click on that it'll disappear but don't worry the the sprite is still there you just can't see it so if I click on that again it will reappear so I just want to get a better look here and it looks like link is walking as I mentioned his arm is kind of out here and behind him over here and use these feeder doing some walking stuff here so we're just gonna basically try to replicate that and there's again a few different ways you can do that for this I'm going to try just moving some things around so to do that we're gonna go to this marquee to the rectangular marquee tool I'm gonna highlight the boot here yeah and we're gonna right-click and say free transform again and this time instead of grabbing on the corner here we're just gonna grab on the very bottom and move it down one pixel okay we're gonna do the same thing for the other foot right click free transform we're gonna move that up okay try to make it look like link is walking now for the hand I'm going to get rid of the specs we don't see it for the hand we're gonna make it look like this one's a little bit behind link so we're gonna highlight that free transform we're gonna move it in just a little bit here maybe just a little bit up the up one more okay and for this one I think I'm going to try something a little bit different I'm gonna use this pencil tool and if you hold down you have a different a few different options here we've got the brush tool the pencil tool we're going to use the pencil tool because that gets the sharpest edges so again for Pixar's that's what we want and we're gonna make sure it has a diameter of one pixel and for this I'm gonna get in real close I'm going to hit ctrl + + to take some colors and move them what you can do is hit the alt button on your keyboard and you'll see this eyedropper and if you left click you can take the color from an area we're gonna take it from right there left click now if you let go and then left click here that color will appear there so I'm going to do that a few times and again this is just kind of like an art form here just do it until it looks right okay all right that might be okay we're going to zoom out hitting ctrl + minus on the keyboard and if you'll notice there's actually some sprites here I'm pretty sure we're going to have to edit those to make the walking animation look look correct so to do that what you can do is just duplicate what you have up here over to you duplicate what you have here and you move it to here so to do that you make sure you're on the correct layer use the marquee tool select length and a little shortcut if you hit ctrl + alt and then you left click and move your you really just duplicate that exactly so we're gonna move link to right in the middle here it looks about right and we're gonna take links other half we're just gonna highlight that half there move and we're still in the link layer so that's correct we're gonna right-click or if they treat free transform and then we're gonna say right click flip horizontal and then you move it into the correct spot hit Enter okay so that looks about right the next thing we have to do is make sure the shields is in the correct locations so make sure we're on the shield layer here the move arrow and then you left-click and just move the shield to where it needs to be I think it looks about right for it to be there so again you can do with a shortcut is hit ctrl + alt and then drag and that just drags the shield so I think we should be in pretty good shape we just need to get rid of the old sprites behind everything so to do that just move to the original layer here use the marquee tool select the area you want and all you have to do is hit the delete button on your keyboard okay I'm gonna spacebar move it and I'm gonna get rid of this one here to delete okay control - okay I think that's looking good we're gonna see how that works so if you hit file and then save as make sure you save it as a PNG file it's save then we say okay - replacing what's in there so let's look how let's look to see how it turned out - just see how it turned out you have to close out Mason and restart it so we're gonna do that now keep in mind I only replace the the sprites for one area so it's gonna look a little weird when I move around but that's expected so we're gonna start it options video size we're out of 4x okay there we go okay all right that that doesn't look too bad and so basically for all the different air all the different sprites you just repeat that process and rather than just taking the time during the video to do that I'm just gonna use a little shortcut and use some prepared sprite that I have already done and just to show you how it looks if you spend a little bit more time to do that okay okay and I'm just gonna put that so this is a file I prepared previously and I'm just gonna right click on the layer here and duplicate it to what I was just working on again you won't have this because I prepared this beforehand just kind of as a shortcut and so I'm just gonna remove everything and hit file save and just see how it looks again start Mason okay that's not too bad okay so that's the process to actually replace the sprites for a game and you would just repeat that process for all the sprites that you have at this point I'm just gonna stop because my intent was just to show the basics and you can do some more advanced things in Photoshop and to learn Photoshop you know there's a ton of Pro there's a ton of tutorials on YouTube so I'll let you check those out if you're not familiar to program same with GIMP but again there's some really cool results that that can be done and I think there's a lot of unrealized potential for the Mason emulator there's a cool there's a some cool HD packs for Metroid and Castlevania but I feel like you know some people spread the word about just how this process works and how to replace some of these graphics I think you know in time it's possible we could see some really cool stuff but for now I'll say you know I hope you enjoyed this tutorial you found it useful and for now I'll say see ya okay bye

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