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Pixel Icon Tutorial in Paint Tool SAI by Sludgy Pixel Icon Tutorial in Paint Tool SAI by Sludgy
*EDIT - Made some grammatical corrections, but there may be more mistakes*

I would loooove to see the pixel icons you make from this tutorial so please link them to me in the comments if you have them in your gallery. Or just comment so I can see your icon in use :D Good luck!

Please +fav this tutorial if you use it, I would greatly appreciate it.
If you want me to make you a pixel icon I do have open point commissions at the moment. Please comment or note me if you're interested, prices may vary depending on what you want.

Other pixel icons by me:


Byrd (the wolf character shown in this tutorial) belongs to ~Reeftalon123 so please do not copy this character when making your own icon. This is meant only as an example and should not be taken as your own. Please respect the content of this tutorial.


Byrd and Reference image (c) :iconreeftalon123:
Art and Tutorial (c) :iconsludgy:
Do not trace, steal, copy, or claim this tutorial is your own.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconlove06644:
I love how you made the instructions easy to understand and easy to read.
For the pixel ed work ill say a great job with both the detail and the amount of work.
Thank you for the guide which not only helped me but helped others which was wonderful!Also i like how for each step has tons of detail plus is with pictures which makes it easier to understand!I wish it could have been in video form but this is great on how it is.Good job!Also i hope tons of people have great ideas inspired by your works!
For vision i put all stars
Origiality all 5 stars
Technique very high
Impact i out it on all 5 stars too
Great job
X3
What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
38 out of 39 deviants thought this was fair.

The Artist has requested Critique on this Artwork

Please sign up or login to post a critique.

:iconlily-seas:
Lily-Seas Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2015
Are you able to make an avatar on IPad?
Reply
:iconblackstripesrock:
Blackstripesrock Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
This is really helpful :D. Does gifmake work by any chance. I don't have photoshop 
Reply
:iconphyscowolfie:
Physcowolfie Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah <3 thanks so much :D I couldn't manage to find the canvas resolution/size settings for pixels anywhere! not to mention mine had turned out worse than I planned due to me resizing it without changing the resolution and such! haha
Reply
:iconsilverkitten757:
SilverKitten757 Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Help! When I try to make the picture 50/50 the picture doesn't change with it! WHADDOIDOOOO
Reply
:iconsilverkitten757:
SilverKitten757 Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
whoops nvm but it looks blurry and weird 
Reply
:icondragongirl1213:
DragonGirl1213 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2014
This tutorial is amazing! It really helped me! Thank you for making this awesomeness ^^
Reply
:iconthemysticalbreeze:
TheMysticalBreeze Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I don't have the binery brush tool :(
I have the full version on SAI I didn't crack it or anything I brought it
Is there anything else that will work?
Reply
:iconsludgy:
Sludgy Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hi there, I'm sorry to hear you're having trouble with the Binary Brush in SAI. There are a few things I would recommend to you... First of all make sure it's really missing, I'm only saying this in the off-chance that you haven't scrolled down through your pre-set brushes to find it. If you can't find it there, here is a handy link to another Deviant's page that I've found: iris-hime.deviantart.com/art/S… which allows you to download the brushes and a few instructions. The instructions for putting the brushes into SAI are in the downloadable file (along with the brushes). This link says that if you have the full version of SAI you should have all these brushes, but maybe this will help you in case something didn't install right the first time. I really hope this helps, let me know how you go :D
Reply
:iconthemysticalbreeze:
TheMysticalBreeze Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Never mind I have found out it is now called the legacy pen
Reply
:icon001devil:
001devil Featured By Owner May 26, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
lovely tutorial..^^...helped a lot
Check mine XD 
fav.me/d7jt8pw
Reply
:iconsludgy:
Sludgy Featured By Owner May 27, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much, I'm so glad!
Your icon is spectacular. I particularly love the shading and lighting you did on your character, it really makes the pixel art 'pop'! Well done on the eye animation as well... Out of curiosity did you use a program to make the gif, or an online tool instead?
Reply
:icon001devil:
001devil Featured By Owner May 27, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thank u so much *-* it was my first trial

i used this
www.picasion.com/

i found this in comments XDD
Reply
:iconsludgy:
Sludgy Featured By Owner May 28, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You did great for your first try :D

Oh you used the site I provided in my previous comments? I'm glad it worked for you, that means that it probably worked for the person I was advising it to at that time. Thanks for letting me know.
Reply
:icon001devil:
001devil Featured By Owner May 28, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thanku so much....^^

 yup no prb ^^
Reply
:iconharuka-takashi:
Haruka-Takashi Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
this great and all but when i try resizing the canvas, sai just cuts the canvas and shows the 50x50 in the middle instead
Reply
:iconsludgy:
Sludgy Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah, that's not good.

Is it possible that you are selecting the "Canvas Size" option under the Canvas drop-down menu? If you are, please try using the "Canvas Resolution" option instead, and enter 50 into the first field of the new dialogue box -the field underneath it should change to 50 as well if the Constrain Proportion box is checked. I hope this helps!
Reply
:iconharuka-takashi:
Haruka-Takashi Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ah~ yes that did it!! THANK YOU SO MUCH for this awesome tutorial!!!!!!!!!
Reply
:iconsludgy:
Sludgy Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Phew, glad to hear it worked :D
NO PROBLEM!! I'm always happy to help if you have any more questions. I made this tutorial over a year ago, so I probably know a bit more now than I did then.
Reply
:iconharuka-takashi:
Haruka-Takashi Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
haha thankyou once again~
Reply
:iconsilverwindcafe:
silverwindcafe Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
this didn't work for me :(
Reply
:iconsludgy:
Sludgy Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm sorry to hear that. Could you link/note me your work or describe what part of the process(es) didn't work for you? Perhaps I can advise a solution to make this work for you if you wanted? It would also be great to get feedback on why this tutorial didn't work so I can improve it in the future (I made this over a year ago so I probably know more now than I did back then).
Reply
:iconsilverwindcafe:
silverwindcafe Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
thanks for going to try to help us but we got it somehow and we don't know how...anyways thanks again  ~trixie
Reply
:iconsludgy:
Sludgy Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ok, thanks for letting me know that everything worked out in the end ;)
If you ever need anything explained in more detail about how to make pixel icons in PT SAI, please feel free to send me a note!~
Reply
:iconcaii-j0ck-pi3rr3:
CaIi-J0ck-Pi3rr3 Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Ok so under Binary Brush in Sai- the min size bar is faded so I can't do anything with out- how do I change that?
Reply
:iconsludgy:
Sludgy Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hi there, thanks for the comment. 

The only reason it would be faded is if there is something different in your Advanced Settings for the Binary Brush:

1. Select the Binary Brush in SAI
2. Tick the box for Advanced Settings (this should be just underneath the Size, Min Size and Opacity controls)
3. Make sure Algorithm drop down box is set to Accurate, not Coarse. Keep the rest of the settings the same (Color Picker: Normal. Hard <-> Soft 100. Press [box] ticked for Size)
4. You can close the Advanced Setting box now. Hopefully your Min Size control will not be greyed out any more.

Please tell me if this worked or did not work. If you are still having trouble I will investigate another solution for you.

Reply
:iconlove06644:
Love06644 Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Very good!
Reply
:iconsludgy:
Sludgy Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you very much! And I love the critique you made on my tutorial here, I have written a comment back on the critique. Thank you for taking the time to look at my deviation and give me your thoughts on it. I need to get back into doing my art and helping people with theirs, I've ventured away from it lately but now I'm starting to miss doing it on Deviant Art.
Reply
:iconlove06644:
Love06644 Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ok Im glad  
>///<
Reply
:iconyal1606:
YAL1606 Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2013  Student
What is Binary brush?? Do I have to downlord it???
Is Binary brush is same as pencil brush??
Reply
:iconsludgy:
Sludgy Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hi there, sorry for the late reply :P I hardly come on here due to study commitments. My version of SAI had the Binary brush pre-loaded into it. Hmmm I actually don't have the pencil brush in my version (I have a pen brush?) but test it out and see if it give you a pixel effect. If not this may require some additional research - are you sure you're using the Paint Tool SAI program? I know my response is several weeks late, perhaps you found a solution?
Reply
:iconzorrifox:
ZorriFox Featured By Owner May 28, 2013  Student General Artist
very cool!!! thanx you so much!! but, for animated icon, what can i use??
Reply
:iconsludgy:
Sludgy Featured By Owner May 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You are very welcome! I'm happy a lot of people are benefiting from this tutorial :dummy:

I mentioned the process of how I make an animated icons in a comment below, and after doing a quick Google search there are a few free programs that can string the images together to make a gif animation: Photoscape and Paint.net are 2 I found while looking on Yahoo Answers, but I have never used them so I have no idea how to use it.

Actually there is a really simple and easy to use online feature at a website here: [link] that will let you upload separate images (one for each aspect of movement) and create the gif that way. I really recommend you try this first as it seems much quicker and simpler than downloading a free program and trying to figure out if it can do what you need. You will have to click "advanced" settings and set the size to 50 as that is the only size Deviant Art accepts for animated gif icons. I really think I'll make a tutorial for this later using this website, it would certainly help lots of people now that I'm being asked about this more and more.
Reply
:iconzorrifox:
ZorriFox Featured By Owner May 28, 2013  Student General Artist
Thank you very much for your help! :D, my avatar I did in pixel: [link]
and the animation at: [link]
but I did not like as it was very slow
Reply
:iconsludgy:
Sludgy Featured By Owner May 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
On that gif animating site i believe there is a drop down box that can change speed. Unfortunately with the links you sent me I can't actually see what you've done, perhaps you can save them and upload them onto deviant art? I would love to see them :D
Reply
:iconzorrifox:
ZorriFox Featured By Owner May 28, 2013  Student General Artist
Oh yes, I've done several animations, and I have in my gallery ;), look: [link] :)
Reply
:iconsludgy:
Sludgy Featured By Owner May 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Very nice ;D
Reply
:iconzorrifox:
ZorriFox Featured By Owner May 28, 2013  Student General Artist
thanx! :iconsocuteplz:
Reply
:iconxraineynight713x:
xraineynight713x Featured By Owner May 22, 2013
This is very helpful, and all of your icons look really nice! <3 Thanks for uploading!
Reply
:iconsludgy:
Sludgy Featured By Owner May 22, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much, I'm glad you found this helpful. This is my first tutorial so I hope I worded everything right :D. I really appreciate your comment, it makes me feel that doing this tut was worth it :dummy:
Reply
:iconxraineynight713x:
xraineynight713x Featured By Owner May 23, 2013
Aaah, yes, it's excellent! You did a wonderful job with it (especially since it's your first one!), can't wait for any others you may do! ^u^
Reply
:iconsludgy:
Sludgy Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much :icontearplz:
Reply
:iconxraineynight713x:
xraineynight713x Featured By Owner May 24, 2013
Definitely no problem! :)
Reply
:iconsoupninja88:
soupninja88 Featured By Owner May 22, 2013  Student Artist
How do you animate icons? What programme would you use (could you use sai??)
Reply
:iconsludgy:
Sludgy Featured By Owner May 22, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Unfortunately you cannot do animation in SAI, I would love it if you could tho. What I do for icon animations is save each frame as a separate png or jpg - to use my current icon as an example I saved 3 different images; eyes to the left, then centred, then to the right.

I then go into adobe photoshop cs5 (flash would also work) and go to the "window" menu and select "Animation" from the drop down menu. I'm not sure if photoshop elements would have this feature. I then move all the separate frame images into the one file and turn the visiblity off on all except the one i want as the first starting image. Then down in the new window the first frame should be the first image you want the anmation to start with. Then there will be a button to add a new frame in the animation window and for this one you show the visibility of the second frame in the layers window - the animation layer will remember what you've done and the first fame will stay the same if that makes sense. Then you add the next one until you have no more new images that you saved previously, but don't forget to add a few of the same frames after the end to make it loop around. Press play to see what it looks like and change the speed if needed.

Once you're happy and want to save it go to file and choose "save for web and devices" and close .gif if its not already selected. The default options in here usually suit me for icons so I leave them as is. Just save and it's all done! To view the gif you will have to right click and open it in a web browser instead of your computers media viewer or it won't show it animating.

Also note that deviant art only accepts 50x50 px gif files so if it bigger it won't be usable on this website until you edit it or something ;) wow sorry for that really long-winded explanation :P maybe I'll make another tutorial for animating icons. In the mean time I'll try to find a free open-source program that can do the same thing if you don't have photoshop
Reply
:iconsoupninja88:
soupninja88 Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Student Artist
Wow that helped soo much
Reply
:iconsludgy:
Sludgy Featured By Owner May 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're welcome :D
Reply
:iconharmoniadarron:
HarmoniaDarron Featured By Owner May 12, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
When I get a art program, I shall defiantly use this! :D

These are just so adorable!!
Reply
:iconsludgy:
Sludgy Featured By Owner May 12, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yay! What art program are you using at the moment?
Reply
:iconharmoniadarron:
HarmoniaDarron Featured By Owner May 13, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I have an iPad only right now and I use a free drawing app called SketchBook :D
Reply
:iconsludgy:
Sludgy Featured By Owner May 13, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No computer? ahhh well don't worry about it, you know I think I might have that app too lol!
Reply
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