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A tool providing a new generation of bulky one-click normal maps from 2D sprites like pixel art for dynamic lighting effects in games.
A tool providing a new generation of bulky one-click normal maps from 2D sprites like pixel art for dynamic lighting effects in games.
467 backers pledged $16,255 to help bring this project to life.

Final stretch goal smashed!

Posted by Dennis Faas (Creator)

Shortly after the 300th backer of the project made his pledge, the final stretch goal of Sprite DLight has been reached.
I really can't believe the great success of this campaign and I would like to thank you guys again for all the financial support, all the valuable feedback, active cooperation and encouraging words, and the sharing of links, pictures and messages that helped to make Sprite DLight known to so many people.

To show a bit more of what this stretch goal brings, I have prepared another example, based on a sprite you might already know from the project page, of course created by the wonderful AlbertoV .

Original sprite "Bodyguard", ©2010-2014 AlbertoV (DYA Games)
Original sprite "Bodyguard", ©2010-2014 AlbertoV (DYA Games)

Step by step:

1. Generate a normal map with Sprite DLight from the original sprite

2. Let the tool calculate four light maps for the cardinal directions and export them

3. Open the light maps in your favorite image editor and paint directly on the shading

4. Combine the light maps to a new normal map

In this example, I did some quick & dirty corrections to the sunglasses, because they turned out concave in the generated normal map. 
The jacket also needed some adjustments, as the underlying shirt popped out too much, and I removed most of the shading on the flame of the lighter. 

Normal maps and light maps generated for the sprite "Bodyguard", ©2010-2014 AlbertoV (DYA Games)
Normal maps and light maps generated for the sprite "Bodyguard", ©2010-2014 AlbertoV (DYA Games)

For a better visibility of the corrections, particularly for the sunglasses, the lighting preview has been rendered without the original sprite.
The areas of interest are the sunglasses, the wrist of the character's left arm, and the flame of the lighter.


lighting preview of the automatically generated normal map of Sprite DLight
lighting preview of the automatically generated normal map of Sprite DLight


lighting preview of the manually corrected normal maps
lighting preview of the manually corrected normal maps

What now?

I have been asked if there will be some more stretch goals.
At this time, I have no such plans, as I would like to focus on the first beta build, to get it out as soon as possible.
There are some additional things to do, like drag & drop functionality, clipboard support and an option to save multiple profiles of settings for the map generation and the lighting preview colors.
I plan to implement all that, and I won't "sell" these features as an additional stretch goal.
However, I am open to suggestions, if you have a great idea for an additional feature, just let me know via the "Contact" button or in the comments of this update.

So, the project is funded, including all stretch goals, which makes the Thunderclap kind of obsolete.
It is still overwhelming how much love the project gets from so many people.

Thank you for helping me to create this tool with all the additional features.

Have a nice weekend!




Frederic Markus, Ray Delia, and 2 more people like this update.


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    1. Missing avatar

      Francisco Vega on

      We are not working with the normal maps but we work directly with those "shading maps", and we create a normal map from it. But as far as I can see, the resulting normal map is pretty much the same we are getting. So at least we know this works pretty fine. Thanks.

    2. Dennis Faas 2-time creator on

      After fixing some nasty things with the light map generation, I tried your light maps with Sprite DLight.
      Merging them resulted in this normal map:

      And the other way round, the light maps generated from that normal map look like this:

      So, you are actually not working with normal maps, right?
      The light maps generated by Sprite DLight contain both light and shadows, so the term may be misleading and they should be called shading maps or something similar instead.
      The light maps you posted apparently only contain the light part, as the neutral color, which you would expect in areas like the center of the torso, is pretty much black.
      If this is really what you are after, you could simply adjust the histogram of Sprite DLight's light maps and set the input minimum brightness to something like 112 or 128, instead of 0, which darkens out the neutral areas and leaves you with only the lighter parts.
      Implementing this directly for Sprite DLight would be possible, but I don't think many users could make use of this, and having too many rarely used options just causes confusion, so I think the best solution would be a simple macro for the image editor you are using.

    3. Missing avatar

      Francisco Vega on

      I know how useful the control feature is. We are working directly with the lightmaps. But as I can see, the pictures obtained through the tool are different than ours. In our case the contrast is much more different.
      Check out:
      Is this result possible with the tool? Our art direction uses this kind of lightning, which boosts the lights and shadows contrast when the lights are closer to the game layer.

    4. frederic tarabout on

      Ahhh that is awesome! Thanks for the clarification :)

    5. Dennis Faas 2-time creator on

      Thank you :)

      The artistic control feature allows you to export the generated normal map as four light maps, containing the shading from the cardinal directions.
      This way, you can easily edit the shadows and highlights in any image editor, which is much more convenient than painting in the colors of the normal map or adjusting a depth map by hand.
      The four light maps can then be combined to a normal map again in the tool.
      The algorithm is pretty forgiving, so you don't have to paint everything too precisely to get a decent result.

    6. frederic tarabout on

      I'm not sure to understand how the artistic control element adds. Is it mostly adding a function to reimport edited normal maps in Dlight or is it some better ways to paint over normal maps ?

      Congratz on the goals!

    7. Matthew Donatelli on

      Congrats Dennis! I'm eagerly awaiting the release of your beta version tools!