Sprite Pallete Swap Guide
A simple, easy to follow guide on swapping/changing the palettes of two video game sprites.
Palette swapping is a form of re-colouring a sprite. It’s when you take the colors of one sprite and put them on another. In this guide I’ll show you how to do just that, using two Pokémon – Bulbasaur and Squirtle.
First thing: Get the two sprites that you want to palettes-swap, and open them in MS Paint. You can find a lot of sprites from many video games here. For this tutorial I’m going to use a Bulbasaur and a Squirtle. Place them close together in Paint and zoom in 8x with the Magnifying Glass tool.
Next up, selecting the colours. Using the dropper tool, left click on the lightest shade of the color that you want to replace; for example, I have left clicked the lightest shade of green on the Bulbasaur.
Then, using the dropper tool again, right click the color that you want to replace it with; for example, I have right clicked the lightest shade of blue on the Squirtle.
Now, select the eraser tool. This is the key to easy palette swapping. Paint has a nice little feature that is: When you right click with the eraser selected, it replaces only the left-clicked color with the right-clicked one, nothing else. Using this and the colours previously selected, right click and drag the eraser all over your first sprite, making sure to do the whole sprite. The result should look something like this:
Now rinse and repeat with the darker shades. Use the dropper tool to select the shade of color that is one shade below the lightest, which is usually right next to the lightest shade. Remember to left click the one you want to change, and right click the one you want to change it into.
Then you’re using the eraser tool trick again to change the colour. Just like step 3, right click and drag your eraser all over the whole sprite. Afterwards, you should get something like this:
Continue to swap every shade of that colour. As you can see on my Bulbasaur, there’s no green left on it’s bulb.
Now that you’ve done all of the first colour, move on to the next! Some sprites only have a single colour (like the Pokémon Ditto), so you won’t always have to swap another one. Doing the same as before, use the dropper tool to select the colours and the eraser to change them.
If you want, you can switch around and do the other sprite! Like before, use the dropper to pick the colours and the eraser to change them. The final sprites should look something like this:
And that’s all the basics that you need to know to swap sprite palettes!