With the newest iteration of RPG Maker we got a reworked graphic style which sadly blocks us from using MV generator parts in MZ. Or… Does it? A lot of people on our forums consider this “not doable”, but let's see if that is really true today.
First, let's have a look at the differences and which conversions are possible!
For the general style differences of the sprites I already talked about that here.
To know what works and what not, let us go through all the different bases and have a look at what could be a problem and what works as is:
The head shades are generally different, the MZ one is much larger and has a slightly more frontal view to it than the MV one. This is something that will for sure leave us with need to edit, as placement and size of the items can and will differ.
For the necks though, if I did not add the colored frames, you probably wouldn’t see the difference. The MZ kid has a slightly different shadow on the neck than the MV one, but besides that, no difference. While we might want to adjust color in certain cases, shapewise, this is plug and play!
For the kid, we are again into plug and play territory. Great! But for the male’s arms and female’s arms and legs, we will have to go in and adjust things, MZ and MV just don’t line up there.
Let’s address the elephant in the room: The two unique poses from MZ are not doable without editing work. But the one remaining is - black lines aside - the same for MZ and MV!
While some poses are similar for MZ and MV, nothing is plug and play. A good thing is the consistent head size, so helmets and other just head related items can simply be moved to their new position and work, but anything below the chin will for sure need extra work that requires effort and skill.
So, let us have a look at three different parts and how we can convert them to have them work in MZ!
Maybe I fell in love with those three parts and just want to build a heroine that uses them:
Before I copy them from the MV generator folder to the MZ generator folder, I take note of what the highest numbers in the categories of those parts are:
Since I have some custom eyes already in the folder, 30 is the next number for the eyes for example.
Then I copy all of the parts from the MV folder into a temporary folder (here the face graphic of the eyes)…
… and rename them accordingly, so they take up a new slot behind all my existing MZ parts:
And, in all glory, they show up in my MZ generator now:
There are a lot of issues of course, and a lot of them are due to things we already identified above!
If we open a random fully working eye shape and our off looking one in the same file, we can not only see how far off they are, but also where they should be placed and how much distance between them is needed.
In fact, we can just use that as a guideline, move the layer until one eye lines up with the “guide” and then crop and paste the second so it lines up as well!
Since the default eyes in MZ have black lashes we can also adjust that by utilizing the color curve option.
Now we can erase the guidance layer and export each of the adjusted layers to overwrite their previous versions. By restarting MZ we can see how much of an impact we made.
This already works great, and as we can see in the shot, the clothing part lines up perfectly, as we already found out above. So besides an optional contrast adjustment (if it did look too pale, which did not happen to be the case here), that one needs no further edits.
The hair though… well. We see the naked head since our “overlapping” part of the hair is too small as it was tailored to a different head shape, also the contrast looks pale in comparison.
So we open our head base and the Rear hair face parts to fix this:
First we copy and paste some of the RearHair2 file to the RearHair1 layer to fill up the affected area. Sadly the right side and the face shape still do not really match up, but I found you can at least somewhat adjust that with the whirl and pinch distortion:
If you don’t want to use that with a front hair you might want to try to clean it up a little more or try other ways to adjust the hairline, but as long as a front is involved, this works perfectly.
You now want to adjust the color and the contrast, using the default MZ hair as a guide, in the front you see my before and after for this specific hair. Remember that you can save for example color curve settings as presets, that way you can apply the exact same changes to multiple layers!
And there we go, all face parts work now!
If we look at what the generator already gave us and keep in mind what we already found out above and in the conversion tutorial, we can get a clear roadmap on what we need to do.
All black outlines must go, the clothes do not line up with the arms and the rear hair stands out as oddly bright against the front.
While MZ and MV basically have a very similar color palette for the hair, the MV ones use a lot more of the lighter colors in larger areas, resulting in them looking brighter than the MZ ones with the same colors.
We can address that, turn the black outlines into a new darker color and then overhaul the contrast of the whole piece:
If you struggle to get a good shade for the hair, you can save this piece and color swap the individual colors with the ones I came up with here.
If we do this to the second rear hair file as well and update the parts for the generator, we get a result that already fits in much better!
For the dress, things seem to be a lot more difficult though. The black outlines usually are a matter of seconds to correct, but the arms will be an issue no matter what:
Since the dress is symmetrical, we can save us work though, by identifying which of the frames have to be done - everything else can be flipped.
Here we need to adjust the outline on the blue-framed frames and outline and arm placement for the turquoise framed ones.
2 frames outline recolor, 5 with further edits, that is not that much, right?
So after swapping out the black for the darkest tone in its neighboring color ramps, we need to fix the arms.
And here we zoom in a lot, try to adjust the arm by cropping and pasting the sleeve to match the new position and then use the pen to fill the gaps and the eraser to make sure we can see the whole hand.
And there we go!
Since the placement of the parts of the dress has changed, we need to make a new color mask file. For this we open the old one and copy our new dress onto it. Then we Select everything in the dark green color ramp and bucket fill it with the grayish shade from the original layer, then do the same for the green rim and the orange and then set the background white.
With those quick color swaps we get a perfectly working color file:
After adding it to the generator and restart MZ, the result speaks for itself:
This is virtually the same as TV, though there is no difference in the shape at all. All you need is to make the same color adjustments as you did for the according TV part:
Let’s face it: here is where you can only get good results if you are willing to invest some (head pieces) or even a lot (body) of time.
So if you are only in for NPCs, you might just skip this part. But if you want those parts for SV, buckle your belt and get ready for sinking some time into this.
We start with the easier one: the hair. If your hair is long and overlaps with the arms or body at some places, you will get into more editing work.
So far we apply what we learnt from TV and TVD: the hair (or hat or glasses or…) get the new color palette/outline we used for it there.
Starting out with this…
…we get to a result where the eye is less drawn to a giant light spot on the head.
The placement is very off though.
So we open the hair and the base and start cropping and pasting the back hair to fit the head placement. if we encounter issues with the arms, we might have to adjust the affected frames.
Here for example we need to erase some parts that would cover the hand. The same happened with the arm in the three frames on the upper right. But after that moving and a little erasing, here we go!
For one pose (the 3 frames on the upper right) I had to remove a little.
But after just that, we are good to go!
I personally start with the frames that are easier to do and then tackle the more difficult ones - that way I have a better understanding of the piece once I reach the areas where I have to go in from scratch.
Here are some general tips:
After about 1-4 hours you should be there. (Yes, it can take long. But making the same piece from scratch is A LOT more time consuming).
Now we do the color sheet in the same manner as we did for TV and TVD and are good to go:
This was quite a pain in… well, it was painful, right.
Now let us assume we are aiming for just that character with that dress, then we can go a second route:
We open all the parts we need in Gimp, and in this case we need:
from MV: Rear hair, Base and Clothing
from MZ: the front hair
While the outline and color fixes still will need to be applied this will get you the needed result faster and easier, it will just lead to a SV battler with some alternate poses and will require work on the base.
For the start we select all the black…
and fill it with the darkest MZ skintone. Of course this will also affect the eyes and the rim of the underwear, but we will cover the underwear anyways and for the head we will do something different as well, so this is just what we need.
Now we paste the MZ base over this, and erase the body from each frame and place the head on top of the MV base. This will lead to the exact same expressions and erase the differences in the style of the eyes.
Since MV and MZ use the same battle weapons, this won’t be an issue as well.
For the clothing as of now all we have to do is to adjust the black outlines, as the placing is already good to go with this new base!
The hair needs no retouch yet, as we will adjust in the final recolor, all we have to do now is to move the front hair to positions that match the ones of the base.
After that one is done, all we need to do is to make a final recolor of the whole thing. That is why I did not adjust the rear hair in this version yet.
One frame of our MZ generator built sprite is enough, as long as it is one, where the rear hair file was color corrected (here we would not have to adjust the position though). Because here we can grab all the colors we need for the skin, the eyes and the hair and make it match the generator made TV, TVD and face by simply swapping out the colors we had to the new ones layer by layer.
There we go!
If we compare it to the one we made with the generator where we edited the dress to match the MZ base, we can see that they both look very similar, just have some different poses.
And a final takeaway: