Tama-Go Grayscale Photography Tutorial

Tama Zone Superstars
Tama Zone Superstars
Joined: 9:50 PM - Feb 13, 2007

4:49 AM - Feb 10, 2012 #1

Tama-Go Grayscale Photography Tutorial
Created by SamJJE101 exclusively for Tama-Zone

Welcome to the Tama-Go Grayscale Photography Tutorial.
The Tama-Go is the first Tamagotchi to introduce a 4-tone grayscale screen, allowing more depth and realism to your Tamagotchis' lives. Unfortunately, the grayscale screen can sometimes be hard to capture accurately, and spriting a grayscale image can often be very difficult, especially if the scene takes up the entire 48x31 screen. Fortunately, there are five simple steps that you can follow to photograph and sprite these grayscale images easily.

Step 1: Adjusting the Contrast
This is the first and possibly most crucial step you will need to take. Navigate to the Contrast screen and set it to the lowest setting. If you are unsure of how to do this, navigate to the Clock screen and press the 'B' and 'C' buttons simultaneously. To make this easier, press and hold the 'B' button to view the Clock screen, and once on the Clock screen, press the 'C' button. The contrast window should appear. Pressing the 'A' button will lower the contrast level, and pressing the 'B' button will raise it. The Contrast screen should now look like this:
Once it is on the lowest setting, press the 'C' button to return to the Clock screen. The reason why this step is so important is because lowering the contrast lightens the light gray and dark gray pixels, allowing them to not be as easily confused with the black pixels or each other. Take a look at this example:
Which image looks to be the easiest to sprite? If you said the one on the far left, you're right. The left image has low contrast, the central image has medium contrast and the right image has high contrast.

Step 2: Finding a Good Light Source
Finding a good light source is just as important as adjusting the contrast. If your Tama-Go's screen is poorly lit, the pixels will begin to blend together, even on the lowest contrast setting. If there is too much light on the screen from either lamp lights or camera flash, the lighter pixels might be hard to see. It might take a few shots to get that perfect image, but when spriting it really is worth it. If you're having trouble finding a good light source or getting a clear shot of the image you want to sprite, view this useful Tamagotchi Photography guide. The same methods can be applied to get a great shot of the grayscale screen. Here is the image that I am going to use for this tutorial:
I've chosen to use the 'Grilled Fish' item from #120 Kuchipatchi's Chinese Restaurant. I decided that this would be a good image to use as it has a nice balance of the light and dark gray pixels.

Step 3: Outlining your Sprite
Now that you've gotten your perfect photograph, its time to start spriting. You can use any program from as advanced as Adobe Photoshop to as basic as MS Paint for this part. For this tutorial, I'm going to be using Adobe Photoshop. Open your image up in the program of your choice. If you need to, resize your photograph so that the screen is clearly visible, and the pixels can be easily seen. Next, create a new, blank canvas. This is what we will be using to sprite onto. Start with the black pixels first and create the outline of your image. It will be easier to add in the gray pixels later this way. Take your time, and make sure to add in every pixel correctly. If you need to, you can always use your Tama-Go for confirmation, but your photograph should be your main point of reference. Here is the outline of my image:
For this tutorial, I've enlarged the sprite by 400% to show detail. This will make it easier to identify the gray pixels that we'll add in later.

Step 4: Adding in the Dark Gray Pixels
We now have a good base to work with in our outline, so it's time to start adding in those gray pixels. First, we'll begin with the dark gray pixels. Select the gray that you would like to use for the dark gray pixels and begin adding them to your outline. For this tutorial, and to balance out the colors, I've selected 65% Gray. When adding in these pixels, be careful not to miss any out, and be careful not to add dark gray pixels where the light gray pixels are. In some items, only one type of gray is present. To help distinguish them, dark gray pixels will always be close in color to the black pixels. If the gray is very easy to be seen against black pixels, it is light gray. Here is my image after adding in the dark gray pixels:
As you can see, my image is starting to look a lot like the one from the photograph. But we're still going to need to add in those light gray pixels before we're finished.

Step 5: Adding in the Light Gray Pixels
After adding in all of the dark gray pixels, it's time to finish off the image by adding in the light gray pixels. For this tutorial, and to balance out the colors, I've selected 35% Gray. This step should be easy, as the remaining pixels should be easily visible. Once you're confident that you've added in all of the pixels, make a comparison with your image against your photograph, and the image on the Tama-Go. If everything looks okay, you've successfully sprited a Tama-Go grayscale image! You might need to tweak things a few times in order to get the image just right. Here is my completed image:
That's all for this tutorial! Thank you for reading, and I hope this has helped you in photographing and spriting those sometimes challenging grayscale images on the Tama-Go.