Do you have trouble creating a SP-Studio character or saving it to your computer?
Are you in need for information about the copyrights for SP-Studio pictures?
Or are you just curious about how this website is made and which software I use?
You have found the right place! I wrote this little knowledge base to help you.
Just click on a question to see its answer. You can find a German Version here.
And if your question cannot be found here feel free to write me an e-mail:

Janina Himmen, info@sp-studio.de

1) COPYRIGHTS: Important legal information

Is this an official South Park website?

This is NO official South Park website. The art style is based on this TV show, but I am just a fan. It is a noncommercial project which I created on my own in my free time. Some think it is official, because it became very popular, was the first Flash game of its kind and still is the biggest one. It was even used on the official South Park website and they recycled my code and some drawings to create their own version. But I do not work for them and they never payed me.
I get asked this a lot: No, unfortunately I do not know how to contact Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

May I use the pictures for …?

Allowed Private use of the images created on SP-Studio.de is allowed. You can print them, use them for single T-Shirts, wallpapers or Birthday cards. School projects are fine too. But remember this: Always mention where the images come from! For example if you show SP-Studio pictures on your private homepage, Facebook, blog or in a message board add a link to www.sp-studio.de. It doesn’t matter if you add it to the picture or in a comment. You are allowed to use them for videos or comics too, as long as you give me credit and do not earn money wit them.
Avatars, profile pictures and other small images do not need a backlink. But of course I am happy if you tell your friends about where you created them.

Forbidden The commercial use of pictures created on SP-Studio.de is forbidden. You are not allowed to sell them, use them for advertising, logotypes or products (selling fake merchandising). Copyright infringements are against the law! Even if I do not sue you the producers of South Park might. So be very careful with what you do.

If you use my drawings for your own projects it would be fair to consider a small donation to support me and the SP-Studio. Thanks!

Are other websites allowed to include the SP-Studio?

NO. Nobody is allowed to copy the SP-Studio (or parts of it) without my permission.
Respect the years of work I put into this. I created the SP-Studio and so the legal situation is clear. Right now no other website is allowed to include it, because I want to keep it here. I made some very bad experiences in the past… people tried to trick me and make money out of my work. So I hope you understand my reasons.
Unfortunately there are people out there who show no respect for the work of others and steal it. This is not only a sign of a really bad personality, but also against the law. I drew everything myself, so if you find parts of my SP-Studio in a similar game they are STOLEN. Some people even copy the whole SP-Studio and just delete my name. This hurts a lot.
Please do not support thieves! Though I have seen some stolen “SP-Studios” in the past none of them are complete, because you can only find the newest updates here on my own website. So please do not waste your time with thieves who do not deserve any attention. If you like what I do only visit the original version on my website. It is the biggest one and I never steal from others. I put my time and money into this to give you a free and fun experience.

2) BASICS: How to use the SP-Studio

How do I start?

The SP-Studio is a tool to create your own cartoon characters – or any picture you like. You can choose different categories (body parts, clothes, backgrounds) by clicking on the menu guy. When you first start it is best to select the “skin”. Click on the huge black body shape to select a skin color. Then you can move on to another category, like eyes or hair. There is no given order you need to follow – you can jump between the categories and change them as often as you wish.

How does the Freestyle Collection work?

Freestyle CollectionUsually the SP-Studio works as easy as this: Click on a category, click on a an item and it will appear in your picture. You cannot change the order of the items, so for example hats will always appear on top of the hair and not behind it. The “Freestyle Collection” (in “Shirts”) is a big exception. Here you can design your own clothes by combining up to three parts in any order you like. For example: a yellow jacket on top of a red dress on top of a striped t-shirt. Or what would it look like with the dress on top of the jacket? I do not tell you what order to use, it’s all up to you.

You have 3 layers for clothes here. Switch between them by clicking on the numbers 1, 2 or 3 on top of the clothes. Layer 1 is the first layer. Layer 2 is on top of layer 1. Layer 3 is on top of layer 1 and 2. Maybe it is easier to memorize this way: 1 = underwear, 2 = shirt, 3 = coat. Try it out and you will be able to create your own fashion!

How can I delete / move / flip single items?

Just click on the item after you added it to your picture. A little menu will appear, were you can choose to delete, flip or move it. Deleting and flipping works right away, but after you choose to move the item you have to click on it again to drag it. Keep the mousebotton pressed and move it to a different position. When you release the mouse button the item will be dropped.
KNOWN PROBLEM: Unfortunately it can happen that the little menu cannot be seen if another object is in front of it. So you have to move or delete this object first so it does not hide the menu anymore.

How can I save my picture?

You can easily save your picture by clicking on the black disc symbol. A pop up window will appear and after you click OK your picture will be saved to your download folder as “sp-studio.jpg”. There is no watermark on it because I trust you enough to link back to sp-studio.de if you show the picture on another website. Make sure to deactivate any pop up blocker you have installed.

What do the black symbols mean?

In the SP-Studio you can see six black symbols:

  • The Home Symbol button shows the Sp-Studio home screen. This is the speech bubble with the welcome text. Your picture is NOT deleted when you click the Home button. You just need to click on a category to see it again.
  • The Disc Symbol lets you save your SP-Studio picture to your computer. The pictures are never saved automatically, so if you want to keep them, please remember to use this button. When you click the button a little info text pops up. Then you are asked you if you want to save the image file. Usually it will be saved to your Downloads folder as sp-studio.jpg.
  • The Trash Can Symbol deletes your current picture, so you can start over. Every item, body part and the background will be removed. So be careful with this button.
  • The Lock Symbol lets you “lock” your picture if you do not want to be able to move, delete or flip single parts of it. Then it is impossible to use the little pop up menu. I never use this feature, but some people asked me to include it. They were afraid to accidentaly delete something.
  • The Copyright Symbol shows information about how you are allowed to use the SP-Studio pictures. You can also learn more about this topic here in the F.A.Q..
  • The Questionmark Symbol shows a help screen. It described the basic features of the SP-Studio in different languages.

3) IMAGE EDITING: Advice for advanced users

How can I save pictures in better quality?

If you use the save button the picture is saved as a .jpg file. Those files are small, but they do not have the best quality. Especially red parts of your picture might look blurry. To avoid this you can save the pictures as .png files with a better quality. Make a screenshot:

  • Windows Vista / 7: Use the “Snipping Tool” in the start menu. After you have cut out the area you want to save you need to select “PNG” in the “save as…” window.
  • Windows XP: Press the “print” key on your keyboard, nothing happens.
    Then open software like Paint or Photoshop. Click “edit”, “paste” and the picture appears. Maybe you need to move it around and cut the parts you do not need. Then select “PNG” in the “save as…” window.
  • Mac: Press Apple-shift-4. You should be able to select PNG files in the options.

How can I save bigger pictures?

Do you need a higher resolution? Maybe because you want to print your picture or use it as a desktop wallpaper? There are two solutions:

  • If you use a screen with a high resolution this should work for you: Open the SP-Studio swf-file without the surrounding website. This might look strange, but it lets you create your character in a bigger size without quality loss. To save it in this size you have to make a screenshot. If you do not know how to do this please check out the F.A.Q. entry “How can I save pictures in better quality?”.
  • If you need an even bigger picture: You can zoom into it by pressing the right mouse button and selecting “zoom”. I am not sure what’s the English description, but it is the first word on top of the list. Make a screenshot. Then zoom back and select another part of your picture. Zoom, screenshot… and so on. When you have collected screenshots of every zoomed in area of your picture you can combine them in Paint or Photoshop like a mosaic. This is a lot of work but you get your picture in a huge resolution.

Can I combine 2 characters in 1 picture?

I am often asked if I could make it possible to create two characters in one picture. Unfortunately this would be to compliacted to code for me. BUT you can combine your characters yourself by using additional software – it’s easy! By following those steps you can combine as many characters as you want and even use your own background.

  1. Start by creating the fist SP-Studio character. Use a single background color. Open a graphics editing program like MS Paint, Photoshop or Gimp (I use Paint for this tutorial). Make a screenshot as described in “How can I save pictures in better quality?”. You could use the save button, but a screenshot improves the quality of the result. It should look like this now:
    tutorial
  2. Now we still see the SP-Studio interface. Remove it by using the selection tools. Other techniques work as well, for example you can just use the eraser. The background color must be the same like in the Sp-Studio (I used white):
    tutorial
  3. It’s time to create your second SP-Studio character now. Use the same background color as in your first picture. Make a screenshot again and paste it into Paint, so it appears next to your first character.
    tutorial
  4. Again you have to get rid of the SP-Studio interface by deleting those parts of the screenshot. Remove them with the eraser or selection tools. Another solution is to select the 2nd character and move him to your 1st character. That’s how I did it in the example::
    tutorial
  5. Now the rest is easy. Delete the parts you do not need until the whole background is white. Then save your picture – or even add more characters. If you prefer another background image you should use a better program (Photoshop or Gimp). This is described in the following F.A.Q. section.

How can I use my own background image?

You need a good graphics editing program to do this, like Gimp or Photoshop. I will use Photoshop for this tutorial.

  1. Create your SP-Studio character. Choose a background color that is different from the hair, clothes and skin you use. And it is best to use a background color that is similar to the background image you want to include later. For example you should use a dark background color if you want to use a photo from a night sky.
  2. Make a screenshot of your character as described in the F.A.Q. section “How can I save pictures in better quality?”. You could use the save button, but a screenshot improves the quality of the result. Paste your picture in your graphics program. Maybe you have to crop it to remove the SP-Studio interface. Here is a picture of what it looks like when I do this in Photohop:
    tutorial
  3. Now we should remove the background. Select the magic wand tool and click on the black background. Then press the DEL key to get rid of it. The magic wand tool can have different options. The tolerance should be around 15, “Anti-alias” and “Contiguous” should be selected. I show this in the left picture:
    tutorial
  4. The right picture shows the “Layers” window and the result of our final step. We need this window now, so make sure you see it (maybe you have to search for it in the “Window” submenu of the menu bar). If there is a “background” layer click on it and delete it. You can save your picture now as a PNG file without background. But we want to include a new background image, so let’s open this additional file. You can use any picture you want. Copy it and paste it in the file with the SP-Studio character. You will see a new layer appearing in the list of layers. Make sure it’s under the layer of the character – you can move it if it’s not. And now we are done!

4) TROUBLESHOOTING: If something is not working

Why does the SP-Studio not show up or look strange?

If the whole game does not work there are two suggestion I can make: Try to install the newest Flash plugin and check your browser’s internet options. Maybe they block the website. Most of the time security settings or an ad-blocker is the reasons if the SP-Studio does not show up. Deactivate those settings for sp-studio.de to make it work.

If only certain parts of the game or website look strange or are missing you should clear your browser cache (= temporary internet files). You can do this in your browser settings. Sometimes after an update you have to force the browser to load the new files if it does not find them on its own.

Why does the save button not work for me?

If you cannot save your pcture with the black disc symbol most of the time it is the fault of a pop up blocker. Check the security settings of your browser and allow SP-Studio.de to use pop ups.
If you STILL cannot use the button you will have to make a “screenshot” to save your picture. This is how it works:

  • Windows Vista / 7: Use the “Snipping Tool” in the start menu.
  • Windows XP: Press the “print” key on your keyboard, nothing happens.
    Then open software like Paint, Photoshop or Word. Click “edit”, “paste” and the picture appears.
  • Mac: Press Apple-shift-4.

I lost my picture! Can you restore it and send it to me?

No, I am sorry. None of the SP-Studio pictures are saved on my server, so there is no way for me to see your picture or to send it to you. If you do not save it when you create it, it will be lost.

5) MAKING OF: Who made the SP-Studio and how

Who created this website?

My name is Janina Himmen, I’m from Germany and started working on the SP-Studio back in the year 2001 as a student. As you might have guessed I am a huge fan of the TV show South Park and it was the main inspiration for this website. I run the German South Park fanpage Planearium.de and usually use my nickname Zwerg-im-Bikini around the web. Since a couple of years I work as a freelance designer, so if you need a website, Flash animation or illustration feel free to contact me. In my freetime I enjoy a good movie or videogame.

How is the SP-Studio made?

I use a computer and a mouse :). The SP-Studio is created with the software Adobe Flash (you can find a free trial version here), which is very powerful. I use this software to draw the single parts as vector images and for some coding to make the whole thing work.

When do you update the site and how do we know about it?

It is difficult to predict when I have enough free time for updates. But there are several ways to know if there are new updates:

This is the place where you can read about all the news and write comments. You can subscribe to the RSS-Feed.
Follow SP_STUDIO on Twitter if you prefer to read about updates there.
If you use FB feel free to like the SP-Studio page! I write about every update there and read your comments.
This group is mainly a place for fans to share their SP-Studio pictures. But I post important news there as well.
You can follow this page if Google+ is the social network of your choice.

 

Is this game suitable for children?

Sometimes parents or teacher ask me if the SP-Studio is meant to be for kids. I know many children play with it and it helps them to be creative, but when I created it I had no children in mind. The art style is based on the TV show “South Park”, a satirical cartoon for adults. The characters look cute and I do not think this game will harm your children, but there are some weapons and drugs as items. A dildo hat might be the most inappropriate thing you can find here. Apart from this I cannot think of anything that might be a problem.
But please watch your kids if they want to use the “community” features (forum and gallery) where you can talk to other fans and share your pictures with them. Though this place is under moderation I do not think little kids should use it on their own.

Why no other languages?

Unfortunately I do not have the time to update more than one version of the SP-Studio. In the beginning there was a German version as well, but I deleted it because more visitors understand English. That’s why there are no versions for different languages, it would be too much work for me. And I do not speak any other language apart from German and English. But I designed the SP-Studio in a way so you can use it without reading. And if you click on the “?” symbol there is a help text in different languages.

What will NEVER be included in the SP-Studio? Why?

You can send me requests for new items, I always try to improve this website and I am happy about feedback.
But PLEASE stop asking for the following things, because I will never include them:

  • NO different body shapes !
    I get asked this a lot, so please understand why I am getting a bit annoyed by it ;). Stop asking about adults and fat kids. It should be obvious why there are no different shapes… but I will explain it again for a last time.
    If there is a second body shape you cannot combine the old items with it. First problem: From now on you cannot combine everything = less possibilities = less fun. Another big problem is the time. I would have to draw EVERY single item again for the new shape. This is a very stupid and time consuming work. Even if I would like to do this it would mean: no updates for at least a year. It makes more sense to use my free time for interesting NEW items for the existing SP-Studio. There are character creators out there which offer different body shapes, but of course this always means less items for each shape. Simple maths ;). This is not the way I want to go, because I prefer to offer you as many items as possible which can be combined freely.
  • NO more band shirts / sport trikots
    There are SO many bands and clubs out there, it is impossible to satisfy every fan. Sorry, but this is too special. And the logos are protected by copyright anyway, so I will not do it anymore.
  • NO famous brands or logotypes
    Same problem. I do not want to get in trouble because of the copyrights, so I try to avoid them.
  • NO offline version / app
    The SP-Studio is meant to be an online game which stays on my website only. I think this is fair, because I do not charge money from you. Your visit on my website is my only reward for years of work, because I enjoy your feedback. If this was gone I would stop working here. Additionally an offline version could not be updated as easily as this website, so this is the best for everybody.
  • NO sound / animation
    The SP-Studio is meant to be a picture maker and will stay this way. Nonsense like this only steals a lot of time I prefer to use for drawing useful new items. Sorry, but if you search a movie maker you will have to look elsewhere.

6) COMMUNITY: About the Forum & Gallery

What’s the SP-Studio Community?

The “Community” is the official SP-Studio message board with a big image gallery where you can connect with other fans. You can access it through the main menu. Register a nickname for free! As a registered member you can:

Community

  • Talk with other fans about your pictures or anything else in the Forum
  • Suggest and discuss ideas for updates in the Wish Voting Gallery
  • Take part in the monthly picture contests in the Contest Gallery
  • Those of you who score high in contests win their Personal Gallery
  • And if you make the first place you even win a free wish for a SP-Studio update!

How do the Contests work?

Each month there is a new SP-Studio picture contest about a defined topic. You can find the current and finished contests in the Contest Gallery. From the 1st to the 15th of the month registered members can upload pictures to the current contest album. After the 15th all submitted (and approved) pictures appear in the gallery and every member can rate them with 1-5 stars. You can alos write comments. During the vote the names of the artists are not shown. The best rated pictures (not with most votes) win and enter the Hall of Fame.

RULES:

  • Of course the picture must be created at sp-studio.de and fir the topic of the current contest.
  • No editing with additional software! No effects, color change, zooming. Just SP-Studio pictures.
  • You are allowed to rotate the picture or to use the PNG file format instead of JPG.
  • Add a fitting English title & description (optional). You can link to reference pictures. No text like “VOTE!!!”.
  • If you upload more than one picture for a contest the newest counts and the others are deleted.
  • When the voting starts registered members can rate the pictures (1-5 stars) until the end of the month.
  • Vote fair! Do not manipulate results by telling friends to give you 5 stars and others 1 star. I will ban you for this.

PRIZES:

  • 1st place: Make a wish for a new SP-Studio item and I will draw and include it.
  • 1st to 5th place: You win your own User Gallery. If you already have one you can upload 30 more files to it now.
  • Janina’s Choice: I might pick one additional person, if I think he/she deserves a user gallery. The score doesn’t matter.