Basic use of the SP-Studio
The SP-Studio is a tool to create pictures with your own cartoon characters. You can choose from over 2000 different body parts, places, clothes and other items. Then you can recolor, move, rotate or flip these items or add text to them to make it more individual.
When you first start you see a standard character with blue skin. Change the skin color! To do so you can either click on the character itself or click on the little pencil icon to access a list of all items currently in your picture. Click on an item to open its options and to be able to change its color. The color buttons only show the current color with no additional text - so please don't be confused by it if they are blue. To add more items select a category first. In mobile view that's the icon in the bottom center. In desktop view you have direct access to all categories in the menu bar on top of the SP-Studio. Hover your mouse cursor over them to read their names. There is no given order you need to follow – you can jump between the categories and change them as often as you wish. Have fun!
The item options are shown in an extra menu with multiple buttons and allow you to customize any item. There are three different ways how you can access it:
- When you add a new item the item options will automatically pop up for the desktop version. On mobile devices double tap to make them appear.
- You can also click on a part of your picture. This might be difficult on mobile devices for small items, but it still works.
- Click on the pencil icon to see a list of all items currently used in your picture. Click on one thumbnail to see the item options.
The item options can include the following buttons:
- Delete: Removes this item from your picture.
- Lock: This item won't be replaced by other items of the same category anymore.
- Move: Move the item in steps of 2 pixels (you can keep the button pressed). This also works with the arrow keys on your keabord and by dragging the titem with your mouse or finger.
- Rotate: Spin the item in steps of 5° (you can keep the button pressed). There are 2 buttons: clockwise / counter clockwise.
- Flip: Mirror the item on the middle line of the stage. This can bring it from one hand into the other hand.
- Shading: Many items let you turn off the shadows and highlights if you prefer a less detailed look.
- Recolor: Every item can have up to 2 custom colors you can change. The color buttons show the current color and the label "color 1" or "color 2". When you click on one color button the palette appears.
In the desktop view a smll arrow icon lets you pin the options menu to the top of the page. This can be helpful if you don’t want it to cover the item list.
You wonder how you can combine a necklace and an earring? Usually all items from the same category replace each other. But you can easily avoid this. Add one item, enter the item options and press the LOCK button. Now the item will stay even when you select other stuff from the same category.
The LOCK function was included as a special feature with the release of the new SP-Studio in 2020. it is very powerful! For example you can stack three different shirts on top of each other or even have two characters in the same picture. It's basically the old "Freestyle Collection" but for ALL items. The only limitation is that you cannot add the exact same item twice.
You can easily save your picture by clicking on the disc symbol.Then you have two options: Save it as a regular image file or save it as a browser link (to continue editing later).
There is a short text about the copyrights and then you see a button to download the image file. The SP-Studio pictures are saved as png files or svg files. A pop up window might appear and ask if / where you want to save the file, depending on the device you are using. The pictures are usually saved to your standard download folder. You cannot load them to edit them later!
On the bottom of the page you see a link. This can be used to load and continue editing your picture at any given time. Just copy the link to a text file on your computer or save it as a bookmark in your browser. When you visit this link later the picture is loaded into the SP-Studio.
If you don't select a background from the "places" category your picture will have a transparent background when you download it. You can always delete backgrounds later by using the "delete" button in the item options.
The benefit of transparent picture files is that you can easily paste your character on any background with image editing software of your choice. This way you can even combine different characters in one picture.
If you use a mobile device you can simply visit sp-studio.de in your browser. No app store is required!
You can also save it to your Phone's home screen as a Progressive Web App (PWA). A PWA feels like an actual app: No browser bars are in your way! So this is pretty cool. At the moment the app is not working offline though.
To save the SP-Studio to your home screen you just need to open SP-Studio.de in a mobile browser which supports this feature. More Android browsers than iOS browsers do this at the moment. You will be asked if you want to install the app. Don't confuse this with just adding a website link to your homescreen. Close the app from time to time to encourage it to check for updates.
Currently the SP-Studio is available in English, Germen, Spanish and Dutch. Usually it will automatically use the language from your browser settings. But you can also change the language yourself in the lower right corner of the page.
I recommend to not use the landscape mode when you want to use a tablet or smartphone. The vertical view is the opimized version. The landscape mode might be optimized in the future as well, but for now please hold your device this way for a good experience. 🙂
On some phones it can happen that you only see one line of thumbnails and a big gap under the stage. This is a known problem but not easy to fix. It just happens on a small amount of phones.
Mobile devices: The button to save your picture might not work on certain iPhone browsers:
- Firefox (iOS): the download won't work at all
- Chrome (iOS): the .png extension of the file gets lost, so you need to rename it after the download
This is not a SP-Studio bug, but caused by how these mobile browsers handle the download. If you want to avoid it you can use Safari.
Desktop computers: Make sure to deactivate any pop up blocker if the download does not work.
When you save the link to your SP-Studio picture you can share it with others to let them edit it. But this URL can get VERY long because it contains information about the position of every used item. If you share it on social networks or messenger apps they might shorten these links in a way that they don't work anymore. To avoid this you can use http://tinyurl.com because it works with very long URLs.
Try to refresh the website from time to time. Pressing CTRL + F5 works best because it makes sure it relly reloads everything. If you use the mobile version and saved it as an app to your home screen make sure to close the app from time to time and restart it. It only searches for new updates after a restart. No restart of the phone is necessary.
It was a ton of work to rebuild the whole SP-Studio from scratch, so we are very happy about the many features it has. But the text tool is missing. Maybe it will be added in the future, but it depends on how difficult and time consuming it is to code for Lars.
There are also some items missing (special shirts and toys) which will be added as soon as possible. I had to take a couple of breaks in 2021 because of issues with my eyes, but I try my best to work on these updates. Incomplete categories are marked with a "coming soon" note.
About this project
I'm Janina Himmen (Zwerg-im-Bikini) and I created the SP-Studio back in 2002. Until 2020 I did the coding myself in Adobe Flash, using Action Script. But with the death of Flash I had to find a professional programmer to help me rebuild the whole SP-Studio in a new coding language. So the version you see today was completely developed by Lars Gerrit Kliesing (LGK) in React. He coded it in a way so I am still able to do content updates with new items on my own. But I am no programmer, so this remake would not have been possible without Lars. The vector images for the SP-Studio are still drawn by me with good old Adobe Flash (Animate) and an ordinary mouse. 🙂
This project is funded by voluntarily donations with PayPal or Patreon. Check out the Funding page. If you cannot afford this remember it always helps to simply share it online. If you notice others using the SP-Studio you can remind them to share a backlink as well. Thank you very much!
I work on the SP-Studio for 20 years now without getting paid. But a huge project like this is expensive. There are monthly costs for the webspace and software, and of course my own time. I usually work as a freelance designer and when I use my time for SP-Studio updates instead I cannot earn money. And unfortunately we all need money to live.
So this is why any donation is very important. Without my Patreon and PayPal supporters the SP-Studio would not exist anymore. The big relaunch was only possible because of your kindness. I believe in voluntarily donations because I want this project to stay free to use, and I am very grateful for everybody who values my work by donating.
While I am happy about any donation I have to admit the current situation is not as good as it was some years ago. I would love to work more on SP-Studio updates to provide you with more content - I still have so many ideas! But this would only be possible if I'd earn more money with it. So please spread the work about the SP-Studio Patreon campaign.
No, the SP-Studio is not related to South Park, Comedy Central or Trey Parker and Matt Stone. This is a fan project I started back in 2002 because I liked the character design of the show. I created every drawing for the SP-Studio myself, but I am not paid for this. Several years ago the old SP-Studio was used for promotion on the official South Park website and later on they recycled my code and some drawings to create their own version. So if you recognize similar items this is the reason why.
The SP-Studio was created as a character creator for everybody, but not specific with children in mind. While I know many teachers who use it at school there are some items which you mind find problematic - like alcohol, bloody wounds or guns. I believe kids can deal with this pretty fine, but it is up to the parents and teachers to decide.
I also want to explain the following: Characters created with the SP-Studio are not supposed to be little children. They can be of course. But I just use the shape of South Park kids because I think it looks cute and because it fits perfectly for the shape ofr profile pictures. But there are beards, body hair, wrinkles and bald hair - so it should be clear that the characters can represent adult characters as well, it is an universal form. It is like the Chibi shape in manga drawings. So if I add adult looking clothes, drugs or guns for you to use this does not mean I think of children using them.
You are allowed to use SP-Studio pictures anywere as profile pictures, no matter if it is YouTube, Facebook or your favorite dating app. You are allowed to remove the watermark. Of course I am happy if you mention SP-Studio.de (especially if you have a big YouTube channel ;)), but you don't have to when it's just used for a profile picture.
You are allowed to share SP-Studio pictures anywhere you want. The only limitation is: Always mention sp-studio.de as the source in the description (or keep the watermark).
This counts for any social media website, message board, wiki discussion, chatroom, Discord channel... and for DeviantArt as well. I often see people uploading SP-Studio pictures like they are their own art. This is not fair to real fan artists who actually draw everything themselves. So please mention sp-studio.de if you used it.
You are allowed to use SP-Studio pictures for free if it's just personal use.
Non commercial videos are fine. But please mention sp-studio.de as a source in the description and/or credits. Please contact me first if you plan to earn money with the video, because this might be difficult because of the copyrights for South Park.
You are allowed to print t-shirts or greeting cards for yourself or as presents for close friend. But do not sell them! You are allowed to remove the watermark. Some printing companies don't want to print the pictures though because they look too similar to South Park.
It is fair to give something back if you earn money by using my drawings. So if you want to use SP-Studio pictures for a presentation, company website or to prepare a university course please make a donation to support this project. It is up to you how much you want to give.
It is not allowed to use the SP-Studio to create company logos or for advertisment.
It is not allowed to sell any products with SP-Studio pictures printed on them.
I allow to use my drawings for free when it is for a good cause. This means for charity or if you are a student. Please mention sp-studio.de as a source if possible.
You are also allowed to use the pictures if you want to protest for equality or the environment - but not for hate or against science. Please understand that I do not want to be connected with anything I do not stand for myself. If you are unsure about something feel free to contact me.
It is not allowed to use SP-Studio pictures to promote religious groups or political parties.
There are no excpetions. None of my drawings are allowed to be used for NFTs. It is against the copyright laws to sell illustrations you did not draw yourself.
With the possibility to save as SVG files you can extract single assets from the SP-Studio as high quality vector images. I allow to use thiese parts for your own artworks - but please show this respect for my years of work. Always add a back link when sharing pictures based on SP-Studio assets.
Under no circumstances I allow to just copy and share my original assets.
For exaple you are not allowed to extract the background sceneries and share them on DeviantArt.
A star next to an item means that this was recently added in an update.
I try to update the SP-Studio with new items at least once per month. Updates with new features and item options come from Lars from time to time. All new updates will be announced in a blog post, forum post, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Discord and Patreon. Patrons usually get a preview early. A picture with a link to the blog post will also appear on the SP-Studio front page, so you always know if a new update was added.
When you refresh the website it should show the update, but sometimes you have to press ctrl + F5. If you installed the SP-Studio to your phones home screen it should check for updates automatically when you restart it. So close it from time to time. 😉
Sure! Please report any bugs you find. You can also suggest new items. To do so, please use the WISH VOTING GALLERY so I can collect all reqests in one place. But I don't promise anything, because the wishlist for new items is very long. And please don't ask for different body shapes / poses anymore... really. 🙂
When you submit a wish for a future update, please avoid the following:
- No protected logotypes. Fashion brands or band shirts will not be included for legal reasons.
- No different body shapes. Please read the following paragraph for a detailed explanation.
- No sideview / poses. Same as with different body shapes. This is never going to happen.
- No obscure fandoms. I am sorry, but most SP-Studio visitors will not care about your favorite costume from an unknown webcomic. It's best to submit a popcultur related wish if it can be of use outside of a certain fandom.
- No South Park. I stopped copying new items from South Park because it feels lazy. So I will not include hairstyles or clothes from SP characters. There might be expectations for very interesting items, but the chances are low.
- I will not change my style to be closer to South Park. I am aware that my eyes and feet look different from the original SP characters. I do this on purpose because I prefer it this way.
- No nazi symbolism. While I am fine with historical items there is a close line between this and nazi propaganda. I am strongly against racism and don't want to attract the far right. Additionally these symbols are against the law in Germany.
It should be obvious, but let me explain: If there is a second body shape or pose 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 just one new shape. This is a very stupid and time consuming work for about 2000 items. 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 time for interesting new items. There are character creators out there which offer different body shapes, but of course this means less items for each shape. Simple maths. 😉 This is not the way I want to go, because I prefer as many items as possible which can be combined freely.
It's the same problem with side views. You cannot show the side view of a 2D character without creating a completely new drawing.
Pro tips for picture editing
You want to add a superhero logo to your character? They are not in the SP-Studio anymore because of copyrights. But you can easily add any picture from the web to your picture with additional software!
- Save your SP-Studio character to your computer.
- Google for the logo you want. Add "png" to your search to make sure you get it with a transparent background! Wikipedia is also a good source for logo pngs.
- Start a picture editor of your choice. For this example I use the free online editor PIXLR X.
- Click on the blue "open image" button to select your SP-Studio picture.
- On the left side there are several icons. Click on "add image" and then "URL" or "browse" (depending on were the logo is).
- Click on "Add current" now when asked were to add the image.
- The logo will appear on top of your character. You can adjust its size by clicking on its corners. You can drag it to a different position by clicking on its center.
- Save your picture when you are satisfied with the result. The blue "save" button is in the lower right corner.
This method can also be used to combine multiple SP-Studio characters in one picture.