Basic use of the SP-Studio
The SP-Studio is a tool to create pictures with your own cartoon characters. You can choose from about 15000 different body parts, places, clothes and other items. Then you can recolor, move, rotate or flip these items if you like.
When you first start you will se 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 item to open its options and to be able to change its color. The color buttons only show the current color with noe 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 show up for the desktop version. On mobile devices double tap to make them appear.
- You can also click on a part of your picture like in the old SP-Studio. This might be difficult on mobile devices for small items.
- Click on the pencil icon to see the whole list of all items currently used in your picture. Click on the thumbnails to see their 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 anymore.
- Move: Move the item in steps of 2 pixels (you can keep the button pressed).
- Rotate: Spin the item in steps of 5° (you can keep the button pressed)
- Flip: Mirror the item on the middle line of the stage. This can bring it from one hand into the other hand.
- 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.
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.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. 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.
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 an image editing software of your choice. You can even combine different characters in one picture.
If you use a mobile device you can either visit sp-studio.de in your browser like any website... or you can 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 and you can use it offline. So this is pretty cool! And no app store is required.
THIS FUNCTION IS NOT WORKING YET AND WILL COME LATER!
To install the SP-Studio as a PWA 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, because this won't work offline. And remember to close the app from time to time to encourage it to check for updates.
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 beoptimized 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 informations about every 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 two options from the old SP-Studio did not make it in time: The button to flip shadows and highlights on and off will come back later. And the text tool as well. The plan is to have an update with more features around March 2021.
There are also some items missing which will be added as soon as possible. You can expect one update every weekend in January and February 2021 until every category is completed.
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. 🙂
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.
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 allow to share SP-Studio pictures anywhere you want. The only limitation is: Please mention sp-studio.de as the source in the description or keep the watermark.
This counts 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 and close friends / family, but not to sell them. But some printing company don't want to do this because it is very similar to South Park.
I think 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 curse 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 don't want to be connected with anything I don't stand for myself. If you are unsure about something please feel free to contact me.
It is not allowed to use SP-Studio pictures to promote religious groups or political parties.
A star next to an item means that this was recently added in an update. For launch day I used two colors of stars: Yellow stars mark new items. White stars mark full redrawings of old items.
I try to update the SP-Studio with new items at least once per month. New updates will be announced in a blog post, forum post, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Patreon. A preview picture with a link to the blog post will also appear on the SP-Studio front page.
Updates with new features and item options come from Lars. The next update of this kind might come in spring 2021.
When you refresh the website it should show the update, but sometimes you have to press ctrl + F5. If you installed the SP-Studio as a Progressive Web App 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 and you can also suggest new items. 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... 😉
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 you 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.