SpriteTracer 5.0

By Grim (neuropod@gmail.com) - http://spritedatabase.net 

SpriteTracer is a program that helps automate every step in the process of ripping sprites, allowing you to take screenshots, edit sprites out of them, and organize those sprites into a sheet. This program is Windows-only and requires the .NET framework.

This guide will walk you through the process of using the program to edit several screenshots into a single sprite animation as seen on a typical sprite sheet. SpriteTracer may seem complicated at first, but if you take the time to learn it, you may be surprised at how much time it can save you. As for the guide, I've done the best I could to explain everything - hopefully the pictures will help but if not, just try it out for yourself!

Loading a Source Image

SpriteTracer is named for its ability to "trace" sprites out of images by deleting the background. To do this, you will need a Source image and one or more Target images.

The Source is an image that will tell the program what colors to keep when editing screenshots. Any colors *not* included in the Source will be deleted when using Erase Background. There are three ways to load a Source into SpriteTracer.

In this example, we'll just open one from a file. These images are included with the app download, so you can follow along if you want.

Notice how the source image now shows in the Source panel, and the color count is displayed as well. Most sprites should have 16 or fewer colors, including background.

Loading Target Images

Now we're ready to load some Target images. The Target is the image, or images, that will be edited by the program. In other words, unedited screenshots are your Targets. Like the Source, there are a few ways to load them in:

Again, we'll just open them from files this time. Remember, you can open multiple files at once, including screenshots taken with AnimGet or ScreenGet.

New! New in SpriteTracer 5 - click the "Resize" text above the Target panel and the entire window will resize, allowing you to see the whole image without needing to scroll.

Using [Erase Background]

Now that we have a Source and some Targets, we can finally edit the background out of these screenshots. All you have to do is click the  Erase Background icon or use the shortcut key CTRL+X and the program will take care of the rest.

As you can see, every color not found in the Source image has been deleted in the Target images. This includes the character we're focusing on, and some other pixels that just happened to have the same colors. But we can get rid of those in the next step.

Using [Crop]

In order to cut down on excess space, we can Crop our target images down to a more reasonable size. See for yourself how it works:

So what's happening here?

  1. First, we click the  Set Area to Crop icon. At the top right of the window you will see the instruction "click the top-left cropping coordinates".

  2. Then, inside the target panel, we click in a spot to the upper left of the character. At this point, the instruction changes to "click the bottom-right cropping coordinates". 

  3. Click in a spot over to the character's lower right. At this point, you will see a rectangle indicating the cropping area.

  4. You can scroll through all of your target images to make sure they fit safely inside the rectangle, as in the animation above. If any of them don't fit, simply click  and start again.

  5. If you are satisfied with the rectangle you've chosen, you can now click the  Crop Selected Area icon. This will crop all target images to just the area you've chosen. Again, in the animation above you can see that all five images have been cropped the same way.
    • Here's a time-saving hint: instead of clicking the  icon, you can crop faster by holding the CTRL key during your second click. This will automatically crop all the images, but be careful - if you misjudge and make your selection box too small, there's no going back.


  1. You can crop your images more than once if necessary.
  2. You can actually crop images BEFORE erasing the background, and doing so will actually make the process a little faster since there will be fewer pixels for the application to analyze.
  3. If you don't like the selection you made or you decided not to crop after all, you can cancel by clicking the  icon again until it changes into the  Cancel Selection icon; click that and the process will be cancelled and any selection you made previously will disappear.
    Alternatively, pressingCTRL+Dwill have the same effect.

When you're done cropping, we can move onto the next step.

Using [Trim]

The Trim tool simply eliminates all the "empty" space around each image. To use it, simply click the   Trim icon or use the shortcut key CTRL+W. Basically, it does this:

to every target image. Note that after using Trim, the images may be different sizes depending on how the character animates. Next comes the final step, where we will combine everything from the previous steps into a finished product

Using [Combine Frames]

Here's where it all comes together. In this final step, we'll take the fully cropped and trimmed images from the previous steps and combine them together. 
Click the  Combine Frames icon and bask in the glory. Following the above example, here's what the program will give us.

A final version of the animation, ready to add to your sprite sheet. Each frame is aligned along the bottom, and they are spaced at the default of 5 pixels apart. Both the alignment and the spacing can be changed, however. See the Settings section below for details.

Export Your Results

Target images can be exported at any point in the process.

Creating a Source Image in SpriteTracer

If you don't have a source image to start with, you can actually create one inside SpriteTracer.

  1. In SpriteTracer, click  Create New Source or use the keyboard shortcut CTRL + N.
  2. A file open window will appear; browse to the image file you want to use to create the Source and click "Open". If you accidentally hit cancel or choose the wrong file, you can open a new one by clicking  Open, or using the keyboard shortcut CTRL+O.

  3. The selected image will appear in both the left and right panels of the Create Source Image window. The left panel will contain the original, while the right contains a preview of the changes you will be making. At first they will look the same.

  4. You can interact with the left panel in a few ways. 

    • Click the  Zoom In and  Zoom Out button to change the image size, or use the keyboard shortcuts CTRL++ and CTRL+-. Note that you cannot zoom out smaller than the image's original size.

    • Click and drag with the mouse to pan the image back and forth. If you lose track of the image simply zoom in, then out, to reset its position.

    • You can also use the scrollbars built into the panel to look around the image.

  5. To begin selecting colors to use in the final Source image, hold the CTRL key and click the colors you want on the image in the left panel. When holding the CTRL key, your mouse cursor will change to a color dropper () and the color your mouse cursor is currently pointed at will appear in the toolbar. Without letting go of CTRL, click to add that color to the new source image. As you click additional colors, the right panel image will update to include only the colors you have picked. If you are having trouble selecting the right colors, use the Zoom In tool to get a better view.

    • If you make a mistake, you can undo by clicking the  Undo button, or use the keyboard shortcut CTRL+Z. You can also redo; click the  Redo button or use CTRL+ALT+Z. Note that if you use undo, then make new changes, you won't be able to redo what you undid.

    • Also note that as you click on more colors, the toolbar will show how many you have selected. This does not include the background color.

  6. When you are done, the right panel should only contain the sprite you will be using as the source. At this point you can save the image for future use - click  Save or use CTRL+S. When you are done, click OK to return to the main SpriteTracer window, where the new source image will already be loaded. If you want to return to SpriteTracer without using the image you've created, click Cancel instead. 


New! New in SpriteTracer 5.0 is the Settings menu. To access it, navigate to File > Settings or click the icon.

Other Features


Version History