I'm working on the sprites for a 8bit game. The game is made for iOS so I'm working on a 16:9 radius.

What I'm not sure is whether I should make the sprites on a 1920x1080 canvas or if I work with a smaller canvas like 192x80 (which would be a lot easier) will we be able to scale them without losing quality (on Photoshop or the developer on Unity)?

  • 1
    If you make them as vectors, yes you can scale them. If you don't, then no they won't scale. I'm not sure what your actual question is here... Mar 17, 2015 at 17:45

2 Answers 2


Set your canvas size so it correlates to the pixel size you want to use. That way you can use 1:1 pixel tools in photoshop. When it comes time to use the actual images, you can then re-scale in Photoshop or possibly in the app framework itself.

For example, if the physical device is 1920x1080 and you want your virtual "8-bit" pixels to be 8x8 device pixel, then divide everything by 8 and use a canvas of 240x135.

If you decide to scale up in Photoshop in the end, be sure to use the 'nearest neighbor' option in the resize dialog to prevent any anti-aliasing.

  • This is definitely the way to go. If vector is required, it can easily be converted.
    – JohnB
    Mar 17, 2015 at 17:52
  • @JohnB you typically wouldn't want to be using vector image formats for 8-bit styled art.
    – DA01
    Mar 17, 2015 at 17:53
  • I think what @JohnB means is that you could do a vector grid in illustrator. This is how I would do it incase you ever needed to use the designs for print, vector would be the best way to start or else you'd need to recreate it at a higher resolution. Mar 17, 2015 at 18:09
  • @EddieA. no, not in this case. This is 8-bit art--meaning it's aliased and low-res by default. You wouldn't need a vector or high-res raster version at all. 8-bit art scales.
    – DA01
    Mar 17, 2015 at 18:11
  • There is no such thing as 8-bit anymore so you're going to simulate that look in either photoshop or illustrator. Mar 17, 2015 at 18:14

In a basic sense, there is no right choice.

However, in game programming (and libraries), there is or was a standard where you use powers of 2 for textures (e.g. 256 x 256, 512 x 512, 1024 x 1024 [...]). If you decide not to do this, there may be repercussions from a programming perspective (no mipmaps, limited filtering, massive memory lossage (1024x256 consumes 1024x1024 memory space) etc).

See for example: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/11069441/non-power-of-two-textures-in-ios

Check in with the programmer, if that is not you. If you are the programmer, check in with https://gamedev.stackexchange.com/

  • Power-of-two textures don't have to be square. 1024×256 would consume 1024×256 of memory. 1025×257, however, would likely consume 2048×512 of memory.
    – spacer GIF
    Apr 1, 2021 at 19:22
  • @spacerGIF stackoverflow.com/questions/38826080/…
    – Yorik
    Apr 1, 2021 at 19:29
  • Did you read the answer to the question you linked in that comment? They were seeing increased memory usage due to their texture being fewer than 32 pixels on one axis. The answer literally starts out with "It's not about the texture being rectangular."
    – spacer GIF
    Apr 2, 2021 at 10:11
  • I did. It is "a repercussion from a programming perspective." The implication is memory alignment, not shape. I know you picked the square as the hill to die on, but you will note that I never said a square was the only shape and carefully suggested that speaking with the programmer is the wise course of action. My memory space example is essentially what I linked. I won't waste time piling on further examples, but note the example I linked is something that the driver did (2016) independent of the program implementation.
    – Yorik
    Apr 2, 2021 at 13:47

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