This guide will include short instructions and links to resources that will allow you to import, create, and edit patterns from your computer or mobile device for use in your ACNL game.
Some neat things you will be able to do with these resources include:
- Importing sprites from your favorite games and turning them into ACNL patterns.
- Automatically creating an ACNL pattern from any image on your computer (no drawing skills required!).
- Importing and editing patterns from a QR code created by other users.
- Editing the creator/town info for patterns, allowing you take any pattern you see online and make it re-designable in your ACNL game (as only patterns associated with your char/town can be edited).
NOTICE: Some of the resources listed in this post will allow you to import and edit designs created by others and then change the creator/town info to match yours. If you do this, please do not claim someone else’s work as your own- always credit the original author and consider not allowing the patterns to be shared via the dream suite to avoid misattribution. Thank you.
Please note: I am not the creator or developer of any of the tools mentioned in this guide!
1. Browser-based Tools:
ACNL Pattern Tool by Thulinma:
- Allows you to design basic and pro AC patterns online using ACNL color palettes. Allows import of basic and pro patterns from image files or QR codes. Allows you to import town/creator data from QR codes and edit the town/creator data of existing patterns. Automatically converts all patterns to QR codes.
- Allows you design basic (non-pro) AC patterns online using ACNL color palettes. Can be used to generate patterns from image files. Allows one to save designs as a pattern grid for manual import into ACNL.
- Simple online tool that turns image files from your computer or a URL into basic (non-pro) ACNL patterns and provides their QR code.
2. Program-based Tools:
- Bluestacks allows android apps (in this case Animal Xing Designer) to work on your PC or Mac. The designer app allows you to design basic, pro, hats and cut-out standee patterns on your computer using ACNL color palettes. Allows import of town/creator data from QR codes and editing of the town/creator data of existing patterns. Can be used to generate patterns from image files. Allows tools for converting larger image files to murals. Can preview pattern designs as 3D clothing models. Patterns created or edited can be converted to QR codes. Includes tools such as undo, redo, eraser, fill, and color pick.
- A guide to setting up Bluestacks / Using Animal Xing Designer can be found here. (More info on Animal Xing Designer can be found in the ‘Mobile App-based Tools’ section)
- Windows only. Converts image files from your computer or URL into basic (non-pro) ACNL patterns & QR codes. Allows import of town/creator data from QR codes. Patterns cannot be edited using the application.
- Anicro Murapro is a .exe file. It resizes and crops image files into 32x32 pixel pieces for use in murals. Does not allow for AC pattern conversion or QR code creation.
3. Mobile App-based Tools:
- Android app. Allows you to design basic, pro, hats and cut-out standee patterns on your computer using ACNL color palettes. Allows import of town/creator data from QR codes and editing of the town/creator data of existing patterns. Can be used to generate patterns of any type from image files. Allows tools for converting larger image files to murals. Can preview pattern designs as 3D clothing models. Patterns created or edited can be converted to QR codes. Includes tools such as undo, redo, eraser, fill, and color pick.
- Developer-created operation guide (here).
- Visual tutorial to Animal Xing Designer (here).
- Tips on making pro-designs with Animal Xing Designer & texture wrapping (here).
- iOS app. Allows you to convert pictures stored on your phone into basic or cut-out standee patterns. Allows import of town/creator data from QR codes. QR codes can be scanned and saved to the app for later use. Does not support pattern editing and saved QR codes cannot be deleted or organized.
Patterns in your ACNL game are made up of a 32x32 grid of squares. Using this knowledge to your advantage, you can optimize your images so that patterns generated using converters come out as clean and as close to the original as possible.
- Make sure that the aspect ratio (or the ratio of the length to width) of your image is 1:1. In other words, you should make sure that the image you’re using as a base is cropped to a perfect square. This will keep the subject matter’s proportions intact and won’t squash or stretch the final pattern. This tip only applies to patterns that will end up as basic, non-pro designs.
- Crop images to 32x32 pixels prior to converting them. Many of the image converters will automatically resize an image appropriately for use in pattern conversion. However, you may wish to save the resolution of an image and instead turn it into multiple patterns (a mural, or a signboard). Cropping (not scaling) an image down to 32x32 pixels will result in a 1 to 1 conversion of pixels to pattern squares. This will give you patterns that are almost identical matches to their image counterparts, the only limitations being the ACNL color palette and conversion artifacts (random 1 pixel discolorations) that may appear.
- Use small-scale pixel images. Using small, icon-sized images, or even sprites taken from video games usually results in a more successful conversion. These images were purposely crafted to be small but also clear and vibrant. Note that you still want to be mindful of an icon’s size- if it is larger or smaller than 32 pixels in any dimension it will convert poorly.
You may not be very good at pattern design, but you want to create nice paths or other features in your town. You can utilize sprites taken from the video games of years past in your town to achieve this result!
Lots of video games include tiles or repeating patterns, many of which are already at 32x32 pixels or smaller. These would be ideal for paths. You can edit these patterns further using one of the resources mentioned above, or in your image editor of choice prior to converting them into patterns.
Below are some links to sprite resources. It will be up to you to discover which game(s) will suit your needs. I would recommend top-down RPGs from the SNES era, but anything will work.
The Spriters Resource - Choose a platform from the sidebar, and then choose the first letter of the game title you’re looking for.
And now I’ll ask for your help to list more resources below! Do you know of any pattern or spriting resources I could add to this guide?