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We are only a team of three people and between us we don't really have that much spare time, we only do game development as a hobby.

What would be the most efficient way to make sprite sheets for use with programs such as game maker. Just basic movement and actions.

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It's not clear what you need help with. Do you need to generate sprite-sheets from existing images/animations? Or do you need help creating the animations in the first place? Your question could use some clarification in that regard. – bummzack Jun 21 '12 at 11:54

The most efficient way to make sprite sheets is to use pre-existing sprite sheets. You'll find an extensive list of pre-made sprite sheets here (always consult a lawyer and ask the copyright holders for permission when using content found on the internet)

Here are some other ways to efficiently make sprite sheets:

  • Limit your sprites to simple shapes only (squares, circles, etc.)
  • Constrain your sprites to 1 - 8 pixels
  • Hire an artist to make sprites
  • Make friends with an artist and get them to make sprites for free
  • Modify the sprite sheets found in the above link to fit your purposes
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