I'm making a school-based sandbox adventure game in Unity. I need a lot of NPCs with different apperances. I dreaded this since I don't have fun doing art and it is usually the reason I end up becoming burnt out of projects.
My solution for this was to segregate parts of the characters by color. The skin being green, hair being blue, shirt being red and trousers/leg wear being yellow. Then, I would use a shader to change these colors to something else.
The result is this sprite sheet:
and the ability to easily change the apperance of my NPCs to make them look different from eachother but there's still an issue.
A lot of the characters have the same hair style etc. Not to mention when I make a new hair style for a female, I have to then draw that style 3-4 more times for the different combinations of clothes.
The solution for this that would work ideally would be a modular apporach. I would only need to draw the sprite once and just swap out different clothing combinations. I have attempted this before but the main issue that kept on coming up was the different sprites not lining up, especially when changing the different sprites.
The art style is pixel art so they have to line up perfectly to look nice. How should I go about doing this to ensure I can fit every sprite together perfectly, no matter the combinations I choose?