Making a sprite sheet

Have any of you casual game developers been working on a project and got to the point of needing some character graphics?  Haven't we all?  You might ask, why not just Google for some filler sprites? Well, I tried that, it was difficult to find a sprite sheet that had what I was looking for. I was looking for sprites for an isometric engine I was working on.  Characters would need to walk in 8 directions.  Worst of all, I cant draw.

I noticed how well Minecraft did without high quality graphics.  I realized I could create some crappy looking sprites with a simple 3D modeling program.  So, I downloaded a copy of Google Sketchup and started putting some rectangles together and made a little blocky guy.  This is what I came up with.

Close up.

With a little copy and paste, and some rotating, I had a sprite sheet for a character with a frame for all 8 directions.  The next step was to animate the arms and legs for the walking animation frames.  After much more copy and pasting, and more rotating, I had a full sprite sheet made.

All frames of animation.

Now that every frame was done, it was time to arrange them evenly.  I exported from Sketchup to a PNG file, and opened that file in Paint.Net.  I made a square grid that was 64 pixels by 64 pixels.  I lined up the frames so that each one fit inside one of the squares.  With all frames facing the same direction in the same row of the new image.

Final sprite sheet.

This all didn't take long to complete, a few afternoons after work.  This is the sort of filler sprite that I will be able to re-use also.  It could be used for any number of map systems with minimal editing.  For an orthogonal map system I would just use the North, South, East, and West frames, removing the others.  For minimal effort I managed to create a sprite sheet that probably would have taken me more time to find a similar one on Google.