How to Modify a Scratch Character’s Clothing

By Derek Breen

In Scratch, you can take an existing character and modify their clothing to fit your design inspiration. For example, if you are creating a super hero (or villain), you can use some basic tools in Scratch to change baggy shorts and a t-shirt to an appropriate costume.

Draw straight lines

Beneath the Brush tool is the Line tool. You might find it hard to draw straight lines with the Brush tool. The Line tool allows you to draw straight lines at any angle and gives smoother edges on diagonal lines.

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Here’s how to quickly draw sleeves and pant legs on your superhero:

  1. Zoom to 400% (or higher for a more‐detailed view).

  2. Click the Line tool.

  3. Select a color swatch.

  4. Use the Line Width slider (to the left of the color swatches) to adjust the thickness of the line.

  5. Click where you want the line to start.

  6. Drag your cursor to where you want the line to end and then release the mouse or trackpad button.

  7. Click the Undo button and repeat Steps 1–5 if you wish to redraw your line.

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You might have to try a few different line thicknesses before you find the right match for the width of her arms, so that Undo button comes in handy.

If you want to select a specific color from somewhere on your costume, use the Pick Up Color tool, which is the eyedropper icon located just to the right of the color swatches).

As you use the Line tool to add sleeves and pant legs, you may need to adjust the thickness for different parts of the costume.

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Holding the Shift button on your keyboard while you use the Line tool will draw a perfect horizontal or vertical line (depending on which way you drag your cursor).

The hero’s shirt is an irregular shape, so the Brush tool would work better than the Line tool to paint it a different color. Yet, another Scratch tool can make it easier to make the change.

Fill areas with new color

The Fill with Color tool fills an area with color, but changes only one color at a time. So, if somebody was wearing a really awful shirt with five colors, you would need to click each color to change them all. This is your chance to totally redesign your character, one color at a time.

  1. Zoom in on the part of the character you want to change.

  2. Click the Fill with Color tool.

  3. Choose the Solid option.

  4. Click the color swatch you wish to start with.

  5. Click the area you want to change.

  6. Keep clicking until you have filled all the areas you want that color.

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After using the Fill with Color tool, your character may need some cleaning up with the Erase tool or Brush tool. Use the Brush tool to paint over the bits of white that still appear around the areas filled with orange. Zoom in even further (to 800%) and adjust the line width to make it easier to paint over the small details. When zoomed in, it might be easier to just click each spot rather than clicking and dragging across several spots.

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Alternate between the Line tool and the Brush tool to add more orange costume parts, including orange gloves and boots.

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Use the Erase tool to remove any remaining clothing from the old sprite, such as the baggy shorts and the bottom of her boots. Then check out your superhero on the Stage.

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Is anything missing from your super’s costume? Are there any other details that would make your character stand out? How about a long, flowing cape? Use the Line, Fill with Color, and Erase tools to whip one up for her.

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Add costume outlines

Your superhero looks pretty good against the dark background, but what if the next scene has a lighter backdrop or one that mixes dark and light elements? You might find it useful to swap the stage backdrop back to the default white to see how a character might look against a lighter background.

You do not want to fill the background with color in the Paint Editor because it would block your backdrop on the Stage.

  1. Click the Stage button.

  2. Click the Backdrops tab.

  3. Click the original white backdrop (Backdrop1).

  4. If you replaced or deleted the original backdrop, then click the Paint New Backdrop icon and use the Fill with Color tool to make it solid white.

  5. Review your character’s costume against the solid color on the Stage.

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The yellow parts of the costume are very light against the white backdrop. If you look at a typical comic book or cartoon, you will notice a thin, black outline around all the parts of a character. Adding an outline will make your character look sharper.

Select your character sprite and use the Line tool and Brush tool to add thin, black outlines. Use the Line tool as much as possible to get smooth edges. Then use the Brush tool for curves and hard to reach areas.

When preparing to make several changes to a costume, duplicate the costume by Shift‐clicking the costume icon and choosing Duplicate. This way, if you go too far with your changes, you can just reselect the previous costume and start over.

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