How to Modify Scratch Characters

By Derek Breen

You can use the bitmap painting tools in Scratch to modify your character. Bitmap graphics are made of small squares called pixels. Be aware that if you enlarge your bitmap sprites too much, they will become pixelated, or kind of blurry.

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Although you will be zooming in on the Paint Editor canvas to paint details, zooming in does not affect the quality of your sprite on the Stage.

  1. Select your character by clicking its sprite icon beneath the Stage.

  2. Click the Costumes tab.

  3. If there is more than one costume, click the one you wish touse.

  4. Change the costume name to something more descriptive.

  5. Click the Zoom In button twice for 400% scale. (This makes working on your character easier.)

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Take a few minutes to study the shape of your character’s face, hairstyle, and clothes. Scratch gives you the power to change any of these features with just a few steps.

Paint a mask on a hero

Nothing says “superhero” like a colorful mask to hide an identity from the public. Paint a classic over‐the‐eyes mask for your new hero.

  1. Make sure you selected the costume you wish to edit and zoomed in to 400% view.

  2. Click the Brush tool.

  3. Click the color swatch you wish to use.

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

  5. Click and drag around the eyes to start painting a mask.

  6. Click the Undo button to correct mistakes.

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Your character sprite remains the same size on the Stage no matter how zoomed in you are in the Paint Editor. Even though the mask may appear quite blocky when zoomed in, it should look better on the Stage.

Now that you’ve added something to your sprite, how about taking something away?

Erase part of your sprite

Is there anything you want to remove from your character? Maybe you want your superhero to have short hair, so you use the Erase tool to remove her ponytail.

  1. Zoomed in to 400%, click the Erase tool.

  2. Use the slider in the Paint Editor to change the eraser size. Start with a larger size and then gradually reduce the size of the eraser to remove smaller and more‐detailed graphics.

  3. Click and drag over the area of your character that you wish to erase.

    You can also click just a spot one time to erase an individual area or create a hole.

    Use the Undo button if you make a mistake and the Redo button if Undo was a mistake!

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