Do you find the official Animal Crossing: City Folk clothing from Gracie Grace and the Able Sisters a bit lacking? Or perhaps you want an avatar who stands out in the crowd. I understand. I do.
One of the more entertaining and open-ended aspects of Animal Crossing: City Folk is the ability to create your own clothing, especially since Nintendo has given us the opportunity to create Pro Designs, where players can create clothing for 350 bells that have a custom front, back and sleeves. It’s a wonderful chance to start making clothes that look realistic or are replicas of things we have seen online or even own in real life.
I’ve taken quite a shine to the Pro Design system and find it entertaining to create patterns based on all kinds of different real and imaginary characters. I especially love making outfits based on video game character clothes, and, after becoming slightly obsessed with Persona 4, decided to start making some Animal Crossing: City Folk attire based on that game.
So today, Gamertell’s offering up an illustrated guide designed to not only to teach people how to make Chie Satonaka’s casual Persona 4 outfit but also to act as a sort of introductory guide to making your own clothes and patterns based on reference images.
Step 1: Find a Reference Image
The first thing you want to do is find the best reference picture you can for the outfit or design you want to recreate. Ideally, you want to find a model that has the front clearly displayed and maybe also has the back or even a clear view of the sleeves as well. For the Chie casual outfit we’re making today, we’ll be relying on this official character art image that appears in both the game and the art book. Since it offers a clear view of the front of the layered shirts and jacket, as well as the sleeves, it should work well for our design.
If you have a laptop, you’ll want to have the source design next to you as you create the outfit in Animal Crossing: City Folk. If you don’t, you may want to print out a copy of the image. That way, you can have it nearby while you’re designing.
Step 2: Get to Able’s and start making a Pro Design
You’ve got your source image in front of you, so time to head to Able’s. Make sure you have 350 bells on you. Once you’re inside, talk to Mabel and tell her you want to make a Pro Design. If you want, she can explain it to you, or you can jump right into designing your outfit. When you finish talking to her, the design screen will show up on screen. The first thing you’re going to want to do is set up the grid, by clicking the grid button on the right. Symmetry and knowing exacting where lines and items appear are a major factor in making quality designs, so you’re going to want, nay need, the grid up to make things easier on yourself.
Step 3: Color Match
You can’t just use any colors you want when making clothes, sadly. You have to choose a palette of 15 different colors, and work with that. This means that before you even start working on an outfit, you have to determine which color scheme best fits the outfit you want to create. Look back up at our source picture of Persona 4 Chie. The main colors in the outfit are a light green, yellow, two shades of light blue, white, grey, black and red. So the best thing to do is check through the 16 different Pro Design color schemes and find one that fits.
It seems like color scheme 7/16 is going to work best for our outfit today, so we’ll go with that. Since it also offers an extra darker shade of both green and blue, we’ll be able to use these to outline the jacket and blue undershirt in our Chie outfit.
Step 4a: Begin defining the front
The front of a shirt is most likely going to be the most complicated to create, which is evident with today’s Chie design. While you’re designing, you want to focus on not only making the front drawing area look right, but also check to make sure that the preview image in the upper left corner matches what you want the outfit to look like. If you just drew straight, downward lines to make the sides of the jacket, it wouldn’t look realistic or match the above image. So instead you’ll want to do arcs. Personally, I like to start drawing in the upper left corner of the screen, and work from left to right, top to bottom.
We only want a hint of the jacket’s edges to appear in the front, so we take the darkest shade of green and, while zoomed out, start making our first lines with the line tool. As you can see above, every line drawn on the left side is also drawn on the right, only slightly altered. The right side will always be a mirror image of the left side for the first part of this design.
Once we have the jacket outline done, we’ll move on to filling in the jacket color. Go to the lighter shade of green, select the paint tool, and fill in the area to the left of the left line and the right of the right line.
Step 4b: Zooming in for more detailed areas
We’re going to get a bit more detailed now, so you’ll want to zoom in. Move to the empty white space between the upper left and right collars of the jacket. Now select the darkest shade of blue offered in our color palette. First, we’re going to define the upper collar of Chie’s innermost shirt – the blue tank top. First, set up the design shown above, where you first make a single dark blue line along the top of the grid, then add a blue dot below that first line on every other empty space.
Then, switch to the lightest shade of blue. As we can see in the Chie source image, there’s a little light blue design on her tank top. We’ll mimic that here, as shown in the image above. Once you’ve done that, change to the medium shade of blue. You’ll be basically creating the rest of the blue top that’s visible in the source image with this color.
Now that we’ve made the blue tank top, we’re going to quickly make the slight black striped top and the collar for the white shirt that’s over everything. We’re going to shift our view over to the upper left corner of the design, and start using the black small drawing tool with the color black. We’ll first make a dark, double line directly blue the medium shade of blue to act as the collar for the black and white striped shirt. Then, we’ll make a small black line a space below the black “collar”. Now we’ll change to the shade of grey and begin working on the collar for the white shirt. In the source image, it is more of a V-neck design, but we’ll go with an oval here. You’ll want to create a thin collar under the striped shirt to complete this section.
Now, you’re going to shift the view over to the right and almost the exact same thing, only reversed. In the case of the blue tank top collar, you’ll want to continue the pattern, but when it comes to the striped shirt and white shirt color, you’ll want to do a mirror image of what you’ve done so far. That way, everything will match up and look even.
Step 4c: Decorative accents
The front of your Chie top is basically done now. All that’s left are the finishing touches. We’ll do some slight shading in gray on the white shirt, in order to give the illusion of depth and shape. We won’t try to mimic the shading and folds in the source image, because it would only make the shirt look dirty or awkward when worn in Animal Crossing: City Folk. This is a step where you can be more free – you don’t have to add the exact same shading and accents around the color as shown in the image above here. If you want, you can, but it isn’t mandatory to make the top look good.
We’re going to zoom in again now, and recreate the button on Chie’s lapel. Go to the upper right corner, about parallel with the black striped top and white top collars. Choose the crimson color from the palette and the small drawing tool, and draw a rectangular/circular shape that is about seven squares by six squares, but don’t color in the corners. Change to the black color now, and draw in the eyes and mouth.
You technically don’t have to go to such lengths and put this kind of detail on the button. As you can see from the preview, its barely noticeable when on. But for accuracy’s sake, go for it. Its not like it takes that long to put in that little extra effort anyways.
Step 5: Turning to the back
Next, we’ll work on the back of Chie’s outfit. Click the button in the bottom/center of the design screen and select the far right black image to work on the back of the outfit. This is incredibly easy for Chie’s, since we don’t have an image of the back of the jacket. Just select the paint tool and the light shade of green. Click anywhere in the white area to turn it all green. We’re done here, so let’s move on to the sleeves.
Step 6: Taking care of the sleeves
The sleeves for Chie’s outfit are pretty easy as well. All we have to do is put yellow stripes down the center. The thing to remember here is that the sleeve design stretches. So we can’t just put a straight yellow line down the center of the drawing space. Instead of being a thin yellow stripe, it would end up looking like a yellow stripe that expands as you move further down the sleeve. To counteract this effect, we’ll slowly taper the stripe down from the top of the design to the bottom. Choose the dark green color to outline the stripe first, then, once you’ve created an outline on either side, choose the paint icon and fill in that center area with the shade of yellow.
Working on the next sleeve is going to be exceedingly easy. Bring up the screen where you can see all four designs, and grab the sleeve design you’ve already created by pointing with the remote and pressing A. Drag it to the other, blank sleeve and drop it. A menu will come up, offering the option to copy the design you’ve made to that part. Do it, and you’re almost done!
Step 7: Double checking by watching the preview
Before you click done, take a moment and watch the rotating design preview in the upper left corner of the design screen. Its time to make sure everything looks okay. Upon inspection, there’s an area that needs improvement. Look at the source image of Chie. The yellow stripe on the sleeves also covers the shoulders, and in our design it isn’t doing that. So we’ll need to do a bit of editing on the front and back images of Chie’s outfit to make it look perfect.
First, we’ll do the shoulders of the front of her jacket. Select the dark green color and the line tool, and go down seven spaces from the upper left corner. Click the line tool, and drag it diagonally so there’s a staight line to the collar. Do the same, on the upper right side. Then, select the paint tool and the shade of yellow. Fill in that area and check the preview image. Now it looks like the front shoulders have the yellow stripe. Time to move on to the back.
We want the upper corner triangles on the back to match the front ones exactly, so make sure you follow the image above exactly as shown. If you do so, it will make the stripe extend perfectly and evenly from the neck to the ends of both sleeves.
Step 8: Finishing your design
At this point, you’re pretty much done. All you’ll need to do is click done to save your design, pay the design fee, name the design and tell Mabel what kind of person would like/wear it. I chose to call this design Casual Chie, since it is based on Chie’s casual Persona 4 outfit that she wears in winter and fall in the game. I chose to recommend it as being more towards simple, subtle when Mabel asked for more details, and leaving it right between fancy adults and cute kids.
And that’s it! Your character can now dress exactly like Chie from Persona 4! Hopefully, you should now have an idea of what needs to be done to turn a source image into an Animal Crossing: City Folk Pro Design.