Sprite Lamp is a tool for combining the visual styles possible with 2D art, such as painted or pixel-art looks, with dynamic lighting found in modern games.
User reviews:
Positive (9 reviews) - 100% of the 9 user reviews for this software are positive.
Release Date: Sep 25, 2014

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About This Software

Sprite Lamp is a tool for combining the styles possible with 2D art, such as painted or pixel-art looks, with dynamic lighting found in modern games. Game developers will be able to make games in the style of classics like Metal Slug or Braid, combined with the gameplay and visual appeal made possible by moving or otherwise changing light sources. This is achieved by the artist painting an object lit from several directions, images called 'lighting profiles', and then processing them into normal maps, depth maps, ambient occlusion maps, and a few others. Sprite Lamp also includes a variety of shaders designed to get the most out of these maps.

How it works

Sprite Lamp is all about letting artists paint images in a form they are familiar with, and using those images to create the more difficult or counterintuitive maps that are required by modern shaders. This primarily takes the form of painting the same subject lit from a few different directions - between two and five - and processing these images to create a normal map and a depth map.


Sprite Lamp includes a preview window and various shader options to let you experiment and find out what looks best with your artwork. Sprite Lamp's shaders are included in Sprite Lamp in GLSL form, fully commented, and can be used as a base for including them in your own game. A growing list of Sprite Lamp shaders for common game engines is available at http://engines.spritelamp.com. Sprite Lamp's preview window supports:

  • Moveable light source with variable colour, intensity, and attenuation
  • Hemispheric ambient lighting
  • Cel shading
  • Self shadowing with depth maps
  • Mapping of specular colour, glossiness, emissive colour, and ambient occlusion
  • Rendering of animated characters exported from Spine, by Esoteric Software

Pro version

Upgrading to the pro version of Sprite Lamp gives the user access to a variety of additional features suited to larger studios.
  • A full command line interface
  • The ability to convert simple-to-paint 'flow' maps to anisotropy maps for use with external renderers
  • The ability to edit and fine tune the depth maps generated by Sprite Lamp
  • The ability to load multiple sets of images, process them all at once, and then animate them in the preview window

System Requirements

Mac OS X
    • OS: Windows Vista or later
    • Processor: x86 processor @1.6GHz or greater
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: Shader model 3.0/OpenGL 3.0
    • DirectX: Version 9.0a
    • Storage: 200 MB available space
    • OS: 10.11 (El Capitan) or later
    • Processor: x86 processor @1.6GHz or greater
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: Shader model 3.0/OpenGL 3.0
    • Storage: 150 MB available space
Customer reviews
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Positive (9 reviews)
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8 reviews match the filters above ( Positive)
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
70 of 72 people (97%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
92.7 hrs on record
Posted: September 27, 2014
A neat program that generates normal maps (and other maps too) for 2d sprites from lighting maps. If you have a lot of time and patience this program can produce some incredible results. I would not recommend this software to those who are just beginners, but for users with some experience this program can be a game changer.
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19 of 19 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
45.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 23, 2014
A really powerful tool that we are currently using in our game along with Unity. My opinion will be mainly focused on the 2D aspects of the software even though I'm pretty sure it's doing really well for 3D.

This tool is not for people who expect fast results: it takes time to understand it and more importantly, to draw all the sprites needed for your models. Even though in some only 2 light maps will be enough (a wall or some symetrical elements), for most models, you'll end up with all of them (left, top, right, bottom and front).

However, if you have time and are ready to change the way you are working (we changed many things in our drawing process to improve our efficiency), you'll be able to achieve features that could not be expected before in 2D games like a real day/night cycle (and not by just changing the luminosity of the sprites...).

One last thing: The developer of this software is really active on this product and is improving things very fast (we waited less than a month to have shaders that support point lights within Unity).
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13 of 14 people (93%) found this review helpful
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: December 18, 2014
I used to generate normal maps from lightmap images by hand in photoshop, Sprite Lamp makes things so much easier, and allows total control over the results and with a real time preview to boot.
It's not a magic tool (if you want some near useless, automatically generated normal map, there are a number of other tools for that purpose), but if you put in the effort when drawing the lighting images, you can add a whole new layer of detail into your game with a simple vertex shader and a few extra images per sprite.
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11 of 11 people (100%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
148.9 hrs on record
Posted: January 9, 2015
Great program for creating depth maps, ao maps, etc. I am using this to develop a game with Unity. Very easy to integrate. The concept for creating the artwork takes a little while to get used to, But i find it only takes a little more time for me to make my game assets. My simple artwork looks very cool with dynamic light applied!
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11 of 12 people (92%) found this review helpful
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: June 20, 2015
Haven't used Sprite Lamp yet for my projects, but I did play around with it a lot and it seems very promising. Not only does Sprite Lamp allow you to use lightning shades single sprites, but if you own Spine it also allows you to lightning shades on the animations you have made. However, the lightning shading DOES require quite some work to implement though, because you have to make a couple of extra black/white images of the original that allow the program to create the active lignthing shading.

On top of it all, both Unity and GameMaker are supported by Sprite Lamp. 2 engines that are also supported by Spine as well.

Sadly the author is not overly active on Steam or social media. You can contact him through his own site though and he replies pretty quickly there. There are also forums on his site too.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
8.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 11, 2015
This thing is a miracle. They have shaders on their site to make this work with unity. Definitely needed asset if you want to have nice lighting in a 2D game, and are:

1) Too lazy to code it yourself
2) Too poor to spend all your money on the asset store.

  • Easy to use
  • Perfect for pixel art
  • Still can be used even with bigger/HiRes sprites
  • Made this (gfycat link) in <20mins, including learning and setting up Unity.
  • You have to be able to draw at least a little bit
  • *You have to make 5 images lighted from each direction (left, up, right, down and front)
  • All for now. Will update if I find anything else

Also, it has some features that I haven't yet tried, mainly the palletes. I will update this when I try them.
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2.8 hrs on record
Posted: July 15, 2015
Despite having a slight disagreement with my graphics card, the program still generates normal maps that have been working FANTASTICLY!
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0.8 hrs on record
Posted: July 18, 2015
Worth noting: I've only had Sprite Lamp for about 30 minutes, so I haven't actually created any art for it, nor, obviously, have I implemented its output in external software. I've tinkered around with the sample artwork quite a bit, though. And that alone inspired me to write a quick review.

I'm really impressed with Sprite Lamp. It performs a unique yet desirable function, and does it well. Gone are the days of painting a different version of every frame of animation for every conceivable light source! Can't think of any game that does it that way? Exactly! That's because they're STILL PAINTING. Now it's possible to achieve a superior effect with only 2-5 lighting examples for your given animation frame, and Sprite Lamp extrapolates the rest. And if your animation uses splines (which S.L. supports) instead of individual frames, your art production cost potentially just went down even further. It's very cool, actually. The video does a good job of demonstrating just what it can do, and is likely more convincing than this review.

But I can tell you two valuable things that the video can't:

1.) It's dead simple. And that alone makes it great. I don't have the time to learn a complex program, given how many OTHER complex programs I'm already learning. Sprite Lamp's interface is well thought out, so as to be obvious at a glance just how to use it. After five minutes you'll be a master of its core functionality. Awesome.

2.) The "HELP" file is unusually well written. It's not just helpful, it has merit from a literary standpoint. Rarely is the English language exploited to its potential, and that goes triple for software documentation. So should you find yourself struggling to understand the tutorial, blame the dumbing-down of society. Not surprisingly, the video reveals that the author is British, as if his spelling of recenter "recentre" wasn't enough of a clue.

In all seriousness, any game designer interested in implementing a system of lighting 2D objects with 3D lights would find the cost of creating the system from scratch FAR more expensive than the ticket price of this very reasonably priced program. Or for that indie studio looking for a low-cost way to introduce a really slick visual to its next title, Sprite Lamp could be the way to go.
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