I have a few feature requests for the ZQuest pixel editor (aka "tile editor", "graphic editor", etc.) that I believe will enhance workflow. Not only is the current pixel editor used by several users such as Binx and Shane to draw original, custom graphics for their quests, but I also have a few ideas that no other raster graphics editor has done before.
1. Editing multiple tiles at once - To put it simply, editing one tile (16x16 pixels) at a time does not work for shaped tilesets (dungeons, mountains, grassy topping for dirt, etc.). I need to be able to see how multiple tiles fit together instead of one at a time - quite the "blind men describe an elephant" problem. This will also make editing big "object" graphics such as boulders, bosses, and explosions easier.
My suggested implementation is that the user should select a square or rectangle of tiles (as they would when copying them to paste), then they can open the pixel editor and it will be able to edit all of those tiles at once. It should probably stay at the same zoom level for the pixels, but have a scroll bar to pan across multiple tiles if there is more than one.
2. Using the keyboard to draw - I have a laptop trackpad. While that should tell you enough about how well I can draw using a mouse, I also have wobbly hands that would not be aided in drawing by a handheld mouse or a stylus. My solution? Drawing with the keyboard! Similar to using a chisel and hammer, this allows for fine detail work - exactly what suits art at ZC's resolution. No need to use my mouse to draw a sweeping mountainscape anyways when the graphics are so small.
The keyboard drawing would work on a "cursor" system - similar to a subscreen in a quest, you use the arrows (or whatever keys are defined as movement) to select a pixel. You will then use keys such as A, B, L/R, and the EX keys to either perform operations on the currently selected pixel or onto your currently selected colours (primary and secondary colours are already implemented into the pixel editor).
Also note how the primary/secondary colours being easily usable on two keys side-by-side is useful for either outlining a shape and filling it in, adding two levels of shading into a shape that you have already outlined, or adding light and dark shading colours to a neutral color that you have already painted.
All control identification is relative to the user's configured gameplay keys in Zelda Classic.
Up, down, left, right - move the cursor selection one pixel in the specified direction.
A - change currently selected pixel to the primary color.
B - change currently selected pixel to the secondary color.
L - move the brush's primary color one right in the current CSet (this does not affect the currently selected pixel, just what color A will paint when you next press it)
R - move the brush's secondary color one right in the current CSet
Ex1 - undo
Ex2 - redo
Ex3 - force secondary colour to the transparent color (AKA an "eraser")
Start - save current tile (or set of tiles as seen in suggestion 1)
Obviously, L/R cannot be taken advantage of when drawing an 8-bit mode tile due to the lack of CSet usage, so the mouse must be used to select a primary or secondary colour there.
If need be, the user must manually close out of the tile without saving and affirmatively answer the prompt - no shortcut key for the cancel without save to avoid accidentally losing work.
I hope either of these suggestions can be implemented - the first is common in many raster graphics editors and is only new to ZQuest, but the latter is a truly revolutionary way to draw and I can envision opening up ZQuest to draw pixel art even if I plan to use the work outside of a quest.