Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Stupid graphic software :(

I wish I still had a workable version of Photoshop. I'm all done with drawing the map of my new module, on a letter-sized piece of paper. I can't add the numbers to it using GIMP, because adding text in GIMP is the weirdest and most unusable functionality I have perhaps ever seen. So I try adding numbers using Paint. Paint, for some reason, decides that my letter-sized map is really huge (probably because of the 300 dpi) so it will put in the numbers ... at a size based on its concept that the map must be three feet by four feet in dimension or something. 12 point font is miniscule when it's added.

Sometimes the whole process of trying to put a module together is an exercise in bashing one's head against a wall.

EDIT ps, if anyone knows how to do this, please let me know.

14 comments:

  1. Give Inkscape a try - http://inkscape.org/. It is a vector based drawing application which can import bitmapped images, supports layers, transparency, etc.

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  2. Don't feel bad. GIMP has the most poorly executed interface of all time.

    A couple of basics:

    * Each number will be a 'layer' of text.
    * It's easiest to enter the text into the layer, and then move it into place.
    * It's easiest to know the color and font of the text ahead of time.

    With those, load up your image file.

    In the 'layers' window, open up a new blank layer.

    Go to the 'A' icon in your toolbox. Your secondary 'tool panel' should show the options of font choice, etc. so select the appropriate ones. Place your cursor somewhere and click - a secondary box will pop up. You have to enter the text in that prompt box.

    Once that's done, your 'layers window' should show the layer with an additional layer of floating text on top of it. Select the floating text layer and press the anchor button in the layers window. What this does is take the floating text and anchor it to the new layer.

    You should now be able to select the 'move' tool in the toolbox and move the text layer around.

    For another area of text, you can duplicate this new layer, move it to another area, and then double click on it (I think) to call up the 'enter text' prompt.

    I'm doing this from memory... apologies if I've bungled anything.

    The whole process is awful, and the GIMP developers deserve a lifetime of unhappiness for not improving it over decades.

    Google searches for things like 'GIMP Text Tutorial' can bear fruit. Always include the word 'tutorial'...

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  3. If you ever need a hand with this stuff, feel free to shout.

    - Neil.

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  4. I'll second Inkscape, which I've used for maps and it works like a charm.

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  5. I will third Inkscape. Make a two layer drawing. Import the bitmap of the map to the bottom layer. Resize if you have too. Then lock it, then use the top layer to place your text. Then export the result.

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  6. In the for what it's worth file... I don't know if it's much different, but I use Gimpshop, which is supposed to work something like Photoshop - but not as much like Gimp itself. I've never had any trouble working with image files...

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  7. Is this on Windows? If so, try Paint.NET. It's a well featured image editor with a reasonably intuitive interface. It also has a wealth of third-party plugins for a variety of extra effects, although navigating the libraries of them and installing them wasn't as straight forward as I'd like. But, then again, the tool is just being written and supported by one guy in his spare time.

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  8. In addition to recommending Inkscape, I also recommend the Inkscape Boardgames Extensions by Pelle Nilsson which I have been using to generate the numbered hexes for my old school campaign maps (see tutorial).

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  9. I don't have as much of a problem with the GIMP's text feature, although it does seem to have an unnecessary number of steps (see scottsz's description.) And I swear, it wasn't as difficult as that a couple versions ago. Still, I've found that you can change font, size, and color after the fact, as long as you haven't merged or anchored the layer the text is in.

    But I would also go along with the recommendations for Inkscape. Adding labels is trivial in Inkscape, plus they'll look better. The downside is that Inkscape doesn't support every installed font -- in particular, webdings and wingdings.

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  10. scott's directions seem pretty on-target. I've never had much trouble with it in GIMP, probably b/c I've never really used Photoshop. Weird thing for a Mac user to say, I know.

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  11. I've tried out Inkscape and it does work more in a way that I'm familiar with. I think my problem with GIMP is more that I got familiar with a different type of interface and now anything different seems weird.

    Although I don't see an option yet to save it as a jpeg ... I can probably figure that out, though.

    Not tonight, though, I took a kick to the breastbone in taekwondo tonight and it hurts like hell.

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  12. If you can't sort it out on Inkscape you could try Gimpshop it's gimp hacked to look and work like ~90% of Photoshop.

    Failing that I have Indesign and Illustrator and could place the text for you.

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  13. If you can't save it as a jpeg. It is simple to convert in Gimp. Just load the picture and use the save as function. Make sure you put the name and .jpeg or .jpg and click on save.

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  14. I'm a great believer in and proponent of vector-based mapping. Especially for old-school symbol-based maps, vector art will look better, be more flexible in use due to its lossless resizing capability, and almost always make for smaller file sizes.

    My personal favourite vector illustration app is CorelDraw, which I've been using since version 2.0, but Inkscape is pretty capable and is considerably cheaper than Corel (i.e. free). I don't know what its PDF creation capabilities are like though, and the ability to pump out a decent PDF is pretty crucial to good layout interoperability workflow.

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