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Messages - Rekrul

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Mapping Tips/Guides / Re: GIMP 2.8.2 - Basic questions
« on: September 22, 2012, 12:32:11 am »
Scrolling with arrow keys? Oh, you are so old school! :D

Actually, scrolling is much less efficient with arrows than what GIMP offers. In GIMP, you scroll by holding [either the middle mouse button or spacebar] and moving the mouse!

Really, it's so much faster that I wouldn't go back to old programs where I can't scroll with the mouse.

I suppose so, it's just that it's so ingrained and intuitive that I can't help reaching for the arrow keys when I want to scroll.

I don't know *everything* about GIMP, but I think some keys are not configurable because they have multiple functions. For instance, you can't change what "left click" does. Same goes for arrow keys; you can't configure them. (And I don't see why anyone would want to remap arrow keys.)

Just as an experiment, I tried to remap CTRL-arrow and it told me that it was an invalid shortcut. However when pressing the arrow keys alone, absolutely nothing happens. I wish it would pop up a brief explanation so you're not left wondering. Like "We're sorry, but GIMP doesn't allow remapping that key".

Speaking of this, the arrow keys are used to move layers around. For instance, right after pasting something, you can move the "floating selection" one pixel at a time with arrows or faster with shift+arrows. It's quite useful to align stuff.

Yes, I agree. I've often wished that Ultimate Paint had the option to move things with some form of keyboard control. On the Amiga I used to use the keyboard equivalents for moving the mouse in some cases, just to get more precise control. I know I could turn on Mouse Keys, but it's always nicer when the program offers it. :)

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Mapping Tips/Guides / Re: GIMP 2.8.2 - Basic questions
« on: September 21, 2012, 03:49:03 am »
There are different types of cartoons and I took a guess at what exactly you meant. I could have been wrong. It could be possible that the clone tool is not best suited for the particular image you are speaking of. It actually depends on the amount of high frequency data there is in your image. So, unless I see your image, I can't give you precise advice. (I don't know if there is noise in your image or if it's perfectly clean.)

I've attached the image in question. I like to use it as a test for how easy an image program is to use. In my opinion, it shouldn't take more than a minute to completely erase the eagle, leaving the flag untouched.

Nevertheless, as the Wikipedia article on the clone tool states: "A typical use for the tool is in object removal – more colloquially, "airbrushing" or "photoshopping" out an unwanted part of the image." Hence, the clone tool is usually the designated tool for object removal.

I guess with the right options it can accomplish what I wanted to do, but it seems more suited to "airbrushing" small imperfections in a photo, rather than making large-scale changes.

The biggest problem is that you can't see the cloned copy of the image before you click the button. You have to rely on the dotted outline, which is hard to position precisely. For some reason, it never seems to work consistently. Sometimes I position the lower edge right on the edge of one of the stripes and it matches perfectly. Other times, I put it right on the edge and there's a one pixel offset. Even positioning the source box is a pain. It never seems to want to go right on the edge of a stripe, it's always one pixel above it or one pixel below it.

Basically, you're working double-blind; You can't tell exactly how the source box is aligned (do you put the outline on the pixels you want, or is the line outside the pixels?), and you can't tell how the copy is aligned until you stamp it down.

In this case, the copy function is better suited to erasing the eagle, except that when filling in the stars, the outline around the floating copy keeps getting in the way, making it hard to tell when I have the stars lined up properly. It looks right, but then I stamp it down and discover that there's a slight mismatch that was hidden by the border, so I have to undo it and try again.

It's just so much easier when you can move the actual copy in real time without a border to get in the way or without having to press CTRL-V every time you want another copy.

Plus, why can't you scroll an iamge with the arrow keys? Virtually every other program with a scrollable display allows the use of the arrow keys, but not GIMP. So I go into the prefs, find the shortcuts section, open the View options, find the ones for scroll left/right/up/down, click one and it says to enter new accelerator. I press the arrow keys and nothing happens. Back to the help file. To define shortcuts, there's a special option you have to check in the prefs. Why??? If I'm going to the shortcuts window, it's a good bet that I want to configure them! So I check the Dynamic shortcuts option, go back to the shortcut prefs, click the option for scrolling, it says to enter new accelerator, I press the arrow keys and it still does nothing! Why do they have an option to change the shortcuts if you're not actually allowed to change the shortcuts???

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Mapping Tips/Guides / Re: GIMP 2.8.2 - Basic questions
« on: September 19, 2012, 09:03:27 pm »
That kind of job calls for the "Clone Tool". (Available in GIMP, Paint Shop Pro and Photoshop. Not available in MSPaint. Can't say for other software as I didn't try them.)

I just tried GIMP's clone tool and unless I didn't know how to work it, it didn't seem at all suitable for the job of erasing a cartoon eagle from in front of a 3-color US flag image.

The GIMP documentation is vague on how to use it. It says you need to Control-Click the source image, but doesn't tell you how to change the selection from the thumbnail sized circle that it defaults to. Also when pasting copies of it, it blends the edges with the surrounding image. I guess that's how it's supposed to work, but it's more suited to working with imperfections in photos, rather than limited color images.

Huh? ???

First, there is a polygon select tool in GIMP. It's the lasso. It works as freehand selection if you hold down your click, but if you do single clicks, it defines polygon vertices. Click on the starting point or double click to close the shape.

Thank you, I didn't know that you could do that.

Secondly, I am dumbfounded by how circumvoluted your method of copying an image part is. Just select what you want. Hit Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V. Then "drag and drop" to move that piece around. Then click anywhere outside to anchor it. (No need to change tools; you can move an image part with any selection tool as the active tool.) Really, it couldn't be any simpler.

OK, I just tried it again, following your instructions.

I made a square selection, pressed CTRL-C, then CTRL-V. The pointer changed to an anchor, but nothing else happened. I clicked outside the selection and the box went away, but then I had to press CTRL-V again to make the copy appear. Moved it to where I wanted, clicked outside the box and it pasted it. If I wanted to paste additional copies, I had to press CTRL-V again for each one.

I don't see in your description anything that Ultimate Paint would do more easily than GIMP. Therefore, I am not enticed to try Ultimate Paint. Sorry.

You can more easily copy large pieces of the image and paste them elsewhere. Let's say that you want to erase some characters from a screenshot and for the sake of simplicity, let's assume that the background is a repeated pattern such that you can just seamlessly copy and paste over the characters. You would press "B" on the keyboard to activate the brush selection tool, and draw a box (or circle, freehand, etc) around the portion you want to copy. As soon as you release the button, the area you selected will be attached to your mouse. Position it where you want and left click to stamp it down. It remains attached until you make another brush or go back to one of the factory shapes. If there's part of the image you don't want copied, Press "G" for the color picker, right-click to select the background/transparent color and then this color will be omitted from the brush when you create it.

Or lets say that you have screenshots for a game saved as individual files. You create one large image to serve as the map, then open the first screenshot, which opens in a separate window. Press CTRL-A and the whole image becomes your brush. Close the screenshot window and left-click to paste it into your large map (using snap to grid if you want). Load the next screen shot, press CTRL-A, close the window and paste it into the map. Repeat.

Since the right mouse button erases with virtually every tool, it turns all the drawing tools into erasers without the need for a dedicated erase mode. Draw a filled box with the right mouse button and you erase a rectangle. Use a brush to erase freehand. Cut brush from the image, fill with the BG color, etc.

I'm not saying that Ultimate Paint is more powerful than GIMP. It's definitely more of a pixel-oriented program than an art program or an image manipulation program, but for simple image editing, it's fast and easy.

Feel free to ask more questions about GIMP; I'll do my best to answer them.

Can Gimp allow you to make multiple, unconnected selections at the same time?

I actually needed to do this for a project I did.

I wanted to make a scan of the copy protection codewheel for the C64 game Demon Stalkers, but I didn't want to rip my original codewheel apart to do it. So I drew two pencil lines on the back at the 12 & 9 O'clock positions and placed two pieces of tape on the edges of my scanner. I then aligned the wheel to the first selection and made a scan. Then I turned it to the next one and made another scan. I did this 24 times, which gave me scans of all the words on the back wheel, nine at a time, visible through the windows in the front wheel. I marked the exact center of each scan, then created a blank copy of the back wheel by erasing one of the scans and filling it with the same color. I then loaded each scan and used the multi-select option to outline each of the nine windows and the center mark simultaneously. Once copied, I could switch to my copy of the back wheel, line up the center mark and paste in all nine words at once, which would automatically be in the right positions. I repeated this 24 times and ended up with a filled in copy of the back wheel.

Also, is there any way to select part of an image, copy it and then just draw with it, at the original size? Using Paste requires you to position the frame and then click outside to make it permanent. Using the copy in the brush panel shrinks the size to a thumbnail, seems to rotate the brush as it moves and blends the edges.

Can I just copy, say a 100x100 area of the image and then draw with it, with no change to the size, no blending and no rotation? Basically I'm looking for something similar to copy & paste, but where the copy becomes your brush, follows the pointer around and you just use the left button to stamp it down, or hold the button and move the mouse to draw with it.

Oh, is there a way to copy part of the image and then use it as a stencil to erase parts of an image?

For example, I've made a bunch of tile sets for a small Windows game called Dragonboard, which is a Shanghai/Mahjong Solitaire game. I made two stencils, one for the tile faces and another for the tile edges. By copying either to a brush and then using the grid option, I can instantly erase all the faces while leaving the edges intact or erase the edges while leaving the faces intact. This comes in handy if I want to change the edges slightly, so that I don't accidentally leave any of the old ones while applying the new ones. Or if I want to re-use the edge graphics for a new tile set, I can just copy the faces stencil to a brush, use the grid and right-click to instantly erase all the tile faces leaving just the edges to work with.


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Mapping Tips/Guides / Re: GIMP 2.8.2 - Basic questions
« on: September 19, 2012, 06:51:21 am »
I'm new here, and by no means a graphic expert, but I wanted to add my two cents to the discussion.

I was never an artist. I can't draw a realistic looking image to save my life. I'd say that any skills I have are more geared toward drafting and image manipulation than actually creating "art". I used to use Deluxe Paint on the Amiga to create diagrams, cassette inserts, code rings (the resolution wasn't high enough to create code wheels) for copy protected games, etc.

When I started using Windows, I tried using MS Paint and found it incredible frustrating. As a test, I took a simple cartoon image of an eagle in front of a flat US flag and tried to erase the eagle. It should have been a simple matter of copying parts of the flag and pasting over the eagle, but the clunky select, copy, paste, position, stamp process was a royal pain in the butt.

I tried an earlier version of Jasc Paint Shop Pro, but it also had a complex method for copying parts of the image. You can cut out a 'brush', but it only uses the shape to paint with. When I emailed the company, they described how to create an image tube, which takes about ten steps and doesn't let you see the copy before stamping it down, making it impossible to position correctly.

I've also tried GIMP, and I'm sure it's powerful, but it also seems clunky. For example, to copy part of an image, you have to use the selection tool (no arbitrary-polygon tool?), select Copy, switch to a painting tool, then select Select None from the menu to clear the current selection box, then select Paste, select the movement tool, position the box where you want, select Paste again, then move the selected image out of the way to see the modification to the image. Not to mention that after selecting Paste, I can't figure out how to make the floating copy go away. How do you take a large portion of the image and just draw with it? How do you select an irregular portion of the image without resorting to the freehand tool?

Why do so many programs over-complicate things?

All this is my long-winded way of saying I found a program that I think is much easier to use. It may not have all of the features of the fancier programs, but I find it quite intuitive to work with. It's called Ultimate Paint. It's the closest thing to Deluxe Paint that I've found.

Cutting out and using a brush is as simple as selecting the brush tool (or pressing "B"), and then selecting the region you want (there are seven different methods). As soon as you release the button, the selection is attached to the pointer (you can switch the handle to the center or four corners via the menus or by pressing "5" on the numeric keypad), then you can stamp down copies, paint, etc. There are separate options for cutting brushes and selecting regions to constrain operations. For all the tools, the left button draws, the right button erases to the current BG color.

On the downside, it lacks layers and the function to constrain mouse movement with the Shift key is seriously broken. It's available as both a free version and a paid version with a bunch of different image filters.

I'd be curious to hear what everyone here thinks of it.

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Don't worry, all kinds of map are accepted at VGMaps. It's just that screenshot maps happen to be the most common type as well as the easiest to make (usually) :).

Easiest for scrolling games. :)

Sure! We even have a few maps of that kind here already. As an example, check out Phantasy Star's dungeon maps.

Good to know. There are some games for older systems like the C64 and Amiga, that I've mapped on paper, but always intended to make digital maps of, which don't lend themselves to the screenshot method.

Oh, and welcome to the site!

Thank you. :)

I've already sent in a pack of screenshot maps for the game Prince of Persia on the C64. Sure, the levels are pretty much identical to several other versions, but I felt that such a great port (done by a fan) deserved its own maps and I wanted to do them my own way. :)

Actually, I've had the maps themselves finished for a while now, but hadn't gotten around to adding a label with the title and level number to each one. I'm kind of fussy and will sometimes just keep fiddling with something forever because I can't decide what looks best.

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I'm new here, and I was wondering what the policy is for games where for whatever reason, you can't just take screenshots of the game and stitch them together?

For example, some games use a simulated 3D perspective on each screen, which means that the screenshots won't fit together properly.

Also, early 3D games that use 90 degree turning, such as Dungeon Master, can only be effectively mapped by using the typical overhead/graph paper method. Well, unless you want to render everything in a 3D program, which is a little beyond my abilities at the moment. However, that still doesn't qualify as a screenshot map.

Are 'hand-drawn' maps of such games welcome here, provided that they're well done and not just scribbles, or are only screenshot maps acceptable?

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