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Creating a SMAC(X) Faction Logo

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As before, I’ll be giving details of which buttons I pushed in GIMP - for instructional purposes, it seems to be the best choice for a powerful graphics program available for free to all…

So, for the SMACivilization SpaceMayans (the Astral Jaguar Cult) faction logo, I chose this shot out of several Alexander had posted:

It was perfect for our needs and wouldn’t be difficult to convert.

I cropped it down to the full-color shot in the corner (Rectangle Select Tool to make a box>Image>Crop To Selection). I cranked up the contrast 60% and darkened 30% (Colors>Brightness-Contrast) to bring up the black lines, mostly. We’d talked about making the blue green, so I selected that part (Fuzzy Select Tool with Threshold at 105) and hue-shifted (Colors>Hue-Saturation>top (Hue) slider moved left until it was very green (-45 in this case)). The yellowish part was looking distinctly orange now, so I did the same there (selecting it took more time at lower power because the red part wanted to select, too - I had to click on the yellowest pixels, then change the Fuzzy Select Mode to Add to the current selection at a threshold of 25) then (Colors>Hue-Saturation>Hue +30). I was going for a typically Mexican color scheme, too, thus green and yellow instead of blue and orange.

Then to get rid of the black border and give me a transparent background to work with later, (Layer>Transparency>Add Alpha Channel. Fuzzy Select Tool at threshold 41 selecting the black background>[Delete].) I cropped out all that superfluous border (Image>Autocrop Image) and deselected the empty space left. Because I wanted to bring up the contrast again to bring out the lines, and raising contrast brings up the color saturation, I lowered the color levels in advance (Colors>Hue-Saturation>bottom (Saturation) slider -50%). Then Colors>Brightness-Contrast>Contrast +70%.

Then I loaded the SMACX palette to see if I was done yet (Image>Mode>Indexed…>checked Use custom palette>clicked on my palette file>unchecked Remove unused colors from color map>Convert) and I nearly was. I Scaled the pink Eraser Tool down to 0.01 in the Toolbox and clicked Hard edge, zoomed in and spent a minute erasing some very dark pixels around the edge.

Now, time to paste it in. I loaded blankpcx.pcx, Layer>Transparency>Add Alpha Channel, Select by Color Tool>click on the background purple>Delete.

I went back to the window with the logo, [Ctrl]a>[Ctrl]c, went back to blank, zoomed in on the upper Council Logo, drew a box around the inside to measure how much space I had, (86wX72h - who can remember?)

And pasted the logo in ([Ctrl]v) - surprisingly, it was already the right size.

I repeated the process at the upper Report Logo box - it was one pixel too tall to fit, so Layer>Scale Layer>reduce by one>deselect (Reduced proportionally - just as well leave this one square. Deselect to drop it in.) Then repeated the same process in the lowest Small Report Logo box, and the Diplomacy Logo box, being careful to center it.

And then I saved as AstralJaguarCult.png (.png to preserve the transparent background until I’m ready to save the final .pcx copy). I was done with this stage (I’ll come back to this later and make the duller versions for the other boxes when I get to the scanline part) unless Alexander wanted the logo more “space” when he sees it, in which case I’ll suggest superimposing a (sacrificial) dagger w/ a glowing light saber-ish blade. That should also keep me from having to re-do any of this…

Like most things graphical, I just took hours explaining something I could have done in minutes - it only sounds difficult because I explain in such tedious detail for instructional purposes. Logos are the easiest part -though this one was easier than most, and sometimes I just draw something, which I couldn‘t do well enough with bases, portraits and landscapes- you can do this.