Map Making Tutorial Using Paint.Net

Osl112

Guest
Hello guys!

Colourful maps are things we rarely see on Grepolis. However, when you do get them, they are a wonder and can explain lots of things. Pictures paint a 1000 words. Today, I will tell you how to make them, through this thread. The tutorial will tell you how to make maps such as this:



So, why make them?
> They provide a visual aid for your alliance and other people
> You can see whereabouts your members/other members are so you can plan ahead
> It is easier to see whereabouts they are, instead of scrolling around a map trying to find your nearest team mate.
> Great for diplomacy, you can see where your nearest ally or NAP is.

I will provide a step by step guide on how to make these maps first using my favourite program of all, Paint.Net. Paint.Net is a great free graphics program that comes with plenty of tools and effects for your needs. It also has a great userbase, so you can download user made plugins to "pimp" your Paint.Net.

Paint.Net can be downloaded here: www.getpaint.net

A plug-in will be need to finish off the map. It can be found here: Pyrochilds Outline Object Plugin. If you need further advice installing plug-ins, please click here.

If this is your first time, lets go through the interface (if you have, or you are feeling risky, please move on to the next step). Below, I have annotated a picture of the blank Paint.Net interface. Most the things we will use have been explained, so please refer to this if you can't find something along the line. As for the windows, if you accidently crossed any out or lost them, please go to the Windows button at the top, and select the one you have lost.


Lets start making!


Part One- Getting the Map Image and Preparing

1) First of all, we need to get the map itself. To do this, we will use a tool made by Butane called Grepolis Maps This will give you all the tools you need for the markings and everything else. However, it is currently restricted. It can only show markers from a zoom of 4 inwards. Click on the world you wish to make the map for.
However, don't create your map just yet. Don't add any alliances on your map, or any players. At this stage, simply place it at the co-ordinates you want the center to be at and get the correct zoom. Create this map and copy the image by right clicking (right click>copy image (varies depending on browser)).

2) We will now paste this into Paint.Net ready to work on. Open Paint.Net on your computer. Then, paste the map into a new image (do this by clicking on Edit>Paste Into New Image). Your map background will be pasted into Paint.Net! Last of all, rename the layer to Background by double clicking the current layer name (it should be currently called Layer 1).


You are now ready to start adding the alliances.
 
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Osl112

Guest
Part Two- Adding the Alliances

3) Time to start adding the alliances. I would recommend doing 5 alliances on a map (10 at max) as otherwise, you will run out of colours and you won't be able to distinguish one alliance from another. Which brings me on to my next point. Make sure to use light, vibrant colours that stand out on the map. Otherwise, you will find it will be hard to see the alliances on the map and the map won't be as good a visual aid. I would advice light blues, yellow, orange, a vibrant red (one not as dark as the one for normal players), light greens, pinks and possibly pale colours. Make sure the colours aren't too similar to the ones on the standard map.
Time to get back to adding alliances. Go back to Grepolis Maps and add one of the alliances you want. And only one. Alliances are ordered by rank on the drop down list at GrepoMaps, so be prepared to scroll for your alliance (unless you're in the top 10, ofc). Once you have found the alliance you want, click on the white box next to it. This will allow you to change the colour of the alliance's markers. After this has been done, make sure it is set on the same zoom and co-ordinates as the background you took earlier and create the map.


Copy the image by right clicking on it and copying. Then go onto the Paint.Net running and paste it into a new layer (Edit>Paste Into New Layer). Then, as we did earlier, edit the layer name from "Layer #" to That
alliances name and colour.


4) Phew, that was pretty long winded. Now, zoom in on your map to around 200%. You should see your markers more clearly now. You will also see these light coloured patches here and there. These islands are colonizing islands. However, we will use them for something different. We are going to use them to cut out everything in that layer except the markers.
To do this, we need the magic wand tool. Select the magic wand tool (in the tool window, 1st column, 4th one down). Tolerance is manually set at 50% (you will be able to see this on the tool option bar at the top).
Now, click on one of these lighter patches in the sea. Now, everything should be selected except for the colourful markers. If it selects the markers as well as the background, you need to set the tolerance lower or change the colour.
Now that everything is selected except the colourful markers, press cut (the scissors). Only the markers will remain on this layer. Although you should notice no difference from before as the layer below is providing the scene.


5) You still have to zoom into see the markers though. However, lets change this. Make sure the layer with the markers on is selected. Then, get the color picker (in the tool window, 2nd column, 7th down) and click on one of your markers. Now, in the color window, you will see the colour appear.
Good. After that, make sure that you are on the right layer again. As I directed at the start, you should've downloaded and installed the plugin. This is where it will get used. Go to Effects>Object>Outline Object. If this isn't there, it means you haven't installed it correctly...
A window with different sliders and a color dial appears. First of all, underneath the RGB text boxes in the middle part of the window, should be a button with a blue arrow. Click this. Now, the color of your markers should appear in the box top left of the dial.
Now, you can choose the other settings. If this is your second or another alliance you are adding to your map, do NOT change the softness or width or else the map looks distorted.Set width to a figure you are happy with (between 2-4 is whats best usually) then set a softness. You may set 0, which will practically make them squares or set them to 200, which will make them into very antialiased circles. Look at the preview in the background. Once happy, press ok and wait for all to load.


Now, you have the markers for that alliance. If you want more alliances on your map, make sure you do them in a different colour making sure each new alliance marker added is on a new layer. If you wish for more alliances on your map, please repeat steps 3 to 5. I added 2 more alliances, though you may want to add 4 or even 9 more.
 
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Osl112

Guest
Part Three- The Labelling and Presentation (Finishing Touches)

6) Finally the main part of the map has been completed. Lets neaten up the edge of the map. Select the Rectangular Select tool (1st column, top) and select the area of what you want to be included in your map. It should have all the markers in its area. Then, go to Image>Crop to Selection and it will be tidy.


Also, if you wish to resize the map smaller, simply click Image>Resize and resize it! Not too small though or it will become distorted.

7) Now to label and add text to the map. The map must have a key, as otherwise no one will know which tribe is which. The reason why text is so important. The text must make the correct impact.
Use nice bold text that stand out like:
This
instead of fonts like:
This
which barely stand out at all. If you can get a nice strong greek font, all the better. I advise using the font "Copperplate Gothic Bold" as it is perfect for these maps. But how do you add the text?
This can be a little complicated, so I will break it down into mini short steps to make it easier.
>1. Create a brand new layer (at the bottom of the layers window, icon to the furthest left) and move it to the top (5th icon across at bottom of layers window, just keep pressing until it reaches the top).
>2. Now click on one layer with alliance markers on
>3. Select the color picker tool (2nd column, 7th down)
>4. Click on one of the markers. The color currently selected should be the one that is the marker colour
>5. Now select the top layer for the text and select the text tool in the tools window (1st column, 9th down)
>6. Choose the font you wish to use on the tools option bar at the top and the size (I advise size 16-22 text)
>7. Write! Make sure it doesn't cover any markers.
*Repeat steps 2-7 for all other alliances.
>8. You are done!
As always, if you were confused along the way, I have an annotated picture for you.


If you feel that your text is not enhanced enough, use an outline object like we did earlier to enhance it. Just use black or white to enhance it!

8) After 7 in depth steps, your map is finished! Now all you need to do is save and upload it for everyone to see! However, just in case you wish to make adjustments to the map in the future, we'll save it in two formats. The first of which will be a PDN. PDN files are the normal Paint.Net image files. This PDN will save the layers and settings for you, so that you can come back and edit it at anytime. The second will be a PNG. This is a better graphic format to use compared to gif and jpg as it saves a better quality image. So, how to save?
Its a simple as pie. Click File>Save As and a window will come up. Write in what you wish to call it, go to the folder you wish to save it in and make sure the "File Type" is PDN. Then, click save.
Straight after, save it as a PNG. Click File>Save As and you should be in the same folder where you saved your PDN version of the graphic. Change the file type (at the bottom of the window that pops up comes an option saying to "save as type" with a drop down box) to PNG and save. Another window should pop up. Just press Ok at the bottom right.
Then another pop up appears. Simply press flatten, and you are done!

9) Now that you have done your map, just upload the PNG to tinypic and use the address under image tags in the forum. Done...

And the finished result:


If you have any questions, any problems or any results from the tutorial, please write below.

Thanks,
Osl112

Ps. Grrr... 4 image max limit
Pss. Sorry for the triple post, blame the image limit
Psss. If this is in the wrong place, where should it be? Guides section please...
Pssss. Please do not copy this tutorial without my consent. Credit would be great.
 
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Dorothy Gale

Guest
Very good tutorial, & thanks for sharing the map. I would have to agree this is for the most part accurate, however slightly inaccurate. This map made me recheck our cities manually. We have only 4 cities outside of O44. This map is indicating more than 4 in O54 in my opinion?

Nonetheless cool! & +rep
 

Osl112

Guest
Very good tutorial, & thanks for sharing the map. I would have to agree this is for the most part accurate, however slightly inaccurate. This map made me recheck our cities manually. We have only 4 cities outside of O44. This map is indicating more than 4 in O54 in my opinion?

Nonetheless cool! & +rep
Hmmm... Either GrepoMaps failed me, or the figure outside O44 is either wrong on your side (I don't suspect so) or you have dropped in players outside O44 since when the map was made. But hey, thanks for the comment, I tried to make it quite in depth.

Thanks dannte :)
 

Fang Xian

Guest
Thank you so much for making this tutorial! I downloaded a bunch of plug-ins and made my sig picture, a map and profile pic for my alliance.

If you know of any other great plug-ins to use, please feel free to send me a message.
 

Osl112

Guest
Thank you so much for making this tutorial! I downloaded a bunch of plug-ins and made my sig picture, a map and profile pic for my alliance.

If you know of any other great plug-ins to use, please feel free to send me a message.
No problem! If you want more great plugins for Paint.Net, I recommend checking these out:
Pyrochilds Plugins!

There are some more around, I just need to find them :D
 

Nodemise

Guest
+rep Good tut, idk if im respected enough to make your rep higher :).
 

JKP3nt

Strategos
When I click on the link to the plugin I can not access the page, I need to login, which I can not of course, and I could a few days ago, but then I still did not have paint.NET itself downloaded
 

JKP3nt

Strategos
I found that page already, but I could not download anything from it except the top file, which appears to be useless
 

Fang Xian

Guest
I guess they haven't transferred everything over to the new forum.
 

peter heata

Guest
Excellent tute mate!! A++ For those of you that can't find the plugins just google it, not hard to find.
 

JKP3nt

Strategos
perhaps this thread could have all of its extraneous posts deleted and be put up in the guides section of the Questions and Guides forum :S. It is very useful for those people who have not made maps before (even if the Original poster is inactive :p)