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Instructions for designing cards

When working on a card, it's a good idea to start from a previous file that worked. Here's a step-by-step set of instructions for editing cards.

If you'd like instructions for a different type of card, speak up. I would have posted instructions for every type of card possible, but we're a bit behind in designing cards in the first place, so I'll only post instructions as requested. In writing the tutorials, I'm using Inkscape (free vector editing software) on Windows 7. The software should be compatible with all recent versions of Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.

I'm writing this tutorial assuming you know a little bit about Inkscape, such as how to edit existing text boxes, select objects, etc. If you've got questions, I'd be happy to answer them on the talk page.

Downloading and opening the templateEdit

Templates to start fromEdit

Here's a template from which you may create article-class cards for the good deck (if the template you want hasn't been created, speak up and I'll make one.

Windows instructionsEdit

The best way to download it (that I know of) is to navigate to the SVG itself (click the image from this page, then view the full resolution), and copy the link in the URL bar. Open up Inkscape. Click File>>Open, and where it asks for the filename, paste the URL you copied. Open the file.

Mac instructionsEdit

Note: This will work for windows users too, but is the only option for Mac users.

Navigate to the SVG image. In most browsers, in the File menu, there should be an option to save the page. In Google Chrome, it is in the "page menu." Save it (I usually save it to the desktop if it doesn't automatically go to a Downloads folder) and open it in Inkscape (again, in the File menu.)

Whatever OS you use, you should now have in front of you a much cleaner version (hopefully) of the card. At this point, it should become clear why we're using the PNG version for display purposes on the wiki.

Hide the watermarkEdit

You may find it helpful to hide the watermark while you edit. The watermark is a separate layer, making it simple to hide.

Move the imageEdit

You also may find it helpful to delete or hide the image by moving it into a hidden layer. This makes it easier to select certain objects hidden behind the invisible part of the image.

Apply the protection symbol (articles only)Edit

Check the proposal to find out whether the article card should be locked. If so, use the layers panel to show the appropriate lock (silver or gold).

Change the linkEdit

It's easiest to work from the bottom up on most cards. Check the card's proposal...there should be a link to the article the card is about. If we navigate to that link, the title of that page is what you want to replace the blue link text with at the bottom of the card. If it's too wide, don't worry! Make it two lines!

Change the special textEdit

The next bit we're going to edit is the special text. If there isn't any, skip this paragraph. This is the text that appears above the link and below the gray border. You'll find the text to put here at the card's proposal. Use the right border of the gray box as a guide for line breaks. Do not attempt to resize the text using any handles! Doing so will skew the text. Once you've typed this, select the text box and move it (using the up and down arrows) enough so it isn't overlapping the blue link and isn't too far away from the bottom of the card. Remember to leave enough space for the card to be easily legible.

Resize the gray borderEdit

Next, grab the bottom handle on the gray border and move it so it is above the special text ability (or the link, if there was no special text ability). It will become thinner, so change that back to 1.08px if you know how, although it's hard to notice if you don't do this.

Change the summary (article cards only)Edit

The next part of the card requires a bit of creativity. You'll find inspiration by reading the opening sentences of the article. Replace the text inside the gray border with whatever seems like a good but brief summary of the opening sentences. Use the left edge of the "expand image" icon as a guide for line breaks. Once you're done, align the text (using the up and down arrows) such that it's just above the gray border, but not too close.

Change the quotee (non-articles)Edit

The format of the quotee should be an em dash or two dashes followed by the name of the quotee. If the quote came from an article or policy, do your best to search through the history to figure out who added that line of text (this may take awhile, and you'll probably get further faster by comparing the differences between about 50 edits at once-- if the change wasn't made during those 50 edits, try the next set of 50, etc). If the quotee is known only by an IP address, use "Anonymous User" instead of the actual IP address.

Use the left edge of the quote text as a guide for line breaks. Once you're done, align the text (using the up and down arrows) such that it's just above the gray border, but not too close.

Change the quote (non-articles)Edit

This part is fairly straightforward as well. Replace the quote text with the quote agreed upon. Use the left edge of the "expand image" icon as a guide for line breaks. Once you're done, align the text (using the up and down arrows) such that it's just above the gray border, but not too close.

Reposition the expand iconEdit

There should be an icon just below the picture on the card...that icon is the "expand" icon that accompanies thumbnails on Wikipedia articles. Select it, and using the arrow keys (Alt+arrow for precision), align the top of the icon with the top of the image caption.

Change the imageEdit

Time to do the image. Click the existing image. On the menu, click Object>>Clip>>Release. This releases the clipping mask on the image, splitting the image into the original image and a pink box used for cropping it. Delete the image, but leave the box. Resize the box using only the bottom handle until it is the appropriate size. As you approach the two inch mark (from the top of the card), you've gone too far. You may need to reword the caption if this is the case, or you might need to head over and complain to the rest of us that the special text ability is too long.

When browsing for an image to place on the card, be sure the image used is from the Commons (not Wikipedia). The reason? Lots of images on Wikipedia don't qualify for commercial use. A fundraiser is commercial, even if it's for a non-profit organization.

Don't close that image page yet on the Commons! In fact, leave it open until you upload the file, it'll save you time. You'll need information from that page later.

Once you've found the image you like, copy and paste it onto the canvas. When you paste it, if the image doesn't cover up the entire pink box, your image is too small and you need a larger one. Press PAGE DOWN to move the image down one layer at a time until the pink box shows on top of the image. To scale the image, hold down CTRL while dragging the image's handles. Drag and scale the image as needed until the desired visible part of the image fits inside the pink area. Not every image lends itself well to this step; you may need to find a different image.

Once you're happy with the area covered by the pink box, use SHIFT to select both the image and the box. Back to the menu again-- Object>>Clip>>Set. If you've done this as I've instructed, the image should now be cropped perfectly to fit the card.

Change the titleEdit

Change the title of the card to reflect the article's subject. If the title is too long, scrounge around to come up with a shorter way of saying it. Example: "Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart" doesn't fit, but "W.A. Mozart" does.

Credit the image authorEdit

Go back to the image page on the Commons. Figure out who snapped the photo, or who drew the image. If it's a touched-up version, decide for yourself (use common sense) to figure out which person made this image unique. For example...if I find a retro-color version of the Mona Lisa, clearly, the retro colors made it outstanding. The person who changed the colors gets credited. But, let's say someone vectorized an image someone else made. Although vectorization of an image can often take weeks to do, the main work of art here belongs to the original artist, since nothing was really added to it. If the image's author is unknown (this may be the case with old paintings or engravings), simply put "Anonymous".

Grab that person's name (if they've got a username, grab that) and replace the name on the Image Credit line on the card. You'll probably experience the text turning black. That's because there's also black text in that box.

If the name you're adding here is a regular person name that isn't a Wikimedia user, leave it black. If it's a registered user, though, try this simple trick: Highlight the blue link text on the card. In the bottom left corner, you'll see a blue rectangle. That's the color we want. Right-click it, and copy the color. Now select the Wikimedia username. Right-click the same box (which is black now) and paste the color. It's magic!

Unhide the watermarkEdit

Unhide the watermark.

Save your workEdit

Save your work as an SVG.

Using the menu, click File>>Export as Bitmap. The desired resolution is 210x312 (or thereabouts) at 90 dpi. Be sure to change the file location every time you do this, or you'll save over your previous PNG. You're saving it in a PNG format. Click export.

Upload your SVGEdit

Proceed to the upload form. Select the SVG file for uploading. Use the following as a guide for what to type:

Image credit can be found at [[File:REPLACE WITH PNG FILENAME]]

Select "Wikipedia trading card" under the license and click the Upload file button.

Upload your PNGEdit

Take a look at that ugly SVG you just uploaded. No, you didn't do anything wrong; MediaWiki's engine is just terrible at rendering text. This is why we show the file off using a PNG copy. The SVG simply allows others to make changes to the file if needed.

Upload photo again, this time we'll upload the PNG.

Image credit:
Card and design:

Select "copyrighted" under the license.

Upload it.

Show it offEdit

Proceed to Cards to be approved. Add your PNG link in the appropriate section.

Go back to WP:TCG and link there to the PNG version at this wiki so we know it's up for review.


When revising an image, be SURE to download the SVG file from Wikia (just in case someone else edited the file before you came back). Do this the same way you downloaded the template-- by opening it up in Inkscape.

When finished revising, go to the SVG's page and click "Upload a new version of this file" (at the bottom of the page). You'll see after a file has been revised that we can view old revisions of it pretty easily. Each revision needs an edit summary, so type one. Don't forget to update the PNG page as well!

When uploading a revision of a file, sometimes Wikia's servers are slow to refresh their cached thumbnails of the image, so don't worry too much if your image isn't updating quickly enough.

Also, be sure and let us know back at WP:TCG if you've revised an image. That way we can check it out again and give you feedback. Bob the Wikipedian (talkcontribs) 05:02, December 31, 2010 (UTC)

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