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Tutorial: A Fool's Guide to Equipment Spreads

Tags: #Broken Gallery  #Tutorial 
  • Member
    March 13, 2015

    Just a heads up before you start reading, I will be redoing this using Powerpoint instead of word  as it makes it a lot easier and while there will be some changes most of what is here will work for both programs. 

    Greetings, it is I Golden Fool (why does everyone else leave the space out?) here to help you fool the members of this here blog once again. I've had it said to me before that while people have a grasp on making perk spreads or at least the general idea; when it comes to the equipment they don't know where to start, so for those of you unable to use fancy editing software like Photoshop I have decided to compile this guide.

    Now without further ado lets get into this, cause if i don't Dragonborn might just go find a blunt object to convince me to start with.

    First off you'll be needing an image to use as the background for your spread. When it comes to picking an image I advise choosing something that isn't overly detailed, as once you start all those extra details will a) go to waste since you'll be covering part of the image with the equipment and text and b) it can be difficult to make the text stand out against a more detailed image. 

    Luckily for me I didn't have to go searching, as since most of you will know I spend quiet a bit of time in the Art Group Request Thread, and Dragonborn was kind enough to let me use one of his spreads for this.

    Now I have to ask. Does everyone have their image? If you don't what have you been doing while I waffled on about not using a detailed image and then went ahead with the one above? Hmm? 

    Well any, once you've got that you need to paste it into a word document. Now depending on whether you have a wide or tall image you will need to alter the layout of the page to make it fit. As you can see in the image below there are the two orientations "Portrait" and "Landscape"; if your image is on the tall side then stick with Portrait, if on the other hand your image is like mine then change the page to Landscape.

    Now that the image is on the page and the page has been altered to suit, you will need to be able to change the size and position of the image. To do this start off by double clicking on the image, this should open a tab at the top called "Picture Tools" as you can see in the image it's pink. Now you'll want to open the drop down menu "Wrap Text" and select "Square", this will allow you to freely manipulate the image.

    Ok, everyone still with me? Good, now since you're all here that either means you were curious enough to have a look at this guide or that you wont be using an image editor to make your spread. If your the latter then this will most likely mean that you wont know how to remove the background from an image so that it is transparent. What I'm about to show you is a little cheat that I found back when I first started in the Art Group, by searching for the required it (in this case a glass mace) in Google images you should be able to find an image where someone has been nice enough to remove the background for us. If the background is looks like a white and grey checker board than that means it's transparent, if not then keep looking.

    Once you've found the item with a transparent background you will need to paste it into the word document; if you can't see it after it's pasted that will probably be because it has appeared behind the background image, this can be fixed by shrinking the background down until you can see the piece of equipment. Once you can see it you will need to repeat what was done with the background, namely setting the text wrap as "Square", this will not only allow you to manipulate the image's size and location but should also place it in front of the background like how the mace appears below.

    If you have managed to get one item to appear on top of the background you should be able to do so for the rest. Simply search for any remaining items and then repeat the process of setting the text wraps to "Square".

    Once you have every piece of equipment you need you can start to add text, this is done by adding some text boxes. To make it easier for myself I like to create a single box and then make any major changes, like removing the background and the border, and then copying and pasting it until I have the required amount of boxes.

    First off we'll be removing the background and border, to do this you will need to select the text box and the go to the drop down menus "Shape Fill" and "Shape Outline", and then select "No Fill" and "No Border" respectively. This will make it so that it is only the text against the image instead of a big white box.

    Next we need to make it so that the spaces between each line are as small as possible. If you look at the image below you will see that I have circled two options in the layout tab. The before option affects how big the space is before a line and should be set to 0 by default. What we're interested in is the after, which affects the space below a line this we need to change to 0.

    Now that that's done we can move onto getting the text ready. For the first line I like to type in "Item" as a place holder and then set it to a size of 30. In the second line I type "effect" and set that to 18, these sizes can be adjusted depending on how many boxes you have, once you have filled them in properly.

    Now we can duplicate the boxes by copying and pasting them so that we have one of every item and one extra for the title of the spread (Equipment in this case). So for this spread I needed eight, seven for the equipment and one extra for the title.

    Once you have the right number of text boxes you can start replacing the place holder text with the name of the item and the effects of the enchantments should they have them. For unique items there is now need to write out their effect as it cannot be changed and the name is enough for anyone viewing your build to learn what they need.

    This next part has threatened to drive me further off the deep end at times. As you can see below pure black text can be difficult to read against some backgrounds, not to mention it's quite boring. We can avoid both of these by adding some colour to the text, by using "Text Fill" and "Text Outline" we can alter the colours of the text, to even further improve it's appearance we can change the font as well. For example the text Spine-Breaker has been changed so that it is grey with a black outline, as well as a changed font.

    I like to have the name of the items be a different font than that of the enchantments, since this makes it easier for people to tell each apart at a glance, it also looks nicer than having the same font across the whole spread.

    Any one that is unable to continue due to frustration please raise your hand. Everyone else well done you've made it past the hard part, all that remains is positioning the items and text so that each can be clearly seen and read. 

    Now you may be wondering "But Sir Golden Fool, Sir this is a word document not an image", now the smarter or more observant ones of you may have noticed that in the title it says Paint and that is your answer. To get this mass of images and text boxes into paint we'll need to make them into a single item by grouping them.

    By holding shift and selecting each and every text box and image and then right clicking on them you should have the option to group them as seen in the image below. Once the right click menu opens select Group and then Group again and that should make the mass into one object.

    Now copy the spread and paste it into Paint. Depending on the size of the canvas you may see that there are what spaces all around or to the sides of your spread, these can be removed by first moving the spread into the top left hand corner of the canvas and then shrinking the rest to match the size of the spread.

    I shouldn't have to tell you to save the Spread in Paint but I will anyway. Save the spread in Paint. 

    Your completed spread should looking something along the lines of the completed one below, don't worry if it doesn't look as "fancy" as this one as I've had a bit of practice making these and as far as I know this was your first time.

    Regardless of how it has turned out Congratulations you have now created your very own Equipment Spread. I personally tend to open a new discussion in the Skyrim Character Building Group to have a look at what the spread will look like in a preview, as it gives me an idea of whether the text can be read. Now be careful if you decide to do this as you will want to be viewing a preview not posting a discussion. 

  • March 13, 2015

    At this rate I  won't need to come in and ask for anything in the Request Thread...The last walkthrough was great and so is this one. Excellent work as usual Golden Fool

  • Member
    March 13, 2015

    Hmm, I hadn't thought of it like that, I think I might be putting myself out of a job... oh well there will always be people who either wont see these or just aren't confident in their own abilities. 

    I noticed that you put the space in, good, good.

  • March 13, 2015

    Yep I wouldn't worry about it and besides your still much better then me at these.

  • Member
    March 13, 2015

     there will always be people who either wont see these or just aren't confident in their own abilities. 

    Or just too damn lazy like me.

    Great job

  • March 14, 2015

    Actually I'm having problems with selecting the text boxes to make it all one large picture, I can select 4 pictures and that's it..

    Edit: Correction I cannot group pictures together at all and most certainly not with the Text Boxes as well. I can group all of my Text Boxes together but it won't let me do anything after that.

  • Member
    March 28, 2016

    Are you holding down shift?