View Full Version : a way of managing color icons or elements in Photoshop/Gimp

10-17-2013, 07:13 AM
I feel a bit 'embarrassed in starting a tutorial, since it seems that I can put myself in position to teach someone something ... and I would not refer to me exactly as a teacher in this field!

But i have a secret plan, you know: with the paltry excuse of sharing a way of managing icons sets in a multilayer graphic program, i am hoping that someone starts laughing at me saying something like "hey, good try, you noob, but don't you know there is a cool, simply and effective way to do this?".

Because my method is maybe somewhat functional (?) but sure not so fast, simply or cool!

So. I want to share a method i adopt when i need to use icons or elements set in a multilayer program (i refer to photoshop on a PC, but basically it should works in gimp or similar programs); beware, this is not a real replacement for the capability of other software, like CC3, Dundjinni etc, in managing similar sets!
You however can follow this procedure both for tiling sets or simple icons or elements you plan to use often.


I start creating a blank file (in the image is the right one, while the other is the wannabe map) i will name "master" for tutorial purpouse.


I filled it with the icons or elements, each one on a different layer.
In the example there are only 4 items, but if you consider that maybe you'll need 50 of them, it's better if you create folders with appropriate names to group them.
In the screenshot you see that bush1 and bush2 are in the folder "vegetation", and so the furnitures are in a separate group.

Ipotize i want to place a copy of bush1 from "master" to the map.

I select on file "master" the layer bush1, than select the bush itself: being on a separate layer, i can use a couple of simple methods of selection:

- magic wand on the outside of the icon, then invert selection. Or:


- crtl click on the thumbnail of the layer (see the screenshot)

Now i have selected only the bush i wanted: i copy (crtl - c ) the selection, switch to the "map" and paste: it will be a new layer.
I can resize the layer, if i need, via edit-transform, to match the proportion of my work. Or maybe i want to rotate it!


When i am satisfied, i simply merge the layer: i can create a global "vegetation" layer, and merge then every bush and tree on that layer, or maybe i want to put them in other way, according to the layer structure of my map.

A couple of considerations:

- avoid the creation of a huge 3000 x 3000 file filled with tiny unreadable icons. It's better if you:

* create a "master" file on the run, with only the icons you really need for the specific work
*create single "master" files (vegetation, rocks, walls...) for every "type" of elements you collect. In this case, maybe you want to use for storage purpouse a little bigger resolution and size than that you usually work with. So you can scale up the icons, in case!

- if you want to use tiling elements, like dungeon walls, you can simply use the grid. Menu view - show - grid, than activate snap, and snap to - grid. Now you can copy the walls from your master file to the map, tiling them without so much problems.


ok, that's it!