Thursday, January 16, 2014

How I Create Trophies for MPDC, Part One

Back in October, after much deliberation, I resumed my duties as host of Monday Pauper Deck Challenge, which is one of the most popular current Player Run Events on Magic Online. While I had done extensive hosting previously, there was one major responsibility that I had never undertaken: creating the "trophy" images for the winner of each event, like the one you see above. In the past, this duty had been taken on by various other members of the community, including a previous host of this event. But, these artists had long ago departed, and no one had yet stepped up to take over their role.

I am not sure at what point this became a normal feature for PDCMagic events, but I do know that trophies were created for the very first season of Monday Pauper Deck Challenge. Given such a long-standing tradition, it seemed a shame to neglect it going into the future. So, although I do not consider myself by any means skilled in artwork, digital or otherwise, I decided to take on the long-neglected duty of creating trophies each week.

I managed to uncover a few helpful hints buried in the Artwork forums over at PDCMagic, along with some old fonts and templates. Then, with a little more research, I found a free, open-source graphics program powerful enough to do the job without having the overwhelming complexity of something like Photoshop. After that, after about an hour of playing around, I was able to create my first trophy.

So, with that as a preamble, I decided to write a quick two-part post on how I create trophies for MPDC. Perhaps it will inspire others to create them for other Player Run Events. Or maybe someone will come along with real artistic gifts, give me a pat on the head for my feeble efforts, and quietly take this role away from me...

Anyway, the first step, naturally, is assembling all the pieces you'll need. Here they are:
  1. A graphics program. I ended up using, which is free, intuitive, and powerful. While it doesn't support the Photoshop file type natively, there is a free plugin that remedies that issue, allowing you to make use of the template below.
  2. Fonts. While not strictly necessary, to provide some connection to previous trophies, I found it helpful to download this particular batch of fonts. Currently, I make use of Elegance and Magic Medieval.
  3. Templates. Previous templates exist that were used for Standard, Classic, and Extended. These are blank Photoshop files that will save you a tremendous amount of time. My trophies are based off the Standard template.
  4. Mana Symbols. I also wanted some nice looking mana symbols for the trophies, and I found this particular set by FRAGment2K to be particularly good.
And that's it! With just those resources, you have all you need to easily create new trophies. Next time, I'll walk you through exactly how I do that.

Thanks for reading.

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