Building a Better Wiki: Perfect Profile Portraits! [+ tutorial]

Topic started by Daniel_Newton on Aug. 20, 2012. Last post by takashichea 2 months, 1 week ago.
Post by Daniel_Newton (3,183 posts) See mini bio Level 20
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Also check out: Building a Better Wiki: Franchise Logos!

Hi there, welcome to "Building a Better Wiki", a blog series where I aim to explore different aspects of our giant wiki database to find out how to best utilize them or improve upon them to make sure we're building the best anime and manga wiki on the web!

I thought I'd start off with something simple: default images on character pages, or what I like to call "Profile Portraits". Over the years we have used a variety of different images. Artwork, screen caps, concept art... cropped images, full-size images, transparent PNG images... you get the idea. Not only do each of these choices come with a different set of pros and cons, but using these different kinds of images results in our character pages looking really inconsistent. It makes the wiki look messy and unprofessional.

The guys running MyAnimeList.net seem to have the right idea. They have very specific guidelines for character images. With a little tweaking, these guidelines also work perfectly for our wiki. They use official artwork (or an anime cap/manga scan if none is available) and a fixed size of 225 x 350. That size is too small for us, so I scaled it up and trimmed it a little to get a solid 300 x 450, which works out nicely.

So based on that, here are our guidelines:

  • Dimensions: Minimum 300 x 450 (position the face within the top 300 x 300 pixels)
    -- You can use higher resolutions, but make sure it scales down to 300 x 450 exactly. E.g. 600 x 900 or 583 x 875
  • Format: PNG (the small icons look horrible in JPG format)
  • -- If the filesize is large (1MB or over) resize the image. 600 x 900 is a good size.
  • Preferred Source (in order): Anime artwork, anime cap/screenshot, manga/light novel artwork, manga/light novel scan
  • Do Not Use: transparent PNG or GIF, vector trace, fan art
  • Gallery/Caption: In the character page gallery, create a gallery named "Profile Portraits" and caption the image "Character Name (Anime Portrait)" or Manga Portrait, Light Novel Portrait, etc. depending on the source.
  • -- You can also add little details on the end, e.g. "Urabe Mikoto (Anime Portrait) school uniform" or "Natsu Dragneel (Anime Portrait) pre time skip"
  • Add all portraits to the wiki page, in the correct franchise gallery. Create a new gallery if necessary.

Here are some examples using these guidelines: Urabe, Louise, Natsu, Ichigo, Ikaros, Elesa

As you can see, the images are consistent and translate perfectly into icons which appear throughout the wiki. This format should work for 90% of the characters in our database, with the exception of some non-humanoid characters like small Pokémon and Digimon, monsters, and sentient objects, in which case we can just use 300 x 300 images.

Now you might be asking; well that's great, but what if I have a nice full-size image of a character? What do I do with that now? Simple; why not put it in the wiki article itself? Add a paragraph talking about the character design and throw that image in there!

Tutorial

For those of you having trouble resizing and cropping images, here's a tutorial to hopefully make things a little easier. This tutorial uses Paint.NET, a free image editor for Windows (sorry Mac/Linux users) though if you use Adobe Photoshop this guide may still be helpful.

Profile Portrait Tutorial

This tutorial will show you how to create profile portraits for characters and where to upload the images.

Tools

Materials

Creating the Portrait

  1. Launch Paint.NET and open the template image.
  2. Drag and drop your character image onto the template, pick the Add layer option.
  3. Go to the Layers box and move the image layer below the template layer.
  4. Optional: Zoom out to 50% to make resizing easier, especially with large images.
  5. Go to Tools and select the Move Selected Pixels tool (the blue cursor icon).
    -- You should now see a black outline of your image, if you can't see it, move the image around or zoom out more.
  6. Hold down the Shift Key on your keyboard and resize the image by dragging the corner points. Move the image and resize until the head is inside the top section of the template.
    -- Don't worry if hair goes outside the template, focus on the face and head. Look at the example images.
  7. Hit the Enter Key on your keyboard when you're done.
  8. Go to the Layers box. Delete the template layer.
  9. Go to Image in the toolbar and select Canvas Size, change the width to 300 pixels and height to 450 pixels. Make sure the Anchor is Top Left.
    -- Your image should now be cropped to the correct size, if something went wrong, you can undo edits using the History box.
  10. Done? Go to File, Save As, change the type to PNG and click Save. Leave settings on Auto-detect and click OK.

Uploading the Portrait

  1. Go to the character wiki page, add a gallery named Profile Portraits and upload the image there.
    -- When adding new images, keep the old ones too, they may be useful elsewhere in the wiki, or as profile images for users!
  2. Caption the image "Character Name (Anime Portrait)" or Manga Portrait, Light Novel Portrait, etc. depending on the source.
  3. Finally, view the image and click "Make Default Image" and you're done!
    -- If you don't have enough wiki points to see this option, post a request here.

Well Done!

Ta-da! You should now have a nice new portrait image for a character page. If so, pat yourself on the back. If not... start again and read each step carefully.

~Thanks for reading, keep up the good wiki work!

Post by takashichea (11,708 posts) See mini bio Level 25
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Poor and , I have to replace their cool transparent PNG. For that Natsu image, I know we had a good shot of Natsu alone somewhere in the massive gallery we have. I'll dig it out.

300 x 450 (position the face within the top 300 x 300 pixels)

Hmm, it'll take me some practice to do it by Paint.

What about this Lisbeth image I used for her default?

Edit:

Okay, I see the difference between Natsu and Lisbeth's image. I have to crop it.

After my first attempt, my image is smaller than Natsu's. Since you said the face of the character should be located 300 by 300 pixels, it looks this image won't be able to come out as well as Natsu's image.

My second attempt.

Post by Daniel_Newton (3,183 posts) See mini bio Level 20
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@takashichea: Good effort, but please stick to the 300 x 450 size otherwise it makes it a little pointless.

What are you using to make these? Microsoft Paint? I'd recommend something like Paint.NET.

I found an image in Lisbeth's gallery that works better since it shows her entire head.

Post by takashichea (11,708 posts) See mini bio Level 25
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@Daniel_Newton:

Hold on, am I supposed to resize it first then crop it OR crop it first then resize it?

Post by Daniel_Newton (3,183 posts) See mini bio Level 20
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@takashichea: Right, I've deleted a few posts, updated the guidelines a bit and added a tutorial for Paint.NET in the first post. Hope that helps!

Post by takashichea (11,708 posts) See mini bio Level 25
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@Daniel_Newton:

Thanks Daniel! I'll give it a go, and I'll let you know if I got it down or not.

Post by buhssuht (223 posts) See mini bio Level 19

why no vector trace?

Post by Daniel_Newton (3,183 posts) See mini bio Level 20
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@buhssuht: Because technically it's a form of fan art, regardless of how accurate traces can be, so I'd rather we stick to official sources. Also I actually had someone complain about their vector trace being used on the site before, so it's just easier to stick to official stuff. I understand why you'd ask though.

@takashichea: Hope the tutorial works for you.

We should use this thread to go through characters. If anyone wants to leave requests, feel free. Here's a bunch of new profile portraits I made:

The Momiji one could probably be better, it can always be replaced later.

If anyone can find a good screenshot of Misty from Pokémon (preferably in her AG outfit) let me know, I've found a few but I'm still looking.

Post by sickVisionz (4,256 posts) See mini bio Level 24
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I used to be really finnicky about main character images. I think the old guidelines said that you should try use an image that was mainly someone's face so that's what I did. I always kept that principal but I loosened up on cropping stuff once I started seeing full body pics and it seemed like people were replacing all main images with transparent PNGs.

Cool tutorial though.

Post by Daniel_Newton (3,183 posts) See mini bio Level 20
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@sickVisionz: Yeah, bringing the focus back to the face is one of the key points here; using full body shots or transparent images can look great on the character article itself but the icons generated from those images are bad. I think transparent PNGs certainly work for some pages though, like concepts and certain locations like planets.

Thanks, I'm just lucky Paint.NET is pretty similar to Photoshop. It made writing that tutorial a whole lot easier!

Post by Destinyheroknight (10,229 posts) See mini bio Level 21

Really, I spend a lot of time making the TP (Transparent PNG) and now I have to replace them

Post by Daniel_Newton (3,183 posts) See mini bio Level 20
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@Destinyheroknight: Yeah sorry about that, I've spent time making a few myself, but it's for the best. On the bright side these portrait images are much easier to make, so when you think about it this may actually save you a lot of time in the long run.

Post by Destinyheroknight (10,229 posts) See mini bio Level 21

@Daniel_Newton:

It ok, I was just kidding with you (but I still wish I have that four minutes back LOL!)

So it like this?

Post by Daniel_Newton (3,183 posts) See mini bio Level 20
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@Destinyheroknight: That's really close, it's just a pixel off (301 x 450) and the face needs to be a little higher up or it will end up like this an as icon:

Use the template in the tutorial, that should help.

Post by Destinyheroknight (10,229 posts) See mini bio Level 21

@Daniel_Newton:

Ok, I think I got it now

Post by Daniel_Newton (3,183 posts) See mini bio Level 20
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@Destinyheroknight: Yeah that's much better, nice job.

Post by Daniel_Newton (3,183 posts) See mini bio Level 20
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Here's a few more I've taken care of: Kurusu Fuyukawa, Miranda Qwenty, Volk Rem Alecrast IV

If anyone wants to request a character feel free.

Post by Destinyheroknight (10,229 posts) See mini bio Level 21

@Daniel_Newton:

Ok, thanks for the lesson and the new program

I guess, I'll change the others tomorrow

Post by takashichea (11,708 posts) See mini bio Level 25
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@Destinyheroknight:

Darn, you got it quicker than me. I haven't tried the tutorial yet.

@Daniel_Newton:

I'm going try Saber and Freed Justine.

Post by sickVisionz (4,256 posts) See mini bio Level 24
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@takashichea said:

@Destinyheroknight:

Darn, you got it quicker than me. I haven't tried the tutorial yet.

@Daniel_Newton:

I'm going try Saber and Freed Justine.

Are those pics edited? If so, you should probably get a closer shot of Saber and a more head on shot of the character in the second one. If there's any shot where half of his isn't missing due to his angle to the camera, that'd be the one to use.

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