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!
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.
Creating the Portrait
- Launch Paint.NET and open the template image.
- Drag and drop your character image onto the template, pick the Add layer option.
- Go to the Layers box and move the image layer below the template layer.
- Optional: Zoom out to 50% to make resizing easier, especially with large images.
- 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.
- 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.
- Hit the Enter Key on your keyboard when you're done.
- Go to the Layers box. Delete the template layer.
- 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.
- 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
- 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!
- Caption the image "Character Name (Anime Portrait)" or Manga Portrait, Light Novel Portrait, etc. depending on the source.
- 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.
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!