[Graphics] Cutting Bases from Screenshots

Submitted By: Buster's Uncle Date: September 21, 2012, 09:57:14 PM Views: 873

Cutting Bases from Screenshots

[This one is brand-new, posted ahead of several years worth of how-to articles.  The series resumes posting in order here.]

So since I'm deep into it anyway, I thought I'd take a few screenies and talk about how how I do it and why I do it that way.  Someone might benefit.  Check out the red arrows, and you'll have exact instructions for doing it in GIMP.

Screenshots from other games are one of the best sources of bases, especially if you lack the art skills to create convincing ones from scratch.  Be sure they are lit from your right, unless you can rework the lighting, and want to go to the trouble.  This is tedious work, but anyone can make excellent bases this way.

So I loaded up the screenshot and selected a box around Aztec university with Rectangle Select Tool.  Image>Crop to Selection.  Easy. 

I also cut the town center out of this screeny - after selecting File>Create>From Clipboard.  Save the result for working on later.  Simpler than reloading the screenshot again later.  I've cut as many as five buildings from the same screenshot when I lucked out and they were all unobstructed and workable.

Now Layer>Transparency>Add Alpha Channel.  (Incidentally, you'll want to get rid of the ruler guides, which default on every time in my copy of GIMP and take up space; I never, ever use them.  That's View>uncheck Show Rulers.)

Then with the Eraser Tool scaled all the way down to one pixel and Hard edge checked, I begin working my way around the edge of the structure.  You only need a one pixel "moat" between the edge and the rest you're getting rid of, and it saves time to not fool with fitting anything bigger around the tight spots.  Bear with me.

You'll want to zoom in and out frequently, to get a sense of what you're working with in the bit you're on at the moment - sometimes it's easy to tell what's building and what's not, but sometimes it's pretty tough.  Note all those dingy green pixels I pointed out.  I actually had to [Ctrl]z and back up a couple of steps when I realized I'd been chopping out part of the building.

When you've gone all the way around, click Fuzzy Select Tool with Threshold cranked up to about 200 anywhere outside the structure and transparent border.  If you've done it right, it'll look like this, and you can hit Delete...

...But if the structure selects, too, you've probably left some pixel corners touching, as pictured above.


These Age of Empires II screenies all come out tall/distorted, probably because of my widescreen monitor and AoE2 saving screenies to its own folder as .BMPs.  It throws the perspective off pretty bad sometimes.

So, Image>Scale Image>unclick the proportionate dealy pictured, and figure out how much to reduce the hight - I mostly use trial-and error, backing up and redoing it until it looks right to me me.  The result is pictured below.

Good hunting.

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