Placing icons on a map in Gimp

Placing Icons on a Map with Gimp

Nikitas Thlimmenos was asking about how to place icons on a map, so here’s the walkthrough! The map is the Iconic Island (—Iconic-Island) as that’s the map Nikitas is using. There’s a bare base map in the pack, and all the .pngs come as separate files that you can add. But this also works if you find the CSUAC bundle of pngs or trawl the Dunjinni forums for the amazing art assets there. You can set dress a dungeon pretty quickly this way.

So, how do you add a .png icon to an existing map?

1. Open the map, and the objects, and copy

Here I’ve got Gimp open as a full screen app (Window->Single Window Mode). The tools palette is on the left. The layers palette is top right, and the brush palette bottom right. We’re basically only going to be interested in the layers palette. You can see the three icons along the top? Those are the three files I’ve got open. Furthest left is the base island map, then there are two icon files. The open skull has a grey hatched background – that indicates a transparent area. With one of the icons open, select all (cmd/ctrl + A) and copy (cmd/ctrl + C).

2. Paste

Switch to the map view and paste (cmd/ctrl+V). Notice that in the top right you now have a new layer called Floating Selection? On the screen, the pasted element will be surrounded by black and white ‘marching ants’ showing that it’s the selected element. Move the pasted element around (pick the move tool from the tools palette – it looks like the four pointed star – or press M). Move your mouse over the pasted icon and click and drag to move it around.

Once you’re happy with the placement of the icon, under the layers palette click the new layer button (looks like a sheet of paper next to the folder icon under the list of layers). This will create a permanent layer for the icon. If you click he anchor instead, this would have embedded the icon in the base image – and that makes it much harder to edit later.

3. Add more icons

Now go and find a different icon to place. Select all, copy, go back to your working map, and paste. As before, move it around and click the new layer icon when you’re happy. You should see something like the layers in the first image of step 3. Now you can see how this could get expensive in layers pretty fast. To keep this under control, you can merge layers as you go along. To do this, right-click the upper of the two layers you want to merge, click merge down, and the two layers will merge. You’ll see that the black and yellow box gets larger. This is the boundary of the layer, and it increases in size to accomodate the new content.

4. Go Wild!

Here I’ve opened up all the icons. This way you can flick back and forth to find the icon you want, select-copy-paste into the map, and you’ll have a fully iconed up map in no time.

I hope that gives you the tools to add icons and objects to your maps. Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll see about answering them. And if you pick up and use the Iconic Island, I’d love to see your results.

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