Question of the Week, New Site Feature, Contests, and Become a Member and Get a Free Boar Knight Pet

In the past, I've received a lot of questions about what programs I use for editing, and in case you're curious - that's GIMP. Since I get it so much, I'm going to go over a few of my tips and tricks for using the program. Everything from creating and effective background to using the various tools, all part of an answer to the numerous questions I received, specifically, one from The Hilarious Thaumaturge. And Swordroll, where'd you come up with your odd name?

The Hilarious Thaumaturge asks:

I'm having a little trouble with GIMP... I'll get it eventually though. My pictures are NO WHERE NEAR as good as yours, but then again, you've been using it longer :P It's a bit confusing at times... And i love your header picture, very detailed. How long did it take to make? Also, one more question. Where did you come up with the name Swordroll? I am thinking about changing my blog's name. and What font do you use on your photos?

Lets start with Swordroll. If you're on other sites, or have played other games, you might have seen a Swordroll, and that's probably me. That name came from one of the very first games I played, and it wasn't actually me that started playing. It was a friend who introduced me to the game. They used a combination of two words - one an action, one an item. I didn't think much of online gaming or of my online persona of the time, so I did the same thing. I suppose that the name has just stuck.

GIMP can be overwhelming at first, especially if you've never used an editing program before. I'd suggest "Googling" the tools to find out which is which, and how to use them. There are some that you'll use a lot, some you'll never figure out, and some that are geared more toward portrait manipulation.

As always, right-clicking will give you about a million more options. All of your right-click options are also up on a bar right under "GNU Image Manipulation Program." Under File, you have all of your Open and Save options. Edit has a few more. I'm fairly certain that you're familiar with "Ctrl + Z" to undo, but it's also an option up here. Some of the copy and pate options are interesting here.

I commonly use the font Shermlock, which is very close it what Wizard101 uses. I use a font called Candara for the "Swordroll's Blog" and "Read More."

As far as my headers go, here's how I did them. I first took pictures of all my characters separately, with the correct angles in mind. I them cut them out and placed them together in a formation. My blog is somewhere around 800 pixels wide, and so that was the size of image I created, then placed my characters on that size of image, and did the same with my blog name. That way, when I pasted the characters and blog name on each header, they would be in the exact same spot. I them proceeded to create the header, noting the exact width and height and how rounded the corners were. I actually just too photos and pasted the whole thing over everything else, then erased what I didn't want with a feathered brush to make them blend together. Then the characters and text were just pasted on top. In one of my posts, I explained the HTML I used to create a rotating header, which makes it change every time you refresh the page.

Speaking of HTML and site features, I've added a new one at the bottom of the page. This row of labelled icons will allow you to see posts under a specific topic. Note that not all posts will be under a category, but you can see quite a few. If you're interested, for example, in how to create that rotating header I discussed, you can click on the "Guides" button. I put together the HTML myself, so if it doesn't look perfect, you know who to blame. I'd really encourage you to look at those "Top 10's," a lot of them are pretty entertaining.

While we're on the topic of headers, that's one of Wizard101 Central's competitions! Creating the latest Wizard101 Central header. They're currently using many from their last competition, and now they're giving you another opportunity to display yours! Check out the discussion thread HERE and the entry thread HERE. Wizard101 Central uses something similar to Swordroll's Blog for their rotating header, but their forum area extends up to the bottom, making it look seamless. I created a few for the competition myself.

(Click to enlarge them) I may continue working until I get one that I really like. What do you think, and which is your favorite?

Right now, when you become a member, you can get a free Boar Knight pet! Get more information at!

Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!

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