Nearly-Dr. Thande's MSPaint Tutorial - Learn recolouring, diagonal stripes and more!

Thande

Donor
As requested, as MSPaint is often overlooked (especially by newbs who think you have to use flashy photoshop-type programmes) and it has plenty of very useful features for mapmaking.

Thande's MSPaint Tutorial V1.0 (Multi-post)

Okay then. This is fairly complicated, so listen up at the back!

However, once you've done it a few times, it becomes routine and easy.

First, a quick refresher on how MSPaint works. Notice that the colour box at the bottom left has two squares superimposed, one showing the colour that you left click on (the primary) and one that you right-click on (the secondary - if you don't know about secondary colours and so haven't right-clicked, this will probably be white).

Now, the secondary colour has a number of purposes. For example, if you select the tools that let you draw a rectangle or ellipse, you will notice below the tool box a new box appears (I will call this the 'left box') allowing you three options, a hollow shape, a bordered solid shape or a non-bordered solid shape. To see what this means, left-click on blue and right-click on orange. Draw a rectangle first with the first option selected, then with the second, then the third. The first should be a hollow blue rectangle, the second an orange rectangle (secondary colour) bordered by blue (primary colour) and the third a solid blue rectangle.

As another demonstration, repeat this procedure (draw the rectangles to the right of the first lot) but this time when you draw the rectangle, use the RIGHT button to draw it. This will invert the two colours' priorities so this time you should get a hollow orange rectangle, then a blue rectangle bordered by orange, and finally a solid orange rectangle.

Your Paint window should now look like this (NB the colours will be different if you're using the pre-Vista version):

Screen PNG.png
 
Can I interject? Holding down control allows you to select a tertiary colour, which I think can also draw a shape if you hold down control (it certainly works for drawing and filling on MS Paint XP) :)
 

Thande

Donor
What else can you use the secondary colour for? Well, a useful one is recolouring (very nice if you're doing the HRE and want to recolour lots of fiddly little bits at once).

Most people probably think the eraser tool is only there for big messy white splurges (Fig 1). However, the colour of the eraser is actually the secondary colour you've selected. If you still have orange selected, then the eraser will actually be orange (Fig 2).

This is of course when you're using the eraser with the left mouse button. However, something more interesting happens when you use the right. Then, the erase will not simply sploodge all over your page - it will selectively recolour anything that's the primary colour to the secondary colour, without touching anything else (Fig. 3). This is very, very useful as I said above for recolouring fiddly bits such as those little islands off Russia and Norway.

Screen PNG.png
 

Thande

Donor
Taking recolouring to its extreme can also be done. Say you want to recolour all the ocean in a world map. Copy the original file (just to get two of the same size). Clear the second file (Ctrl+A to select all then Del to delete it). Fill this area with the new ocean colour, then select primary and secondary colours so the primary is the new ocean colour and the secondary is the old (to do this you will probably have to copy-paste a small part from the other file so you can use the ink-dropper tool to pick up the colours - delete this small part afterwards).

Then Ctrl+A in the first file to select your map, Ctrl+V in your second file to paste it, and...wait, that didn't work.

You also need to set the secondary colour as transparent. While in select-box mode, you will notice that the left-hand box has two options - three 3D shapes on top of a white box, or them on top of a transparent box. Select the second option and this will set the secondary colour as transparent, allowing this to work. (This is also useful in e.g. text boxes if you don't want them to be surrounded by a big white rectangle).

Screen PNG.png
 

Thande

Donor
Finally, what Krall wanted: good-looking diagonal stripes.

Let's work backwards here from what we know: you want the stripes to fill a country but not spill over. In order to do that, colour your country as a
particular colour, then set that colour as the secondary colour and choose the transparent option in the left box. Then select-box around your country and
paste it over the area you want to appear in the country (in this case, some stripes).

Importantly then choose a different secondary colour (a good choice is the ocean colour, or the colour of a neighbouring country - that will make that
bit transparent and make it easier to line up the borders) and copy-paste or select and drag your stripe-filled country until it lines up over the old one.

See below.

Screen PNG.png
 

Thande

Donor
So that's how you make a stripy country. Also works well if you're making a flag map - simply get the flag the right size and paste the transparent country over that instead of the stripes.

But how do you make some stripes in the first place? Here's how.

Draw a long narrow vertical rectangle in one colour. Copy and paste it, then colour it the second colour. Carefully line the two up next to each other, then copy the whole thing and keep pasting it until you've made a bar code's worth of stripes (Fig 4). (Make sure your select-box is set to transparent or this won't work).

Now you need to slant them. Go to Image-> Resize/Skew (also called Stretch/Skew in some versions). Firstly if your stripes are too thick, as mine are here, you might want to use Horizontal Stretch->50% to halve them in size (fig 5). If there now aren't enough stripes, just copy, align and paste them again to redouble them in number.

Finally, choose Horizontal Skew and select 45 for a good angle. And there you have it, stripes!

Screen PNG.png
 

Thande

Donor
Can I interject? Holding down control allows you to select a tertiary colour, which I think can also draw a shape if you hold down control (it certainly works for drawing and filling on MS Paint XP) :)
This is true, but I rarely use it as I believe its only purpose is so you can rapidly switch back and forth between two primary colours by holding down control rather than having to re-select the colour over and over.

If anyone else has any other MSPaint tips, feel free to post them in this thread.
 
Very interesting, Thande. I, for one, have certainly learned something from you already, as far as it goes with using Paint. Now, I've got to ask, out of curiosity - do you usually use Paint.net, or is MS Paint your tool of choice under normal circumstances? Just curious...
 
Okay, having put in some experimentation with Paint and come across one of the really annoying things that have to be done when making maps:

Is there an easy way to set it up with a border of one color and the fill of another inside an irregular shape? i.e., how might one make a set-up indicating differing de facto control from de jure control... is there a simple way to do it, or will I be stuck with the Pencil tool forever? Er... as usual, thanks in advance for whatever response you have. :)
 

Thande

Donor
Very interesting, Thande. I, for one, have certainly learned something from you already, as far as it goes with using Paint. Now, I've got to ask, out of curiosity - do you usually use Paint.net, or is MS Paint your tool of choice under normal circumstances? Just curious...
I use Paint for almost everything and then generally use a photoshop-type programme just for things like textures.
Okay, having put in some experimentation with Paint and come across one of the really annoying things that have to be done when making maps:

Is there an easy way to set it up with a border of one color and the fill of another inside an irregular shape? i.e., how might one make a set-up indicating differing de facto control from de jure control... is there a simple way to do it, or will I be stuck with the Pencil tool forever? Er... as usual, thanks in advance for whatever response you have. :)
Not with Paint itself, you have to fill in each one by hand. However if you have a basic photoshop-type programme, you can use the "Find Edges" tool to create an inner border for the country and then just delete everything else and drag that border to fit inside the country.
 

Sachyriel

Banned
More! I hadn't known half of this stuff involving the transparent secondary-colour and the legendary tertiary colour!
 
Many thanks Thande. I've been puzzling over how to add tartans to my uniforms for quite some time. Now all I need is to learn how to draw a convincing kilt. ;)

Tartan Marine.PNG
 
I use Paint for almost everything and then generally use a photoshop-type programme just for things like textures.

Not with Paint itself, you have to fill in each one by hand. However if you have a basic photoshop-type programme, you can use the "Find Edges" tool to create an inner border for the country and then just delete everything else and drag that border to fit inside the country.
Ah, thanks. Hm, now I've got to ask you another question. So, on the subject of photoshop-type programs, which one would you recommend? I'm wondering about how I should go about getting involved with map making, and, well, the edges thing is really a bit of an irritant at the moment - especially since the setting I was thinking of doing a map for has more puppet states than the average!

Well, anyways, thanks for your answers, and thanks in advance about the new one. :)
 

Thande

Donor
Ah, thanks. Hm, now I've got to ask you another question. So, on the subject of photoshop-type programs, which one would you recommend? I'm wondering about how I should go about getting involved with map making, and, well, the edges thing is really a bit of an irritant at the moment - especially since the setting I was thinking of doing a map for has more puppet states than the average!

Well, anyways, thanks for your answers, and thanks in advance about the new one. :)
Paint.Net is pretty good and is free. The other programme I use is Ulead PhotoImpact, which is over a decade old now, but still serves me well.
 
Paint.Net is pretty good and is free. The other programme I use is Ulead PhotoImpact, which is over a decade old now, but still serves me well.
Ah, so that's what you use Paint.net for, then... it almost seems like it's too good to be true, from what I've heard people saying about it. I haven't been able to get it to work, though. :(
 
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