Creating Holy Symbol Artwork

Jesse Morgan edited this page Nov 19, 2016 · 11 revisions

It's the little touches that really bring megacosm generator to life. Take for example, religious holy symbols. I currently have 106 symbols that need 13 representations. Lets go through the process of what single symbol needs:

Ankh Me

For simplicity's sake, we'll start at the top of the list with the Ankh, favorite holy symbol of ancient Egyptians and the key of life.

Picking a Base Image

  1. Create a transparent image that is 500px by 500px in your favorite editor (gimp is preferred for consistency). You'll end up creating multiple layers, so don't try to cram everything on a single layer. Pace yourself.

  2. Research the base image. What I suggest you do is a google image search for the topic, then choose the following from search tools:

  • "black and white"
  • "clipart" labelled
  • "reuse with modification"
  1. Look at the various examples and find a general design that you like. Make sure to keep it somewhat generic and monochromatic; you're gonna make parts of the symbol transparent so the deity's color bleeds through.

  2. Using the plethora of tools at your disposal, create a line-drawing version of the symbol on the transparent layer (you should use a paintbrush for the drawing to create a smooth, blurred edge).

  3. When complete, select the negative space outside and around the symbol, and "grow" the selected area by a few pixels so it overlaps the semi-transparent part of your lines.

  4. create a transparent layer underneath of your drawing, switch to that layer, and then fill the selected area with white; What you're left with is something like this:


This is where layer groupings come in handy. Take the layers you just created and place them in a layer group, entitled "original", or something like that. We'll be cloning this for all future layers.

Broken, Fragmented and divided.

Clone the original layer group, then hide the original group, and rename the new group to "broken".

Broken is fairly easy- you simply break the image in two as if it were a piece of chocolate. I draw a dividing line, select half, cut and paste it to it's own layer, and move it slightly askew. Afterwards I touch up the break line to be nice and obvious. Finally I delete the white background layer and recreate it to ensure that my symbol is still transparent:


Fragmented is similar, just more pieces:


Divided is kinda different- find the best place to split the object in half and slice it with a solid black line, then twist the parts to open the split:


Double it and triple it

Clone the original layer group, then hide the other groups, and rename the new group to "double".

A Double symbol could be done multiple ways, depending on the base symbol; they might be side-by side, overlapping slightly, a mirror image, or above one another. You will also have to shrink your symbol to get it to fit peacefully with another symbol-the ankh is resized from 500px to 300 or 400px.

Whatever you choose, make sure it can't be mistaken for two of a single version of the symbol. The Ankhs, for example, have overlapping and merged limbs, whereas the axes are mirrored.



You'll also notice that the handle of the axe does in fact have color; a little bit is ok, as long as different deities colors are still prevalent.

To triple it, shrink them down a little more and place a third symbol between and above the other two, creating a pyramid.


Note that for the triple, all three items are oriented the same way- this does not need to be the case as long as it's obviously a triad of the same symbol.

Upside-Down, Tilted and Sideways

These can be accomplished by literally flipping the image or rotating it. In general, the image should rotate to the right for consistency's sake, but that's not a solid rule. Tilted should be 8-45 degrees, sideways should be a full 90 degrees.

Ankh upside down Ankh tilted Ankh sideways

All About Branding

The following I took from Texas cattle branding- circling, rocking and swinging. I'm not too picky about the implementation as long as it matches the images style and isn't overly detailed.

Ankh circled Ankh swinging Ankh rocking

Fire it up

The final version is "burning"... This could appear in several different ways- I'm open to new implementations. I achieved this by using bars of red, white and yellow, then dragging the smudge tool back and forth dozens of times. I'm sure there's a more efficient way.

Ankh burning

Axe burning

Give it a Try!

So, like what you see and are familiar with Gimp? I could use some help.

The current list can be found here. This contains everything that I've done and checked in.

  1. The simplest way to get started is to fork the repo.

  2. Once you have the repo downloaded, open others.xcf and select a given symbol to work on (and make sure it doesn't already exist!). Make sure to let me know that you're working on it.

  3. Once you have a symbol to work with, save it as it's own xcf file.

  4. Start creating the 13 variations of that symbol and save them as pngs. Make sure to leave part of the image transparent so the deity color can bleed through.

  5. Commit the results to your local copy, push the results to your origin, and send me a pull request.

If you feel this is something you could really do, I'd love to have the help.

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