Preparing images with MS Paint

By savedbygrace

For those who don't have access to photo editing software but do have Windows? This tutorial explains how to prepare images for use in game using Microsoft Paint by resizing it and adding borders.

To start with, let's assume that you have already snapped a photo in game using "print screen" or "Fraps" or some other application. The next step is to simply open that image with the MS Paint app. There are two ways to do this. Easiest way is to right click the image and select "Open With" followed by "Paint". Another way is to do the following. Figure 1 shows the sequence of windows.

  • Move the cursor over the Windows "start" icon.
  • Select "Programs"
  • Select "Accessories"
  • Select "Paint"
MS Paint tutorial Figure 1

The image should now be opened in MS Paint regardless of size. I use the free version of Fraps to snap screen shots inside the games. The free version only allows screens to be saved as Bitmap images, which are fairly large files. The image used in this tutorial is 1280 X 1024, a 3.75 mb size. By the end of this process, it'll be near perfect with great detail for Overviews, Briefings or Dialogues. Figure 2 shows the image opened in MS Paint.

MS Paint tutorial Figure 2

The first step is to get the image to an acceptable size for in game use. Don't just start cropping edges because that will remove too much of the overall image. The image needs to be compressed into a smaller version of itself. Select "Image" along the top menu bar followed by "Resize/Skew...". A new window will open onto the screen. Figure 3 displays the progress up to this point.

MS Paint tutorial Figure 3

The resize option will be the only feature used in the current menu, so simply ignore the Skew option. 512 X 512 is the resolution needed in this project. To calculate the percentage, multiply the desired size by 100. Then divide that by the current size.

In this case - 512 X 100 =   51200<---->51200/1280 = 40%<-->51200/1024 = 50%

Enter 40% into the Horizontal field and 50% into the vertical field and press "Okay". The image is now smaller but whole.(See Figure 4)
The next step is to check its size to see if we're close to what we need. Select "Image" again, followed by "Attributes" this time. Another new popup menu appears displaying the images new width and height.

MS Paint tutorial MS Paint tutorial Figure 4

Depending on the starting resolution, precise dimensions may not always occur once the calculations are complete. The goal is to get as close to the intended numbers as possible and then adjust the width and height fields of the "attributes" menu to ultimately obtain the size needed. The closer it is, the less the images edges will be cropped away during the final adjustment.

Adding a simple border

Some authors like to have borders on their photos. This feature can also be accomplished with MS Paint. Using the same image as before, select the "Line" Icon on the left (See Figure 5), select the widest stroke below it and select the desired color to be used in the border. Default is Black on the left mouse button, white on the right mouse button. Click into one of the corners of the image and hold the button. Drag the mouse to another corner and once the line is straight, release the button. Repeat this step until all four sides are done at whatever thickness you desire. Save the image and relocate it to your mission folder for use.

MS Paint tutorial Figure 5