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Old August 18th, 2013, 12:18 AM
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Combine any 3 cards 3/page with GIMP Script-Fu

Download a precompiled 3/page PDF of all C3V/SoV, as well as other custom projects here.
If you only want to print selected C3V/SoV, C3G, or HoSS cards, I recommend using X Minus 2 Customs Card Printer instead of the below method


So I got my title and most of my rep from posting compilations custom cards (C3V, C3G, CUC), official maps and scenarios, and other things. People have asked me to create custom card compilations or update and tweak ones I have already done. Until recently it was very tedious and time consuming to do, and since I have put off combining them recently, I figure I should invest the time to make future updates quicker and allow other people to easily combine any 3 cards they want to a page. So I created a Script-Fu for The GIMP to allow anyone to freely compile any cards for printing, whether it be C3V/SoV, C3G, any cards exported from MSE or PS templates, or pretty much anything sized somewhat correctly, preferably at 300dpi.

I need to clean up the script a bit, and it only works with 3 cards/page, but it gets the job done. Let me know if this works and if I need to change anything. Here is a sample:


Here is the old way (7-10 min a page):
Spoiler Alert!

Here is the new way (less than 2 min a page):
Setup
  1. Download and install The GIMP: Windows, MacOS , *Nix. Or, if you use shared computers without admin rights (i.e. school/library/work) I suggest GIMP Portable.
  2. Download my Script-Fu and save to the user or shared script directory. To know the directories with GIMP menu: Edit → Preferences: Folders → Scripts. If you already had GIMP open when you saved the script, refresh the scripts with menu: Filters → Script-Fu → Refresh Scripts
  3. Download or export the cards you want to combine in the best quality you can get in any format (PDF/PNG/JPG/BMP), preferably at 300 DPI, all about 5x5 inches. C3V/C3G/GreyOwl template cards are all 5.37*5.09 inches (1610*528 pixels) while MSE exports are 4.85*4.58 inches (HQ 300dpi is 1455x1364 pixels). For custom downloads on this site, PDF files are usually the best quality, but a few of the JPGs/PNGs are better.
For each page
  1. File → New... Template\US-Letter (300 dpi) - Or if all your images are low quality MSE, do 8.5*11 in, 150 pixels/inch. (It is not recommended to mix resolutions, but can be done if you resize smaller ones to larger)
  2. File → Open as Layers... Browse to where your card images are located, select them and click open. You can select multiple files in the same folder with using Shift/Ctrl/Optn + Click, or if they are in multiple folders, you can repeat step until you have 3 cards.
    ALT: You can use Finder/Explorer and drag-and-drop files to the GIMP image window.
    NOTE: If PNG/JPG/BMP, they should add automatically. If PDF, another prompt will come up: Select the page with the image you want (i.e. advanced or basic side), make sure "Open pages as" is set to "Layers", change Resolution to dpi of pages (300 for C3V/C3G), and click import. If it looks bigger/smaller on the page, redo and change resolution. Option will be saved so it will only take longer the first time.
  3. After each card is added as layers, run my script in the menu Layers → Overlap Layers. In the prompt select the margins as follows: for C3V/C3G and most other exports that are 5.37*5.09 inches with a red outline and a cut-off border around each card, leave them at 30 Left/Right and 45 Top/Bottom. For ones exported with MSE or others without any border, you can increase the margins to 60. If you print and on some printers the margin is not big enough that it cuts off the sides, you can increase the margins, but it will overlap the cards, so be careful either way. Select "Flip Left-Right" if you are printing backs (such as advanced and basic cards, or comic and figure backgrounds). Hit "OK" and watch the magic.
  4. To save, File → Export... and rename and browse where to save. Make the filename end in PNG for the best quality (~8MB/page). Make sure "Save resolution" is checked. You can also export as PDF, but the GIMP-built in PDF exporter is crappy quality.
  5. Do above for all pages you want. After the first time, settings you changed above will save so it goes quicker. Remember for printing double-sided pages (such as advanced and basic cards, or comic and figure backgrounds), you will have to do each side separately and select "Flip Left-Right" in the script on one of them, and pay attention to how pages are flipped when you print them or take them to be printed.
Printing at home
  • You can print in GIMP, but make sure in the print dialog Image Settings has "Ignore Page Margins" set and it is 8.5*11.
  • You can also open the exported file in any image program or even Windows or Macs built-in photo viewer, and then print from that program, but make sure you do not crop/resize by unchecking boxes like "fit picture to frame" in print dialogs. Again, if after it prints, the edges gets cropped off, adjust the margins in the script dialog.
  • Buy 80-110 lb (144-240 gsm) semi-gloss vellum/index, preferably at 90-96 brightness. Glossy is fine but will might look too shiny compared to official cards, and cover is fine but might be too stiff compared to official cards. 50-75 lb (90-164 gsm) paper works OK, but won't be as thick as official cards. 115-160 lb (208-350 gsm) matches the thickest cards (Wave 2/3) but is much harder to both buy as well as print on. Sometimes paper is advertised as card-stock/poster/catalog paper as opposed to cover/vellum/index, but just look closely for the paper weight in lbs (different stiffness of paper have different lbs-index conversions).
  • For more tips, including more info on which paper to get and what printer is best, see Xorlof's card printing tips
Taking to printer (Staples, OfficeMax/OfficeDepot, UPS/FedEx office, or preferably local independent printshop):
  • It is recommended to have a PDF printer installed, then print the PNGs (exported/saved from GIMP] to a combined PDF and it is better quality than GIMPs built-in one. Open exports in an image/gallery program (such as Windows or Macs built-in photo viewer) print multiple page PNGs at the same time to combine to one PDF file. Google "Free PDF Printer [Windows/Mac]" if you need to. A more advanced but better way is if you have Adobe Acrobat Pro or Foxit Reader (free), you can just create a new PDF from combining the PNGs.
  • Save/copy all pages you want to print in a root folder of a USB drive.
  • I highly recommend finding a local independent printshop over Stapes/CopyMax/UPS/FedEx for multiple reasons: They are cheaper (some have setup fee but if you print a bunch at a time they are always cheaper if you average per page), they have better quality paper and ink, they have printers and workers capable of printing double-sided, they are usually more friendly and care about the work, plus its always better to support the independents. If you do go, bring an official card in and ask to match the thickness and glossyness, as well as size. Always call ahead before going in, and you may be able to e-mail a file in.
  • If you must got to Office/Copy superstore:
    • Buy your own paper in the office part of the store then take to print part of the store and pint on your "own" paper. Paper costs less than $1 a page and printing on your own paper costs 50-60 cents/page, verses printing on printshop cardstock is $2 a page, so this saves at least 50 cents/page. Plus the printshop usually does not stock the best paper compared to the office part of a store.
    • Buy 80-110 lb (144-240 gsm) semi-gloss vellum/index, preferably at 90-96 brightness. Glossy is fine but will might look too shiny compared to official cards, and cover is fine but might be too stiff compared to official cards. 50-75 lb (90-164 gsm) paper works OK, but won't be as thick as official cards. 115-160 lb (208-350 gsm) matches the thickest cards (Wave 2/3) but is much harder to both buy as well as print on. Sometimes paper is advertised as card-stock/poster/catalog paper as opposed to cover/vellum/index, but just look closely for the paper weight in lbs (different stiffness of paper have different lbs-index conversions).
    • Make sure when they print they do not crop/resize by unchecking boxes like "fit picture to frame" or "fit to window" in print dialogs. In my experience, if you don't actually show them by watching them on the computer when printing, they do it wrong and the cards are slightly smaller and lower resolution than normal.
    • If double sided on cardstock, office stores all have issues, with printers jamming, paper shredding, and people working there too ignorant to know how to flip pages correctly. Some printers are incapable of doing double-sided on anything more than 54 lb weight, and each office store (even different stores of the same chain) have different printers. If you really want double sided you might need to shop around testing 1 page at a time, and again I highly recommend local print-shops over office stores, especially if you want double-sided.
    • Always ask to print one page first, check how it looks, then if it is good print the rest. Every one of my time I have been at an office copyshop it takes at least a couple pages to get right.

Enjoy!

Last edited by lefton4ya; November 10th, 2018 at 04:17 PM.
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  #2  
Old October 23rd, 2013, 09:04 AM
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Rudiger Rudiger is offline
 
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Re: Combine any 3 cards 3/page with GIMP Script-Fu

i keep getting the error message:
"Error while executing script-fu-lefton4ya-layers-arrange-overlap:

Error: eval: unbound variable: gimp-context-set-antialias "

When i press ok when overlapping layers.
any idea why?
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  #3  
Old October 23rd, 2013, 07:30 PM
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lefton4ya lefton4ya is offline
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Re: Combine any 3 cards 3/page with GIMP Script-Fu

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudiger View Post
i keep getting the error message:
"Error while executing script-fu-lefton4ya-layers-arrange-overlap:

Error: eval: unbound variable: gimp-context-set-antialias "

When i press ok when overlapping layers.
any idea why?
Not sure. Glad to see at least someone downloaded this and tried it. What version of GIMP are you using and what OS? When you create new image before adding layers, what color space and fill are you using (advanced options)?
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  #4  
Old October 24th, 2013, 04:07 AM
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Rudiger Rudiger is offline
 
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Re: Combine any 3 cards 3/page with GIMP Script-Fu

Version: GIMP 2.6.11
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium
Colour Space: RGB Colour
Fill With: Background Colour
i tried it with both c3g and c3v cards.
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  #5  
Old October 24th, 2013, 06:30 PM
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lefton4ya lefton4ya is offline
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Re: Combine any 3 cards 3/page with GIMP Script-Fu

Try downloading Gimp 2.8.x (current stable version is 2.8.6). I am using shared library computers right now so can't test it, but I think because I used the latest and greatest function calls, they might not have been available on 2.6.x.

Last edited by lefton4ya; November 13th, 2013 at 08:35 PM.
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  #6  
Old October 25th, 2013, 01:41 AM
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Re: Combine any 3 cards 3/page with GIMP Script-Fu

Huzah it was successful. much appreciated.
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  #7  
Old April 2nd, 2014, 11:19 AM
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brandonwiker brandonwiker is offline
 
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Re: Combine any 3 cards 3/page with GIMP Script-Fu

Alright, I've spent about an hour playing with this thing, I'm going to go insane in the membrane if I don't ask for help.

I get to step 3 using GIMP, after getting the cards on the sheet as layers:

After each card is added as layers, run my script in the menu Layers → Overlap Layers. In the prompt select the margins as follows: for C3V/C3G and most other exports that are 5.37*5.09 inches with a red outline and a cut-off border around each card, leave them at 30 Left/Right and 45 Top/Bottom.

I click layers but there is no Overlap Layers command, I tried a couple of random other layer commands but it wasn't working out. Help? Please?
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Old April 2nd, 2014, 06:55 PM
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lefton4ya lefton4ya is offline
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Re: Combine any 3 cards 3/page with GIMP Script-Fu

Quote:
Originally Posted by lefton4ya View Post
Download my Script-Fu and save to the script directory. To know the directory with GIMP menu: Edit → Preferences: Folders → Scripts. If you already had GIMP open when you saved the script, refresh the scripts with menu: Filters → Script-Fu → Refresh Scripts
Make sure you download the script and save it to the correct location and refresh scripts as above. There are usually two script locations in preferences, one shared for all users of the app and an individual one for each user, but it shouldn't matter which you save to except the shared location may require admin privileges to save from an internet browser. For instance, I am using GIMP portable (since using library computers mostly) so I saved to F:\Programs\GIMPPortable\Data\.gimp\scripts. Also try restarting GIMP after saving the script.

If that doesn't work, let me know the version of GIMP and OS you are using.
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Old April 2nd, 2014, 07:36 PM
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brandonwiker brandonwiker is offline
 
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Re: Combine any 3 cards 3/page with GIMP Script-Fu

Quote:
Originally Posted by lefton4ya View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by lefton4ya View Post
Download my Script-Fu and save to the script directory. To know the directory with GIMP menu: Edit → Preferences: Folders → Scripts. If you already had GIMP open when you saved the script, refresh the scripts with menu: Filters → Script-Fu → Refresh Scripts
Make sure you download the script and save it to the correct location and refresh scripts as above. There are usually two script locations in preferences, one shared for all users of the app and an individual one for each user, but it shouldn't matter which you save to except the shared location may require admin privileges to save from an internet browser. For instance, I am using GIMP portable (since using library computers mostly) so I saved to F:\Programs\GIMPPortable\Data\.gimp\scripts. Also try restarting GIMP after saving the script.

If that doesn't work, let me know the version of GIMP and OS you are using.
I downloaded it, must have messed up the save location. I'll try this when I get on my pc again.
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Old April 2nd, 2014, 11:52 PM
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Re: Combine any 3 cards 3/page with GIMP Script-Fu

That was it, thank you. I created a page and exported it to the desktop, when I click to open it, it opens in Windows Live Photo Gallery, is that bad in any way? It is a PNG file.

If I just threw that exported file onto my USB drive and went out to an office max, I could hand them the USB and tell them to open that file and they could print quality cards from the file? (This is exactly what I plan to do, lol.)

I would get it printed on glossy card stock, laser printers. It looked nice on the C3G cards, so as long as that GIMP file thing is legit, this should look good... right?
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  #11  
Old April 4th, 2014, 05:04 PM
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lefton4ya lefton4ya is offline
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Re: Combine any 3 cards 3/page with GIMP Script-Fu

Yes to all questions above.

TIPS for anyone taking to printer:
  • TIPS for anyone taking to printer (Staples, OfficeMax, OfficeDepot, or local independent printshops):•Save all pages you want to print in a root folder of the drive.
  • Buy your own paper in the office part of the store then take to print part of the store and pint on your "own" paper. Paper costs less than $1 a page and printing on your own paper costs 50-60 cents/page, verses printshop cardstock is $2 a page, so saves at least 50 cents/page. Plus they usually do not stock the bets paper that you can buy.
  • Buy 70-80 lb (175-220 gsm) semi-gloss. Glossy is fine but will might look too shiny compared to official cards. 50-65 lb (140-170 gsm) paper works OK, but won't be as thick as official cards. Sometimes it is advertised as index/cover or poster/catalog paper, but just look closely for the paper weight.
  • Make sure when they print they do not crop/resize by unchecking boxes like "fit picture to frame" or "fit to window" in print dialogs. If you don't actually show them by watching them on the computer when printing, in my experience they do it wrong and the cards are slightly smaller and lower resolution than normal.
  • If double sided on cardstock, office max and staples both have had issues in the past, with printers jamming, paper shredding, and people working there too ignorant to know how to flip pages correctly. Some printers are incapable of doing double-sided on anything more than 54 lb weight, and each office store has different printers, so if you really want double sided you might need to shop around testing 1 page at a time.
  • Always ask to print one page first, check how it looks, then if it is good print the rest. Every one of my time I have been it takes at least a couple pages to get right.

Last edited by lefton4ya; April 4th, 2014 at 05:21 PM.
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  #12  
Old June 22nd, 2014, 05:22 PM
vanilla vanilla is offline
 
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Re: Combine any 3 cards 3/page with GIMP Script-Fu

Can anyone recommend a specific brand name and type of paper for printing custom cards, I believe I saw a thread about this a while back, but I can't seem to find it now...thanks!
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