Welcome to the Guardians CCG Page

This is a site dedicated to the Guardians collectible card game released by FPG in the mid '90s. This was a great game featuring beautiful artwork and a complex battle system. The game is now out of print and some cards are extremely difficult to find.

Here you will find alternate rules and game mods (including solo play), homebrew cards, and links to other Guardians sites.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Creating Guardians Cards, Part Two: Border & Image in Photoshop

After we've moved past card design, we're ready to start making a card. For the purpose of this illustration, I've chosen the following Brom image, which I've named War Angel:

Since this is an Angel, it's going to have to be an Elemental, so we pull the image and the Elemental template into Photoshop side-by-side.

Use the Selection to determine which part of the image you want to move over. Sometimes, to make the image fit better, you may have to select a portion that won't be visible on the card, to maintain a proper proportion and not make the image look badly stretched.

Copy our selection, then go back to the Elemental template and Paste. You should have 2 layers now, the frame and the image.

Make sure you save your progress frequently so that you don't lose any of your hard work. Remember to use Save As and rename your file so that you don't save as Elemental and overwrite your template!

With the image layer selected, use the Move tool to position the image so that the portion you want to appear to come out of the frame is close to the edge. In this case the sword tip is positioned near the top and the wing is positioned near the right edge. Use the Free Transform tool to resize the image further, avoiding too much expansion or compression that would distort the image. Note that perspective is very important here...in this image the opposite wing appears farther in the distance. If that wing were made to "stand out" with the nearer wing behind the template frame, it wouldn't look right. The part of the image that you want to "stand out" should be closer, in perspective, than other parts of the image.

Use your Selection tool to select the part of the image that will "stand out". It's ok if you select part of the image that is not going to be covered by the template frame, since we are going to be working with a copy.

Make sure the image layer is selected, then select Copy from the Edit menu, then Layer Via Copy under the  Layer -> New menu. Now drag the image layer below the template frame layer. Your image is now under the template, while your new layer appears on top of the template frame.

Select that new layer, then select your Eraser tool and start erasing all the background around your element where it lays on top of the template frame, but do not erase the element that you want to "stand out" itself.

Zoom up in magnification and select a small Eraser brush size to make fine erasures if necessary.

  If you make a mistake, use your Undo or Step Backward to try again. You should be left with something like the image below, where my element is the wing. I erased all the whitish background over the template frame, leaving the wing "standing out".

Repeat this process for any other part of the image that needs to "stand out". In this case, I have a created another new layer and erased it so that the sword appears over the top of the template frame.

When you are finished it should look a little something like the image below. Note that we haven't altered the Elemental template frame or the original image, only copies of parts of the image. If you decide you want to start over, simply delete any new layers you added and you'll be ready to give it another try.

We've now achieved that eye-popping 3-D look that is a Guardians staple! Note that while most cards have this effect, some Spells and Magic Items don't, so it's not always necessary with those cards. Other types of cards like Terrain, Shields, and Strongholds never use this effect, so it's not appropriate for those card types.

Save your work again. In the next installment we'll add all the other stuff like text, channeling, bribery, and so on. We'll also talk about the appropriate format for sharing your card with the Guardian online community. Until next time, work on what we've covered here, and let me know if you have questions...

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