Multideck Maker: Custom Card Tutorial

Multideck Maker: Tutorial

This tutorial will cover how to customize, modify and create your own playing cards using the layouts and art assets available through the Singularity Games Patreon. Patrons not only get access to the art assets, but get to make suggestions for new art and custom layouts.

There are 4 main components to the whole operation:

Art Assets: PNG image files for the suit icons, royalty cards, etc

Layout instructions: A text file with instructions for the layout of the cards.

Link Spreadsheet: A spreadsheet that tells the layout instructions which art assets to use. This is the only file that actually needs to be edited to customize your own cards.

Nandeck: Software that takes the art assets, layout instructions, and link spreadsheet and creates the cards.


Getting Things Set Up:

1. Download the entire Multideck Maker folder from the Patreon Drive. This will include the Art assets, the layout instructions and the link file.

2. Download the free software nanDeck: http://www.nand.it/nandeck/

 No need to install the software, it runs straight from the executable.

This program is the heart of everything. It is the software that combines the layout instructions, the link spreadsheet and the art assets to create the cards. nanDeck was created by Andrea Nand and is impressive at how powerful it is. It can have a bit of steep learning curve though to get the results you want; however, you do not have to worry about that because the card templates are already done!

3. To test everything, we are first going to generate the Singularity Deck Diamonds Suit.

a)       Open nanDeck. 

b)       On the left side click “Open deck”

c)       Navigate to the Multideck Maker Folder, go to Deck Layouts -> Basic Layout and open “Basic Layout - Tutorial.txt”

d)      On the left side of nanDeck, select “Validate Deck,” then “Build Deck.” Building the deck will take a couple minutes. 

e)      On the right side of nanDeck select “Card Preview” to be able to scroll through the cards. You should see cards that look like the Singularity Deck Diamonds suit.


Customizing Cards

1. Once everything is set up and working, open the “Basic Layout - Tutorial.xlsx” excel spreadsheet in the Multideck Maker -> Deck Templates -> Basic Layout folder. This is where you can edit the card contents.

It’s going to look like a lot of info, but it appears more intimidating than it really is. Each row is a card, and each column is a feature of the card. At the top of each column is the name of the card feature.


The card features that can be edited and where they are at in the layout can be seen in the below image:

 
When looking at the spreadsheet, the first column labeled Card Name is to help with organization and does not correspond to a part of the card design.
 

Images:

If the column name includes “Image” in it, the cell should be a file path to the image. For Example "..\..\Deck Components\Singularity Deck 2.0\Icon Diamonds.png" The "..\..\" is a relative file path from the location of the layout text file.

In the "Deck Components" folders you will find a folders named 'Singularity Deck 2.0' and 'Singularity Deck 3.0'.
 
The Singularity Deck 2.0 art is consistent with the currently available deck on Drive Thru Cards.
The Singularity Deck 3.0 art is a work in progress. It has updated artwork and icons, including the item-swappable court cards.
 
The images in each folder are named by categories.
"Background" for background images
"Dice" for dice
"Icon" for suit icons
Face court cards are named starting with "12," "Jack," "Queen," "King," "Omega," etc.

Color Codes:

If the column name includes “Color” the cell expects a hexidecimal color code. This site:  https://www.w3schools.com/colors/colors_picker.asp is great resource, just grab the #code for whatever color you want. The Singularity Deck Color Reference spreadsheet in the "Deck templates Folder" lists the colors used in the Singularity deck.

Text:

If the column name includes “Text”, the cell expects text, for example the card’s rank.

Pip Groups:

If the column includes "PipGroup" it controls the layout of the suit pips in the center of a card. Check the detailed layout explanation links on the main Multideck Maker page to see how to adjust pip layout.

Card Back:

The first row of the spreadsheet labeled Card Back is reserved for the Card Back image. The only thing that should be changed in this row is the image path in the BackgroundImage column.

 

2. Okay! Time to make some edits.

Let’s change the jack of diamonds from this:

into a purple prince:


In the “Basic Layout - Tutorial.xlsx” spreadsheet, find row 28 for the Jack card.

    a)      In the RankTopText column, change the “J” in the to a “P.” This changes the rank of the card.

    b)      In the PrimarySuitColor column, change the #2B4B91 color code to #8F2A80 . This changes the color of the suit icons in the corners.

    c)     Likewise, in the FaceColor2 column, change the #2B4B91 color code to #8F2A80 . This changes the color of the “accents” on the jack artwork in the center of the card.

    d)      Save and close the spreadsheet.
 

3. In nanDeck, just like before:

a)       On the left side click “Open deck”

b)       Navigate to the Multideck Maker Folder, go to Deck Templates -> Basic Layout and open “Basic Layout - Tutorial.txt”

c)        On the left side of nanDeck, select “Validate Deck,” then “Build Deck.” Building the deck will take a couple minutes. 

d)       On the right side of nanDeck select “Card Preview” to be able to scroll through the cards.

Bam! Purple prince! 

 For full details on editing each column, return to the main Multideck Maker page to find links for the specifics of each layout.

 

1. Open the layout instruction file in Nandeck.

2. Find the line that starts with LINK=
 

3. Change the filename contained in the quotation marks to the new link spreadsheet. If the link spreadsheet is in same folder as the layout instruction file then it is only necessary to include the file name. If the link spreadsheet is in a different folder as the layout instruction file then it is necessary to include the file path to the spreadsheet.

 

 

Exporting Cards for Print on Demand Services:

1. Once you've built the deck, click on "Save Images" on the left side of NanDeck.
 
2. When the dialog box pops up, select "Browse" to navigate to the folder where you want to save your images.
 
3. Most card printing services are going to require jpg images, so select "JPG" under "Image Format." Of course, you may select other formats depending on your needs.
 
4. Under "Filename Number," you may select either "Use Card Number" or "Use Card Count."

5. Click Save.

Uploading cards for Printing on Drive Thru Cards:

 1. To print cards on Drive Thru Cards you have to first set up a publisher account here: https://www.drivethrucards.com/joincards.php

For the time being I'm asking folks to not sell any custom cards through print on demand websites, however I'm brain storming solutions to allow for this in the future.

2. Once your account is set up, click "Publish" at the top of the site.

 

3. On the publisher page, scroll down to the Card Printing drop down menu and select "Create US Poker Deck from Image Files Upload (Beta)"


4. On the Create a New Deck page, select US Poker on Embossed Stock (This paper stock matches the Singularity Deck on Drive Thru Cards). Enter a unique deck name, and click Add New Deck.

5. From there, just follow Drive Thru Cards instructions on each page to assemble your deck. 

Note: Drive Thru Cards prefers the images to be JPGs in the CYMK color space. For the time being Nandeck only exports JPGs in the RGB color space. Drive Thru Cards will complain that the files should be CMYK.

 

However, when you click "next" it will pop-up the option to auto-fix the images into the correct color space.


Uploading cards for Printing on PrinterStudio:

 Work in Progress


Exporting PDF for Print & Play:

1. When exporting a PDF to print at home open the "PnP" layout file. For example "Basic Layout PnP.txt" The "PnP" layout files are preconfigured to optimize the layout for printing at home and adds small marks to the corner of cards to help with cutting them out.
 
2. Build the deck following step 3 of the Getting Things Set Up tutorial. If you need to change the link spreadsheet follow the Changing the Link Spreadsheet instructions.
 
3. Once the deck is built, select "PDF" on the left side of NanDeck.
 
4. In the pop up menu select browse to name the pdf file and select its save location.
 

5. Select Save