Tutorial: A Fool's Guide to Perk Spreads (Microsoft PowerPoint 2013 & Paint)

Greetings, it is I your Lord and Master Golden Fool here to explain the process that I use when creating perk spreads either for myself or for you the members of the Skyrim Blog. (I don’t think I can keep that up for the entire thing so I’ll quit while I’m ahead). Like me I’m sure that many of you are either too lazy to learn the finer points of Photoshop and GIMP or perhaps you have tried and still haven’t managed to figure it out. Now that’s quite alright that’s why I’m here right now, to help you fool the other members of the blog into thinking you can through the use of witchcraft and sorcery… um I mean Microsoft PowerPoint and Paint.

Before I get started on the guide I'd just like to create a glossary of sorts, at points I use subscript and superscript which I cannot find buttons for in PowerPoint so I use the shortcuts for them (which I had to google, which is why I'll include them here):

Subscript: ctrl + =

Superscript: ctrl + shift + =

First things first we’ll be needing an image to serve as the background for the spread. For the purposes of this guide I’ll be using the image bellow.

Now then has everyone got there image? Well too bad if you don’t, on with the guide.

Once you have your image you will need to paste it onto a PowerPoint slide and then adjust it to either fit the slide or be big enough for you to fit your perks onto it.

Once you have the image to the desired size and position on the page the next step is to add some text boxes. The easiest way to do this is to add one text box and then alter it before duplicating it to the required amount through copying and pasting.

Should your image be mostly black or another dark colour like mine it’s a good idea to change the colour of the text to white so that you can see what you are typing. Next center the text in the box and type "skill" in the first line and "perks" in the line below, this is mainly done as a placeholder until you are ready to fill it in properly. I usually set the first line to a size of 32 and the second line to 20 as these are generally good sizes to have the text.

Now we will be duplicating the text box so that we have enough for each skill used and one extra to list what level the perk spread is for. For example in this one I am using a total of seven skills, so I have pasted another seven onto the page making a total of 8. 

Now comes the actual filling out of the individual skills and perks taken. This is fairly simple as all you need do is fill in the first line with the name of the skill and any subsequent lines with a perk each, in the case of a magic skill or the Lockpicking tree where they have the perks novice, apprentice, adept, expert and master it is easiest to simple write Novice – whichever is the highest rank taken. Should you have decided to use a perk that can have multiple points placed into it I place a space after the name of the perk and then increase the size of the text to 28 before continuing. This is where subscript and superscript comes into play and they are used to give the number of points a fraction like appearance as opposed to just typing it out like so: 2/2. To start activate Superscript and type the required number of ranks; so in this case 1, once that is done deactivate it and type a /. Do the same for the total number of ranks except this time using Subscript and you should have something like below.

Just a warning if your chosen perk like mine is out of 2 and you have only taken 1 point, continue onto the rest of the perks before coming back to fill it in, as PowerPoint likes to mess with 1/2 for some reason and it messes up the layout

Once you have that done repeat it for each skill until you have each filled out with its required perks.

Here comes the fun part, altering the colour, outline and font of the text (I like to use a different font for the skill name for the purpose of clarity) as well as the position of each text box on the image. By using the two options that I have outlined in red you can change the fill and outline of the text. Sometimes just changing the colour and size of the text is not enough to make it stand out against the background in which case by opening the menu outlined in green you can add a glow effect to the text which you can choose the colour, opacity and size of by going into the advanced options.

Now for turning this mass of text boxes and the picture into a usable image, to do this hold down shift and select each text box and the image and then open the right click menu and select group and then group again. This will join it all into a single item which you can then copy over into paint.

Once you have copied the now grouped image into paint you may end up with white borders around you perk spread like shown below, all you need to fix this is change the size of the canvas to fit the spread by dragging the edges until they line up with the edges of the image.

Once that is done it is only a matter of saving the file and you should be done (on a side not be careful what you name the file as people can see it when opening it in another tab or mousing over it). Something I like to do after this is to open a new discussion in the Character Building group and then add only the perk spread to view it as a preview; be careful here we don’t want to accidently be adding a bunch of discussions that contain only a perk spread to the group. The reason I do this is to see if the text can be clearly read against the background when viewed as part of a discussion, if it can’t it is simply a matter of going back to PowerPoint and fiddling around with either the colour of the text or its size until you are satisfied with how it looks.

Once you have finished with all that you should end up with a perk spread like the one below. 

That concludes this humble Fool’s guide to making a perk spread without the use of Photoshop or GIMP, should you have any questions please comment below and I’ll do my best to answer them. Or should you still not be confident in your ability to make a spread you can always make a request in the Art Group Services Request Thread where either I or one of our other members would be happy to help you out.

Tags: Art:Tutorial

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Replies to This Discussion

Golden...... Thank you, if it wasn't for this I won't be able to create an more perk spreads! I can't believe I forgot all about this.

And I can't believe I still haven't updated the equipment spread one to use powerpoint XD

Classic Golden, I remember you planning that back when I was still doing the Workshop Success Stories :P 

Well it may happen eventually.

And no I didn't do anything to your comment...

I always just do that on accident, blocking out sentences :P

XD

I contemplated either doing nothing at all or just adding a space at the end, just to mess with you.

Wait there is a equipment spread one as well? Wow... What's next... Banners on powerpoint? Could be interesting.

Yeah there is, it's all pretty much just a variation on this, banners included.

What's a good size so the picture isn't pixellated when uploaded to a slide? Minimum of 300 x 300 px?

Honestly I have no idea. Which I suppose is part of the reason I upload it into a new discussion and preview it. If it looks blurry or I can't read it then I go back and make adjustments.

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