Skins @ Hive World Terra

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How to make badges and banners

The following tutorial takes you through the steps needed to create a badge or banner in a non-application specific way. Both badges and banners are created in the same way, just with different dimensions.

Creating the image

Firstly you need the canvas. Create a blank image, either 64px by 64px for a badge or 64px by 96px for a banner.

Next, add your work of art to the image. This can be something you paint your self (if you're very skilled) or an image you've taken from somewhere else (if you have permission to re-use it).

If you are working on a badge, then it is always best to leave a few pixels border around the edge without anything in them. This is because the badges warp and overlay strangely towards the edges on many textures.

If you are working on a banner then check the race that it is for. Although a Space Marine banner is rectangular, Chaos banners are tattered at the bottom and so will lose any detail that you put there.

To make your badge or banner look good on any background, you need to add transparency. This needs to be done using alpha transparency. How you do this will vary depending on which application you use, so please check the help files of your application, or search for tutorials online. Some applications may just use the transparency of the image to determine alpha layers (e.g. The Gimp) while others may have an alpha channel that you can 'paint' on (e.g. Adobe Photoshop).

If your application uses a separate alpha channel then in general the blacker the channel is, the more transparent it is.

To get a nicely rounded edge that looks good on any background, fade the alpha channel. Applications that use transparency and erasing (like The Gimp) will be instantly obvious as to where the transparency is. With applications that use a paintable channel like Adobe Photoshop there may be some form of "show masked image" view that overlays the transparency as a colour.

Saving the badge/banner

Now that all of the hard work is done, all we need to do is save it properly. If you want to come back and edit it later, it is probably best to save your badge or banner in the paint package's native file format (e.g. Adobe Photoshop has .psd, The Gimp has .xcf, and so on).

To make the badge or banner usable in the game, you need to save it as a TarGA image file (.tga). Make sure that the extension is lower case, that the image isn't being compressed, and that you save in 32-bit colour depth or 24-bit with alpha transparency (if you aren't offered 32-bit, which includes alpha transparency).

Save your badges to [Dawn of War Install Path]\Badges and your banners to [Dawn of War Install Path]\Banners and they will show up in the list available in the Army Painter.

As a rough guide, badges should be approximately 16KB while banners should be approximately 24KB.

If you have problems getting the badges and banners to show in game then please check our Badge and Banner FAQs or ask for help in the forums.

Optional Extras

This is by no means a required step, but if you've created a canon and in-keeping badge or banner, why not submit it to us and get it listed on the site!


Help Us!

Are you artistic? Do you know your real Warhammer 40,000 races? Skins@Hive World Terra needs pattern files, colour schemes, badges and banners for any pre-existing chapters, craftworlds, clans and legions, plus any fitting home made contributions.

If you want to help, then read the Submitting Your Work article