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How to Add New Card Images

Creating Card Art Images

(Updated for Manalink 3.0)

Regardless of the program used to do any editing a card scan may require (cropping, border removal, color correction, shadow/highlight balance, etc.); we ask that any edited card art should be resized to 288x232 with a final JPEG quality output setting of ‘60’ using Photoshop, or '91' using XnView: http://www.xnview.com/.

This is purely to maintain the quality consistency of the images in the CardArt folders, whilst keeping the jpg files to a reasonable file size.

The following parameters can be cut and pasted into a text editor and saved as an XnView.xbs script file to aid the conversion setup.

clean( 95 )
resize( 0 lanczos 288 232 0 0 0 )
settings( 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 )
output( jpeg 91 0 1 0 0 0 0 )

(The author of these guidelines has no affiliation to XnView whatsoever… apart from it being an excellent free program.) :)

Its worth pointing out that using an original cropped image much smaller than 288x232 to start with will result in visible compression artefacts when converted and viewed within the game. This makes card scans available from many of the MTG Card Collector/List web sites too small to produce reasonable quality crops for use within the game. The best resource for suitable HQ card scans is our own CCGHQ Picture Forum. Please consider this when searching for original card scans to produce suitable crops to include in the game.

Card Art File Naming

The card image jpg files are named as shown in the ‘Full Names’ column of the Manalink.csv/xls file, and conform to the English language card names officially listed in the Magic Gatherer Card Database: http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Default.aspx.

Any available alternative artwork for a card should include a space at the end of the name with a following number in brackets to signify it as one of a number of alternative artwork files available to a card. The default image is always identified by not having the number after its name.

Only unaccented letters, numbers, commas, spaces, apostrophes, and hyphens are legal in image file names. Other characters must be replaced in the file name with a ‘_’ (underscore/understrike) character for each of the illegal characters used in the card’s name.

For example: the artwork file for the card ‘Life // Death’ would need to be renamed ‘Life __ Death.jpg’, with two underscore characters to replace each of the ‘/’ (slash/forward slash) characters shown in the card’s name.

For cards with alternative artwork available, like for instance ‘Circle of Protection: Black’, this would require the ‘:’ (colon) character in the name being replaced by an underscore, and the available alternative images being numbered in the following manner.

Circle of Protection_ Black.jpg
Circle of Protection_ Black (1).jpg
Circle of Protection_ Black (2).jpg
Circle of Protection_ Black (3).jpg

It is important when naming the jpg files that any erroneous spaces in the file name are removed, and the bracketed number sequence representing the total number of alternative images is preserved. If you don’t follow these naming conventions, in some cases, where the images are randomly selected during game play, you may find a card will sometimes display no artwork.

Personalizing the CardArtManalink Folder

When the current CardArt folders were first produced, any available alternative artwork for a card was collated from the earliest WotC MTG published artwork to the latest – this means the earliest released artwork has been set as the default image displayed in the Deck Builder.

However, it is possible to manually rename the jpg image files so you can personalize which of the alternative artwork acts as the default image in the Deck Builder by simply swapping the file names of the default and chosen alternative image.

We suggest that personalized CardArt folders are not redistributed in the open forum; for the simple reason that in the past this has led to a great deal of confusion as to which folders were available for the official updates.

Please note: Some of the file names in the 'CardArtShandalar' folder do not conform to the officially listed card names. Do not rename these files.

Shandalar does not recognize some of the non-English characters officially used in these card names, and will show no artwork for these cards if the files are renamed.