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  1. Read Me First: This got really long. Keep reading if you want a searchable image gallery of all of your minis. It will seem complicated because I took a lot of screenshots, but I learned everything here in 1 day. If you jump to the end there is a summary of everything WPAA+ will let you do. If you are like me you may have started off being able to keep track of all the minis you owned in your head, but it probably didn't take too long before you needed some help. Enter the spreadsheet. This worked for awhile, but after years of retail purchases, Kickstarters, and Patreons, trying to cross reference everything became nearly impossible. Do you have a female dual wielding ranger for the game next week, or don't you? And if you did where did you put her... What I'm about to go through won't help with the boxes in your closet but it will at least give you a visual way to see what you own. Even if you can't find it. The plan is to make things easy and free. Now when you think of a web page you likely think of something that is hosted on a server somewhere. And while this is true, it would be crazy to edit a page live and break it while customers are using it. As such there are offline tools to create, experiment, and learn what you are doing. We will be using one of these to create our inventory. Could you make this live and show the world your collection? After all is said and done you could if you want. So first things first, we need to be able to run our offline page. There are a couple of free options. XAMPP will make you feel like an IT guy. It straight up warns you that it has no security and is only for offline development. Unfortunately it conflicted with my PCs raid software. On to option 2. Local is designed specifically to run offline WP sites and should be straightforward for novice users. It had the same conflict for me, but has a built in workaround. Download and install Local, sign up if you want or not, and run it. You will get a screen that looks like this, minus the tutorial. That was something I made to learn what I was doing. In the lower left corner is a plus to "Add Local Site." Create a new site. Name it whatever you want. I expanded the advanced options, but you don't need to touch those. Accept preferred. Go with whatever you want. Just remember it since you will need it to log into your offline site. And done. You could "Open site" but there won't be much there yet. Instead go for "WP Admin." At some point around here it should automatically install Wordpress. After logging in it will take you to the dashboard. Basic WP is basic. Of course by now, someone has made a plugin to do exactly what we want. The trick locating a free one. Select Plugins and "Add New". Search for "wp photo album plus", install and activate it. There it is. You may need to refresh your screen, but "Photo Album" should appear at the bottom of the list on the lower left hand side as well as above. Now we need to change a few settings. Feel free to play around if you want. I'll be going from left to right on the Basic settings. First, under layout, increase the thumbnail font size. I went with 15, but YMMV. Eventually I'll be using "Photo of the day". I increased the frequency so I get a new photo every time I visit the page. For the thumbnails I find 100 pixels to be a little on the small side. Feel free to do whatever, but I doubled everything. Too small can't see/too big can't see many images at once. Here are the search settings. We can't do much yet since there is nothing to search, but at least make sure "include tags" is ticked. Before we upload any images, we need somewhere to put them. Under Album Admin "Add New." I created "Reaper Miniatures" and can now upload photos to it. You'll have some limits shown on how much you can upload at once. After uploading them you can "Moderate" them. First make sure the image has a proper name. Then this is where the magic happens. Whatever tags you add can be used later to search for them. Add as many as seem useful. In the example below I have an SKU as a tag, but later realized it would be better in the description. At first you will have to type in all your tags, but if you navigate away and come back they will be added to the drop down menu. Afterwords you can just select the old ones, though you'll have to keep adding new ones as they come up. I tagged 12 Reaper Minis I own and then created another album for Dark Sword so we would have two to work with. Now that we have a couple of albums we need somewhere to put them and a way to search them. WP runs on themes, which can be found under "Appearance". It comes with three but there are literally thousands to chose from. Of course, most of them you have to pay for if you want them to actually be useful. For now we will use "Twenty Twenty-One" as our demo since everyone will have it. If it is not active hover over it and select "Activate". Next go to "Pages". You will see two default pages. Feel free to delete them then "Add New". You will see something like this. It needs a name so we can keep track of it. Hit "Publish" twice to active the page. Repeat a few more times and we now have Home, Dark Sword, Reaper, and The Eagle. The WPAA+ search function says it wants a landing page so that is what the last one is for. Now that you have some pages you can create a menu if you want. The option is found under "Appearances". Unfortunately it appears nice menus is something developers use to get you to upgrade to paid themes. I won't be making use of them. And there it is. By the time I'm done my menu will reach down to the floor. Before we set up any searches let's designate our landing page. "Edit" it. In the upper left hand corner of the WP edit screen is a blue plus. It will open a sidebar with all of your widgets in it. There they are. An an example I have placed a button on the page, though it isn't really necessary. The WPAA+ results will have navigation built in. Look around until you find the "shortcode" widget. It allows for simple commands without the possibility of inserting malicious code. In this case we are just pasting what WPAA+ says should be used to designate it's landing page. Just cut and paste [wppa type="landing"] Now that we have a landing screen we can go back to the WPAA+ options and set it. Once again, make sure tags are searchable. We have made a couple of galleries but they need some place to live. Edit the Reaper tab and go alllll the way down on the widget menu to find "WPAA Gallery" Here are the options I used. If you now "Preview" the page you can see what it looks like. Really narrow, but that is due to the theme. You can see each image displays its name and the SKU I put in the description. The "Delete" option you can make go away back in the WPAA+ options. You will see it's gone later. To our home screen! You can see there is a basic search option, but we don't want to chose that one. We will be using the WPAA one. Here you see the default search bar is still here (don't install) as well as the WPAA search bar. I'll show the options for that in a second, but first add three columns below it. There is a bit of a jump here because GIMP crashed and I lost some screenshots. In the first column I placed the "Pages" widget so I have a list of all my pages (rather than using the menu), in the center I inserted the shortcode for the WPAA Picture of the day - [wppa type="mphoto" photo="#potd" size="0.5" align="center"], and in the left column I inserted the WPAA tagcloud. For both WPAA Search and WPAA tagcloud the first step is to add a WPAA gallery just like we did before. Then you need to select "A search/selection box" as shown below. Then for a search box select "A search box" or for a tagcloud select "A tagcloud box." For search you can set the landing page again, though we have already designated it. Now let's take a look in preview! We have a search, a page list, a tagcloud, and a photo of the day. This theme doesn't look very good though, so let's work on that. Go to Appearance - Themes. Since we're keeping this simple and free let's add "Hello Elementor" to see how that changes things. Go to Appearances and "Add New" theme. (Elementor is a Free/Paid step up from the basic WP editor. Hello is their super basic intro page). Activate it. Now that "Hello" is active we can "Customize" it. In the preview you can see how the page we built looks different with the new theme. It is wider and whiter. Now if you clicked "Home" at any point on one of the albums, you may have noticed you ended up somewhere strange. This is because WP defaults to taking you back to your most recent post. We want to change that. Go to "Homepage Settings." and set the homepage to "Home". Now you will always come back to the page you see below. OK, we've built it and we know we can browse it, so let's try searching it. First search, "Male". This brings up every image that I have tagged as "male". We see their name (you did give your pic a good name didn't you), description (SKU), manufacturer (because that's how I named their album), and what they look like. But I can already do that using the tagcloud. Let's try something more specific, "male monster" Here are all the images I tagged with both male and monster. At this point you have a functional offline website. If you go back to Local, you can now select "Open site" to go directly to your site. And there you have it. We now have the ability to: Use the page list to visually browse by manufacturer. Use the tagcloud to search by a single tag, i.e "archer" or "bugbear" Use search to narrow it down even further using multiple tags. Obviously at this point you can play around to make it look nicer, install different themes, upgrade the editor, hide the page names, etc, but your WPAA+ based organization is underway.
  2. So I have a concept for a mini but I want desaturated colors. I mostly have bright colors. Would it be correct to mix in some greens to brown it up? How do I keep it reading red? Is it ok to still have some of the bright but use it as a highlight? Looking for links to stuff you've painted, free videos that address this, or an explanation of process that will still let me experiment a bit. Thanks for sharing your experience/knowledge.
  3. This is really sweet and a great introduction to Dungeons and Dragons. I’m kind of astonished — and delighted — that the news site Vox put it up. .
  4. I have done my research. I can not afford to buy Reaper paints at this time. I am buying acrylic craft paint from Hobby Lobby. Current best recommendation is Delta Creamcoat paint. This seems like the best plans for a beginner on a budget. Feel free to critique my plans, but remember, I am trying to get quality results on a budget. My plans: Unboxing- I have a graphical checklist of all the minis to be sure we aren't missing anything. http://greg.botch.com/bones/table.html Remove the mold lines that are really, terribly obvious. Tools: Xacto blade and sanding needles (medium or fine) http://bit.ly/1axuY7O Straightening bent weapons and legs. Tools: nearly boiling water, colander Cleaning- remove residue from manufacturing that could keep paint from adhering well. Tools: dish soap and water Fill junction gaps between parts that join to make up the mini that look odd Tools: 2 part clay-like epoxy (a bit of an experiment) http://thd.co/14MHBtl [That epoxy was too coarse and cured too quickly. I'm keeping it around for household repairs. Kneadatite (Green Stuff) on eBay $6 for 6 inches shipping included sounds like a great deal!] Basing- some minis have ridiculous bases and need to be based. I have hundreds of 1/4 inch thick bases cut from wooden dowels for this project. Tools: Xacto blade, tiny drill bit, straightened and cut paper clips, super glue, 2 part clay-consistency epoxy (for embellishing, building up layers, or filling gaps) Priming- do many figures at once. Cheap craft store acrylic paints are too thick and need to be watered down to paint minis well. If craft paints are watered down, they will not stick as well to Bones without priming. Thus, I will need to prime. Tools: this craft primer http://bit.ly/16jHwwp [i couldn't acquire this primer anywhere locally. So frustrating! I decided to buy Krylon Paint + Primer spray. White seemed like a great idea, but it is hard to see what kind of coverage I am getting on the Bones. It takes a day or longer to fully dry. It is a week later and one mini is still tacky in a couple places.] Color washing- give the mini a base coat of color to bring out the details and add shadowy areas. Tools: brush, watered down craft paint with a tiny amount of dish soap to break surface tension Paint- use a "wet palette" to keep the paint fresher longer and make mixing and watering down easier. Image http://bit.ly/1axxmvq Tools: cheap plastic container, a large rag or sponge, parchment paper http://bit.ly/12e9cOG See example here: http://forums.brushthralls.com/index.php?showtopic=4806 And of course paints and brushes. Finishing- I haven't decided if I will be clear-coating these yet. If I do, I will get some good quality spray for minis with for a matte (not gloss) finish. This is where I will splurge on costs, if anywhere. Optional Painting party- I will have all the minis cleaned, primed, based, and color washed before I host it. I have done no painting of Bones. I am not certain that any of this will work. However, after reading FAQs and how-to's all around the web, I feel confident this will work. My big concern is with the plumbing epoxy instead of Green Stuff. I have no idea if it will hold paint. I will test it before applying to the minis. Let me know what you think! Veteran painters- constructive criticism would be great. I don't want to waste money on a useless/misguided step. Edit: reordered gap filling after cleaning at Godlike's suggestion Edit: added recommended craft paint brand Edit: my concerns were founded about the plumbing epoxy. While it does hold paint, it is too coarse. Also the primer I initially wanted is not locally available in my significant metropolitan area (850,000+ people) in our major craft stores. I didn't check at specialty glass or tile stores. Edit: check post http://www.reapermini.com/forum/index.php?/topic/49906-plans-to-paint-on-the-cheap/?p=738738 for my first attempt following most of these steps.
  5. One of the biggest mistakes painters make when learning basing is thinking that rocks are gray scale, meaning mostly just a few shades of gray and nothing else, and while it's true that some rocks are like this they're not as common as people seem to think in our hobby (and let’s be honest, its boring to look at too). Hey you, the one without any color, you're boring. Why is this? I'm guessing people just never look at rocks or think it's too hard to do anything else. This is quite far from the truth as painting up rocks can be really easy if you’re willing to break some standard painting conventions. In this tutorial I'm going to cover some basic basing techniques including using real rocks and how to quickly sculpt some when using real rocks won’t give you the look you want as well as painting two different rock color schemes: desaturated (basically its sort of gray but has color) and something a little more complicated. Using Real Rocks This one is pretty obvious but I’m surprised with the number of people that actually pay for rocks, we’ve all seen them at hobby\game stores and why pay for something that you can get for free? I went outside and over the course of two days just collected random rocks from the street gutter and have more then I’ll ever use. I kept a small bag, like the ones sold in the jeweler section of hobby stores, in my wallet and just stopped and filled it up when I say something I wanted. I'm a master at picking up homeless things One note is that more porous rocks are harder to work with when it comes to the prep aspect, as they don’t glue or take primer as well, but are easy to dry-brush so there’s a trade off. Keep a mix if you can but pick up what you like as that’s what’s really important. Quick Sculpting Rocks So what if you need something like paving stones? Well you can quickly do this way faster than you’d expect thanks to some help from Mother Nature. You're Welome The first thing we’re going to need is some rocks. What? You may be saying to yourself “this man is crazy (but really good looking so I’ll listen to him some more)” which is a common reaction I get. One of the best ways to make something you sculpted look like a rock is to use one to texture it so we can quickly and easily get the random surface that a rock gives you. You’ll want to get a collection of rocks with more jagged edges, smooth edges and any other type of edge out there. These will be only used for sculpting and will get messy if you’re using anything but Green Stuff (or similar epoxy) so have a good place to store them. The two I'll be using In this tutorial I’ll be using a clay like epoxy called Milliput, though Green Stuff will work as well, as I like how easy it can be to work with and takes to texturing with real rocks (especially when wet). There are two type of Milliput White and everything else. The white one is an extra fine and not needed, all the other colors are the same just with different coloring with the most common type being yellow. A note on working with Milliput: This stuff does not come out of things when dry so it’s highly advised to use an apron or clothing you don’t care about as it can get really messy if you get it wet—which I like to do. Also wearing rubber gloves will make your hands happy. I start out with mixing up some Milliput and then putting it right to work—there’s no need to really wait like with Green Stuff—in building up my rocks. This base is one I’m going to be using with water so it’s recessed (see my Ice base or water base tutorials). I’ve make one bolder on the left and then pavers all the way to the right. I get the Milliput wet and smooth it out (really easy with rubber gloves as there’s no worry with finger prints). I then take my texture rocks and get them wet—this way you don’t have to worry about whatever you’re working with sticking to them—and then start pressing. There are no real rules on how to do this as every rock is different and so are people’s tastes. Just take some time and find what you like. Once that’s done I’m going to sculpt in the paver’s edges and touch up edges with my rocks again. This step and the previous one really can be done in any order but I find touching up the textures to be easier then the lines (as all that pressing is going to cause some to disappear). Now we set aside our base for the Milliput to dry (it takes as long as Green Stuff so doing this before bed or work is ideal). Prepping the base Now that everything is dry I’m going to add a real rock to the base as there’s no real reason to sculpt a free standing rock like this unless you can’t find something you like. Plus this will let you compare my quick sculpted boulder to a real one. Now I’m going to prime them white. The reason for the white is I’m going to show you how to add some quartz to your rocks so the white base coat will work perfectly for this. If you have another type of mineral you want to add, like a metal, feel free to paint some spots of those colors in now (though it’s probably not best to do it 100% that color unless you want a lot of it showing through). That's it for part one. Part two will cover painting.
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