This is a look at the process I use for building a collaborative piece for the grid. I hope this can help anyone looking for pointers on how to better their skills and play pieces that excite others to play along with them on this cool site.
These instructions are for working in Photoshop. I have not worked in GIMP but I am told it is somewhat similar. Working with layers is very important to this process.
1- Open the current level of gridcosm, copy the center image. Open Photoshop and create a new project with a canvas size of 450 x 450 pixels. paste the center tile into the center of this new project.
2- Copy and paste any tiles already completed on the current level into your project and arrange them accordingly.
3- Deselect your background layer.
4- Merge the rest of the layers ( I use merge visible, but there are a few different ways to do this, the important thing is to have all completed tiles on one layer)
5- Duplicate the merged layer. This is your master layer and must remain the top layer and NEVER be altered. This will show you how your tile is going to look when played. The next layer down is kind of a back up and can be used for some blending if need be.
6- Make sure you are working below the top 2 layers at all times. Layers rule. use the opacity sliders. I use the eye dropper a lot too. Like OHK said, pick up on themes and colors from elsewhere on the current level(s) to help with cohesion. Most people like it when someone is playing with their ideas rather than around or against them.
7- once you are happy with your piece take a little break,walk away from your computer physically, go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, whatever. If you are still stoked with your piece when you come back then it’s time to crop it down to 150x150 pixels. Save that sucker!
8- Make a note about what the gridpoem says, not just the adjacent lines. Come up with something clever, if need be do some googling for inspiration. Not contributing to the poem is simply lazy and lame, don’t be that douchebag who doesn’t even try, you are better than that.
9- Upload your piece and poem contribution, the more collaboratively you play the more others will want to play. Back in the heyday we could get some pretty fun jam sessions with several articipants collaborating on several pieces over a day. Yeah I know wistful old timer, blah blah blah.
Happy ARTING… these of course are not hard and fast rules because there really are none here, but some suggestions that hopefully will help anyone that wants to feed into a more collaborative flourishing of this awesome thing Jon & Ed built.