There was a request for an easy-to-use GIMP tutorial to make raw avatar scans upload-worthy, so I made one.
GIMP is free software; go to [url="http://www.gimp.org/"]www.gimp.org[/url] to download.
I start off by cropping and resizing in MS Paint, because it's waaaaay easier to do this in Paint. Then I go to GIMP for contrast and transparency.
This tutorial is complete with all of the steps I use for my own uploads, so it will work for yours.
Copy the image file to have a backup.
Right-click the image file and select Edit, it opens in Paint by default.
If you have lines or stuff (for example from lined paper) obscuring your drawing, use the eraser tool to get rid of them. Don't worry about the white space left behind; whiter-than-paper stuff goes away with contrast.
If you need to stretch or compress the image to make it look better, now is the time to do so, for minimal quality loss. Either Select All (Ctrl+A) and drag the selection handles, or use the resize functionality.
Select All (Ctrl+A) and drag to the top left corner to cut off extra space.
Click outside of the selection.
Drag the bottom right corner's handle to cut extra space off the canvas.
Maintaining aspect ratio, resize to 100 pixels wide. If it turns out to be more than 160 pixels high at this point, undo (Ctrl+Z) and resize to 160 high instead.
Using the bottom or side handle of the canvas, increase the space to 100x160 pixels.
Select All (Ctrl+A) and drag the image to the center.
It will certainly look weird at this point, having bars of white, but they will disappear with contrast in GIMP. Save (Ctrl+S) and close Paint.
Right-click the image file --> Open With... --> gimp-2.6.exe (a newer version may be named differently)
Image --> Mode --> Grayscale
Colors --> Brightness-Contrast
Increase the Contrast slider until the background is uniform, then fiddle with the brightness and contrast until it looks good. With my scanner's images, I normally have to change the contrast about 60 and the brightness about -30.
Image --> Mode --> RGB
Colors --> Colorify (NOT Colorize; they are different) --> Custom color --> enter "f1efd6". This is the color Mur specified; its purpose is to make the avatar blend better with the background of MD.
If you didn't draw the MD letters somewhere on your image, add them now with the Text Tool. It's in the toolbox on the left; click it and click in the image where you want to add text, type in "MD", pick a font and size it.
Layer --> Transparency --> Add Alpha Channel
Select --> By Color --> click on the backgound, hit Delete (or cut with Ctrl+X).
Save As... --> Select file type (by extension) --> GIF image --> (converting to indexed by default) Export --> type in author name in the comment box and Save.
And you're done. [img]http://magicduel.invisionzone.com/public/style_emoticons/default/smile.gif[/img]
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