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[Guide] How Not To Emblem: A Cautionary Tale.


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“If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to serve as a horrible warning.” -Catherine Aird





  03 March 2014
----== PART 1 ==----
So as it goes when you're the warlord of a clan. Eventually you come to the point where adding a clan emblem sounds like a good idea. You crack open photoshop or gimp or some .org editor of some description, and start painting.


This is what I came up with…

Eventually you start asking yourself in the back of your head, "I wonder what this gradient will look like in-game?" ... But you know that there's going to be a mysterious preview before uploading.

As seen here:

So it "looks" okay (as far as the preview is concerned) but you also know that the wiki makes subtle suggestions regarding contrast and transparency. Well, I can tell you first hand that they are NOT joking around.

Though for the time being I was eagerly awaiting the Wednesday update and my shiny new emblem being on my trinity's arm.

Emphasis on the "shiny":


Still, I though, "Maybe it's just the lighting in the dojo... how bad could it be in a mission?"

My heart ... the floor was not low enough:

Now for my part, I can leave those settings off and it's fine. Though as far as a representation of my clan, I can only assume another player would think I'm in some J. J. Abrams' fan club themed clan. Which, isn't all that bad I suppose, just, not optimally my goal.

Next time I'll know better, but I cant help but think how nice it would be to have a previewer within the game's engine. Wishful I know. There's so many other things to work on first. But I can dream, dammit!


I plan to update one day once the sting of losing 150p wears off.

  23 April 2014
----== PART 2 ==----
After some personal research I made changes to my image and re-submitted it (again for another full 150p):




And the result! … … … {drumroll}



So by comparison you can see what I did wrong with the contrast and transparency in the previous submission.


I ended up dimming the overall body and making it non-transparent.

The Lotus and Chalice Trims were dimmed and some blue was added for contrast.

I also further darkened the Lotus shadows for greater contrast.

Because bloom seems to key on the brightness of each pixel regardless of its alpha. I used a combination of intensity noise and alpha gradient on the outside-glow, so the end effect would be a crackling transparency moire.


Ultimately my tips are:
☼ Use muted colors for the body. Nothing brighter than rgb(200,200,200). They will be intensified by the engine.
☼ Don't use semi-transparency on internal parts of the emblem. It will blow out the rest with rendered flare.

☼ If you do have a transparent section "inside" the emblem, make sure those pixels are 100% transparent with as little alpha gradient transition as possible.

  20 December 2015
----== PART 3 ==----
I Wanted to come back and expand on a few tips for you artists, to get your emblem ready to upload into Warframe:

I'm assuming you're working in Photoshop CS4 or later. If not, you'll have to bear with me and adapt these techniques to your editor.

Once you've got your emblem the way you want it, There's actually a lot you can do beyond "Brightness/Contrast" tools to affect Brightness and Contrast.
Basically, any tool in the "Image >> Adjustments" menu (such as Levels, Curves, Exposure, etc...) can be used to constrain brightness, however they tend to make permanent changes to the layers themselves, and only target 1 layer at a time.
The technique I favor is adding a black layer on top of the layer stack to balance the final output.
You'll want to start by making a selection of your Emblem. The solid parts. As much as you can.
* If you're not familiar...
  Right Click the layer preview image in the layers list and "Select Pixels" that way.
  OR you can CTRL+Click a layer to make a selection of just the pixels in it. Holding Shift will allow you to select the pixels of multiple layers this way.
* Next you'll want to add a new layer and Paint Bucket the selection black (0,0,0).
* Alternately, you can...
  paint one black layer for each layer in your image,
  select layers one at a time (each time, invert the selection),
  delete that selection from the corresponding black layer, and finally
  merge the resulting black layer sections into one layer that covers the entire emblem.
Once you have the black layer you want, tweak the filtering and opacity of that layer. This part will be different for every image based on the color and brightness content.
Here is an example of a few back layer filters in action, using a simple black box layer on top of a white to blue gradient on the layer below. Each filter layer has a lotus cut out of the box to emphasize the difference.

I know that seems a little backwards, since I'm actually filtering the area AROUND an emblem rather than within it, but I wanted to illustrate the differences across the entire gradient.In any case, You should be able to use this kind of filter (or combination of filters) to get your emblem under the brightness threshold (described in Part 2) without sacrificing image clarity.

  23 February 2016
----== PART 4 ==----
Concerning Image Size, Downsampling and Exporting:

I'm assuming you're working in Photoshop CS4 or later. If not, you'll have to bear with me and adapt these techniques to your editor.

When you begin your Emblem project you should use a Canvas that's at least 8 times larger than your expected output.
That means for a Warframe Emblem, use no smaller than a 1024px by 1024px canvas.
Many uses have reported they use 2000~3000px canvases, some even as high as 6000px and 8000px. So don't be afraid to go big (as big as you're comfortable with, that is).
Once you've got your emblem the way you want it, and color/brightness adjusted (see Part 3 above) it's time to downsample it to the to the 128px by 128px size Warframe accepts.

Before an overall downsample, if you need to resize just a layer, or a piece of your emblem, you'll want to make sure you're using "Bicubic" interpolation.
For most versions of Photoshop this will be located under: "Preferences >> General >> Image Interpolation".
This will tell PS to share information and recalculate the color/transparency within each pixel, rather than just picking the most prominent single pixel from the bunch. Preventing the image from becoming jaggy.

Tenno egregiousRac has provided a handy demonstration of the various interpolation effects. Emblem zoomed 200%:


"From left to right: Bicubic Sharper, Bicubic Smoother, Bicubic, Bilinear, Nearest Neighbor"
We've determined that "Bicubic" gives the best result across the largest number of platforms.

I strongly recommend downsampling the entire image before merging your layers or exporting to PNG format.

As you've already guessed the "Image >> Image Resize..." command is what we use to do this.
Note that there is an interpolation option in this dialog that will override your general preferences, so make sure you select "Bicubic".
((Note that Resizing can be "undone" after you've Exported))
You'll want to export the file using the "File >> Save for Web & Devices..." rather than just saving the file as a PNG. Export gives you more options.

While exporting, use the PNG-24 setting. Uncheck "Interlaced", and set "Matte" to "None".
Interlaced and Matte are not needed since Warframe pre-caches the full image. (I fear they could cause pixel-glitches. Maybe not, but just to be on the safe side 0.0;;)

If you're downsampling the image at this step, rather than as above, you'll still want to use the "Bicubic" Interpolation method. (not "Sharper" as I stated in a previous edit, sorry).
(!) However please note. If your emblem has dark borders with a light interiour, the downsample may result in an edge of lightened pixels.
This can happen when your export downsample % is very small (such as 2000px source to 128px output). The outer edge of pixels ends up interpolating some of the area from inside your border.
Example... on the left, I saved for web a 2000px at 128px "E" image, using "Bicubic Sharper" (yes Sharper, oops!) then overlayed that E on our familiar White to Blue test gradient, You'll see how the E has a lighter edge around the black border; ...
...however, on the right, you'll see the edge lacks the "lighter" pixels. As stated, the way to fix it, is downsampling the image before exporting it.
Again, Tenno egregiousRac has provided us with an example of correctly downsampled emblems:


And there they are in the Liset (with Bloom but not Color Correction):


His results are undeniable! 😄
  01 May 2016
----== PART 5 ==----
Concerning emblem resubmittal using Zendesk support tickets instead of platinum.

This is something that should only be attempted when your Emblem quality turns out especially destroyed by the game's rendering engine and is no fault of yours. As we have discussed, this can happen quite easily if you are not careful.

It is a process I was not aware of, and many seem not to be, and as such: I am not personally familiar with its ins-and-outs; however, Tenno egregiousRac and Tenno Wylph were able to use this process to successfully re-submit emblems that the Game Engine failed to render with due care.

We've covered some of Tenno egregiousRac's work in Part 4...

Here Is the emblem Tenno Wylph originally submitted:
And here's what Warframe did to it:

Here is how Tenno Wylph modified it:
And here is how it looked after using Zendesk support resubmission:

Again, not having used the process myself, I cannot advise Step-by-Step, but in at least cases such as these, it is possible to have your Emblem replaced using the Zendesk support service. 

  22 September 2018
----== SPECIAL ==----
Tenno povo844 is (as of September 2018) offering Emblem Design Services,
Please check out his awesome thread HERE!
{If you are a designer, and would like to offer a similar service, please contact me by private message, and I'll add your details as soon as I can.}



As always, have fun out there, be kind to each other, but equally mean to those that oppose the Tenno!
sangraal_glyph_dark.png -   holyiconalbion.png


I have been (over the past few years of the post) inundated with personal requests of "my Clanz EMblem , plz help!!"
While this was never a service I offered, I have done my best to help as many people as I can who have completed their own emblem but need help formatting them for upload to warframe.
I have also had to turn down a significant number of requests asking me to create an emblem for their clan from scratch.
My schedule does not permit me to make art copy for free nor will I take on paying clients via these channels.

Over time the number of requests and amount of work needed to 'fix' emblems to ready them for Warframe has increased.
And all I'm really doing is following the steps from my own post to do this. With minimal additional considerations.
Again, this was never a service I intended to provide, I only wanted to make a guide so that other players could get to the endpoint I reached faster.

If you still think you need help after reading this post please visit the Players helping Players thread and ask there with a reference to this post as a guide.
Even if it's just to use somebody else's Photoshop skills, I'm sure there are plenty of Tenno willing to help, I'm only one.

Righteous Steve - of harrowed code - of hallowed patches.
For an age you've guarded the divide between Update and Reinforcement.
From within your everlasting sacred office, you've held the lidless bourbon.



Edited by holyicon
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Surprised no one has commented on how funny and informative this is.

Forgive me. i had only just seen this thanks to your comment. We are actually still working on our emblem this was great timing...


edit : Equally Very Funny and Informative.

Edited by Nkomo-Sama
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  • 4 weeks later...

Nice topic. Wish I would have seen before slaving over our clan emblem and uploading --> ultra-neon! 

Cost is a bit high to change it, imho

Agreed. I have no problem IN THEORY with the idea of paying plat to upload an emblem, but when the preview is so inaccurate, that's a big problem.  Especially with upload prices at 150!

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This is closest to a full guide that I have found. Perhaps DE could give some assistance. By, perhaps telling or showing us how they make the event emblems. 

I'd actually settle just for getting a viewable file copy of those emblems. I could look at them in an editor and figure out exactly how the alpha/rgb outputs.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Fantastic guide!


Sorry for your plat loss (I honestly feel that it should be a one-time only fee, with no resubmittal fee, just extra review and a "darned good reason!").


Thank you so much for updating this guide with your final submission. Looks awesome! Congrats!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just a heads up: Even when using colours that are less than RGB (200,200,200), emblems still flares in OD missions.


Indeed. Derelict bloom is overzealous to say the least. Even event and founder emblems wash out. ><;;


Thanks for the co-witness. ^^

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  • 3 weeks later...
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interesthing thread, excellent guide too, btw, what about partial transparency on black stuff on the emblem?, anyone knows if that would that make the emblem uber-shiny too?



also, definetly agree on the in-game preview thing, it's an excellent idea.

Edited by phazefox
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