October 15, 2010

Creating Custom Graphics For Power Auras

Part I: Creating Custom Graphics For Power Auras

The Paint.NET Interface.
Part II: Creating Spell Alerts in Power Auras will be coming this weekend.  

Ever wanted to make pretty, easily-recognizable spell alerts for your Power Auras, instead of those far-out runes and glowing symbols?  Chances are you might even forget once in a while what the rune to the right of your target of target means on your 3rd alt.  Here's an easy strategy to create some pretty graphics and place them into your Power Aura folder.

Before we start, you'll want a graphical editing program. I don't have Photoshop so I use Paint.NET.  It's extremely good and is great for doing things like cropping pictures and making Power Aura buttons!

I was turned on to this program by Caith who is the author of the Caith UI.  She also has done all the graphical work for her UI and the previous version to her current one utilized the basic gray Blizzard texture.  She incorporated this color almost everywhere, and used it to create this lovely little image to the left that she shared with the everyone in a tutorial somewhere (that I have been trying to Google and cannot find).  But, don't use that one because it's a GIF and low quality. I posted it only for demonstration.  Go to Caith's UI and download her UI.  The button is found under "CaithUI\Interface\AddOns\ButtonFacade_Caith\Textures\border.TGA"  This is the blank button that she suggests you use to make your own little spell icons as you can see in her UI screenshot here:  http://s.wowinterface.com/preview/pvw40887.jpg  She has her own version of a spell alert tutorial that I cannot find at the moment (so you can see two different methods) so I went ahead and wrote this one from scratch with fresh pictures.

Click here to see the fullsize screenshot.

Okay, now that we have a photo editing program and the basic border button from Caith, let's start making some spell alerts! Being the fast fingered shaman I am, I am sometimes too busy healing to know that my Water Shield has fallen off. Let's fix that.

First, let's make the button we want to use.
1)  Open Paint.NET (PN)/Photoshop (PS).  Open the border.TGA file.  For this tutorial, I will be using Paint.NET.  I do not have a copy of PS to work through the steps but the tools are essentially the same.
2)  Open http://www.wowhead.com and search for Water Shield.
3)  Press the Print Screen button on your keyboard. It should say "Pt Sc" or "Prnt Scrn" or something of the like.  If you are on a Mac (using Mac OS X), you can use one of the following options from this short tutorial.
  1. To capture the entire desktop, press Command-Shift-3. The screen shot will be automatically saved as a PNG file on your desktop.
  2. To copy the entire desktop, press Command-Control-Shift-3. The screen shot will be placed on your clipboard for you to paste into another program.
  3. To capture a portion of the desktop, press Command-Shift-4. A cross-hair cursor will appear and you can click and drag to select the area you wish to capture. When you release the mouse button, the screen shot will be automatically saved as a PNG file on your desktop. (The file is saved as PDF in Mac OS 10.3 and earlier.)
4)  Go to PN or PS and open a new, blank canvas.  Paste your copied screen into this canvas or open your image using the program.

Chances are you'll get this picture.  Click on "Expand Canvas".

The selection tool in Paint.NET

5 )  We are only interested in the pretty blue Water Shield spell icon in the top left area of the screenshot.  Move your mouse over to the 'Tools' column and click on the first icon in the left column.  This icon/tool will let you select an area to crop.  You can begin by narrowing down the area around the spell.  That will make it easier on your eyes, somehow, I promise.

The selection tool in action in Paint.NET.

6)  Now that we can focus on our spell icon, let's take our selection tool again and select the spell icon, as I have done in the picture to the left.  It's okay if you select a LOT; in fact, try to get the whole spell. We'll be pasting it BEHIND the border so any extra won't show.  If you crop it too small, though, it will show a blank space and will look funny. After you have it selected, go to Edit >> Copy.  This will save what you have selected with your Rectangle Tool and nothing else.

Edit >> Copy
Layers >> Add New Layer

 7)  If you don't already have your border.TGA icon open, then you should open it.  Go to Layers >> Add New Layer in the program as shown above and then move the new Layer (named Layer 1 or Layer 2) up or down so that it is UNDER the Background layer as shown in the picture below.  You can see that I have the layer I want to move selected, along with clicking on the blue arrow that is available to be clicked on (yes, that sounds awkward but I can't think of another way to say it.)

Llani says click the blue arrow.

Almost there...
 8)  Finally, push Control + V and/or go to Edit >> Paste, and you will see the second to last step of your beautiful new icon.  Push the Escape (ESC) key and the selection box will vanish.

9)  Save your icon in two places.  For the first place, make a folder on your desktop and label it PowerAuraMaster.  These will be your master copies of your spell icons in case you accidentally overwrite your Power Auras like I did and erase all your beautiful icons.  For the second place, you will need to save the icon in  \Interface\AddOns\PowerAuras\Custom\watershield.TGA  It is VERY IMPORTANT that you keep the .TGA file name as this is what Power Auras looks for.

Now, for part II.  We need to set up Power Auras to recognize when my Water Shield has fallen off and I need to recast it.  This can work for any buff that you would like to track.

Part II: Creating Spell Alerts in Power Auras will be coming this weekend.  This post will be edited to lead to it.  If you know how to set up auras, though, you can use this post to create the graphics.


  1. Wow thanks for a nice post, I had no idea you could do this. I might actually dare to try it myself, I noticed some in-game procs didn't have an aura at all(like Impact). Is it possible to add a custom-made aura like this to them?

  2. Absolutely. As long as you are talking about (http://www.wowhead.com/spell=12358/impact), what you would do is set up the aura to realize when it has procced on your character, which makes the pretty spell graphic appear. When it is used up / finishes the 10 second duration, it will disappear. I'm doing my UI today (or as much as I can with all the updates) and I'll post how to do it. =)

  3. Paint.Net Mac : Paint.Net for Mac like MyBrushes, Pinta, and GIMP are some equivalents digital artists can choose to use Paint.Net Mac.