The Anatomy of a Playfield Redraw using GIMP

Playfield redraw complete. Given what I had to start with, I'm pretty happy with the result. Tee’d Off Playfield Redraw. Given what I had to start with, I’m pretty happy with the result.

Let me start off by telling you I’m not a graphic artist. Everything I’ve learned has been through trial and error and years of tinkering. I use GIMP because it is free. It probably isn’t the best tool for a playfield redraw, but it can get the job done and I’m very happy with the results I’ve been able to attain.

I’ll let someone with more graphic design experience chime in, but my guess is they would tell you to use a vector graphics editor like Illustrator or Inkscape. I spent some time with Inkscape very early in this project, but just didn’t feel comfortable enough with it to invest the time to learn to use it efficiently.

I see quite a few authors comment that they won’t take on a table build without readily available resources. After this project, I understand why. It’s a lot of work. That being said, I’m glad I took on this project and I would encourage anyone else considering it to jump in. It has been a very rewarding process.

In order to do a proper redraw, you’ll need some kind of reference.  For Tee’d Off, I spent many hours on Google looking for images with decent resolution that would help me produce a quality result.  I  built a library of images from different sections of the playfield.  One was a low resolution photo of the stripped playfield.

The photo was at an angle, so I used the Perspective tool perspective in GIMP to get a perpendicular view of the proper proportions.  This was a very tedious process to get everything positioned as close to actual placement as possible.  I used several other references and measurements at various locations around the playfield to insure things were lining up.  It wasn’t perfect, but I’m confident that everything lines up within a few pixels of their actual location.

low-res-pf

For Gottlieb 3 tables, the actual playfield dimensions are 20.25 inches by 46 inches.  To keep things simple, I created my GIMP file with a resolution of 2025×4600.  I wasn’t happy with the quality at lower resolution and a higher resolutions brought my PC to a crawl.

I was able to find higher resolution photos of the lower and middle sections of the playfield.  Once again, I used the Perspective tool to align the higher resolution photos to the proper locations.  This provided the basis for my redraw.

patch-pf

There were several key tools in GIMP that I used to successfully complete the redraw.  The most critical is the Free Select lasso tool.  In order to obtain a satisfactory result, I found I needed to select the Antialiasing and Feather Edges options.  These options helped to create a smoother/softer image.

feather Free Select Options Without Feather Edges

 

With Feather Edges With Feather Edges

I used the Free Select tool to trace/redraw small portions of the playfield and then filled my selection using the Bucket Fill bucketfill tool.  I used the Fill Whole Selection option with the Bucket Fill tool instead of Fill Similar Colors, which is the default.  This is essentially the process I used for a majority of the redraw.

Bucket Fill Options Bucket Fill Options

 

Below is an example of a small portion of the playfield that is traced/redrawn using the Free Select and Bucket Fill tools.

Tracing a selection of the playfield using Free Select Tracing a selection of the playfield using Free Select Redrawn area of the playfield using Free Select and Bucket Fill Redrawn area of the playfield using Free Select and Bucket Fill

Another important aspect of the redraw was leveraging layers.  I used over 20 layers in my redraw.  This allowed me to keep specific section of the redraw separate from others (in case I want to do future clean-up)  and also allowed my to overlay edges over fill colors.  This allowed me to be less precise when drawing large fill areas.

Over 20 layers were used in my playfield redraw Over 20 layers were used in my playfield redraw

 

 

For detailed areas of the playfield or where resolution was too low to approximate a satisfactory result, I cut higher resolution images out of photos, cleaned, color adjusted, resized, and used the Perspective tool to overlay on to the redraw.

Cut from a higher resolution photo this image was cleaned up, color adjusted, resized, and used the Perspective tool to properly place on the playfield. Cut from a higher resolution photo this image was cleaned up, color adjusted, resized, and used the Perspective tool to properly place on the playfield.

 

 

Below is another example where I took a low quality image and used the Free Select and Bucket Fill tools to create a higher resolution image to insert into my redraw.

Low Res Image Low Res Image Higher Res (Cleaner) Redraw Higher Res (Cleaner) Redraw

One other tool frequently used was the Pathspaths  tool.  This tool was used for outlines with a constant thickness and curved edges where using the Free Select tool did not provide a satisfactory result.  The Paths tool allows you to create bezier (smooth) curves and has an option to Stroke Path.  You can specify the width of the line.

Example of oulines created using the Paths tool and Stroke Path option Example of outlines created using the Paths tool and Stroke Path option

 

 

There you have it!  There are some smaller details I have chosen not to include in this post.  The above will get you most of the way there.  With a little practice and a lot of perseverance, you’ll end up with a final product that will make you proud.  Good luck!

 

 

Comments

  1. Ben Logan2

    Rothbauerw, what a great post! Thanks so much for sharing your tutorial / labor of love documentary. The screenshots you provided really suggest you can get pro quality results with GIMP and a little bit of know-how. I’m a fellow GIMP enthusiast. It’s a great app, with a passionate community of users.

    Can’t wait to see the final result! Thanks for working in Tee’d Off.

    :)

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  2. Al

    Inspirational & a great intro to behind the scenes !
    The end result was / is stunning, you must be over the moon with it, and it’s a real fave at home.

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