Have you ever wanted to make a cool customized tank icon like the one to the right? In this tutorial, I'll show you how!

Step One - The Workspace

The first thing we want to do is create the work environment, which is where we do all of the drawing and editing and all that good stuff. We need an image editing tool to do this. I personally use Paint.NET for creating these images. If you haven't got it yet, I really suggest it! It's like regular Microsoft Paint but a lot more powerful, yet not as massively in-depth as Photoshop (plus it's free!). Perfect for creating simple tank icons! You don't have to use that of course - other editing tools, like GIMP, and regular ol' Paint will do, but you may have a harder time since this tutorial is centered around Paint.NET tools. This guide also assumes you have at least a base knowledge of how the tools work.

Once you've got your image editing program loaded up, then we have to define the size of our workspace. It should be a perfect square! Click on New, then set the width and the height to a square. I personally set it to 100x100, which is the recommended size used on this Wiki. Your image will be automatically resized to 100x100 if you use it in the {{Tank}} template. Size can vary, up to 150x150 if you want, but I don't recommend that. We don't want our icon to be too big! Massive images are a no-no on the Wiki!

Step Two - The Background

Now we've got a small, square, blank slate in front of us. No need to be intimidated! I'll take you through every step. ^_^

The next thing we have to do is create the background of the icon. You can save and copy the image up there for a reference, by the way; just right-click, save, then you can load it up in your editing program. It will definitely make things easier as I go along.

Now, concerning background colors. These are the colors you see when selecting a tank in the upgrades menu, for instance.

The Easy Way


The way I do it, it's easier to just take some pre-made backgrounds and use those, selecting them with a color picker. I've taken the liberty and made a template of backgrounds that you can save and use if you want. It's always annoyed me to have to make a background from scratch - now you don't have to!

The Hard Way

But if you really must do this from scratch, you brave little tank, I've provided all the color codes for the backgrounds below. These are alphanumerical HEX codes, which define the exact properties of a color. Copy these codes in the table below, then click on More>> in the color window, and paste the code into the box that says Hex next to it, since it's a Hex code. Then you'll have the exact color you need.

It will take a lot longer to have to enter those numbers all the time, so (to me at least) it's a little simpler to just use the color picker, since it's a point and click and done. ANYWAY, here's the codes:

Color Name Color Code (Copy this!)

Step Three - The Border

Now we've got our background done! To begin constructing the border, we need to use the Shapes tool. Select Rectangle, set it to Draw Shape Outline (not filled!), with a Brush width of no more than 20% of the whole image! So if your image is 100x100, a Brush width of 5 will be just fine.

Now, as for the color of the outline (IT IS NOT PURE BLACK!), you can do what I do (the faster way) and just use a color picker on a pre-made tank icon. But if you somehow can't, here's the exact color code: 616161

Make adjustments here and there, if you have to. Make sure your border completely surrounds the canvas, no ugly little white lines sticking out of the sides. Also make sure the border is even, so that one side isn't obviously fatter or thinner than the other. It works to be realistic!

Step Four - The Tank

Phew! Okay, now you're actually ready to get started on making the tank!

Refer to the image to the right for the "anatomy" of the tank.


The Body

If you're making a regular tank (not a boss or anything crazy like that), we need to select Shapes again, then change it to an Ellipse, and set it to Draw Filled Shape with Outline.

You should use blue for the inside (The exact color code is 0DB6E0), with an outline the same color and width as the border of the entire icon. Make sure the Primary color is the color of the outline, and that the Secondary color is the color of the inside of the tank.

Set the size of the whole circle to something reasonable, no more than 50% of the entire icon, so that way you can fit a gun or two in there! Center the tank, and make sure the height and width are even, otherwise you'll end up with an egg tank.

The Barrels

Now you have a tank body! But what about the guns?! Well, the exact style of gun you want to fit on there is completely up to you. But let's assume we're making a basic tank.

For a simple barrel we'll use the Rectangle tool again, keeping it set to Draw Filled Shape with Outline. The outside border of this rectangle is the same as always (reasonably 5), but the inside is a light grey (color code: 9E9E9E).

Draw the rectangle, twist and turn it a little, change the size around, boil it, mash it, stick it in a stew, then place it on the tank along the body's outline. The outlines of the barrel and body should mesh nicely if you've rotated it and sized it properly. Again, refer to the "anatomy" image if you're having trouble sizing things correctly (it takes me a while to do this too, but you'll get the hang of it!)

For other types of barrels, use the shapes you think would represent it well. For instance, if you want to add a drone spawner in there, use a trapezoid. If you want a Sniper rifle, use a really long rectangle. Some crazy alien gun?! The possibilities are endless!

Step Five - The Name

We're almost done! Now to give your tank a name!

You can just use a simple font here. It's not 100% necessary, but if you want to go for pure realism here, I suggest using the Ubuntu font, since it's the font that is actually used in! Just download it, right click it, and installation should be done in a few minutes at most. If you're having trouble, here's a guide to installing fonts for all different systems.

Once you've got the font selected, set the size of your font to something reasonable (12 - 16 is fine, depending on the length of the name. No more than 20), and then Bold it!

Now, here's a neat trick I learned on some skeevy Internet forum, on how to get that perfect icon font, with the outline and everything, if you're a poor tank like me who can't afford some fancy font styles. This is completely optional, only if you're worried about 100% realism. First, you'll want to Add a New Layer. Type the name of the tank in black, or whatever color you want the outline of the name to be. Then, give it a simple Gaussian Blur (Effects>Blurs>Gaussian Blur). Then, Duplicate the Layer (or CTRL+Shift+D to do it fast), and Duplicate it approximately 5 to 10 times, depending on how thick you want the outline to be. Once that's done, the letters will be extremely blurred; this is what we want! Type again in white letters (or any color you wish), with all of the same font settings as before, and place that text directly over the blurry text. It should mesh nicely, giving it the look of an icon you'd actually find in!

Merge all the layers down (CTRL+M), save your work, then pat yourself on the back, because you've just made your very own tank icon! Upload and share it for everyone to see!


Note that this method is simply how I do things; others may have different methods, feel free to share if you do. ^_^ Share any thoughts and criticisms below!!