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Workflow choices and using multiple programs for a project

New Here ,
Dec 04, 2022 Dec 04, 2022

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I'm not 100% sure where to post this. I'm hoping for some general advice rather than something too technical.

I'm creating a card game (something I have done before) but I would like to use more digital tools this time to make life easier. My technical background is in video editing, so I know Premiere. Outside of video I know what kind of things are possible, but not which tools I should use for what.

What programs should I use?

Currently the imagery is all stock. But I need to design a card layout (text, image placement, stats) that I can then fill in like a template. However the only way I know how to do that is to make 1,000 copies of the same card and edit each one. I'd much rather create a system that can automate this. Especially if there is a layout change so I don't have to manually change each and every card.

Last time I created a database (collection of spreadsheets, nothing smart or linked) using googlesheets. Then I just copy-pasted that information into the cards Illustrator. Obviously not the best. Could anyone recommend a better system to make and propagate changes?

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Community Expert ,
Dec 05, 2022 Dec 05, 2022

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Create your common elements, make a symbol of them. Copy the symbol and then use Paste on all Artboards. When you have changes to make, choose one instance, and select Edit Symbol from the Symbols pallet menu. Then any changes you make while in edit symbol mode will be reflected across all instances. 

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Guide ,
Dec 05, 2022 Dec 05, 2022

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Wouldn't InDesign be the better choice here? Create a template design through the use of parent (master) page, use a spreadsheet to populate 1000 rows of data with text parts and image(s), then data merge 1000 cards with InDesign's data merge option.

 

If you need to make a change:

- a visual change is quickly made via the parent page(s)

- a content change is efficiently made by performing a new data merge.

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Guide ,
Dec 05, 2022 Dec 05, 2022

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Community Expert ,
Dec 10, 2022 Dec 10, 2022

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If you designed a classic card game, the InDesign method would not work. The symbol workflow from @SJRiegel would!

We simply have not enough information for saying this or that option is best. There is probably a mix of all needed.

ABAMBO | Hard- and Software Engineer | Photographer

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Guide ,
Dec 10, 2022 Dec 10, 2022

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The OP's card game sounds more like something like this (because they mention a list of data in a spreadsheet and "stats" - which are typically part of such card games):

pic2596438-2897731039.jpeg

In which case Illustrator would be the worst choice. A data merge feature with automatic page generation is required to take care of that.

 

Hence: InDesign. But in principle it could be done even in a word processor 😉

 

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Community Expert ,
Dec 12, 2022 Dec 12, 2022

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Illustrator has Data Merge capabilities. I find it less intuitive than the InDesign setup, but it would certainly work for this sort of project.

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 19, 2022 Dec 19, 2022

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The data merge in indesign should work. You may have to use a script such as 
https://www.id-extras.com/products/fit-text-to-frame/ so different lengths of text in the data merge doesn't mess up the layout using 'Shrink text only'.

 

Alternatively

 

Maybe look at a site called Bannerbear, you can automate 1000s of images from a spreadsheet. You can create a base template for your card and each element (image, text box) in the design will be linked to a each rows column id in your spreadsheet.

 

It may take a bit of learning but it is definitely possible and will save a lot of time in the long run,

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