Creating graphics for UpStage

Before you can upload media to UpStage for use in your cyberformance, you must either find or create it. If you’re finding media items online, they must be in the public domain or have a license allowing you to use them. Usually you’ll want to create your own media that’s specifically designed for the theme and artistic style of your cyberformance. This chapter provides tips for creating graphics for UpStage.

Graphics (image files) can be backdrops, avatars, props or curtains on the live stage. An image file can also be uploaded as a cover image that displays while your stage is loading.

File formats

Images can be uploaded in the following file formats:

  • .png – recommended for avatars and props, to retain transparency in clear-cut images
  • .jpg or .jpeg – suitable for backdrops, cover images, curtains and any media item that is square or rectangular (not clear-cut)
  • .gif – can be used for still images and gif animations
  • .svg

Size and dimensions

As images can be scaled on stage, the precise size of your image is not important. However, you don’t want it to pixelate when you increase the size, so you need to estimate the size you want to use it at on stage and make the image approximately that size. Usually something between 300 to 500 pixels should be sufficient to allow scaling of an avatar or prop without losing quality.

You may need to have a few tries before getting it right. If you’re making a lot of media for one performance, it can be a good idea to create a template image. Once you’ve got the size of your template image right, use it as a basis for the rest of the graphics. If you upload multiple files that you later don’t need, please remember to delete them from the server to avoid unnecessary clutter.

Backdrops cannot be scaled. A standard size of approximately 800 pixels wide by 450 pixels high will usually fit well and fill the screen when the browser is in full screen view. Remember that your audience will be on a range of devices, with browser windows at different sizes, and they may not be in full screen view; they may see space on either side of the backdrop. You can set the colour of this space to fit with your backdrops (see Stage Settings).

Tip: In the Stage Management interface for your stage, go to “Customisation” to set the ratio for your stage.

Graphics software

You can use any graphics software to create your graphics so long as it can save or export files to the accepted formats. We recommend open source graphics applications including:

  • GIMP – a bitmap editor;
  • Krita – a Photoshop alternative;
  • Inkscape – a vector editor;

Animated gifs

Gif animations can be uploaded to UpStage as backdrops, avatars and props. Looping is defined within the gif itself, not in UpStage. The speed of the gif animation cannot be adjusted in UpStage, and you cannot stop it at a specific static frame. If you want to be able to control speed and animation, consider creating a multi-frame media item instead of a gif.

When a player moves or resizes a gif media item, the animation will start over again, because the image has to re-render on the stage. If you don’t want this to happen, create a multi-frame media item instead.

Multi-frame avatars, backdrops and props

Another form of animation is multi-frame: an animated avatar, backdrop or prop can be created by uploading two or more images and saving them together as a multi-frame avatar, backdrop or prop. This allows you to control the speed of the animation, and to move from one frame to another within the same object.

See the Upload Media section for information on how to save multi-frame avatars, backdrops and props.