Tutorial - Modern Frame - Ins and Outs

edited September 2015 in Tutorials
Welcome one and all to the most Modern tutorial type thing you'll ever see! Sights will be seen! Odors will be smelled! Noises will be heard! Now if you're wondering about some of the things I didn't include, head on over to Corwinnn's Cardsmithing tutorial here: http://forums.mtgcardsmith.com/discussion/497/tutorial-cardsmithing-m15-or-the-art-of-making-custom-cards

Things the Modern Frame can do:
1.) Shrink the text.
2.) Give you a line break between Passive Ability text boxes rather than an entire space.

Issues with the Modern Frame:
1.) Can't use Italics and mana/tap symbols in the same box.
2.) Can't use mana/tap symbols or italics after the cost section of the Activated Ability box.
3.) Using italics in the Passive Ability box may result in:
A.) Italicized text overlapping other text.
B.) A space before the Italicized text if it begins a new line.
C.) Increased text size.

Sections of the Modern Frame
Core Abilities
This is where you'll find all the Evergreen abilities (deathtouch, lifelink, etc.). The only drawback to note is that all abilities will be capitalized, whereas on a real card only the first one would be (also order, I suppose). Anyway, if you care too much, you can use the Activated Ability or Passive Ability boxes instead. Also, if you want a small half a line break between the top of the card and your text, you can check this box without selecting any of the abilities (if you accidentally select one, just hold Ctrl and click on it to deselect it).

Activated Ability
This box in my experience is outshined by the Passive Ability box. The Passive Ability box does everything better. You can't add symbols or use italics in the description, and it doesn't add a comma between the mana cost and tap symbol in the cost. The only thing of note is that if you want your Passive Ability text to be farther down (about one additional line down), then you can add the Activated Ability box and leave it blank.

Passive Ability
The Passive Ability box is almost always the go-to for abilities of all kinds. It has a few flaws, but also gives you the ability to make text smaller.

Flavor Text
The only real drawback to the Flavor Text box is that sometimes you want more than 160 characters, but you can usually just use the Passive Ability box if that's the case.

Smaller Text
The biggest benefit to using the Modern Frame is that the text can shrink, therefore giving you more space. Now, there are some requirements to get the text to shrink.
1.) You must be using the Passive Ability boxes.
2.) There must be at least 121 characters in the text box. (If you have less than 121 characters, but want your text to shrink, just add spaces until you get there.)
3.) You can not use any mana or tap symbols. (Using {} symbols makes the text default to the larger size no matter how many characters you have.)
4.) You can not use italics unless you have 38 or more characters (excluding spaces) in the Activated Ability box. However, the Activated Ability text will be larger text.

If you stick to those rules, your text should be smaller.

Larger Text
Sometimes you may want larger text when the box has 121 characters or more. When this happens you'll need to add {} to the end of your text (not the beginning). This tricks the text box into thinking you have a mana or tap symbol and leaves no evidence on the actual card. Using this will generally result in a double spacing between lines and possible bleeding onto the border, but that's fixable.

Text Bleeding onto the Border
Use the Preview mode to note each word that should be the next line of text (this may change if the first word is bleeding over enough) and return to editing the card by hitting the Edit button. Put the cursor before a word that should start a new line and hit Enter.

Double Spacing
Even if there is no bleeding, sometimes you may not want the double spacing. The solution is the same. Just find each word that starts a new line in the Preview, put the cursor in front of it and hit Enter. If your ability has a mana/tap symbol at the beginning or in the middle, you may not want to start a new line on the line after the symbol. Sometimes it results in the text spacing incorrectly, starting the text on the next line wherever the mana symbol starts. Either way try it, and if the text is all wacky, just don't start a new line after it.

Well that may or may not be the extent of my knowledge on the Modern frame. If you have any additional questions or suggestions, feel free to comment below!


  • edited September 2015
    So Awesome! I totally did NOT know most of that!
  • This is excellent. We'll also use these guides as a good place for some easy improvements and wins. Thank you @seaspray4TF3!
  • @mtgcardsmith @Corwinnn Thanks! There are a few things that I still need to test and probably explain. Such as fixing the overlapping with italicized text. But that situation can be kinda finicky sometimes.
  • What @Cyberwarped and I discovered last night is that if you make a land and put in a basic subtype (mountain. island, etc...), the Modern Frame puts the colored frame on the card. (note: two basic subtypes does not). Just a little note!
  • edited May 2016
    Update: Well I guess there's a few things I should update this page with, though I often forget to write them down or post them. One small thing you can do with the Modern Frame (and not the M15 frame) is make multiple choice cards look slightly better. I generally put a lower case "o" as the bullet and if the text runs long enough to have a second line, find where it is, put the cursor in front of that word, and hit enter. Then you can add 3 spaces before that word so that it looks more like a real MTG card. Short-term example here: http://mtgcardsmith.com/view/call-to-the-flame?list=user

    On another note some of this discussion's original post is now rendered incorrect, haha. Thank you @mtgcardsmith and all those that have donated or helped otherwise.
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