DO's and DON'T's for creating puzzles.
Content and Quality
Puzzles need to have a picture that makes sense. Scattered squares or random lines make the puzzle boring to solve. View example.
If you want to deliver a message, do it through a picture and not just text.
Series of Alphabet are accepted if the letters are decorated or have a picture attached and aimed for the Studying English theme.
Simple pictures of houses, smilies, boats, flowers, etc are rarely accepted. Try to give life to the picture and make it unique in its own way.
Flags usually consist of 2 or 3 stripes of color and the result is not a real puzzle. Since we wish to maintain impartiality, no flags are accepted.
Use the triangles to smooth the image and make it nicer and not as a "color" to fill in a large area. Puzzles with many triangles are sometimes too confusing to solve. View example.
Totally symmetrical puzzles are very predictable to solve. They are accepted only if the image is designed for kiddlers. Try to do the puzzles on small grids and choose a suitable subject for kids.
An international community, including kids, solves the puzzles. Be kind to each other. Personally or generally offensive puzzles are not accepted, nor obscene, political or missionary images.
It's hard to know what images (puzzles) we already have online. The best way is to use the Themes. For example, if you want to create Pikachu, go to Cartoons and Comics: Animation: Anime: Pokemon. Browse through the titles, or search "pikachu".
The background color defines the empty squares of the puzzle. Always select the color of the largest area. It makes the puzzle better and will require more logic to solve it.
In the Boat example the main color is black. When we select black for the background the workshop produces a picture that looks "hopeless" to validate.
When we select white the puzzle is solvable. However, one of the rules for solving black and white puzzles is "Between two clues there is at least one empty (background) square".
We added lines and squares to make the Boat solvable, and the result is a good logic puzzle. View example.
Removing solid lines of the background around the image is important. If we leave those areas they turn into empty clue-lines on the puzzle.
Let's look at Winter Scene image (size - 50x50).
Low Background after Trimming
Let's look at the Pears.
So first we need to remove those lines. However, after trimming the workshop alerts: "too low background color". We can add black inside the image, or - select another color for the background.
When taking a full color picture and using a graphic tool to reduce the number of colors to 8 - the result is usually a messy image with many 1 pixel colors. Each pixel turns into a clue and the puzzle consists of many clues of "1".
The original picture of the Bird had 256 colors. We reduced the colors to 8 and made it a puzzle. View example. Look at the 13th column from right. The number of clues is 21. The number of empty grid cells is 25. It is a boring line to solve.
We cleaned the image, used only 5 colors, and changed the random squares into solid lines and areas of colors. The result is an enjoyable puzzle to solve. View example.
In large grids, like the Cat, the need to clean the image is essential. If we don't do it, the puzzle will have many long lines of clues. Users may give up on solving that puzzle because it requires too much tedious work. View example: Left clue-lines | Top clue-lines
The first step in creating a multi is finding the right size for the image. If the image is big and lacks details, the parts of the multi have large areas of fill-in. The solvers are required to count big numbers and draw long lines.
Solving a multi requires more time and effort. The solvers expect to get an impressive result according to their work.
A good way to test the image quality is to import it to the workshop and validate. If most of the parts have relatively few points the image lacks enough details to make it interesting.
The most common mistake in creating multis is splitting the image into unbalanced parts.
1 - 50x50
Only part 1 is a real puzzle. Parts 2, 3, 4 are unattractive to solve.
Trimming and Balancing
Removing surplus background around the image is essential. Note that after trimming, the workshop split the parts back to 50x50. You will need to change the sizes again in order to get balanced parts.
Multis are better when the parts have multiples-of-5 grids, e.g.: parts of 30x35 are better than 29x34.
In multis, if the image is totally symmetrical, the result is duplicate puzzles.
Let's look at the Bear.
Empty parts are a common problem in creating multis. Sometimes this problem is seemingly solved by drawing a frame around the image.
the multi still will not be accepted because there are now 3 duplicates.