Art:Portrait Background Contest

From YPPedia

The Portrait Background Contest runs on an ongoing basis. Winning entries are implemented in game as limited edition portrait backgrounds.


Entrants will create original backgrounds from their original artwork that are consistent with the theme and style of the game. The image must look sensible with characters placed on it in any of the orientations possible for its size.

Reworking entries and multiple entries are both acceptable.

A very small signature in the lower right corner is acceptable.

Entries should be uploaded to YPPedia according to the instructions below. After uploading, post links to the thumbnails for comment in the contest thread. If you want your pirate name to appear rather than your account name should you win, please be sure to follow the image tag instructions.


The entries will be judged in the Three Rings offices by the artists and developers and the winner will be put into future releases as a Limited Edition portrait background. The portrait background may also be re-used for limited times later, and even (if appropriate) to be adopted as a longer-term or permanent portrait background, rather than a limited duration one. The same winning artist may be chosen more than once for different entries.

Submitted works are eligible for winning future contests. Artists who entered backgrounds in a previous contest: if they are eligible for the current contest, please enter them again! We would love to reconsider them. Likewise, if a background does not win, it can be submitted for future contests, as long as it fits within the theme of each contest.

All entries eligible for winning can be seen in the portrait background entries category.


A winning entry will be included in the in-game list of available portrait backgrounds, usually for a limited duration. Anyone in the game can use it when it is available.

In addition to the fame and thrill of their work being included in the game, each month's winning entrant will also win a real-life Puzzle Pirates prize, a free copy of their portrait in-game, and a clothing item of their choice in the color(s) of their choice. The item can be any item currently purchasable (without designs or reputation) from a tailoring shoppe.

In the event of the same artist winning multiple months, an additional clothing item can be substituted for the real-life prize if the artist does not feel like having a household full of Puzzle Pirates Paraphernalia.

Entry specifications and suggestions

Entries must fit the appropriate scale. (sizes below are width x height)

  • 1-pirate backgrounds: 348 x 650
  • 2-pirate backgrounds: 696 x 650
  • Large backgrounds: 1600 x 1170
  • Expansive backgrounds: 2000 x 1275

The preferred file format is .png

Make it look like it came right out of the game. Get your line weights down, and compare with existing portraits to be sure. Keep your lighting consistent with the lighting on the pirate portrait art. Choose a scene that many in the game would like to use. Take your time and rework, going to others for advice and critique. In general avoid words - if you do use them, use them minimally, and only when they are not central to the understanding of the portrait. Polish.

In game portrait painting crops part of the background when placing pirates in portraits. For the single portrait, it crops 47 pixels from the bottom and 23 pixels from the top of the final portrait (which is half-size of the original background). For two pirate backgrounds, it crops 50 pixels from the bottom. Take this into account on your entries. In large backgrounds, up to 207 pixels are cropped from the right on a "1 row 4 pirates" portrait and up to 260 pixels are cropped from the right on a "2 rows 5 pirates" portrait.

You may use the following image masks to determine the safe frame. Put them on top of your image to see how much will be cut off.

Pirate cutouts

You can test out what your background looks like as an actual portrait by using pirate cutouts (before they are re-sized by the system). The masks will be cropped out and the final portrait will be scaled down a bit. Make sure not to upload your participation with these masks, they're for reference only.

Click on the thumbnails to go to a page where you can download the full-sized cutout.

How to upload entries to YPPedia

See also Howto:Upload a file and Howto:Post an Image

Please use the file name format of monthly_yourname_title_the_way_you_want_to_appear_in_game.png for your background. Png format is preferred. Replace "yourname" with the name as you want it to appear in-game; this will help cut down on confusion if there is more than one "dock" or other file name. Replace "title_the_way_you_want_to_appear_in_game" with your suggested title for the portrait background (hyphens are used as spaces between words).

Please read these directions prior to following them.

  1. Make sure you are logged in to YPPedia, you can login using your forum account & password by using the "Login" link at the upper right corner of the page.
  2. Click on "Upload file" on the menu bar to the left.
  3. Click on the "Browse" button to select your portrait background's file name on your computer. Selecting your file name will automatically fill in the Source file name & Destination file name fields. If needed, edit Destination file to follow the preferred file format monthly_yourname_title_the_way_you_want_to_appear_in_game.png
  4. You should then fill in the Summary field with {{contesttag|accountname|creditname|Portrait Title}}, where "contesttag" is replaced by this month's tag shown below, "accountname" is replaced by your own forum name, "creditname" is replaced by either your forum name again, or your pirate name, whichever you want credited with the background and "Portrait Title" is replaced by your suggested title for the portrait background.
  5. Click on the "Upload file" button.

If an image file with the same name already exists, please rename yours (unless you are updating your entry).

If you make changes to your entry and need to update the image, login to YPPedia. Go to the page for it (the URL will be something like and click on "Upload a new version of this file." Follow steps 3-4 above and click on the "Save file" button to replace the old image with the new one.

If you have already uploaded a background to YPPedia and wish to correct the image tag, go to the image's page and click on the "edit" tab. Edit the text to use the correct tag detailed in step 4 above (in the text editing box, not the edit summary field) and click on the "Save page" button. Reuploading the image with a new upload summary will not change the text.

If you have trouble uploading or updating your entry, you can ask for assistance on the help desk page.

DO NOT VANDALIZE OTHER ENTRIES OR MAKE CHANGES TO ENTRIES THAT ARE NOT YOURS. Any malicious changes to other people's entries will be rolled back and the vandal will be appropriately punished.

Current contest links

Previous winners

Winners 2019

Redux Edition! - November 2019

Lunar New Year
St. Patrick's

Winners 2016

Revamped Edition! - November 2016

Holiday Release
Winter Release
Valentine's Release
Spring Release
Surprise Release

Treasure & Cartography Edition - March 2016

Spring Bloom Edition - February 2016

BYOB 2016 Edition - January 2016

Winners 2015

Chinese New Year / Valentine's Edition - December 2015

Winter 2015 Edition - November 2015

Literature before the 1900 Edition - October 2015

Halloween / Day of the Dead / Autumn Edition - September 2015

Crafting Puzzle Edition - August 2015

Sea Life of the Archipelagos Edition - July 2015

Summertime Edition - June 2015

Outposts and Uncolonized islands Edition - May 2015

BYOB Edition - April 2015

Fairytale Edition - March 2015

Celtic / Luck / Spring Edition - February 2015

Sea Shanties Aplenty Edition - January 2015

Winners 2014

Chinese New Year / Valentine's Edition - December 2014

Winter 2014 Edition - November 2014

Getting Ready for Winter Edition - October 2014

Spooky Halloween & Fall Harvest Edition - September 2014

Literature & Pirates Edition - August 2014

Beasts o' the Isles and Seas Edition - July 2014

It came from the Hold Edition - June 2014

BYOB 2014 Edition - May 2014

Puzzles and Puzzle Booches Edition - April 2014

Showers bring Flowers Edition - March 2014

Piracy and the Arts Edition - February 2014

Year of the Horse Edition - January 2014

Winners 2013

New Year 2014 Edition - December 2013

Winter 2013 Edition - November 2013

From Shack to Hall Edition - October 2013

Fall Harvest Edition September 2013

Spooky Edition September 2013

Black Market Special Edition August 2013

Literature Edition August 2013

The Great Outdoors Edition July 2013

BYOB 2013 Edition June 2013

Fighting Puzzle Edition May 2013

Beasts o' the Isles and Seas Edition April 2013

Showers & Flowers Edition March 2013

Spring 2013 Edition February 2013

Valentine's/Chinese New Year Edition January 2013

Winners 2012

New Year 2012/2013 Edition December 2012

Winter Edition 2012 November 2012

BYOB5 Edition 2012 October 2012

Halloween/Autumn Edition September 2012

Fairytale Edition August 2012

Explorer/Exotic Edition July 2012

Pirate Vacation Edition June 2012

Life Onboard Edition May 2012

Pirates in Bloom Edition April 2012

BYOB 4 / Adventure Edition March 2012

Celtic / Luck / St Patrick's Edition February 2012

Romance/Adventure Edition January 2012

Winners 2011

Chinese New Year/Year of the Dragon Edition December 2011

Winter 2011 Edition November 2011

Expedition Edition October 2011

Halloween/Autumn Edition September 2011

BYOB3 edition August 2011

Explorer edition July 2011

LE ship edition June 2011

Summertime edition May 2011

Puzzle 2 edition April 2011

Victory edition March 2011

Celtic / Spring edition February 2011

Chinese New Year / Valentine's edition January 2011

Winners 2010

Brigand King Edition - December 2010

Winter 2010 edition - October/November 2010

Halloween edition - September 2010

BYOB2 edition - August 2010

Shipboard edition - July 2010

Imperial edition - June 2010

Shoppe3 edition - May 2010

Puzzle1 edition - April 2010

Showers and Flowers edition - March 2010

Luck edition - February 2010

Feb14 edition - January 2010

Winners 2009

At the docks edition - December 2009

Winter 09 edition - November 2009

BYOB edition - October 2009

Halloween 09 edition - September 2009

Shoppe2 edition - August 2009

Summer Vacation edition - July 2009

Not A Couple edition - June 2009

After the battle edition - May 2009

Party Edition - April 2009

Spring Edition - March 2009

New Year 08/09 edition

Winners 2008

Spooky and Fall Harvest editions

Shoppes1 edition

Spring 08 edition

Winners 2007

Winners 2006

Winners 2005

Original contest forum thread

Other links