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  • [ ★ ᴠɪᴠɪ's ɢғx ᴛɪᴘs . ]

    Dundundun. Another guide(?)/tutorial from me.
    This time, instead of animations, this thread will consist of a few techniques I use when making gfx (mostly signatures).
    They're pretty basic, so don't expect much, but I thought it would be somewhat helpful to those who want to try them.
    Oh and--these tips are derived from my visual perception of basically, what I think looks good, you might not.


    ~more to be added
    Last edited by Elo; 12-17-2013, 02:51 AM.

    mom | 35 | inactive | deviantart | mal

  • #2

    Today's topic is adjustment layers! I know most people already know what these are and use them, but I still see a handful of people out there that continue to underestimate them!
    I think most people would agree that cakes with icing and decorations are definitely more appealing (appearance-wise) than without, am I right?
    Well, same goes for making gfx. I can assure you, these additions will and can make your creations a 1000x more appealing. Why am I talking like a salesperson? I've no clue. But let's get started!
    P.S. I know Eve has already done a tut on this, but think of this as a reinforcement, aight?

    There are lots of ways you can add these 'adjustment layers' (shortening it to adj layers for convenience) to your gfx, but the best way to get started is by using these babies.
    You can also combine those adjustments with blending modes and you'll be able to come up with delicious combinations. I'm not going to go through all of them, but I'll do a few of my favorites.


    The gradient map allows you to tint your gfx a certain color(s).
    Most Photoshop programs will already have default gradients installed, but some might not; it depends on where you downloaded your PS.
    If you have the default ones, great. If you don't, you can load any gradients by clicking Gradient Map > click the gradient bar > click "Load".
    My favorite gradient, believe it or not, is the black and white gradient. Just by using this gradient, you'll see drastic change on your gfx.

    Here is my finished signature WITHOUT any adjustment layers.

    I guess it's alright, but we can definitely make it a lot better.

    To add the gradient, see here.
    Your gfx should turn black and white after pressing OK. Don't panic, try setting the blending mode to soft light. [x]

    This was just a basic black and white gradient, but you can try this with any gradient you'd like. You can also download gradients from deviantART or google photoshop gradients.
    Try and experiment with more blending modes as well. For gradients, I often use Soft Light, Color/Linear Burn, Overlay and sometimes Hard Light at a lower opacity.


    Color Balance allows you to mess with the colors on your gfx. (pretty straightforward, eh?) Think of Photo Filter as those filters you see on Instagram if you have one.
    Basically, you just put a filter over your gfx (with the exception of opacity/blending mode for both adjustments)

    When you go to Color Balance, this window will pop up. Play with the color settings, and you'll see that the tones speak for themselves.
    You don't have to change all the tones, but I would take a look at shadows and midtones.

    Here's how the sig looks after adjusting the colors.

    There's not much of a change, but watch what happens when I set it on hard light.

    That's much better, but it's a bit too bright/saturated for my tastes.
    I'll add that black and white gradient on Soft Light under the Color Balance, but its too bright--so I'll lower the opacity to 35%.
    I'll also set the opacity of the Color Balance to 65%.

    Ok, here's part 2 of this segment. Photo filters, yay!!
    I don't really use them that much, but it's a nice finishing touch to certain gfx. As always, you can change blending mode/opacity to your preference.

    This window'll pop up when you select Photo Filter. It'll always be on the Warming filter when first selected,
    but you can change that by clicking the arrow which will lead to a drop down menu of different filters.

    For this particular signature, I chose Deep Blue and set opacity at 60%.

    The skin color on the render is a lot less yellow, which I was aiming for,
    and the filter just pretty much smoothed out and blended all the colors with the blue.


    In my opinion, playing with curves can be fun and irritating at the same time. It's really accomplishing when you get the setting just right,
    but makes you want to headdesk when nothing works out. In that case, I wouldn't mess with the RGB settings and just stick with the brightness part of it.

    Here's how the curves window looks like when opened. First, let's play with the combinations you can make of this line.
    If you click on that line in the middle and drag it up, the brightness will increase. Drag it down, and it'll decrease. Simple, right?
    Now try dragging the line up. Click anywhere else on the opposite end of the line and drag it down. It'll look like this. [x]

    Your gfx will become either really saturated/contrasted or if you have any other adj layers under it, it'll look much brighter.
    You can lower the opacity if you want. There are thousands of combinations you can make on just that little line, and plenty of blending modes you can experiment with.

    For those who want a delve a little deeper into the concept of curves, you can try messing with the RGB settings.
    Simply click on the tiny arrow next to where it says RGB and a drop down menu will appear.

    There are three settings you can play with: Red, Green and Blue.
    You basically just experiment (moving the line up, down, plotting more points on it, etc) with all three settings until you get a combination you like.
    I took off ALL my previous adj layers, since using curves by itself can act as a big mass of adj layers lol.

    Here's how the sig looked like after experimenting:

    My RGB settings [x]

    Now, levels is practically the same thing as curves, but with the addition of output levels.
    If you plan on changing the output levels, I suggest you change the blending modes as well (Soft Light, Overlay, etc) for your levels.

    You'll see this window when you select levels. The three little arrows are just like the line you saw in the curve adjustment.
    You can move them left or right to change brightness, but you can also drastically change the colors by changing the RGB settings.
    I won't go into detail, since like I said, its very similiar to using curves.

    That concludes the basics of using adjustment layers.

    AHA! Now, if you're a lazy *** like me, there's two wonderful things that'll make life so much more easier in your gfx making process: PSDs and Actions!
    You can get these on this wonderful site called deviantART, but since I'm a tumblr user, I get most of mine on there a.k.a my secret stash!!

    I'll provide a quick-link for y'all lazy butts.
    dA ACTIONS | dA PSDs

    As for loading these actions into PS, Eve has a nice little section on that.

    For PSDs, you basically download the .PSD file and OPEN it in PS.
    You'll see a ton of adj layers already there in the layers window. Then drag the tab away [x]
    Here's what it should look like [x]

    Now, select the adj layer on top, hold SHIFT, scroll down and click the adj layer on the bottom. [x]
    Drag those layers onto your gfx, and you're done! You might not like how PSDs affect your gfx sometimes,
    so you'll have to keep looking for the right ones if you don't want to make your own adj layers lol. [x]

    Last edited by Elo; 07-01-2013, 09:18 PM.

    mom | 35 | inactive | deviantart | mal


    • #3

      Thanks to Nikki for writing up most of this tut for me! Today's topic is pretty straightforward as you can see—lighting.
      By adding lighting to your image, you are basically 'forcing' the person looking to focus on a certain area. Manipulating, no?
      Adding a light source also allows for more volume/depth. In other words, your image will look less flat.

      Here is the example signature, before and after lighting.
      Pay attention the areas circled in red:

      I will now proceed to paste the .txt file Nikki sent me lol

      ---- Nikki's wise words:

      After you have your background and everything done, usually what I like to do before I do any adj layers is add lighting. (You can do it after, it doesn't matter much.)

      1.) Make a new layer (always)

      2.) Take a soft round brush in white (215px) and brush on top (and if you want, bottom) of the renders with just the edge of the brush.
      (If you don't know how to get it to be soft then just go to the the brushes panel and where you see 'hardness', turn it down to 0%.[x])

      You want to spread it out a little and not focus on one particular spot because then it looks like a spotlight instead of lighting. A light source is supposed to look natural and not a super-duper bright dot above your renders.
      We are just trying to make the render shine a little more than the rest of the sig. You can also do lighting in different colours to get a different effect. I'd suggest setting that layer to screen afterwards.

      The difference is quite small on this signature, but look closely in the red areas.

      3.) Similarly, take the same brush but in black and on a (new) layer, brush it towards the outer edges of the sig. You can do this depending on how dark you want them to be.
      This puts the focus more on the renders and the centre of the sig. Lower opacity as you like. This little technique makes quite a big difference in the appearance of your signature.
      There are other ways to do lighting, but this is the simplest method and good for audition signatures.

      Here you can see more of a difference.

      Last edited by Elo; 07-02-2013, 05:40 AM.

      mom | 35 | inactive | deviantart | mal


      • #4

        Hey guys! I'm back again after 7 months with another tutorial (well, more like a guide).
        I'm pretty sure many of you know how load to and use brushes already, so in this tut I'll just be explaining a couple of ways to use common brushes.

        I'll start off by listing a few resources I've seen people use (and myself!) throughout the forums and dA as well.
        Text Brushes | Circle Brushes | Splatter Brushes | Starry/Glitter Brushes | Shape/Other Brushes

        #1 TEXT BRUSHES

        Text brushes really aren't that different than using actual text.
        Given, you can't modify it as much (since they're brushes) but I usually only use them for two things:

        1. When the canvas feels empty, like something's missing or when you think you can do more to enhance it.
        2. When the background is too busy and adding on the additional text looks too bulky.

        Take these signatures for example of use #1.

        I've boxed the two text brushes I used in red.
        Yeah I could choose to leave them out, but whenever you feel like you can do more, don't be afraid to try something out because you might end up liking it!
        You may notice that both text brushes are located in the corners. In signatures that already have text,
        you want to make sure your text brushes don't stand out or take away any attention from the main text.

        For further explanation of use #2, here are two examples.

        Both sigs turned out to be pretty cluttered, so I felt adding on main text would hinder the background.
        I went with the alternate text brush instead, which gave it the extra unf! I needed without ruining the flow of the canvas.
        I always try to make sure my text brushes are placed over secluded areas, or patches of plain color so as to not disturb the background ^^


        Oh circle brushes, how you annoy me so...
        These are more difficult to use than they would seem. Adding a circle brush to your canvas may be for better or for worse.
        Which is why I rarely use them, but they can be useful for box strips and little things you want to emphasize.

        Try not to overuse them though, because they can easily clutter your canvas (unless you're trying out a layered style)
        It's also nice to place them around other brushes too, so they don't end up being the focal point of your canvas.


        Finally, one of my favorite brushes to use! The reason why I love these so much is because they're generic and easy to manipulate.
        Normally when you think of 'splatter' you think of big, messy paint splatters. However, I like to use them as little spots that add definition to the background.

        You can refer to these images for ideas:
        [1] shows the parts of splatter brushes that can be used on a smaller canvas to further enhance background
        [2] ways to incorporate splatter brushes with text

        In these two examples, you don't see any big splatter brushes anywhere, and it's even harder to tell where they are in the second one.
        This is because I used a clipping mask technique , something that I normally do with brushes in general but more so with any kind of brush that spreads in different directions (which is perfect for splatters)

        I took out a lot of the background to show the transition of a brush without a clipping mask to with a clipping mask more clearly:
        Here are the splatter brushes I placed on the background--you can see they are a solid black color.

        This is how they look like with the clipping mask on:

        The splatters are still there, but they now blend into the background's colors.

        ***You can click here to see a separate post on how I made the clipping mask.***


        Brushes like these are self explanatory, and not too difficult to use either.
        You can place them around your background/text/renders MODERATELY!! and erase parts you don't need.
        I won't provide an example for this one because I'm sure you guys use them frequently anyway LOL


        This is basically any other brush besides the above used. They can be objects, shapes, lines, etc.
        Since there are way too many combinations and varieties on using them, my best advice is to just go with the flow of your canvas and always ask yourself:

        1. Does it clutter my background?
        2. Does it look out of place?
        3. Does it take away any attention from the render/focal point?

        *Good locations to use brushes are always around (not on) the render or text.

        And that concludes the brushing tutorial, thanks for reading!

        Last edited by Elo; 12-17-2013, 02:49 AM.

        mom | 35 | inactive | deviantart | mal


        • #5
          i'm just beginning ♫
          Last edited by Elo; 05-08-2013, 05:57 AM.

          mom | 35 | inactive | deviantart | mal


          • #6
            the pen's in my hand, ending unplanned ♫
            Last edited by Elo; 05-08-2013, 05:58 AM.

            mom | 35 | inactive | deviantart | mal


            • #7
              ooo will definitely check this out
              Activism Altruism


              • #8
                this looks interesting
                Kaey ♥ Pleuvoir


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Elo View Post
                  Good tip!



                  • #10


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Poopies View Post
                      ooo will definitely check this out
                      Originally posted by Kaeluh View Post
                      this looks interesting
                      Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                      pressure from the start eh, don't expect much

                      Originally posted by Likoriona View Post
                      Good tip!
                      oh you know it

                      mom | 35 | inactive | deviantart | mal


                      • #12
                        more guides !


                        • #13
                          Eeee one of my favorite gfx makers!

                          Originally posted by Elo View Post

                          pressure from the start eh, don't expect much

                          oh you know it
                          I'm just expecting something mind-blowing.


                          • #14
                            asdfgsrsadfajds sao excited
                            Dolente | Vy


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Leah View Post
                              more guides !

                              Originally posted by Yuna View Post
                              Eeee one of my favorite gfx makers!
                              I'm just expecting something mind-blowing.
                              Originally posted by Vivie View Post
                              asdfgsrsadfajds sao excited
                              i cry hard

                              mom | 35 | inactive | deviantart | mal