• A Brief Photoshop Image Making Tutorial

    For those that use GIMP, you'll want to read Savage's tutorial. It's a helpful article for making a quick and easy sig image, using a free tool. For the more advanced user (and those able to shell out the money for Photoshop), below is a guide that will run you through some of the basics of layer use and other tips to help you through the process.

    I'll start with the basics for you:

    #1. File size matters, especially DPI. I like to make my images with 300 DPI, my camera shoots 240DPI, a Web graphics "normal" resolution is 72DPI (Broad stroke). Resolution when working with files is crucial, any photoshop guy will tell you this. When I'm working setups in Photoshop, I often will use 600DPI. Research resolution and file sizes, as I'm sure some artist/nerd has done a far superior explanation than what I just did! File sizes vary, most of my images are 4000+ X 3000+; my Cams raw files are 6K+!!

    #2. Don't be afraid of layers, in fact learn them. Easy explanation of Layers: you have your image open - the layer box is situated bottom-right, by default, and hangs out with 'channels' in its location. You're probably seeing the "Background layer" (Usually locked) in the layer box. Make a new layer (Menu>Layer-New Layer) and you should see an "empty" layer appear above the background. Think of Layers like plastic sheets which you draw on; you can overlay them or hide them, they are your bread and butter for any design project. You can render them differently too (See that little pull down menu saying NORMAL? Click it and see 'multiply,' 'soft light,' and many more). Play with features and get used to how they look. The layers box is a wonderful thing, as your skills grow your layers will become more... Complex... PROTIP: When making large files with hundreds of layers, for the love of god, learn to "group" layers for individual elements and rename the groups/layers so you know what you're using.

    #3. To mask or not to mask. When I started using photoshop I'd make a layer and erase sections to overlay, apply styles, and whatnot. If I ever screwed up on erasing I'd have to re-import that layer and re-erase. Well, with the addition of a massive G/A contract to my business back in 2008, I had to learn how to mask to save my time. 'Layer masks' function/use is this: Tell photoshop what to show, and what not to, directly related to the layer! Its a great system and when you learn masking and complex masking you'll quickly love to work with them. I'll post that tutorial I wrote at the end of this essay - it'll explain masking pretty well. There are also a monster amount of tutorials online.

    #4. Save regularly. Crashes happen, so does heart break, but less heartbreaking if you've saved recently!

    #5. Experimentation is a beautiful thing! Learn how to do different styles, and create things from scratch (A Fan-bloody-tastic tutorial is here to show you the basics of image creation). Also keep in mind, design is very very broad, go through peoples' work--hell look at all those sigs we have on TPG--you'll notice the great looking ones have focus and usually concentrate on a few colors.

    Most of all, enjoy!!! Good luck, budding artists! It's a rewarding, but time consuming job. Below is my Sig tutorial I made for the {HRD} folks a while back...

    Basic techniques to making a sig.

    Many people ask me for tips on how to make sigs or avatars. I’ll share some of the basics I use to do sigs. As I work with Photoshop for a living, I do need some relax time with Photoshop. Funnily enough, I use the creative time to create sigs, sprays and backgrounds. I’ll be using Photoshop to make a {HRD} “sig”, I’ll be creating a signature for our own Walkerxes. First off, I will be writing this with the idea of helping the amateur Photoshopper - beginners may get lost, and pros will probably know all of what I write. My goal is to show you a quick, easy and efficient way to make a “sig”.

    First off is an important design tip: Only use 2-3 different fonts, more becomes clumsy. I like 2. Choose a predominant color to make your sig; have some pop factor. Some of my favorite sigs feature 1 predominant color, with a secondary accent color. Below is a few examples of sigs featuring a color. First 2 and last are mine, the third is Solstatic’s creation. The fourth image is to show you a contrast of simple colors and complex.

    Play time-sstflame-png


    Play time-hrd-maximusboomus-png


    Play time-hrdnewsolsig8-24-10-2-png


    Play time-hrd-thorbeatles-png


    Alright lets start up a sig! Make a new file in Photoshop, size it to 520 X 130.

    Make a new layer. We’re going to start with the “frame” of {HRD}.

    Using the text tool, create the word you want in any color, and size it to dominate the image. 'Rasterize' the text, duplicate the layer (rename this "mask template" and hide it), then shift+click the visible layer and you will see the text become selected. Go to the select/modify/contract and contract the selection by 3pixels. Then add a bevel and a 1 pixel 'stroke,' with the layer properties. You now have a basic frame for your sig. Below I have colored the different end results of each step.

    Play time-3step-png


    Add your name below the main text in your favorite font and add a bevel, and a gradient overlay in 'layer properties.'
    Play time-framed-png


    Now I gave Walker a classy font--simply because he’s a classy guy--let your font library grow and display your style or mood.

    Now here comes the first step: Source images. My concept was to have a 007 feel for Walker. I’d like an Aston, Bond “popping out", and some gun smoke somewhere. Make sure your images are not copyrighted and be ready to change your sig if you accidentally tread on an artist's toes. So lets put Google to work. Find some cool images and place them into your file, size them up and “place” them in the image. Now move your frame up to the top.

    Play time-sourced-png


    Here’s some fun masking techniques that will make your life so much easier, I’ve seen people who “erase” the subject and drop them over the top; its just so much extra work. After mastering masking you’ll see things that were very difficult earlier are now easy. Here’s the basic rule of a layer mask: Black = invisible, White Visible. Un-hide that text layer we hid earlier, and select-click it, then layer mask the image layers while the main text selection is present, your images now looks like this.

    Play time-sourceda-png


    Now get your brush tool and select the layer mask that you want to edit, paint white over the sections you want to be visible and black out non visible parts, I will mask out Danny-boy on the left, and the Aston to appear “popped out." I’m also going to add a new layer above all the layers and use a few smoke brushes to make gun-smoke. I find most of my brushes on brusheezy.com. This is what a short time of masking and brushwork looks like, as you can see the car and Bond need to be on a layer "over" the frame. Or do they?

    Play time-sourcedb-png


    Shift+click the frame layer and apply a layer mask to the frame, use a brush and hide the parts that need overlay. I also did this to the smoke layer to make it appear to be entwining the {HRD} text. Here’s a neat little tip: a softened brush will give you a softened edge on the mask (that’s right all the levels of gray are corresponding to a transparency level). I added a 1 pixel stroke around Walker's name to give him a bit more girth. I also gave the source images a bump in saturation and sharpened a tad.

    Play time-sourcedc-png


    There’s the final product!

    Happy Photo-shopping!
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. flame's Avatar
      flame -
      Good article, my sig needs an update, hint hint! But it made the front page... nice work max. I wish I had the money to buy photoshop and the time to learn to use it! Then I could actually use your great article!
    1. Walkerxes's Avatar
      Walkerxes -
      Quote Originally Posted by flame View Post
      Good article, my sig needs an update, hint hint! But it made the front page... nice work max. I wish I had the money to buy photoshop and the time to learn to use it! Then I could actually use your great article!
      Then Perhaps the GIMP article is for you Many of the things you can do with Photoshop can also be done with GIMP, tho to me PS is much more user friendly.
    1. Savage's Avatar
      Savage -
      Quote Originally Posted by Walkerxes View Post
      Then Perhaps the GIMP article is for you Many of the things you can do with Photoshop can also be done with GIMP, tho to me PS is much more user friendly.
      Ergo my ending statement! Haha


      Sent from my iPhone 4 using Tapatalk
    1. Walkerxes's Avatar
      Walkerxes -
      Quote Originally Posted by Savage View Post
      Ergo my ending statement! Haha


      Sent from my iPhone 4 using Tapatalk
      Vis-a-vis, quid pro quo!
    1. Savage's Avatar
      Savage -
      Quote Originally Posted by Walkerxes View Post
      Vis-a-vis, quid pro quo!
      What language is that?
    1. WileECyte's Avatar
      WileECyte -
      Just a FYI for anyone interested. If you're a student you can get Photoshop at CRAZY discounts. Photoshop CS5 Extended is $199.99 instead of $999.99. The only knock is you can't use the 'student edition' for commercial purposes... It stores info in the images you create indicating it was made with the student edition.