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Basic Graphic Guide

Discussion in 'Creative Zone' started by LostSpirit, Mar 9, 2015.

  1. LostSpirit

    (Oddish (J))
    Level 21
    Aug 5, 2014
    Hi everyone! So in this thread, I'll be giving you the basics to graphics! Hopefully, this will help some of you who are interested in signature making, but don't know how to get started!

    What you need to get started:
    First of all, you'll need to have a capable program! This means having a graphics editing program such as Photoshop, GIMP, etc. Personally, I'm more versed in using GIMP since it's free and simple. However, a program like Photoshop is better at making signatures, so if you have the program, go for it!

    Your basic tools:
    I'll go through the basic tools of GIMP. The tools should be the same on Photoshop, but with different icons.
    [​IMG] Rectangle Select- "The Rectangle Selection tool is designed to select rectangular regions of the active layer: it is the most basic of the selection tools, but very commonly used." When using this tool, you click one area, then drag to another area. The area will now be selected and become a dotted rectangle. Now that it's selected, there's many things you can do. It's similar to highlighting or selecting text. You can cut, copy, delete, use other tools to move it around, enlarge it, etc.

    [​IMG] Ellipse Select- "The Ellipse Selection tool is designed to select circular and elliptical regions from an image, with high-quality anti-aliasing if you want it." Basically, the ellipse, or circular, version of rectangle select.

    [​IMG] Free Select- "The Free Selection tool, or Lasso, lets you create a selection by drawing it free-hand with the pointer, while holding down the left mouse button. When you release the mouse button, the selection is closed by connecting the current pointer location to the start location with a straight line." It's another select tool without restrictions! Isn't that awesome? Granted a little rough and not as precise.

    [​IMG] Magic Wand (Fuzzy Select)- "The Magic Wand tool is designed to select areas of the current layer or image based on color similarity." You can click something such as an object in the background and it'll select it. It's a little messy, but adjusting the threshold will help with the selection problems. The threshold is an adjustment to how much the wand selects. A lower threshold will select less, and a higher threshold will select more of the layer.

    [​IMG] Select By Color- "The Select by Color tool is designed to select areas of an image based on color similarity. It works a lot like the Magic Wand. The main difference between them is that the Magic Wand selects contiguous regions, with all parts connected to the starting point by paths containing no large gaps; while the Select by Color tool selects all pixels that are sufficiently similar in color to the pixel you click on, regardless of where they are located." This tool allows you to click a color and it will select every other similar color on the same layers. This also has a threshold adjustment as well.

    [​IMG] Paths- "The Paths tool allows to create complex selections called Bézier Curves, a bit like Lasso but with all the adaptability of vectorial curves. You can edit your curve, you can paint with your curve, or even save, import, and export the curve. You can also use paths to create geometrical figures." You click one point and let go to start you would like to begin your path. You can hold and move you mouse to influence where the path will bend towards. You can either let go and make a straight path, or hold and move the mouse around to make a nice little curve. If you adjusted the first point, you will notice that the curve is already made. You can keep doing this for as long as you need it to be. It won't show up on the actual picture until you "stroke" the path. It's pretty useful when you want to have certain text curve as well as other things. Play around with it to get comfortable with it!

    [​IMG] Eye Dropper- With the eye dropper tool, click on any area of your image, and it will register and set that as your color selection. Keep in mind, this will only select the color on the current layer you are on unless you have Sample Merge selected.

    [​IMG] Zoom- Just your average zoom in/out tool. Just useful whenever you want to zoom in on a specific area.

    [​IMG] Move- This move tool will move your layer around the image. I highly recommend setting the move tool to only moving your active layer or you might mess up your composition.

    [​IMG] Crop- This crop tool is completely different from selecting an area and deleting it. This tool will only keep the area it selects. For example, say you have a signature that is 500x200px. The crop tool can reduce it to 450x200px by removing the access area you don't want/need.

    [​IMG] Rotate- The rotate tool will just rotate your layer in a clock/counter clockwise motion depending on how you move your mouse.

    [​IMG] Flip- You can use this tool to flip the layer you are on either vertically or horizontally.

    [​IMG] Scale- The scale tool allows you to resize your current layer. It is also very important that when you use the scale tool, to never use it to enlarge your layer. It will only give it a horrible quality, something you don't want. Only use it to shrink your layer down as necessary! Personally, I would recommend using the link option, so the ratio between the width and height doesn't become distorted.
    Thus, make sure you have the link closed like this: [​IMG] instead of this: [​IMG]
    [​IMG] Blur- The blur tool selectively blurs an harsh lines and will soften the look of the graphic. It can help blend your focal into the graphic a lot better as well. You can also bland the background via Filters. The filter will blur the entire layer.

    Different Styles
    Alright, now that we have the tools down, time to get to know some of the different styles of graphics you can make! Also, if you have an examples you can provide as well as additional information, that would be amazing!

    Abstract pieces have a style in which most logic disappears will use many colors and shapes with little filters and effects.

    Grunge graphics are usually much darker, with use of texture and grunge brushes.

    Though not an actual style, Cinema 4D are incorporated into many signatures that you'll see around the forums. Using the fractal renders/ Cinema 4D, you can create more of a textured feel.

    Photoshop calls it pixels, while other programs calls it vectors. This means that the signature can be zoomed in as much as possible, and still retain its quality.

    Here are some terms you'll more than hear in the gfx community a bit.

    Flow- Flow is a guideline for many users. It is used to touch up the composition so that all the effects and the render stand out to one side. It is a technique used to make the signature feel as if it's moving in the same direction throughout, or when everything works together.

    Blending- Blending is used to add the effect that the render fits into the composition. Of course, blending can be done in a variety of ways such as soft-brush erasing, hard-brush smudging, and blending C4Ds together into the render.

    Focal Point- Focal point will usually be your render. It is the point where the focus should pay attention to since it should stand out.

    Composition- This is what goes into a signature, this would include the render, the background, the stocks, C4D's used etc.

    Placement- Where you put your stock/render, this is important while making a piece, you've got to know how to make your stock/render work with the size of the piece and where it fits best. Graphic with focals in their center should generally be avoided because they go against the rule of the thirds.

    Lighting- Lighting is used to touch up your composition in various ways. Most users use it to bring more attention to the focal point. You can add lighting by using a lens flare tool or softbrushing over an area.

    Depth- A signature with no depth is called "flat." Depth is often made by the background using blurring, smudging, stocks or C4D's. Monochromatic (ones with a single or a single kind of colors) usually require more depth than others.

    Typography- Text isn't always necessary, and should never be forced. This means that not every tag needs text. If it doesn't follow the flow, or even just doesn't feel right, then just take it out. More often that not, the tag will look a lot better. If you're a beginner, you'll be better off just leaving it out.

    Hue- aka Colors. Colors are extremely important, but colors don't necessarily leave out white or black. Monochrome is perfectly okay. Without proper color enhancements, any graphic can look relatively dull. Colors are generally enhanced by using gradient maps and selective colors, though gradient maps are used more often. As for selective colors, you can change the color of a certain area of the graphic to a another without it affecting the rest of it. In GIMP, you can do selective colors using Hue-Saturation located under the Colors Tab.

    I highly recommend looking over different tutorials if you want to learn how to make different styles.
    Lake Valor also has a resource thread, though outdated as of now, it should still be able to give you some useful resources to use such as brushes, render websites, PSDs, fonts, and all that jazz.

    This is a work in progress, so I'll be editing this whenever I can!
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    Treecko007, Noctis, Smooshie and 2 others like this.

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