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Signature Tutorial

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Signature Tutorial

Post  ross on Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:01 pm

This was created by GoW|Finky-

So beings as I’ve been pestered countless times for sigs and help with them from nearly everyone on my friends list, I thought I would create a guide so you can all create your own sigs independently without no help. I cant tell you the amount of times I’ve facepalmed myself when being asked “Yo finky I needa sig” so here you go.

Step 1Design Outline

I’ve seen a lot of sigs that don’t follow any path. Theres no theme of style to it. All that seems to have happened is the designer has found a nice render, slapped it on a nice black background and added some text. The more “genius” ones find a completely unrelated background and think “this’ll do” and Voila! A sig is born. Added with some lovely luminous text with the obligatory yellow glow effect and their done.

So I cant stress enough how important it is to have an idea in your head before you put it down on… paper so to speak. Once you have this idea MAKE SURE both the render and background fit. If you fail this simple advice you will have a horrendous sig that doesn’t look quite right.

Step 2 Choosing Your Render

Ok so now you have your idea you want to get a render to fit what you want. The sig we will be creating will be to the theme of Ghost Recon. Game sigs are ofcourse the most popular and you’ll find tons of renders out there. I have chosen to use a standard image for this sig and pasted it onto my sig (sig size 500px by 200px) Now we want to stick it in one of the corners as we’re building a scene. Line it up nicely until your happy with the placement.

Step 3 Cutting Out Your Render

So we have our render placed and now we need to remove all the nasty pieces we don’t want. This is pretty easy to do but can be time consuming depending on what tool you use. For this I used the Polygon Lasso Tool. You can use the pen tool if your more comfortable. Select/ Colour Range doesn’t work on this type of render so the Lasso Tool was best.

Step 4 The Background

As I said in Step 1 you should have an idea for what you want and all you need to do is find the images to incorporate into your sig. I have chosen a nice dark grungy scene of London which seems to go well with the render and theme. So we want to place that below the render. Most importantly though is to pick apart of the background that goes well with the render, pick something with the right amount of stuff going in the background. The idea behind this is to move the viewers eye from left to right, so we travel from the background to the render. I have chosen to place my background so that theres a view of Bridge in the foreground, followed by Tower Bridge in the background and St. Pauls on the right, just left of the render.

Step 5 Build The Scene With Overlays (Grunge)

So as you can see from the image in Step 3 the render looks a bit to clean for the background. This again all comes down to your idea and the way you want the background and render to come together. Luckily this type of thing can be fixed easily with some nice Textures. There are hundreds of textures online for you to choose from, from old paper to cracked windows. In this sig I chose a “Scratched Metal” texture as I felt the scratched effect goes well with the grungy type feel we’re going for.

So once you have your texture, paste it over the top of your layers and set it to overlay. You may want to play about with the opacity to get it just right.

Step 6 Build The Scene With Overlays (Lighten)

So pretty much as we did on the last step. This one was to brighten the render slightly and the areas around it so it sat out a slight bit. Finding this texture was fairly easy, you just want a bright or white’ish render and overlay it. Then using the eraser if needed remove some of the areas you don’t want to be brightened.

Step 7 Merging The 2 With Colour Balance

Ok as you can see the render still is out of place. The colour is completely different to that of the background and he looks as if he shouldn’t be there. This is an easy fix, using a Colour Balance Adjustment Layer you can change the colour of all layers below that layer. This can be difficult, sometimes using the colour balance can make some funky colours you didn’t want. All you need to do is follow what the colour of the background was. Also play with the highlight and shadow options in Colour Balance until your satisfied.

If your still not happy with the renders colour you can edit the renders colour itself. In this sig I felt that the colour balance layer didn’t do enough to merge the background and the render. The solution is pretty simple. I duplicated the render and with the duplicated render on top went to image/colour balance and edited it some more untill I was happy.

Step 8 Slight Adjustments To The Render With Eraser

Now I wanted to bring the render to life a bit more as my drastic colour change made it too dull. Because we had 2 renders on top of each other I clicked on the duplicated one (the one with colour change) and used a small 25px brush (hardness on 0) to remove some of the dull blue on the left. The main reason for this was the light source on the left of the image, the sun breaking through the clouds. So I took away just a small amount of the renders blue to finish with this.

Step 9 Preparing for the Text Layer

Seems like a very unimportant step but I think its very important to a good sig. At the moment we have created an effect where the viewers eyes are drawn to the left then to the right, but what about the text? The most important part of your sig is your name ofcourse. So if we add something to the area where the text will go the viewers eyes will be drawn to it. You can add a number of things here, from fire effect to bullet holes, it really depends on what your going for. But for us, smoke seemed the best option. As our image is a post apocalyptic London scene smoke works the best with the drab smoggy feel that’s seen in the background.

Once you have your nice smoke texture, put it near where you want your text to be. Once you have placed it just grab the eraser again and brush away the areas that you don’t want. Then set it to overlay and your done.

Step 10 Placing Your Text

Theres not much really to say about this, but I do have a few pointers for you. First off, keep it small. As the FAIL Sig above show, large text ruins the sig, and as we have a lovely scene an obscene amount of text would ruin the sig. I created a nice small text, with a font which suited the scene (BankGothic Md BT)

After that you need to place it in a good place. A name or slogan that’s slapped in the middle of a sig can look awkward so make sure you put it somewhere that coincides with the background. I chose the foreground bridge for this as it was a perfect line to add our text on to.

The next step was to add an effect, a glow normally works well, and with our smoke effect even better. I added a light blue glow that went well with our colour theme and voila. Also as the white font looked a bit out of place and too bright I lowered the opacity slightly to fit.

Then (Almost Forgot) I added a small black top/bottom border around the sig. I do this will all my sigs, again its not needed, i just think it made it look a bit better.

Step 11 Placing Your Slogan

You don’t really need one of these, sometimes they don’t really go. But I felt with the limited text we have it would go well to have a nice slogan. All I did was duplicated the Name text layer. Then using the free transform tool made it slightly smaller and placed it just under the Name Text Layer but slightly off. No reason really to put it to the right a bit more I just felt it went a little better there.

Step 12 Touching Up Imperfections

This is an optional step ofcourse but the more you look at your sig the more you will find faults in it. My biggest fault in this sig was the bright area at the bottom of our render, if you follow the line of the water bank, its all shadowed then we come to the bright legs of the render.

This was an easy fix I created a new layer above the render and used a black brush and brushed away the bright legs, following the line of the water bank.

And there we have it, the finished sig. Sorry this went on quite a while, I thought I had to be quite descriptive which what should be going through your mind when creating an image.


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