If you would like to further your knowledge about signatures than you should visit the Ultimate Guide to Tags from TopHATslash. This guide will teach you how to use flow, stocks, renders, etc. For this signature, you will need to download the Custom Brushes Plugin from Simon Brown. I might use other plugins, but they aren't needed if you want to try something a little different with your signature. It would also be a good idea for you to install fonts that you like so that you aren't limited to the default fonts on your computer. Thanks again for visiting my tutorial and I hope you get satisfying results. Ready? Let's get started!
What you need:
Custom Brushes Plugin
This will be the end result of my signature:
The Background - To start off this signature, you will have to make a simple background. Your background doesn't have to be all fancy or anything. The background will only be used as color support for the brushes and C4Ds that will be used later on. For this signature, I will make a simple spacescape looking background.
1. I will start out with a 370 by 120 canvas (if you know me, than you know I love 370 by 120). Next, I will fill in my canvas with a gradient. Feel free to use whatever style gradient you want. I will be using a radial gradient. You should use colors that compliment your render. I will use blue and black for this signature. I will set blue as my primary color and black as my secondary.
2. Add a new layer on top of your gradient. Fill in the new layer in all black. Your canvas should now look all black. Go to Effects > Noise > Add Noise and use the following settings: Intensity - 64 (Default), Color Saturation - 0, and Coverage - 100.00 (Default). Your image should now have a black and white static look.
3. While on your noise layer, go to Adjustments > Brightness / Contrast. Use the following settings: Brightness at -40 (negative 40) and Contrast at 20. Now your image should look less busy with all the white pixels.
4. Now set the blending mode of your noise layer to additive. Duplicate your noise layer and set the duplicated layer to multiply. Set that layer's opacity from somewhere around 60 - 100. I will use 80. You should now have three layers. A gradient at the bottom, a noise layer set to additive, and the same noise layer except with the multiply blending mode at 60 - 100 opacity. Now flatten all of your three layers. Name the layer "Stars." (Note: You don't have to name your layers at all, but it will make this tutorial easier to understand. I personally don't name my layers, but I will for this tutorial) Your image should now look like this:
The Render - The render is the most important item in a sig. The render should be what catches your eye the most and it sets the overall tone of your signature. All of the colors used in your sig should also match the render you selected.
5. Add a new layer and place in your render. You should crop and re-size your render so that it will fit nicely in your signature. I will be using Faith from EA and DICE's "Mirror's Edge." I typically like to place my render in the middle of the sig because it brings more focus to it.
6. Now is the time to play around with your render. I will duplicate my render layer twice, creating three layers with the same render. I will set the top render layer to multiply at full opacity, the middle render layer to color dodge at full opacity, and the bottom to normal at 100 opacity. This step isn't needed, but will add a nice shine and lighting effect your render. You don't have to use the exact same blending modes I used. There are other combinations you can try out. I also added a glowing white outline to my bottom render for an extra shine. Keep in mind you don't have to do this. I will name my render layers: Render1, Render2, Render3 respectively.
The Border - A border really isn't important in a signature, but can give it a bit more class. You can use a variety of styles, shapes, and colors in your border to make your sig even more attractive. Feel free to visit my Border Tutorial to learn some border styles.
7. Add a new layer at the very top of your sig. Add whatever kind of border you'd like. It can be a border on all sides of the sig, the top and bottom, or even on just the sides. I will use a color pattern border at the top an bottom of my sig. I won't go into detail how to do it because it's simple and you shouldn't need me to teach you how to drawn lines. I will name my border layer "Border." Simple right?
Brushes - Brushes are very neat and creative ways to add depth and style to your signature. They are excellent to use when making backgrounds and are useful tools when you want your sig to be very artistic. Since Paint.NET doesn't support brushes, you will have to download the Custom Brushes Plugin as mentioned earlier. You will also have to add brushes to your PdN brushes library so that you can use them. I will not go into detail on how to add brushes because I'm focusing on the signature here.
8. Add a new layer on top of your "Stars" layer and launch the Custom Brushes plugin. Once you are in the Custom Brushes interface, pick your brush, color, and size. I will use the color black for this step and pick a size that fits my canvas well. Place your brushes and hit Ok when you are satisfied. The brushes should now be visible with the rest of the sig.
9. Now you should add a new layer on top or bellow the brushes layer you just made(it doesn't matter that much). I will add a layer on top of my first brushes layer. I will set my brushes' color to a shade of blue to match with the sig.
10. Now I will add a third brushes layer over my other two brushes layers. I will make my brushes white in this layer. I will set my brushes to black while in the Custom Brushes interface though because white brushes are difficult to see while adding them on a transparent layer. Once you added the brushes, invert the color so that it changes from black to white.
11. Now feel free to add a couple more brushes layers if you want so you can basically make the stars layer unseen. I will add another layer and put in a few extra black brushes. Change the settings to your brushes layers if you want. You can play around with the blending modes and opacity if you want. I didn't change any blending modes, but I lowered the opacity of some of the brushes layers because they were a bit too strong.
C4Ds - C4Ds are mainly used in signatures for lighting, flow, and effect. Just like brushes, C4Ds add plenty of style to your signature and you should really learn how to use them. There are great sources out there where you can find C4Ds including Planet Renders and deviantART. Sometimes you will find C4Ds that have colors that don't match your sig, but remember you're using an image editing program, so you can always change it.
12. Add a new layer on top of all your brushes layers, but under all of your render layers (it should be between your render and brushes layers). Set the blending mode to screen. Use an appropriate C4D and place it in the new layer.
13. Now add a couple more layers (blending mode set to screen) and add as much C4Ds as you want, but try to not overkill your signature with them. I will place my C4Ds in a way so that they start to give my signature some flow. You will need to find appropriate C4Ds in order to do this. Keep in mind these C4Ds should be under your render layers.
14. For this step, I will add a color effect on my background. Add a new layer on the top of your C4D layers and under you render layers. Fill it in with a color the matches your render. I will use blue. Now pick a blending mode that gives your signature a creative color effect. I chose Overlay and set the opacity to 100.
15. Now I will add some C4Ds on top of my render. Add a new layer over your render layers and under your border layer and start to place some C4Ds again. I will add some C4Ds that add flow, but this time over my render.
Extra Effects - If you feel that your signature can use a bit more effects than by all means, add what you want. Just try to not overkill it. The extra effects I use is adding light and darkening certain parts of my sig.
16. Add a layer right under your border layer. Select the paintbrush tool and set the brush width to around 75. Draw a round border to one of the sides of the layer. Now duplicate that layer, flip it horizontally, and merge it down with the other round border so that they are on the same layer. Now apply a gaussian blur. I set the radius to 50.
17. Now add a layer right on top of your render layers. If you placed C4Ds on top of your render than this layer should be under them. Draw in some white with your paintbrush tool at the bottom and use a gaussian blur on it.
18. Now it is time to add your text. Sometimes you should use a font that compliments your render well. For example, if you have a render of a villain of some sort than you should compliment it with a evil styled font. For this one I will use a simple font, but I will glow it to match with the vibrant styled signature.
19. Now it is time for the hardest step of them all! I have seen people either give up or die trying to attempt this step, so pay very close attention.........flatten your sig, save it, and you're all finished! :wink:
Thanks again for visiting my tutorial. I worked very hard on this and I hope you all enjoy it. Once again, this tutorial is for advanced sig makers. You can't expect to start making signatures and come out with something advance right away (unless you're lucky), so you should practice for some time before you start this. Give yourself some time to understand all the terms and techniques of sig making and you will improve in no time. As said, you should start of with the Ultimate Guide to Tags from TopHATslash if you want to learn more about sigs and tags.
Notice: It took me 3 hours to make a tutorial on a sig that generally takes me about 15 minutes to make.
Edited by DarkShock, 31 March 2011 - 10:41 PM.