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Doctor

Novice Signature Tutorial

138 posts in this topic

I have been using Paint.NET for a long time (hell, I remember the old buttons that looked like theye were made with the pencil tool :shock:), and I thought it was about time I made a tutorial for something.

I mainly used PDN as a replacement for Photoshop on GameRender, and I found it very helpful. My sig-battle record was 4-1, and I had tons of extra credits.

Anyway, enough about me, lets get onto the tutorial.

Step One: The Render

First off, we need to get a render for our signature. I use http://www.gamerenders.com for my renders, because of the high-quality resolution and cuts.

Find a render with colors easy to work with and that look good. I am a big fan of Gears of War, and the colors are normally dark blues/greys that look good together, so that is what we use.

This is the render I have chosen to use.

Step One Summary

Quite simple, just choosing our render and colors. The best place to find a render is http://www.gamerenders.com

Step Two: Our Pallette Size

The dimensions can make a signature. I have seen some tags (signatures) that look great at dimensions like 80x320, but would look terrible with a larger hight, like 120, and vise versa. I normally choose a pallete size of 300x120 or 300x100. Today, for our GoW tag, we will be using a pallete size of 300x120. I have chosen the larger hieght because we have a vertical render, with a large height dimension.

What to look out for:

-Large dimesions sizes. 400x150 are a no no.

-Obscure dimensions sizes without the appropiate skill, for example, 80x350

-Do not ever make the height greater then the width. (this is for novices, some pr0s can get away with it, but not many)

Step Two Summary

Still in the very simple stages, just choosing the pallete size. I recommend a 300x120 or 300x100. Make shure you check out the not to do list.

Step 3: The background

The background is normally a simple gradient or color fill. Here, based on the colors of our render, I will use a dark blue to blackish grey gradient.

So what we do here is just make a new layer and drag and draw our gradient.

54043460nw4.png

Next, we will copy our render onto the sig, resize it, and center it. I find the best method for this is to use the multiple window feature, open up the render, delete the render's name, resize, select all, cut, select the sig make a new layer and paste. Woo, mouthfull. Place the render in the center of the signature. (I resized mine with the aspect ratio to a height of 300)

Imporant: Keep your render at the desired size on your copy/paste clipboard, or make a new layer and paste it in there, but turn the visibilty off. We will need to make numerous references to the render throughout the signature.

Next, goto Layers>Zoom/Rotate. Set the zoom to 1.70. Your render is now pixelated and taking up most of the signature. Good.

Apply a 3 pxl frosted glass by going to Effects>Frosted Glass>set the radius to 3.

Next goto Effects>Blurs>Median and set the radius to 2.

Apply another 3 pxl frosted glass.

Next goto Effects>Blurs>Motion Blur> and set the angle to 25 degrees. The angle should be the flow of the sig, in this case, the direction our render is facing. Set the distance to 15.

Next goto Effects>Blurs>Unfocus>set the radius to 3.

Set the layer opacity to about 175. You should now have something similiar to this:

80555543ej3.png

Step Three Summary

We have applied our render and our first layer of blending. Now only about fifty million more to go :D

Step Four: Adding some render blending layers

This will be a rapid fire section, hopefully giving as much detail and going as fast as I can. Signatures are composed of up to 50 renders sometimes (our is probably going to be about 25), so I can't possibly explain everything about every step, but I will do my best.

Make a new layer and paste in our render

-Goto Effects>Forsted Glass>set radius to 10.

-Goto Effects>Blurs>Guassian Blurs>set radius to 5.

Make a new layer and paste in our render

-Goto Layers>Zoom/Rotate>set zoom to 2.5

-Goto Effects>Frosted Glass>set radius to 10.

-Press ctrl+F to repeat the 10 pxl frosted glass.

-Goto Effects>Blurs>Gaussian Blur> set radius to 15.

-Set the layer blending mode to lighten and the opacity to 90 or 95.

Make a new layer and paste in our render (bleh I am getting sick of typing that)

-Goto Effects>Frosted Glass>set radius to 5

-Goto Effects>Blurs>Zoom Blur>set raduis to 100

-Goto Effects>Blurs>Gaussian Blur>set radius to 2.

-Select the whole layer, and move it over to the right a little bit, maybe 15-25 pixels.

-Set the layer blending mode to lighten and the opacity to 150.

Now we have something similiar to this:

19295434qf6.png

Although it doesn't really look like much yet, we have some great blending and a good foundation for the render in the latter half of the tutorial.

Make a new layer and paste in our render

-Goto Effects>Frosted Glass>set the radius to 5

-Goto Effects>Blurs>Motion Blur> and use our 25 degree angle but set the amount to 80.

-Set the layer blending mode to lighten and the opacity to 135.

Obviously, our render will be covering most of this when as we get father into the tag creation. Actually, coming up now.

Step Four Summary

We used 4 more strong layers of blending, and set up a good foundation for the signature.

Step Five: Starting to place the render

You are probably wonder about the title, "starting to place the render" What, placing the render, that is easy, ctrl+V? Not exactly, if you look at my current, you will notice the render is highly distorted. That wasn't always like that, I started with a high resolution photo cut, just like ours.

Make a new layer and paste in our render

-We have nothing to do to this layer, this will be our render base :woot:

Make a new layer and paste in our render

-Goto Effects>Frosted Glass>set radius to 5.

-Press ctrl+F two times to repeat this step twice, giving us a 15 pxl frosted glass (suggestion for later PDN update: more frosted glass, up to 20-30 mb??)

-Goto Effects>Blurs>Guassian Blur>set radius to 5.

-Set the layer blending mode to lighten and the layer opacity to 180

This is what we have so far

74081229fi2.png

It is finally coming along :D you can actually see sig potential shining through all that blur, but unfortuantely, not quite ;)

Make a new layer and paste in our render

-Goto Effects>Distort>Buldge>and set the amount to 100

-Now scoot our render a little more over to the right by selecting it all and dragging it over

-Goto Effects>Frosted Glass>and set the amount to 2

-Goto Effects>Oil Painting>and set the brush size to 1 and the coarness to 65 (Yay! something new)

-Set the layer blending mode to lighten, and the opacity to 150.

This is what we have so far (what another picture only one step ahead?) Yes, because I am going to show you something.

68922806yk9.png

Our tag is now starting to get all grungy, like a dark, GoW sig should be, but you will notice I have circled a little bit of out of palce coloration. This may happen, and never be afraid to erase was doesn't look good

So I have now taken a 15 pxl eraser and erased that on our latest layer.

Step Five Summary

We have placed in the render, and started adding some more layers to fancy up our render and make it look good.

Now onto more.

Step Six: Finishing up 'placing the render'

Make a new layer and paste in our render (back on track :?)

-Goto Effects>Frosted Glass>set the radius to 5

-Goto Effects>Twist>and set the twist amount to 10 and set the quality to the maximum

-Set the layer blending mode to lighten and the opacity to 140

Make a new layer and paste in our render

-Goto Adjustments>Black and White

-Goto Effects>Glow>Set the radius to 6, the brightness to 10, the contrast to 10

-Goto Layers>Zoom/Rotate>and set the zoom to 1.06

-Goto Effects>Blurs>Guassian Blur>and set the raduis to 10

-Set the layer blending mode to lighten and the opacity to 105

Make a new layer and paste in our render

-Goto Effects>Frosted Glass>set the raduis to 1

-Goto Effects>Blurs>Guassian Blur>set the raduis to 2

-Set the layer blending mode to lighten and the opacity to 150

31005809ox8.png

You'll notice how right now our render is clashing with the background, but that is okay, and actually, we will be adressing that right now.

Make a new layer and paste in our render

-Set the layer opacity to 90

Yep thats it for that one ^^

Make a new layer and paste in our render

-Goto Layers>Zoom/Rotate>and set the zoom to 1.11

-Goto Effects>Oil Painting>set the brush size to 1 and the coarsness to 65

-Set the layer blending mode to reflect and to 50

Alright, we are about 15 layers in and we actually have the basis of our signature finished. It now looks like this

58123026ok6.png

Step Six Summary

Our render has been set in place, and most of the touch up layers have been applied. The current status of our tag can be seen just above. Now onto the details.

Step Seven: Applying some details

Alright, now before you continue on, this is the time to take a break. I have seriously been typing this for about 2 hours, and my fingers are soar and I need a drink. This is also a good time in a normal sig to take a brake, let your mind rest, and think about what you need to add, and what may have been better.

---

Make a new layer (that's right, don't paste in your render!)

-Hopefully you still have your same dark blue/black from the gradient way in back when in your color pallete. If not, goto your gradient layer and use the Color Picker tool.

-Goto Effects>Clouds>set the scale to 250 and the roughness to 100. Obviosuly we will have different seeds, so our clouds will look different, but try to get an even set, with lots of blue.

-Duplicate the layer, and uncheck the visibilty box (make it false) for the duplicated layer.

-Set the layer blending mode to color dodge and the opacity to 75.

-You may have to erase out some of the darker blue that doesn't look so good over top your render.

Check the visibilty (make it true) on the duplicated cloud layer from above

-Erase the right side of the cloud and the part covering the render. We should just have clouds over the empty left part on the right.

-Goto Effects>Guassian Blurs>set raduis to 200

-Set the layer blending mode to lighten

The next couple steps are a little difficult, but I think we will be fine.

Find a picture that relates to the topic, in this case another GoW character, or maybe a GoW gun/vehicle. If you had a knight, you may choose a castle or a sword.

I used google images to find this picture

Open the picture in Paint.NET (it should be on the picture reel on the right, so we can still access our tag)

Make a new layer

-Goto Effects>Clouds>set the scale to 1000 and the roughness to 100. I used black and white as the colors, mainly because they are opposities. You want the clouds to look very grungy, and may even want to change the scale and roughness. Remember, the tutorial is not set in stone, and creativity never killed the cat

-Now use our Magic Wand tool and set the tolerance to 40%. Select in a large concentration of black

My selection looked like this:

98029095sz6.png

While still selecting your slection (lolol zomg h4x) uncheck the visibilty layer for the clouds. You should now be on your base picture with the same region of it selected. This step is very hard to explain, sorry if I'm not a very good job :?

Cut that region out of the picture, and go back to our tag.

Make a new layer

-Paste in the selection

-Move it, rotate, do everything you can until you are happy with the position of the splatters.

-Goto Effects>Guassian Blur>set radius to 1

Now go back and forth from picture to picture, splattering and positioning as much as you want. Make shure you cover up the render in some parts (but notfocal points, like the face) to give your signature depth. Depth is very important in making a signature. (see glossary for more details)

This is what I got to

19323162kw2.png

I have about 3 or 4 layers of even splattering, some black and whites, guassian blurs, oil painting, median blurs (Effects>Blurs>Median), erasing, different layer blending modes, and even one motion blur thrown in there. I'm sorry I couldn't go into to much detail on the last few substeps here, but it is mainly all random and depending on your liking.

Section Seven Summary

We have done a few simple details, and tackled the hardest step yet. I cannot explain it in a simple summary, you will have to read the section to find out what we did. The current status can be found just above.

Section Eight: Finishing up the details

We should now get some emphasis on things that need it. For example. the lights on Marcus' shoulder.

Make a new layer

-Use a fairly light blue and go over the shoulder lights with a large brush size (I used 15)

-Goto Effects>Frosted Glass>set the radius to 3 (ah, back to normal)

-Goto Effects>Blurs>Guassian Blur>set the raduis to 8

-Goto Effects>Glow>set the raduis to 6, the brightness to 10, the contrast to 10

-Set the layer blending mode to additive and the opacity to 70

We have a lot of blurs and smudges on our sig, so we have to add some sharp objects to even it out.

Make a new layer

-Using the line tool and the paint brush tools, make some random sharp shapes and lines all over the place

-Maybe use some median blurs (Effects>Blurs>Median) with the sharpen tool (Effects>Sharpen)

Next, we will use my favorite effect. I have even made another tutorial for it that can be found here:

scratchmarkeffecttz3.th.png

Make a new layer

-Slap on the scratch mark

-Make some low opacity, and change the blending layers around a little bit

Step Eight Summary

We have put the finishing touches on our signature, adding scratch marks, sharp objects, and lights. Only one step left :o

Step Nine: The border and the text

We are almost finished, in fact, this is the last step. First, we will apply our border.

Make a new layer

-Turn off Anti-Alasing by hitting the button that looks like a line on the right side of the bottom toolbar.

-Turn off Overwrite by hitting the button that looks like two overlapping shading boxes on the right of the bottom toolbar.

-Draw a five pixel box on the top and bottom of the signature

-Draw a one pixel line on the left and right sides of the signature.

Now onto the most hated part: The text

The text is the hardest part to get right, and infact, I don't exactly know how to get it right either. I normally go with small text off to the side somewhere, but that is just me. Feel free to experiment with the text as much as you would like.

Text can make or brake a signature, DO NOT ever make a large, bright, text on your tag. It should blend in just as well as our intial layers did.

Save your file as a .PDN

Now flatten the image by going to Image>Flatten or pressing ctrl+shift+F

Now to finish it up, we will adjust the curves/contrast on our signature.

Use these tools:

-Adjustments>Hue/Saturation

-Adjustments>Curves

-Adjustments>Brightness/Contrast

Our finished product:

gow2ig6.png

Not the greatest tag in the world, but everyone hast to start somewhere ;)

Step Nine Summary

We have added our border and text onto our sig, finishing it up. Remember, text can kill a signature, avoid large bright text at ALL COSTS.

The End

Well, my hands are numb, so this will be a quick wrap up.

Tags are a piece of artwork, they should be treated as such and given 100% creativety. Never be afraid to try something knew, sometimes it works someitmes it doesn't. I have learned from experiences and mistakes, and it has helped me very much. Good luck, and keep making them damn awesome tags.

"The only source of knowledge is experience."

-Albert Einstein

Note to Moderators: If you find some gramitical errors or misteaks (leave that one), feel free to edit them out.

Glossary

Blending - Adjusting the colors around the render to make it fit into the tag better, also used with effects and lights

Tag/Signature/Sig - A small image that is added as an attachment to the bottom of forum posts. Each user may have their own specified tag/signature/sig

Depth - Giving the tag a 3D look, avodining flatness and monochramiticness

Focal Point - Any area in a tag that is the center of the attention; normally is the render or part of the render. ex, in the GoW sig it would Marcus Fenix

Render - A cut of an image that is normally placed in a sig as a focal point

Brigthness/Contrast - How bright/dark the tag is, also adjusts the tone of the colors

Splatter - Random marks of various sizes and colors throughout the tag

Grunge - A style of tags, very rough and dark with color saturation

Dimensions - The format for dimentions is h x w

h = height of the tag in pixels

w = width of the tag in pixels

Background - The bottom layers of a tag, used behind the focal point and most effects

Foreground - The top layers of a tag, normally consist of the effects, render, and focal point

.png - An internet image file, tags should be saved as .pngs because they have a full color array, can store transparency, and are easily loaded on internet browsers because of their compressed size

.pdn - The Paint.NET image extension, can hold layers which are very useful for making tags

Edit by Rick: Removed "[TUT]" from title. It's just redundant.

k

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please give me constructive critiscm for it i'm only 12

Great job man! That is a buetiful first sig, I've seen tons worse with people using photoshop.

Just a few things:

1. Remember, the render is the center of focus, you have him really tiny in the center, you don't wanna do that.

2. The text is really large, you may want to shrink it a few sizes

3. The edges are a little emptie, but it may just look like that because of the small render. If you find that happening, use some other techniques you know to fill in the space.

4. Difference layers a probably a no no, because it uses really bad colors.

Other then that, just keep practicing.

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When you keep on saying, paste in our render, do you mean the original picture? Or the picture we rendered in the previous step.

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When you keep on saying, paste in our render, do you mean the original picture? Or the picture we rendered in the previous step.

Paste in the render that was resized without any modifications. Never use stuff from previous layers.

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I just wanted to say that your tutorial is incredible!

I was making a sig yesterday night. The reason why it's not done is because after working on it for nearly 2 hours, a message popped up saying Paint.NET is sorry for the inconvience blah, blah, blah, and it shut down!

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I just wanted to say that your tutorial is incredible!

I was making a sig yesterday night. The reason why it's not done is because after working on it for nearly 2 hours, a message popped up saying Paint.NET is sorry for the inconvience blah, blah, blah, and it shut down!

Glad you liked it! And I'm sorry to hear about Paint.NET crashing. I should probably put in there to save your work periodically.

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Mjt015, that is beastly for a first tag m8. Hell, that one is better then my example. Just one thing: The left side is kinda blank, and the text stands out. You may want to blend it in a litlte more, like maybe make a squigily line with effects on it then put the text over top of it. You also may want to use the Hue/Contrast/Saturation to make the blue background blend in a little better with the chief. You also may want to add another layer of the chief without effects and put it onto lighten or normal and the opacity at like 150-120, so the details are a little sharper.

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It took me a while, but I finally managed to finish it, here is mines

Add the link of yours to your post!

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I fixed it, one question though, can this be done with multiple images at a time? Or is it only good with one big image?

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you think its too big?

also how do you do this:

-Turn off Anti-Alasing by hitting the button that looks like a line on the right side of the bottom toolbar.

-Turn off Overwrite by hitting the button that looks like two overlapping shading boxes on the right of the bottom toolbar.

-Draw a five pixel box on the top and bottom of the signature

-Draw a one pixel line on the left and right sides of the signature.

Where is the anti alasing and overwrite buttons? Much appreciated.

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