Jump to content

The Ultimate Guide to Tags *Text Design by Yipp 8/24*


Recommended Posts

The Ultimate Guide to Tags

This is a guide that will be improved every day. So check back frequently for updates, and new techniques.

I've seen many people on the paint.net forum start to make photoshop style sigs. Well in this guide I will explain techniques, terms, and resource sites. Hopefully, many people will like this tutorial and will use it to improve as they make more and more tags.

So let's start with terms:

  • Sig: A image usually to follow every post on a message board; forum.
    Tag: Another word for sig. But a tag consists of flow, depth and lighting.
    Flow: This is how your eyes want to look at the focal. It also means the direction of the effects.
    Depth: This is how you make your tag not look flat. This means blurring or sharpening.. which we will discuss later in the guide.
    Render: A cut out character, vehicle, scenery, etc. It has a transparent background.
    Stock: A regular picture. No cut outs.
    C4D: A 3D render made in Cinema 4D. These are for flow and effect. Usually set them to screen.

Okay so now that you know what I'm talking about, let's get started.

Techniques to Improve your Tag


You now know what flow is. So let me demonstrate. Here is a render:


This render, when turned into a tag, will have a flow like this:


When choosing you flow, be sure to decide on a good point of view. If the focal is looking to the top right, then you should choose the effects to mainly flow top right. Usually, bad flow and be fixed by rotating.


Here's a simple stock placed into size. [so what? I used a vader stock, you got a problem with that?!]


Now to get the focal, vader, to stand out I ran sharpen. [Photo>Sharpen]. You have to be the judge of the settings. Don't go over 20 though.

Then I used my eraser tool to erase everything on the sharp layer other than vader.


Then what you should do is blur the background. Since as of me posting this, there is no blur tool.. we will have to improvise. Duplicate the original stock layer, then gaussian blur it. Then use clone stamp on a new lyer to just get the background, or use your eraser to erase the blurred focal.


That is a good way to depth'n up your sig.

C4D Usage:

Alright, this is our first update. I was brain storming on a C4D section. So here, I have two of the same render, but different background colors. One tan, and one black.



So I placed a normal 'ol C4D and then set it to screen.




Well.. it turned alright for the black one, but not the tan. Do ya agree? =P

To fix this, I will be introducing a new type of C4D that not many people in the PdN Community know about. They are transparent background C4Ds. Amazing looking. They are so much better than ones with a black background. I used these types in this tag:

http://im-vital.deviantart.com/art/Expr ... g-92696622

So here is a great pack that I could find for this tutorial:


And now with one of these C4Ds, this is what the tag looks like:



Okay, so here I will demonstrate some lighting. Let's start off with your tag. This is mine [yes I know it is absolutely terrible but it also is only like 3 layers haha, nothing complex]:


Alright, as you can see, this sig is very bland. It seems like I just put a render on a background. Which is never what the maker wants. So now I brushed a little white with a 60px brush [the brush tool, not the plugin] on where we can tell by the render where the lighting should be.


Now we need to blur this. I blurred at 81px using gaussian blur but it all depends on the sig. Play around with the blurring and the opacity.


As you can tell now it is more blended and has a light source. But now we need to add a darkening to it. So let's repeat the previous steps except with black and toward where the light source would not be shining on the render.


And now blur it like above following the steps in the lighting, and voila!


*Make sure you play around with settings.


Here will be a couple [more to come] ways of doing things for tags.

Here is a quick blending technique:

Take your brush tool and brush around with a flow with 30px brush.


Then do a good frosted glass to spread it out nice like this:


Now run dents to blur/distort it nicely:


Another one:

Here is a way for you to colorize your tag without using any color plugins. This is all about your opinion.

So, I made a quick tag for this tutorial, nothing complicated:


Well, I really don't like the colors. So, let us change this! :) Make a new layer. Then choose 2 colors.. this is very hard to make right, but.. with practice, it will be easy to get a good eye for it. For this tutorial I made three gradients.


Here are their blending options:

  • 1 - Overlay; 32 Opacity
    2 - Reflect; 11 Opacity
    3 - Darken; 36 Opacity


There ya have it. Now the tag is blended and well tinted.


Text is a very unique thing. Many people master it yet others don't. Here are some tips on text.

  • Never use black on black. Applys for all colors.
    Drop shadows are nice, but black or white only.. other colors are distracting imo.
    Blending is great. But don't overdue it.

Here's a little text demonstration:

I am taking the tag that I used earlier in the Color Blending section of this guide.


One thing to do is always look at the flow of your tag before placing your text. Here are our flows:



Stay away from corners. All this will do is distract the viewers eyes!


So let's choose our flow. For this tag, I'm going to choose the flow going up his arm, the first one. So I'm going to use a good font to suit the tag. (Just because this is a knight, doesn't mean the text has to be knight-ish!!) I chose Continuum Bold at 12px.

I placed my text on his arm and ran two black Outline Objects at 2px and 255 softness.


But this is rather.. un-blended [:P] so let us blend it! Basically, what I did is moved the layer down below the Gradients from the Color Blending section of the tutorial.

And voila!


Text Designing

Text may seem an easy thing to do, but it isn't. If not done correctly, the tag/signature could be ruined entirely. That is how important it is. I see many people who put it on just for the sake of it but now this part of the guide will prevent it from further happening! :D

First of all, I'll be demonstrating a simple but effective text design. I'll be using this signature I've made recently:


As you can see, the text is simple. It has 2 different colours used and and an effective font, Arial, that overlaps eachother.

Here's how to do it in 2 easy-long explained steps:

1. Choosing the colours

To choose the correct colours, you must use the colours that are used for the signature so that it can blend and match. In this case, the signature's colours are mainly purple and white. Choosing the colours from the "Color ToolBar" may not entirely match the signature; so this is where the "Color Picker" Tool comes in handy.

Choose the tool in the "Tool Bar" that looks like the image below.


Then, simply click on a part of the signature where it has the colour which you want to use.


2. Adding the Text:

Pretty much you know how to do this though I'll still have to explain since this IS a guide. *sigh* :lol:

Select the tool where it shows an "A" from the tool bar.


And now the way to making the style.

I added a new layer of course and selected the colour white. I used the font Arial; setting it on bold with a size of 15. Using Top Hat Slash's part of the guide, "Text", find an area where you want to place the text.

I then again added a new layer and set the size and font to the same settings as before. Using my colour I chose from the "Color Picker", I typed in my text and dragged it slightly on top of my other white text.


That's all there is to it. Try experimenting text styles and test other designs too; using some of the essential tips from this part of the guide. (I will add more styles to this part of the guide once in a while)

External Sites

Here are some good sites for resources on tags.




I hope you like this guide. Everyday it will be built upon so keep checking back for new techniques to make your tags, even better.


  • Tutorial Written - July 31st, 2008
    C4D Usage Added - August 1st, 2008
    Color Blending - August 2nd, 2008
    Text Demonstration
    Lighting - August 18th, 2008
    Text Design (By Yipppiyo) - August 24th, 2008



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great tutorial! I found this very resourceful. Motion blurring brushes is another great way to work on depth and flow.


Here will be a couple [more to come] ways of doing things for tags.

Here is a quick blending technique:

Take your brush tool and brush around with a flow with 30px brush.


Then do a good frosted glass to spread it out nice like this:


Now run dents to blur/distort it nicely:


I like this way the most in this tutorial.


Gamertag 360: xX 8 Balll (Three L's)

Free Web Hosting

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for this guide tHs, its really helping me learn more as I go along. I'm going to have to try that C4D trick sometime.

Looking forward to additions! :P

Call me expired. Please.


Don't go counting your chickens before the pack of rabid ravaging foxes attacks. -Sozo
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great tutorial THS! Good write up just like your other tutorials. I'd have to say the depth helped me the most. The blending and C4D's may come in handy some day. A good addition to the tutorial could be:

-More ways of doing blending, text, depth, etc.

-Techniques of Smudging

-Using Brushes



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Create New...