General Pictures Guidlines & Tutorials

Discussion in 'General Pictures & Videos' started by Takmadeus, Mar 31, 2004.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Takmadeus

    Takmadeus Translator Translator

    Messages:
    4,092
    Likes Received:
    10
    Gimp 101

    Hello.... as you may have read in the title, I will take advantage of the situation and I will teach you how to use the key features of the GIMP in a simple, yet didactic exercise.... or this I will make a simple sig, with step by step instructions and screenshots.....

    PS: I would do a PS tutuorial, but I don't know how to use it, it is kinda hard to get, it is very expensive and there are already lots of tutorials for it, plus I haven't found any good tutorial of GIMP which is easy to understand, simple and effective ;)

    For this course you will need the following:

    The GNU Image Manipulation Program

    Tons of nice looking fonts

    Some images to make it look good

    that's it!.... once you get all of these, you can officially start the course (it will begin tomorrow), so stay tuned for updates. If you are using photoshop, well, many of the tools have the same function, so it may be similar, yet, consider that there are some differences in the way things are done from one program to the other (else I would be able to use photoshop as well ;))
  2. Takmadeus

    Takmadeus Translator Translator

    Messages:
    4,092
    Likes Received:
    10
    Well... let's get started...

    first of all, we need to get familiarized with the GUI (that's the thing most users complain about), so, we have...

    1. Tools window

    2. Tool Options window

    3. Layers, channels and paths window

    Their names are self explanatory , but for the third one we may explain some things:

    the tools window has the main tools, but not all of them.... for more advanced stuff (like coloring and the like), you may access them by right clicking in the workspace

    The tool options window changes for EVERY tools you use... it is convenient to keep it open, as it will allow you to fine tune the parameters for what you want to do, and it is always good for you to customize your graphics

    I will talk about layers, but not channels and paths until later..... and another thing... ALWAYS keep these 3 windows open.... never close them, as they are th ones you'll work most with.

    and advanced thing: think of layers as a pack of transparencies..... if you write in a transparency in the back, it will be "covered" by the frontmost ones..... you may have as many layers as you want, but you at least should have one (the bottom one)..... my sugestion is: always keep the bottom one transparent, it wil save you a lot of trouble later ;), I'll explain you in the next part
  3. Takmadeus

    Takmadeus Translator Translator

    Messages:
    4,092
    Likes Received:
    10
    Okay, enough with the intro.... we better create an image soon enough, don't you think?

    1. We begin with the typical file>new

    2.then add the properties (filesize, if you want it in grayscale or RGB, and the color of the bottom layer..... as I told you, choose it to be transparent)

    3. See the workspace?.... this is where you'll make your new sig ;)
  4. Takmadeus

    Takmadeus Translator Translator

    Messages:
    4,092
    Likes Received:
    10
    Okay...., so what's the most important thing when making a cool sig?..... no, it is not the font, but you are close.... no, neither is the background r the pattern..... Yes! it is the images you'll use to give it a theme..... from experience, I have seen that many promising sigs have been wasted by a bad image...... so this time I took charge of it and decided to search some good images in google..... the topic?... well, Legend of Dragoon is my favorite RPG of all times.... so I guess I'll give it a shot ;)

    So after many coffees, lotsa cigarrettes and quite some time, I came up with the following candidates:

    1. Rose.. I like her, dark, beautiful and cool ;)

    2. Dart.... this is a great pic of him, plus is quite clean, and it will be easier to get rid of that white background, to suit it to our needs...

    3. Lavitz... this is my favorite guy..... but it will be kind of hard to use him since the background has too much details ;)

    4. Another great pic this time is albert.... it is as hard to clean as the previous one... *sigh*

    I guess that's all for the moment, but it is a great variety of pics.... for a didactic expreience, I guess I'll pick the easiest one available... yep, Dart....
  5. Takmadeus

    Takmadeus Translator Translator

    Messages:
    4,092
    Likes Received:
    10
    Adding layers:

    1. You now will put an use to that layer box..... just load that image you just picked in the GIMP...

    2.right click in the bottom layer and choose "New Layer"

    3. then make it a transparent layer....

    4 and 5. move it to the bottom by highlighting it and clicking the down button
  6. Takmadeus

    Takmadeus Translator Translator

    Messages:
    4,092
    Likes Received:
    10
    Opps! didn't that last step work?..... well... it is because GIMP won't allow you to get rid of the bottom layer as long as it is treated like the bottom layer.....for it to work you must make it transparent, and it will treat it as a normal layer, so...

    1. highlight the bottom layer

    2. right click it and select "add alpha channel"

    3. Now move it up with the up button!

    Now it works ;)
  7. Takmadeus

    Takmadeus Translator Translator

    Messages:
    4,092
    Likes Received:
    10
    Cleaning an image


    We won't do any more layering for now, as this is just one a component image (an image that will be manipulated, pasted and and then manipulated again in the final work).... we will proceed to clean it, IMO, the most annoying and tiresome part of doing a sig ;)

    1. choose the top layer (the one with the actual image)

    2. Choose the magic wand (aka Master cleaner :p)

    now, this tool is one of the best to select regions of an image, and will simplify the selection in places that are hard to select, just remember, it is almost useless im parts with small details (sparks, or areas with too much colors and small portions of them), it will suit us well, as almost the only color we will have to get rid of is white (hence why i picked this image ;))

    3. select the white color, or the areas you want to remove

    4. right click and Edit>Clean... or just press Ctrl+K (personally I prefer this last method, as sometimes you have to do a really fast job, and clicking slows you down ;))

    5. in the end, you'll see that now the picture is cleaned and its completely transparent. Yeah, those grey blocks in the background mean that it is transparent

    TIP: when you need to finish quickly, use the rectangle selection tool to select big areas of the image, just be careful to not to take down any part of the image you want to preserve

    TIP#2: when you see that the rectangle selection tool is too risky, and the magic wand is taking you nowhere, then it is time for you to use the lasso tools.... just zoom in, and selext those tough areas by drawing a selection that suits your needs ;)
  8. Takmadeus

    Takmadeus Translator Translator

    Messages:
    4,092
    Likes Received:
    10
    Hmmm I ussually don't recommend masking in these kind of cleninfg process....
    there is a better method which I already mentioned in the tips, just use the rectangular selection for big areas, that'll save you a lot of time.... then you must end up with a somewhat cleaner image... then it is time to use the lasso tool, and you just zoom the image and start cleaning it little by litte..... it is a tedious and slow process, but trust me, it will give you a lot of control.

    when you end up with a quite clean image but unfortunately it has this annoying rebroder which is hard to take out with either tool, then just select the clean part, the right click and then Selection>Grow, then you choose how many pixels you want the selection to grow. That must make the selection bigger, while keeping the border..... and then you clean it

    it sounds complicated, but it is an easy trick... I'll explain it better in the next class ;)
  9. Takmadeus

    Takmadeus Translator Translator

    Messages:
    4,092
    Likes Received:
    10
    Okay... here's another chapter on cleaning ;)

    1. using the rectangular selection, take apart a big chunk of the image and clean it

    2. after cleaning it, see how it changes.... see how much work would you have saved if we would have used a more complicated image?

    3. there's still a tough place... look at that annoying reborder.... if we left it that way, the final product would look quite ugly, and we don't want that.... but using the lasso, or the magic wand is too hard in here ;)

    4, 5, 6. Use the magic wand, select the clean part (not the reborder), right click and Selection>grow.....

    7, 8 just add the properties (this is a very delicate process, so be carefull to not to take a big part of the image ;)... once done, you'll instantly see how much did the selection grew

    9. after cleaning it, you see a perfect border.... easy huh?.... you may notice that some small part of the image was lost, but don't worry, it isn't too significant

    I hope that clears it enough :)
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2004
  10. Takmadeus

    Takmadeus Translator Translator

    Messages:
    4,092
    Likes Received:
    10
    Well... there's another thing... rather more complicated... but still works, plus gives you a lot of freedom to customize your selections

    1. Normal selection: same as MS paint, once you select som other place, the current selection will dissapear

    2. add to selection: when you select some area, it will become part of the selection

    3. substract from selection: when you do some selection inside of the current selection, it will be unselected

    4. intersect with current selection if you do a selection, and it touches or crosses the current selection, the resultant will be the common reas between selections

    substract from selection may be of help in your case ;)
  11. Xian

    Xian New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    BTW, there is a nice shortcut to adjust the wand threshold:

    While the wand tool is selected, press and hold the left button on the area you want to select. Then while still holding the left button, move the mouse left and right to adjust the threshold.

    Also, for situations where the wand doesn't work, the bezier (aka path) selection tool is an excellent choice. Much better than the lasso IMHO. It allows you to build complex selections step by step. It is also a great way to create objects as well, a very versitile tool.
  12. Ramsus K

    Ramsus K A1C

    Messages:
    230
    Likes Received:
    0
    Another nice way to work with selections is using channels. This allows you to edit the selection as though it were a grayscale raster layer using the paint tools. Channels also provide a nice method for saving selections if you don't like paths.

    Anyway, the most useful way of using channels is to make minor edits to a current selection. Here's how:

    • Select something using any selection tool or bezier paths.
    • Click the toggle quickmask button in the lower-left hand corner of the image window, right above the status bar and between the scroll bars (see below).
    • This will convert the current selection to a temporary channel with red overlay at 50% opacity. You can edit the channel now using paint tools (white = selected, black = unselected).The red overlay represents what isn't selected.
    • Click the button again to toggle it back to a selection.
  13. Xian

    Xian New Member

    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    Was pretty bored, so I put together a little tutorial on paths in case anyone
    was interested ... :)

    First thing to do is select the path tool (circled in the first shot), then create a rough outline by selecting several points (nodes) around the area you want to select. Don't worry too much about detail at this point, you can make alterations as needed.

    Once you have your basic outline, select a node you'd like to adjust by clicking on it. Be sure you are also in "edit" mode by double-clicking the path selection tool to bring up the tool options dialog. Each node has a pair of handles you can use to manipulate the paths connected to it (as seen in the third shot). Drag the handles around a bit to get the hang of it.

    Note that the handles are initially at the center of the node, so you will have to drag them out from the node to access them.

    When the mouse cursor is above a path (the lines which connect nodes), it should become a "+" symbol. Click once with the left mouse button to add a new node at the current location. Don't worry if it's not exactly where you want it, you can move the node around afterward. You can also delete a node by holding down shift while clicking on it.

    To move a node, first select "design" on the tool options dialog from before. Then simply drag the node to the desired location, the path will adjust automatically. Finally, once you're happy with the path you've created, click on "create selection from path" in the tool options dialog (circled in the sixth shot) to get your selection.

    TIP: If the path is somewhat difficult to see on your image, create a new white layer and make it slightly transparent. That way you can see the image underneath, but also have enough contrast to see the path you are working on.
  14. Takmadeus

    Takmadeus Translator Translator

    Messages:
    4,092
    Likes Received:
    10
    OK, OK.... we are back in class ;)

    1. remember the image we just cleaned?... I am sure you practiced some more and applied the concepts used by Ramsus and Xian (great ones guys ;)). well... now it is time to go back to our old image...... we just....

    2,3. resize the image we just used.... so we just do right click, Image>resize image, then we add the values we need (currently height, don't worry, it will automatically adjust the width ;))

    4,5,6. this is the result, then we select all (right click, selection>select all), copy it (edit>copy) and paste it in our sig (edit>paste)

    7,8. it will appear as a pasted layer in the layers tab.... so we just click on "new layer" to convert it into a proper layer ;)

    **hmmm as it was so small, I decided to cut the image and resize it a little, so it looks better ;), for compatibility's sake, I will keep working on my image.... as you may know for now, the resizing part before was for an educational purpose ;)
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2004
  15. Takmadeus

    Takmadeus Translator Translator

    Messages:
    4,092
    Likes Received:
    10
    here comes the fun part ;).... where you'll apply your creativity ;)

    we'll start by adding the background....

    1. decide how big the background will be, in my case, I want it to be 100 pixels high, and that the curvature in Dart's wings becomes the rightmost border ;)

    so obviously, what I will do is to inster a new layer which is 100 pixels high and 400 pixels wide (this is for the border to be covered by the wings ;)

    notice that it will appear in the top, and it won't move no mater what you do, well, the thing is that the GIMP does not allow you to move layers unless there is actually something in them.... so the trick is to paint it, move it and then clean it (remember, Ctrl+K)

    2,3. I cleaned some more images and I will added them in the same procedure that I used to add Dart, and lowered the transparency level of them (to be barely visible)

    4. of course that I will add another background, so I got some cool image in google and selected it, and as expected I pasted it and sent it to the bottom layer......

    Now it is almost done :)
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2004
  16. Takmadeus

    Takmadeus Translator Translator

    Messages:
    4,092
    Likes Received:
    10
    Here goes the so promised update, so enjoy ;)

    1. decide how big the background will be, in my case, I want it to be 100 pixels high, and that the curvature in Dart's wings becomes the rightmost border

    so obviously, what I will do is to inster a new layer which is 100 pixels high and 400 pixels wide (this is for the border to be covered by the wings

    notice that it will appear in the top, and it won't move no mater what you do, well, the thing is that the GIMP does not allow you to move layers unless there is actually something in them.... so the trick is to paint it, move it and then clean it (remember, Ctrl+K)

    2. of course that I will add another background, so I got some cool image in google and selected it, and as expected I pasted it and sent it to the bottom layer......

    3. then I make the border, as this picture tends to be dark, then the most intelligent thing is to use a border that makes contrast with the sig, so I use the color picker to pick a color from dart's armor to use it as a border (and that way the border matches with the image ;))

    so, how do I make a border?.... I just insert a layer that is 1 pixel bigger than the background image and put it behind, another trick is to duplicate the background layer and then paint it with the border color, then I just select all and shrink the selection by 1 pixel..... I will use the first method

    Transparency and File Formats

    The trick is to create a new layer containing NGEmu's background color, so it looks like it is transparent

    there is another way to create this transparence... which is to leave the transparent part as it is... and then save it either as a gif or a png....

    GIF: default format for animations or transparent images, it is ugly and has quite a low quality, plus uses a 256 color pallette (too small, considering other formats using 24 bit coloring which allows you to use millions of colors)

    PNG: a rather new format featuring an almost flawles transparency algorithm.... has a regular compression. the bad thing is that the most used browser does not show png images as they are meant to be... yes, I am talking about IE.... other browsers like mozilla an opera show the images well...
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 25, 2004
  17. Strider

    Strider Living Paradigm

    Messages:
    10,223
    Likes Received:
    0
    Guide to Signatures and Signature Hosting

    In accordance to NGEmu's newly changed rules these signature limits are currently in place for NGEmu's forums.

    If i see these rules being broken then consider this post a warning that I will personally take down said signature unless one of the other administrators here beats me to it. If you try to post up the same picture again it will again be removed but this time along with your right to *have* a signature. If your signature is removed you will either be contacted by a private message or your signature will have a *sig removed* tag on the bottom which you can later take out. Signatures must also follow our rules concerning What we mean by "adult material"

    Now, all those pleasantries aside... on to the signatures.


    Requesting Signatures and Avatars

    If you wish to request a signature and avatar be made for you, or if you need your signature or avatar dimensions or file sizes changed; then visit the New Avatar and Sig Thread and make a request. At NGEmu we have several capable members skilled in Adobe Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, and The GIMP who might take it upon themselves to answer your request.


    Places Where you can have your Signatures Hosted

    Personally i prefer to use ImageShack to host my signatures. It allows you to quickly and easily upload signatures to its server and then link to them here. To do so click the browse button on the website and find your image. After selecting your image click the "Host it" button. This brings you to a webpage which contains links to where your signature is. The standard forum Image tags will look something like
    [ IMG ]http://img3.exs.cx/img3/5517/YourSigHere.jpg[ /IMG ] without the spaces between the brackets. After having your signature uploaded go into your User CP > Edit Signature and paste the image link in.

    Geocities is a bit trickier if you are trying to get offsite hosting as it does not allow it for images. But, if you have an account there, you can upload jpegs gifs and whatnot quite easily. Simply, before uploading your pictures, rename them to text (.txt) files and upload them. Link to the text file in your signature and it will load up as a picture

    Uploadit is another site to get some free hosting, I havent tried it myself but chaosblade says it's pretty good, so if you dont like the alternatives you can give this one a try as well. (thanks to Chaosblade for the link)

    VB Code:
    To view a full list of vbcode where you can find out how to make coloured text and align images, click HERE.

    Final notes: Since I have resigned i can no longer change this thread (or atleast I don't think I can because it's locked) so it cannot be updated by me
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 6, 2004
  18. Razor Blade

    Razor Blade Locked and Loaded Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    12,032
    Likes Received:
    0
    Razor Blade's Signature Tutorial

    [​IMG]

    Quick Tidbits: The avatar bg color code is: 243954 and the Signature bg color code is: 193048

    Well here is another revised version ... Wow! I seems as though my previous web providers either went out of business or something ^_^ Anyways thanks to Flaretech These images won't be going offline anytime soon ;) (Thanks Flare)

    Okay first of all for you's wondering this is an in-depth tutorial about making signatures. I can't just give you talent, but hopefully this will help you on your way to making nice signatures :)

    Okay this is what you'll need.

    1. Photoshop 6.0+ (I use Photoshop CS)
    2. A decent resolution picture(s) - At least 800x600 and good quality.
    3. Imagination!

    Now before we get started there are signature limits at NGEMU. The maximum width/height here is 500x130 ;) Now that is for offsite hosting and the maximum size of the image would be ~25kb (kilobyte)

    If you are using NGEMU as your host the signature limits are 500x100 and 20kb (kilobytes) ;)

    I highly reccomend that you take a look at Strider's Guide to Signatures and Signature Hosting thread that will help you with finding a host to host your signatures. :)

    Now Let's get started!!!

    Okay first off you need to find your images. If you are looking for games images (like I always do) I reccomend Game Wallpapers Hebus and Google to help you find those images you can't get at the other sites.

    In case you aren't farmilar with Photoshop here is what it looks like. The arrows show what you will be using mostly. These two items should be on your working area automatically. If they aren't then you can make them show up by going to Window >> Layers to show the layers box, and also Window >> Tools to show the Tools Bar.

    [​IMG]

    Now look for your image and open it in photoshop. Go File >> Open then search for your image, highlight the file and click open.

    Look I found my image!!!

    [​IMG]

    Now that you have your image like I do here, You are going to have to crop it. In order to do that select your Rectangular Marquee Tool and select the area that you want to keep.

    [​IMG]

    Then go to Image >> Crop like it looks below.

    [​IMG]

    Voila! Now you have the area of the image you will be working with.

    [​IMG]

    Before you start cutting, I always like to do a little trick to make sure that I get a clean edge. Make a new Layer in the Layer Box by selecting the new layer button shown below.

    [​IMG]

    Once you have your new blank layer fill in with black and/or white. I do this usually if the backround has a color much different from NGEMU's So that I know I cut exact, and do not get any of the backround when I'm cutting.

    When staring at the checkers (transparent backround) long enough it can bug your eyes out ;)

    [​IMG]

    The next step would be to start cutting your picture. It is wise to zoom in the picture 200% - 300% to ge a cleaner edge. It also makes sure yo can make fine details whether it be hair or jagged corners.

    To cut the picture use the Polygonal Lasso Tool. That is the one I prefer and reccomend you use, to get a nice accurate cut and you can take your time with.

    [​IMG]

    Now with each click you will ge a point, drag the tool and click again to make another point. I like to do it in sections. Like here I am doing the top part of my head, then I take a rest. (It can get exhausting!) :p (I highlighted the part to show where I cut)

    [​IMG]

    When your selection is made either go to Edit >> Cut or use Crtl+X to cut it out.

    Now your picture is cut out!

    [​IMG]

    Okay so now we get to actually making the signature. This is a process that is all up to you. The only constraints you have is the resolution to work with. It doesn't *have* to be the maximum either. If you wanted a signature to be 300x100 you could do that too. Just as long as the dimensions aren't larger than the maximum given.

    Okay so create a new image, Go to File >> New or click Ctrl+N

    [​IMG]

    Now you have a nice blank canvis to work with.

    [​IMG]

    I can't stress enough that when you are working with transparencies (if you choose to do so) tha you do not work on that white backround that is default when creating a new image. Make sure you make a new layer and never work on the backround - unless you don't want a transparent image.

    -------------------------------

    Okay so now you have made your signature! I didn't write on that part because what you do can be as much and whatever you want to do! So I leave you to fill in the dotted line ...

    [​IMG]

    If you are making a transparent sig, make sure all you see for your backround is the white and grey checkers like you see in the image above.

    Okay so now you want to save it. Adobe included a nice little feature that let's you customize settings and formats on how you save your image so that you can make it as small as you want ;) (but you may also loose quality in the process) - Luckily it is pretty hard to loose so much quality where it would make your signature unattractive. :p

    Go to File >> Save for Web ...

    [​IMG]

    Then you will coem to a window that looks like this.

    [​IMG]

    Now what you need to do is play around with the settings and look at the projected file size at the bottom left hand side of the window. It look like this ...

    [​IMG]

    Now to make it blend in with NGEMU's backround you have to select what is called a matte color. To do this click on the arrow next to the color box and select other.

    [​IMG]

    Than a new little window will appear and in the bottom type in the color code 193048 there.

    [​IMG]

    Now when your file size is 20kb for on-site hosting or 25kb for off-site hosting (depending on which you are going for) Click save, then choose where you want to save it.

    You will end up with a beautiful custom signature that you made! Here's mine I made with this Tutorial!

    [​IMG]

    Hope this tutorial helps you guys who are struggeling on making your own. :)
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2005
  19. RF

    RF <font color="#B3B3B3"><b>Canadian Spaceman</b></fo

    Messages:
    8,767
    Likes Received:
    0
    In order to keep General Pictures clean all tutoraials will be added to this thread.

    You will find Strider's sig hosting and guidlines, Razor's Photoshop tutorial, and Takmadeus's Gimp tutorials at the moment.

    All redundant posts were deleted in order to keep this thread tidy. Every relevant post was kept. If you have any questions about the existing tutorials please contact the author, or create a new thread . Make sure you exahust your brain before asking questions. ;)

    If you wish to submit a tutorial, please post it as a normal thread and it will be added eventually.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2004
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page