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  1. *After Note: Damn, writing tutorials are hard. haha. A lot of this is messily written. If you have any questions or parts that I need to clear up let me know in a post and I'll answer to the best of my ability. *Another Note: All resources can be found in the tutorial when you reach the point of needing them. Hi guys and girls, I finally made a clean signature (LOL), so I thought I could make a tutorial out of it. It's fairly simple, and some parts aren't the best. But here I go!~ OUTCOME To start it off: Canvas Size. I did mine 500x220, because that's what I'm comfortable with. You can use whatever size, it shouldn't matter too much. Go with what you're comfortable with. Blank Canvas Step 2, Getting your background / stock. For this tutorial you want a stock which has an obvious fore-ground to it. I chose a scene from 'Garden of Words' (Kotonoha no Niwa). This is the stock I used (already re-sized though). You want to resize it, rotate it (if you think it would look better), and place it. This stock is pretty easy in this case since the foreground needs to be vertical, you can't rotate it too much. Just resize + place. This is what mine looked like. *Note: This will be your bottom/base layer. Stock + Placement Now that you've put your stock down, you're pretty much done with the background. Easy, right? The next thing you have to do is render the fore-ground part of your stock, in this case it's the pole + leaves. I'm not the best at rendering (I'm pretty terrible), but it shouldn't matter too much. It's not the focal point of your signature. This is what my render looked like. *Note: I didn't render the right side of the pole because I knew I wouldn't place my render there anyway. It would be better to render it completely, but I'm lazy, and as I said, not the best at rendering. Pole Render So you've got the background / foreground separated now. Time to do the in-between. That's the character render. Pick out your render. I had a garden/park scene, so I picked a render I thought would fit it. Resize it, rotate it (if you like), and then place it where you want. This is the render I chose + where I placed it. This layer is in between the BG and the FG. Character Render + Placement: <Warning, Pantsu Shot> It's starting to come together already! The colours seem a bit mismatched though, so to match them a bit more I placed a copy of my render over the entirety of the background/foreground. I did this twice, Gaussian blurred one on Overlay (56% Opacity) and motion blurred the other on Normal (5% Opacity). Once I had these two layers, I duplicated them again. And I used two for the FG, and two for the BG. I used a clipping mask so it would only effect the background and foreground, and not the render itself. To do that, alt+click in between the adjusting layer, and the layer you want to apply the changes to in the layers section. (So starting from the top, the order of youre layers are: Adj1+Ad2+Foreground -> Character Render -> Adj1+Adj2+Background) BG/FG Colour Adjust I want to add in more lighting now, to make the signature more scenic. As you can see by the render, the light is going this way. Lighter-->Darker. So you want the light source coming in from the left side of the signature. I used a soft-rounded brush to put white in over the upper left, and gradually eased up as I reached the middle-bottom of the signature. Once I had the foundations of it set, I motion-blurred (Angle 53: Distance: 287) the light source. I then put it on overlay (77% Opacity). This layer will be on-top of all the other layers. Lighting We have a light source now, yay. It looks a too bland for my personal preferences, so I want to add a little more depth to the character herself. Duplicate the character render directly on top of herself, and Gaussian blur it. (~5) It made the white parts too bright, so you want to render it out so you only have the hair left. Set the layer on hard light (100% Opacity). It gives it a nice, soft feeling to it. Fun to look at. Hair Adj Again, the lighting needs a bit more work. Or rather, the shadows. She's underneath cover, but there is no shadow over her, so it looks a little funny. Just use a soft-rounded brush to brush in some black where you think the shadows will be, and set the layer to Normal (19% Opacity). Shadows Time to spice it up a bit. Add in a cool, flowy stock or c4d. Place it where you think will look nice on Screen (46% Opacity). This is the one I used, and where I placed it. +Flow It's looking nice, but because of the adj1 + adj2, the colours of the leaves are a bit unnatural! (oops!). Duplicate the stock BG and put it under the lighting layer, but on top of every other layer. Motion blur it (same settings), and then get an eraser on 50% Opacity, and erase where the render would be visible. Put it on overlay (100% Opacity). Adj3 Nice, the colours are looking nice. It's pretty much complete here, but I thought glowing things would make it look nice. I added in some c4d bubbles, duplicated the layer and put them on Screen (75% Opacity). I Gaussian blurred the bottom layer to give it more of a glow. Glow Time for adjustment layers! Yay! No need to explain these, they're for adjusting your layers, silly! My first adjustment layer was a Black->White Gradient Map. I put it on Overlay (24% Opacity). My second adjustment layer was a photo filter on "Yellow", 25% Density, +Preserve Luminosity. My third adjustment layer was a grey(#202020)->white Gradient Map. Softlight (33% Opacity). My fourth adjustment layer was a Black->gold(#7b7c2b)->light yellow(#feffd5) Gradient Map. Normal (28% Opacity). *Note: I'll put the settings in screenshots underneath + the changes. Final Adj Layers All that there is now, add text + Border. Border is a 1 pixel white border. Text is Code Light 18pt in white. And you're done! Hope you enjoyed the tutorial. The good thing about this is you don't need any brushes! (Banzai!) Outcome
  2. poetictragedy

    [Tutorial] Adjustment Layers

    TUTORIAL: ADJUSTMENT LAYERS So you've made a signature--the hard part is over! These are some quick adjustments that can take your signature to the next level. DISCLAIMER: I'm using Photoshop CS5 on Windows 7. There are probably differences between versions of Photoshop and/or between operating systems. I just don't know what those might be. And please excuse the quality of the signature being used in this demonstration. I literally threw a few stocks and render together, pffft. PREFACE: I'm a pretty organized person, so I like to make use of the Groups function. In the Layers window, click the manilla folder icon to make a new group. I make a "Work" group, and put all of the actual signature layers in there, and make another for "Adjustment Layers." [x] To create a new adjustment layer, click the ying-yang icon in the Layers window, and select the adjustment layer you desire. Now let's get to work! STEP 1: GRADIENT I use this layer to help improve lighting and flow. Look at your render to see where the shadows fall--this is the direction your gradient should follow. [x] Line up your gradient to follow the light path of your render, and leave the other settings as is. [x] Before hitting Done, change the gradient to black>white, this will give you both light and shadow later on. Change the blending option to Overlay and the Opacity to 25%. (You can sometimes go higher, but I always start at 25%) STEP 2: SELECTIVE COLOR I use the Selective Color layer to really tweak the coloring of the image--it can help a lot with blending. This is by-far the most arbitrary step. All I do is go color-by-color and move each slider back and forth until I think it looks okay. It's really just trial and error. Here's an example of the Reds. [x] However, this layer plays a big role in determining the final outcome of the signature. See the difference between the image from step 1 and the after image? STEP 3: COLOR BALANCE This is really similar to the Selective Color layer. Again, I just slide the sliders until it looks right to me. This layer helps fix any over-coloring you might have done in the previous step, and helps if you want your signature to be more red, or more yellow, etc. Here are the settings I went with. [x] OPTIONAL STEP: VIBRANCE Sometimes, a signature is too brightly colored for the look I'm going for. If that's the case, I use a Vibrance layer and turn down the saturation slightly. Somewhere between 5-20, usually. On the other hand, if you wanted to make a signature more brightly colored, you can turn up the vibrance. In some cases, you can crank it all the way up! STEP 4: BRIGHTNESS/CONTRAST This layer can help give your signature more depth. I recommend increasing the contrast first, then adjusting the brightness. [x] NOTE: I usually use the Levels layer, but for the purpose of this tutorial, I used Brightness/Contrast instead. Levels is more complicated. AND VOILA! The layers can be adjusted at any time, so if you notice something looks weird, you can always go back and fix it. Otherwise, you're finished! Here are all of the layers! [x] Compare the before and after images! PRO TIP: You can change the color of the canvas background in Photoshop! Before completely finishing a signature, I'll change it to Kametsu's post background color to check what it'll look like on here. This can be helpful for SOTW entries, wink wink! Set the foreground color to #121212, and select the paintbucket tool. Hold shift + click anywhere in the area outside of your signature to change the canvas background color. Let me know if anything is unclear, and I'll try to help. Comments and criticisms are encouraged!
  3. okay, this is probably not going to be the best tutorial in the world, but it will hopefully help some people who are starting out. to start your webcomic, you need some sort of idea where you're going with it. maybe a story you have that you'd like to get across, or if it's a comedic piece, have some jokes written down somewhere to use. Secondly you need characters. try to make your characters reproducable, and by that i mean you're going to be drawing these characters over and over again, make sure you're happy and comfortable with drawing their design. i spent 4 year perfecting the design of my comics characters and some of the ones that haven't been revealed still haven't got their completed design. once you have those two you should find yourself a comic base, one that you can extend to have more panels if you need to. this is mine never fear that the lines are not transparent, a funky trick i learnt from a friend of mine it to throw the base as the top layer and change the blend mode to multiply! now i use Paint tool sai to draw my comics and photoshop to do all the text, but what programs you use is totally up to you LET US BEGIN THE CREATION OF A COMIC! STEP ONE! i have a base set up, with the top layers set to multply already so all i have to do is start drawing, the beautiful thing about sai is the multiply blend mode is EXACTLY the same as photoshop. another happy thing about sai is it saves things as .psd so you can transfer all of your beautiful layering into photoshop without any issues at all! STEP TWO! now that the base is set up, you need to start sketching out each panel you intend to draw, just use the air brush at something thick like 9 or 12 pixels, this is going to be really really rough. also a good idea to make note of what you want any text to say, it doesn't have to be exactly what the end text will say, just an idea to get you going. anyone that knows my drawings can tell that THIS is really, really, REALLY rough for me, so don't feel bad if your sketch looks like garbage, as long as YOU get the general idea of what's going on, emotion, position of characters etc then who cares what it looks like at this stage STEP THREE! making the dodgey sketch look more like what you want it to look like! simple enough, make the layer you just draw that sketch on transparent, anywhere between 20% and 60% it really doesn't matter. then on a new layer, draw over it, a little better than you did before, but still sketchy. you can use a darker grey if you'd like too. don't feel like you have to stay with the original sketch either, if you don't like how one of the panels is working out, go right ahead and change it! STEP FOUR! time to add the black lines for the final comic!, unless of course you're not happy with something in the comic, in which case, go back to step 2 until you think it's ready to go. anyway! use a slightly thinner airbrush size, 5-7 is usually good, and then, go over what you've drawn in black. DON'T FORGET THE NEW LAYER!!! it's an easy mistake to make and i do it all the time and have to start over. STEP FIVE! Save you comic, a good thing to do is to number your comics as you're drawing them rather than just titleing them, it keeps them in the right order rather than all over the place. anyway save as a .psd so you can open up in photoshop and keep you fancy layers, don't delete your sketch layers, i find it handy to ALWAYS keep them, you never know what you might need them for. purty lines lines with the sketches underneath STEP SIX! TO PHOTOSHOP! or GIMP or whatever image software you use that supports font open up you comic, in photoshop you will notice it will be transparent, this is because SAI keeps a white background under EVERYTHING and the individual layers have transparency. this white background is not in the actual image so it won't appear when you take it over into photoshop, to remedy the lack of white, just make a new layer under everything and fill it white. the fabulous thing about photoshop is it come PRELOADED with a speech bubble custom shape, so all you have to do is make the front colour white and drop one where you need it. double click on the layer to bring up the layer fun box and just tick stroke so you bubble has an outline. newer versions of photoshop are special and like to make text go all retarded when you try to drop it over top of the custom shapes, so it's easier to just start typing in a random spot and move it over top of the bubble later and make them fit afterwards. most comics have centered text too, if you don't make it centered it will look funny, and probably won't fit in the bubble right. forgive me for not posting more screenshots of that last step, it's a really easy one for anyone that knows what software they're using to add text, i didn't think it really needed the extra screenshots regardless, enjoy making your comics everyone =D ~ Shazi
  4. okay, i'm going to show you all how i draw, but first you're going to need two of either 3 programs. to do the initial drawing i use paint tool SAI. the portable version of SAI is free. since sai is a drawing based program to do any lighting effects, you will want to use either Photoshop or GIMP. i tend to use Photoshop CS5. Step 1 draw your "skeleton" this is to start your posing of your character.to do this, use a light grey, airbrush tool with a radius of 4 pixels. here is my "skeleton" Step 2 next you draw a basic body on a new layer. in a darker grey then the skeleton draw curvy shapes to reprisent the torso, head, arms and legs. Step 3 now we get into some details. hair, clothing and facial details to be exact. again in a darker grey and on a new layer, sketch what you're imagining. as you can see i have modified my drawing from the skeleton and original body sketch. this is because i noticed my proportions were off. so i edited accordingly. here she is without the sketching lines underneath. now, if you're happy with you last sketch, you can just darken the layer by going "Filter > Brightness and Contrast" and lower the brightness on the layer. or you can clean your lines with a black or near black airbrush on a new layer. i opted for the first choice. next i will be showing you how to colour, shading and highlights!