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Puppet's Art Tutorials (Gimp)

Puppet

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Black Thorn
Okay, so I totally caved and decided to try my hand a little more at this, in case anyone wonders how I do what I do. Especially since a lot of you are using or have used banners and icons I've created :)

We start with an icon of Miracle Laurie (Dollhouse) that I found through Google Images:

So the first thing we do (after opening Gimp, of course) is choosing our size. I tend to always go for 200x200, even though they are technically 100x100 on this site, because it gives a much better quality in the end.

I then pick the photo up from my desktop and drag it into Gimp, where it starts off very large :)

The first thing I do (if the image name off to the side is bold) is right-click the square and choose 'Add Alpha Channel'.

Now, I re-size. Again, I right-click the small square at the left side of the screen and pick 'Scale Layer'. By now, I can usually do it on the first try, but you can play around with the size as you'd like it. Just remember, don't re-size and already re-sized photo; instead, go Ctrl-Z (or Undo) to get it back to normal and then try again. Otherwise, you'll ruin the pixelation of the original photo.

Now, I don't usually zoom in for an icon (unless I'm erasing part of the picture) but I did it now so you can better see what's happening. I've re-sized it as I want it and am ready to continue.

Thanks to this site changing to round icons, my next step is to grab the Ellipse Select Tool and frame the photo with it, so I can tell what it will look like when used on the Boards.

I move the photo around until I find exactly the right spot that gives me what I want (I'm a fan of half-a-face icons, lol).

And then you right-click the image once more and pick Layer to Image Size.

Now, if the image you have is just a little too dark, here's what you can do; again, right-click the small image and pick Duplicate Layer. While on that layer, you pick Mode (just a few inches above the small images) and choose Screen. This will lighten it up. If it's too light, you can adjust the setting at the Opacity option, right between the images and Mode. You can also duplicate and screen it more than once after you've merged the 2 layers. I only did it once and at a 50% opacity. I also followed it up by merging everything together into just one image.

This next part is something I do to everything I make, including banners. No matter the quality of the photo (though occasionally I've found it unnecessary, rare as it is) I go to Filters and under Enhance I choose Unsharp Mask at the very bottom.

When I get to Unsharp Mask, I do not alter any of the settings; I just press OK. Feel free to play around with it yourself, I just prefer the main setting myself.

Now, because the pictures I use are rarely HD quality, I return to Filters->Enhance and this time pick Sharpen.

Sharpen starts off at 10 and, again, you can play around with it. I usually pick 40, though.

I like to add bright bangs of color to my images, so the next step is to go into Color and pick the first one, Color Balance.

Again, you can play around with it. It usually takes me at least a few tries to find the one I'm happy with. You can reset at any time.

After playing around, I've found my happy finality :)

Almost to the finish line, I head back into Filters, go into Blur and pick Selective Gaussian Blur.

This step will start at 5 on both counters. I use 5 when I really want something blurred out, but if I just want to blur out some pixelation from my editing, I'll press down twice on both picks, so it looks like this.

And this is what it looks like!

Then I just export the image to png (or jpg, if you prefer) and you've got yourself an icon!

Here's the before and after, side-by-side:
------->>>


Hope you can use this :)
 
Willow Tara
Willow Tara
Thanks so much for this!!!! Now I need banner stuff! Mainly how to get more than one pic merged into... Well one pic as a banner...

Puppet

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Black Thorn
Part 1

Now for a banner tutorial, phew this took a bit. I'm almost grateful to have run into a few issues while making it, because that means you learn more than if it had just been your usual fare for me :p

So what I'm gonna do here is take these 3 pics:



And turn them into this banner:

Let's get started!

Open up Gimp and pick New and then go for this site's sizing of 500x150.

Take the three pictures and drag them into the layer (or open them up into the layer if that's easier for you) and you'll see them over on the left side as small squares. Now, two of them will have bold writing, so for those, you'll want to right-click and choose Add Alpha Channel.

I usually work on 100% but, again, I've zoomed in to 200% so that it's easier to see what I'm doing. It was interesting, but I muddled through it :)
Anyway, the pictures are all very dark, so I click the little eye on the two top squares and work on lightening the third square down using the method from the icon tutorial; Duplicate Layer->Mode->Screen and then merge together. Repeat until satisfied.

I now play with sizing, again starting with the third picture down, and place it where I think I'll like it best. It can be changed, but by now I know pretty much where I'll place it.

When you have it where you want it, right-click the square and pick Layer to Image Size.

After you've resized the second picture and you're ready to place it, you want to go to Opacity and put it at 50%; this will make it much easier to move around and place where you want it in relation to the other, already placed, photo.

Once I have it where I want it, I, again, right-click and pick Layer to Image Size and bring the Opacity back to 100%.

Now we come to our first problem. In trying to find a place for picture number three, I've run into an issue; it leaves an open hole of background.

I undo (I use Ctrl->Z) all the way back to Step 5, leaving just the one picture there (the third square down, with the sword). In tools I choose the very first one, called the Rectangle Select Tool, and by clicking and dragging I pick the part of the photo that doesn't have Kendra in it. When doing this, make sure you're sat on the right picture!

Once I have the chosen part in the square, I copy+paste it into a brand new layer, which I then move down above the sword layer. I then pick the Flip Tool and press once on the new layer, so that it becomes a mirror image to the original picture.

Once I've flipped it, I move it over to fit like a puzzle with the original picture. When I've done that, I merge it down into the original and, again, pick Layer to Image Size.

Now drag the new merged layer over to fit with the left side and go to tools and pick the Smudge Tool.

Use the Smudge Tool to smudge out the black line that is running through the image where we put the two layers together. Use a careful hand, so it looks as invisible as possible.

Back to where we were originally after Step 5 :)P) we now resize and (possibly) Screen the next photo to lighten it and move it over to the opposite side of where we had it the first time. As you can see below, now the background fits and the white is obscured completely. Yay.

Once again, I take the final picture and turn down the Opacity so that I can figure out where I want it (after I've, once again, re-sized it and lightened it a bit).

When all the pictures are exactly where you want them to be, this is what it will look like.

Now we use the eye to make the top layer (the middle Kendra) invisible, so we can work on merging the two bottom layers better together. We do so by picking layer 2 (right-side Kendra), right-clicking and picking Add Layer Mask.

A box will pop up and, if you haven't touched anything!, it will be clicked onto White (full opacity), which is where it needs to stay. So just press the Add button.

Now there will be a small white box beside your little square. Go to Tools and pick the Blend Tool. Again, don't change any of the settings. However, if your settings have already changed from an earlier art project, here's where it should be at in the tool options; Opacity at 100%, Gradient should be FG to BG (RBG) and you shouldn't be touching anything else :p

With your mouse, you go to a few inches off of the left edge of the current layer (Right-side Kendra), press down and then drag it a few inches across the photo, and then let go. This is what it will look like.

Again, you now can play around with it (using Ctrl->Z if you regret a move) until it looks how you want; this is my final look.
Some blend better than others, but this is pretty good for what I had to work with :)

When you are finished working on this layer (right-side Kendra) right-click her and pick Apply Layer Mask, to merge the white box with the original layer.

Press the eye again and bring the final layer back to visibility. Sometimes I'll again use the Layer Mask method, but for this one, because it's so small, I am using another method. So you now go to Tools and pick Free Select Tool.
I've also zoomed in into 400% because this is very careful work.

Using a steady hand, you bring the mouse down every few inches to surround Kendra, and only Kendra, eliminating the background completely. This is a bit tough to explain so I hope it comes across the right way.


When you've surrounded all of Kendra, take the mouse and go all the way around the picture (don't touch the picture itself with the line) until you're back where you began, now click on the very first select step you made to 'close the loop', as it were.

End of Part 1
 

Puppet

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Joined
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Black Thorn
Part 2

When you've 'closed the loop' this is what it will look like.

Go to Select and pick Feather.

Feather keeps the edges from being too stark and hard when you remove the background. It will start at 5.000 but that will make it too blurry, so for pictures like this I prefer to go for 2.000, but again, that's something for you to play around with and find what you like best.

When you've feathered it, hover your mouse over the background part of it and right-click. Pick Layer, then Transparency, and then Threshold Alpha.

Move it all the way over to the right, to remove everything that wasn't inside of the selected portion you created. Then press OK.

This is what it will look like.

To remove the stippling around Kendra, go to Tools and again pick the very first one, Rectangle Select Tool, and simply press anywhere outside of the stippling to get it to go away.

Zoom back out to 200% and this is what it will look like.

Now, as you can tell, the middle Kendra is much tanner than the other two, so I Duplicate Layer, Screen and play with the Opacity to get it as close to the other skin tones as I can.
The difference is near invisible but after you've done this for a while you'll recognize the difference very easily.

You now want to merge all the layers down into each other. I usually do this through the Ctrl->M method, but for this tutorial, we'll do it the manual way. Right-click each layer and simply pick Merge Down, until you only have 1 single layer left.

Back to similar steps as on the icon tutorial, we now go into Filters, then into Enhance and then pick Unsharp Mask.

And again, so long as you haven't touched anything previously, the settings should already be perfect. Unless you wish to play around with them, of course.

And here's what it will look like.

And then return to Filter, then Enhance and then pick Sharpen. Again, I usually use 40 but you can play around with it.

And, again, here's what it will look like.
The graininess will, of course, be fixed by the blurring I'm gonna do in a bit.

Now we go to Color and pick Color Balance.

In order to see the whole image, I've zoomed back out to 100%, but it's just for a moment. Again, and I keep saying this, but you can play around with it. I have my favorites, but I started out the same as you :)

When you've got your color scheme down, go to Filters, then go to Blur and pick Selective Gaussian Blur.

If you want it super smooth-looking, leave it at 5, but I rarely use that setting. Mostly I'll go for 3 and 34, as you'll see below.

Now that we've finished the image part of the banner, it's time to add some text. So go into Tools and pick Text Tool :)

Drag your mouse to create a box to put your writing it. Depending on the background you may need to change the color of your text, I started with black but had to change it to red to be able to see what it said.

Go into the different fonts (which can be downloaded separately, but that's for another thread ;)) and pick the one you think will fit best. I tend to use different fonts for different words, but for this one, I felt compelled to use the same for everything, which is rare.

End of Part 2
 

Puppet

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Part 3

Once I have my text the size I want it to be, this is what it will look like.

Then you take both layers and right-click and pick Layer to Image Size.
If you want the text to look the same, merge the text layers together. If not, leave them be and work on them separately.

Next up I go to Filters, go to Alpha to Logo and pick Glowing Hot.

Again you can play with the setting, I usually stay within 1-5. This time I go with 3 (these numbers control how big the glow around the text will be).

When it's done working its magic, you need to delete the black background layer completely.

If the glow isn't quite the right color, go to Color and pick Colorize.

Hue controls the color, Saturation controls the brightness of that color, and Lightness, well, decides whether to make it lighter or darker. You can see my personal settings below.

Now to add some dimension to the text, I go to Filters, then go to Light and Shadow and pick Drop Shadow.

This is also a setting I play around with based on what I like with each text, so for this one I've used these settings.

I like to add 3x shadow but (again) you can play around with it to your liking. When I've added what I want, the layer will have become bigger than the 500x150 I started out with.

Before I can work on fixing this issue, I merge all layers together; this time, using Ctrl->M. When I do this box pops up - touch nothing and press the Merge button.

Now you pick Crop Tool and cover the entire layer by clicking down your mouse and dragging it over the banner.


Zoom in to 400% and drag the edges in until you reach the edges of the banner. When you have covered the grey you want gone, just left-click anywhere on the banner itself and it will pop back to its usual size of 500x150.

And here is the final look!

Now we go into File and pick Export As to save it as a png or jpg file.

Again, don't touch anything and just press Export, after you've chosen the right destination/folder (I usually just go for the Desktop).

And there you go! Voila, one banner complete :D (I better see you trying this very soon @Willow Tara because this took a really long time :p)
 

Puppet

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Joined
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Black Thorn
Alright, time for another one :)

We're going to take all of these pictures (below):
And turn it into this:

Step 1, as always, is to open Gimp and start a New file with the size of 500x150. When you've done this, you take every single picture and add them into the file. The ones with bold writing get a quick Add Alpha Channel and then you're ready to begin.


In order to better work, press the little eyes on the side of your pictures until you only have your bottom layer (in this case, the beach side BG picture) visible; it makes it easier to work on one picture at a time.


Now it's time to scale your background layer. I played with mine a few times before I was happy with the final result, which was 300x200.


Then you want to Layer to Image Size and when you've done that, Duplicate Layer.


Using the Flip Tool you flip the duplicated layer so it mirrors the original exactly. Then you move it over and try to match it up perfectly to the original layer.


When you've done that and have moved it over where you want it, then it's back to Layer to Image Size.


Now you can click the Xander layer back to visible and start working on that. My first step is to lighten the image with a few Screen modes (you should know this from previous posts in this thread) and then make it the size I'm happy with.


I now zoom into 400 so it's easier to work with and grab the Free Select Tool and surround the background of the Xander layer so all that remains is Xander himself. I then use the also previously demonstrated BG removal to get to the wanted result you see below.



Now that the 2 main layers are done, I press the eye to get Xander invisible again and work on the bottom layer. I go into Colors and choose Desaturate, which gives me 3 options of black and white for the photo. I pick the one I think looks the best.


I then do the same for the Xander layer.


I also use a quick Unsharp Mask on the Xander layer, but that's not something you have to do; I just like it :)
Anyway, now you start to methodically take each layer, make it the size you want, move it where you want and then Desaturate it, until you're happy with the finished result.



Final step before we blur it a bit and export to png file: colorization. We go into Colors, pick Color Balance and, as always, play around with it until we're happy with the final result.



And here we are! :D

 
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