Graphics Workshop #1

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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby LucyP0104 » Sep 09, 2011 7:05 pm

Ooh, this is cool!
How long have you been making graphics?
I think I started shortly after I joined the forum- so maybe for a little over 4 years? I think everyone's graphics inspired me to join and try to make some of my own.
What photoshop program do you use (Photoshop, Gimp, etc.)?
Photoshop 6. I know, it's old, but it does the job.
What kind of graphics do you like to make?
I make a lot of icons, with the occasional wallpaper. They're pretty much all of various obsessions of mine- movies, musicians, etc. Lately I've been making a lot of song lyric signatures, which is really fun.
What inspires you to make graphics?
It could be a picture that catches my eye that I want to use for a graphic, a new texture I want to try out, or from just scrolling through NW and looking at others' work. Most of the time it's the last one. ;)

winterlife, I use textures on icons pretty often. I don't like to layer them on very much, usually for me one or two do the trick. I don't usually want to make them super noticeable, just a enough to add a little bit of cool lighting or colors to an icon. That's just my preference right now, I go through phases. ;)
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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby Wunderkind_Lucy » Sep 10, 2011 11:29 am

Wow! It's really interesting to see the different programs that y'all use. Since I have, at one time or another, used many of these programs, I can see how y'all have really worked the programs to make such wonderful graphics.

I also like the idea that Princess Anna had of showing graphics from when she first started compared to now.

flambeau: I hope it's okay for me to bring more to the discussion.

My first avie:
Image
(made in Microsoft Picture It)

A recent avie:
Image
(made in Photoshop)

My first sig:
Image
(made in GIMP)

A recent sig:
Image
(made in Photoshop) ^^ it's not very recent, lol.

Looking back, it's cool to see the improvements I made. Back when I first started making graphics, I struggled in many areas, but specifically my graphics tended to be 1.) too yellowy in color, 2.) too grainy, and 3.) too overwhelmed with text.

Image Image Image

Those are some examples of my old avies that I think show the areas I struggled in. Gradually, I learned how to work on my coloring by using more than just color layers. Now, I'm quite fond of things like brightness/contrast and vibrance (only in Photoshop) as well as channel mixer, color balance, levels (a definite favorite), and curves.

I've also learned that it's best to use high quality images when making avies since I am working in a smaller space. Another thing I learned (since someone asked about this not too long ago in the questions thread) is to save graphics as png's! Saving them in jpg or gif will make your graphics look grainy.

Text is probably an area I still struggle with, though I know I have improved greatly from the old days. ;) I try to use text as sparingly as possible and keep the text and fonts very simple. If you'll notice in this icon: Image, the font is really too overwhelming to the point that you can hardly tell what's behind the text. Looking back, I realized that I overemphasized the text when I really wanted to emphasize the Turkish Delight itself.

Hope this is of some help to you or at least shows that I am still going through a learning process.

What are some areas that you struggle with?

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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby daughter of the King » Sep 10, 2011 12:02 pm

Just because I like the idea of doing a comparison so much...

Here's my first avatar:
Image

And a more recent one:
Image

I like to think I've improved. ;)) I think my absolute favorite avatar is the one I'm using now. I was just so satisfied with the cropping and the lighting and the contrast.

My signatures have changed quite a bit as well.

An early one:
Image

And a recent one:
Image

I still struggle with text and coloring quite a bit. Mostly with making text fit where I want it but still having it be readable.
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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby narnian_at_heart » Sep 10, 2011 12:31 pm

OK, I'll do a comparison.

This was my very first avatar:
Image

And my current avatar which I really like:
Image

This is one of my first signatures and it was quite awful. The text was too bland and was hard to read.
Image

And a current one:
Image

I love seeing how everyone has improved. It's hard to see the improvement day by day but seeing it over a long period of time is amazing!
Image
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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby campgirl » Sep 10, 2011 1:03 pm

Wow, you guys. :D Great improvements! Amazing. I love all the recents! ;))

Here's some comparisons of my stuff --
Image -First ever avie.
Image Image Image -More recent.
I pretty much love the Allan one...and no, it doesnt have anything to do with his beautiful blue eyes...ahem. :| ;)). And I like the one I'm using now, the colors are calming to me. :)

Image -First sig.
Image Image -Recent-er.

Image -First wallpaper.
Image Image -More recent.


I've always had trouble with text, so with a lot of my stuff I just try to work with coloring and textures, and cropping (which I love).

I like looking at my old stuff, but some of them I'm quite embarrassed by :ymblushing:, although they do make my newer stuff look good! I definitely have some improvements to make still, but it's a little encouraging to see the ones I have made! :p

Looking forward to more of this thread!
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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby Tarkheena » Sep 10, 2011 1:54 pm

Oooo, I like this idea, wunderkind! :)

My first ever avatar:
Image
Made with Microsoft PictureIt.

And a couple recent favorites:
Image
I love the sparkly texture I used for this one; and I changed the color of her dress from purple to blue, so that was fun. ;))
Image
Another sparkly favorite. :p
Image
And this one took a long time, so I was very proud of it. :p

First ever signature:
Image
Made with Microsoft PictureIt.

Recent signatures:
Image
Made with Picnik.
Image
Made with Microsoft PictureIt and Picnik.
Image
Made with Microsoft PictureIt and Picnik.
Image
avvie & sig by me

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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby ValiantArcher » Sep 10, 2011 5:42 pm

- How long have you been making graphics?
Well, I guess it's been about 4 years, off and on, since I started around the same time I joined NW. ;))

- What photoshop program do you use (Photoshop, Gimp, etc.)?
GIMP! It's free, and it works just fine for what I do with it. :) I discovered at the end of last semester, though, that a few of the computers at uni have Photoshop (6, maybe? I was told that it was a very nice version of it), so I may try it out someday, if I get a chance. :)

- What kind of graphics do you like to make?
I mainly make avatars, though I also make signatures and sometimes wallpapers and banners. As far as what I make graphics off, it's usually whatever show or film or book I'm into at the moment. ;)) I have trouble with text overall (both with pictures or a background and by itself), though, so I don't make graphics of book quotes too often. :ymblushing: Oddly enough, too, I've never really made Narnian graphics... ;))

- What inspires you to make graphics?
Sometimes, it's either just a scene in a movie or show that's just really lovely from a cinematographic point-of-view or one that's very important for the characters. Sometimes a lyric or a phrase will inspire, or sometimes it will be a graphic someone else has made (though, usually they're so lovely, they just depress me ;))). Most often, though, talking about something with someone else will get me excited about it and thus want to make graphics for it. ;))

*joins the club of people who struggle with text* I often leave my graphics textless simply because I can't think of anything to put on them, or can't get it to look right. Sometimes, I figure it out, and sometimes I just leave them with funny text. :ymblushing: It bugs me, though, because I love to make text textures and can rarely figure out where to use them. Thus I've got about 120-odd ones stocked up with nowhere to go. ;))

Wunder wrote:Text is probably an area I still struggle with, though I know I have improved greatly from the old days. ;)
Really? ;)) Based on your work that I've seen, I never would've thought that you struggled with text. This gives me hope for myself, then. ;))

Dot wrote:I still struggle with text and coloring quite a bit. Mostly with making text fit where I want it but still having it be readable.
Oh, yes. And making the font and the size and text all fit each other. :P

campgirl wrote: I've always had trouble with text, so with a lot of my stuff I just try to work with coloring and textures, and cropping (which I love).
Even so, you've definitely improved with the text. :) The texts on the Sleeping Beauty avy and the Lion King wallie fit well.

winterlife wrote: And I have a question: How many of you use textures with your graphics, and to what extent do you usually use them?
I use them, but not all the time. :) When I use them, I'll usually just use a few to add sparkle or shine or else to just play with the colours or contrast some. Lately, though, I've mainly just been opening a new layer, throwing some splotches of paint on it, running it through gaussian blur and using that. ;))

I'll have to see if I can dig up some of my old ones for contrast with some of my newer ones. :)
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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby LucyP0104 » Sep 10, 2011 7:48 pm

I really like the idea of comparing old stuff and new stuff! It's really cool to see how everyone has improved.
Here are some of my first icons:
Image Image
And an early signature:
Image
Now some newer icons:
Image Image
And a newer signature:
Image

Wunderkind_Lucy wrote:Text is probably an area I still struggle with, though I know I have improved greatly from the old days. ;)

I do as well. When the graphic is just a quote without an image, it's fine. But when I have an image and I know it needs text to complete it, I usually have a hard time deciding what it should say. So I don't really struggle with placement and fonts so much as what exactly the text is, if that makes sense. ;)
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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby DaughterofEve1792 » Sep 13, 2011 1:37 am

- How long have you been making graphics?
It's been a little over a year now, since I discovered the wonderland of photoshop and editing. :)
- What photoshop program do you use (Photoshop, Gimp, etc.)?
I use Picasa and Picnik. Nothing fancy or anything. I tried Gimp out, but didn't quite understand the layout of things, so I went back to Picasa. :p
- What kind of graphics do you like to make?
Mostly my graphics have been for Narnia, but I have made others for characters from a book my brother and I are writing.
- What inspires you to make graphics?
Music and song lyrics are a BIG inspiration when I make graphics. However, events in the life of a character play a big part in whatever storyline I have in mind for the picture. My favorite character to make graphics for is Susan Pevensie, because her life weaves such a tragic story, and we're hardly told anything about it. So, I take it upon myself to help tell it. =)

LucyP0104 wrote:When the graphic is just a quote without an image, it's fine. But when I have an image and I know it needs text to complete it, I usually have a hard time deciding what it should say. So I don't really struggle with placement and fonts so much as what exactly the text is, if that makes sense. ;)


It is the EXACT opposite for me!! haha I usually have what I want to say already in my head, but I need to find the image to put it with. I don't really have a problem with placement, if it's just one or two lines of text. But, more than that, and I start having a hard time situating the text.
Image
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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby Sheroo of Stormness Head » Sep 13, 2011 4:01 pm

Wow, you all struggle with text too? That's wonderful!!! ....I mean, I'm glad I'm not the only one. :D I normally try to fit such a big idea into one little wallpaper collage, and I literally can spend ages playing with the text. "What if I make a glow here? What about changing the opacity of this picture? ...Maybe I'm doing this too complicated." :-o Yep. My sister has encouraged me to try to do a collage with no words whatsoever...as an exercise...and I have an idea for it, but I just haven't made it yet. ...So, if you ever see anything of mine that is TOO much text, please tell me! ;)

I've been enjoying seeing your "first to now" avatars and signatures, everyone!
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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby Tarkheena » Sep 13, 2011 5:55 pm

Hey, just thought I'd pop in and add another question to the mix. Hope that's okay, flambeau. :)

I was just looking at everyone's then&now artwork, and it got me thinking. What's your favorite effect, color setting, or texture? You know, that one thing that you always end up going back to and using again, even when you're trying to make something new? ;))

Mine is a coloring. The first thing I do - even before I crop whatever picture I'm using - is brighten it, add a light blue transparent layer, and increase the saturation. I can't help doing it, even if I know I'm just gonna end up making it black&white. It looks good, so I'm not sure if it's a bad habit or not, but I don't wanna get stuck in a rut, you know? Lately I've been trying to mix it up, but I keep going back .... :p
Image
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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby daughter of the King » Sep 13, 2011 6:56 pm

Tarkheena wrote:What's your favorite effect, color setting, or texture? You know, that one thing that you always end up going back to and using again, even when you're trying to make something new? ;))

There is one very basic effect that I use on just about every single graphic I make. After cropping and scaling, I duplicate the base layer and set it to Screen. I then duplicate that layer and set the new layer to Soft Light. I sometimes play around with the opacities, but I usually just leave both on 100%. After I flatten my image I might play around with Curves or Brightness/Contrast if the image is still too dark.

I've tried not doing all that, but when I don't my images tend to turn out a lot darker and they just don't have the same "pop" if that makes any sense. ;)) It's a tried-and-true method that I really like.
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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby lover of narnia » Sep 13, 2011 10:03 pm

*joins the club of comparing new and old stuff* ;))

I too think it's really cool to see how each of us has improved over the time. I still remember the days when I posted the avatars I'm about to show you. Really, I don't know how any of you put up with my disgusting work. XD

A couple of my first avatars:
Image Image Image

A few of my most recent ones:
Image Image Image

Old Sig:
Image

New Sig:
Image

I think I've improved over time. I had a lot of problems with text, over sharpening, and cropping back then. As I learned though I discovered that most of the time if you cannot find the right text to exclude it. Therefore, very little text on my avatars these days is mine, but textures by the lovely flambeau and wunderkind_lucy. :D That doesn't mean I'm still not trying to improve but it's slow I think.

I also think my coloring has drastically changed from the first. Brighter, expanding my techniques, incorporating textures; that's all helped me out a lot.

wunder: Your text use these days is wonderful. Definitely an inspiration to me; since I try to observe how such makers as yourself use it. :)

Tarkeena wrote:I was just looking at everyone's then&now artwork, and it got me thinking. What's your favorite effect, color setting, or texture? You know, that one thing that you always end up going back to and using again, even when you're trying to make something new? ;))


Oh, this is a good question to think on. Actually, my coloring techniques have changed so much from where I started, that really something is usually always new for me. Plus being on livejournal gives me a vast array of texture makers to follow and get textures from (of course with credit!). I'd say the one texture I always fall back is this one: Image. My recent coloring has been achieved using levels. I got the idea of using a lot of levels from flambeau, when she wrote a tutorial for a Caspian Icon and posted it here. As you have probably already seen, she is where a lot of my inspiration comes from. :)
Image

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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby campgirl » Sep 14, 2011 8:31 am

Loving the comparisons! ;))

Tarkheena wrote:What's your favorite effect, color setting, or texture? You know, that one thing that you always end up going back to and using again, even when you're trying to make something new? ;))

Good question! I use tutorials a lot. Sometimes without really realizing it. :P I memorize a technique I liked from a tut (usually one of flam's! :D ) and use it on all of my stuff. Lately, I've been using Wunder's tutorial #81 a lot. And sometimes near the end, I add this CM setting from flam's tutorial #102:
Red: 100, 0, -6.
Green: 0, 100, 0.
Blue: -44, +85, 100.
and lower the opacity of that layer, leaving it on Normal.
But, I've been using this first texture on all of my most recent stuff (and more often than not, the second also):
Image <<Set to either Screen or Lighten Only.
Image <<Set to Soft Light.
That's what I'm doing now. But there's no telling when I'll decide to mix it up. ;))

Kind of a silly question...
When I selectively blur/sharpen people's faces I blur their cheeks, forehead, etc., and sharpen their eyes and mouth, and eyebrows/hair/clothing sometimes. I always sharpen the hair and eyebrows going with the way it lays (sharpening the eyebrows from the inside out, not the outside in), like not 'brushing it backwards'. Is that weird?? :p

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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby wolfloversk » Sep 14, 2011 3:35 pm

I like this whole first graphics discussion so I figured I'd join in:

Early avies:

Image (first ever)

Image Image

Recent Avies:
Image Image

Old Sigs:
Image
Image

Recent-ish Sigs:
Image
Image
Image
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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby Djaq » Sep 14, 2011 7:04 pm

Please forgive me for being late to the party! :ymblushing: This was a great idea, flaminator! :D


- How long have you been making graphics?
I can't quite remember. . . I probably started making them soon after I joined the forum, so that would have been about two and a half or three years ago. :)

- What photoshop program do you use (Photoshop, Gimp, etc.)?
Gimp, baby!

- What kind of graphics do you like to make?
If you mean what size, then it's avatars. I love creating 100x100 pieces of art. Narnia is my first love for graphics. I really like using images from all of those movies, especially PC. Lately I've been loving stock icons, though. :) (Oh, and the BBC Robin Hood is fun to make graphics of too!)

- What inspires you to make graphics?
Looking at other people's work is VERY inspiring! Flam will show me some of her work to 'get my opinion' on it (my reaction is almost always the same: HOW DID YOU DO THAT? :P ), my jaw will usually drop to the floor, and I'll want to run over to my computer and open GIMP. ;)) Also, looking through all of the threads on here is great as well! Everyone on here is so talented, and it's great to see all of their work! :D

Well, that's all for now. :)

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