Graphics Workshop #1

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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby narnian_at_heart » Sep 14, 2011 9:33 pm

What do I always fall back on?

Hmm. With text avatars and sigs, what I fall back on the most is Wunderkind_Lucy's large Safari Journal texture. I use that so much it's not even funny!

For everything else, brightness and contrast. I always brighten the image at least a little bit and enhance the contrast and play with coloring. I'm obsessed with bright coloring.

And I also fall back on Wunderkind_Lucy's and hyaline12's wonderful sparkle textures. I usually set them to 'Screen' and then play with color levels.
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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby Adeona » Oct 03, 2011 9:54 am

I've been making graphics for about three years. I've only ever used GIMP, and it's very rare that I make anything besides avis, though my first graphics were sigs.

First graphic:
Image

Early avis:
Image Image Image

Favorite recent avis:
Image Image Image

I almost always use a ton of textures, even when the avi looks simple. My favorites are by hyaline12 and Wunderkind_Lucy.
Something I struggle with is cropping - I don't think I'm bad at it, but I tend to stick to what I can do - I use the same few crops most of the time. Usually a sort of "Three-quarters bust" like this:
Image
Entering grapics contests on LJ has helped me improve in this area, however.


And of course I have trouble with text, so text textures are very helpful!

This is a really fun topic! :)
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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby flambeau » Oct 04, 2011 7:22 pm

Okay! I'm finally getting around to posting in here! Sorry that it took so long, but I've been a bit busy with work and such. :) But, I'm here now, so here we go...

-How long have you been making graphics?
Around 3 1/2 years. I started in early 2008, not long before Prince Caspian was released. That was a fun time, and the excitement and inspiration flowing in the Fan Art forum at the time convinced me that I had to try it too; I've never regretted it. :)

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

- What kind of graphics do you like to make?
Icons mostly. I used to make signatures/banners, but I'm afraid that I've pretty much abandoned that graphic field except for quote signatures; those are lotses of fun! :D Wallpapers are fun, when I remember to make them. ;))
As for what I like to make graphics of, Narnian graphics were my first love, and I still love making them. I also love to make graphics of my favorite fandoms, which are mostly Robin Hood and Bonanza. I tend to make graphics out of whatever happens to tickle my fancy at the time, and whatever sparks my creative muse.

- What inspires you to make graphics?
It can be any number of things, but it's usually watching a movie, or seeing a stunning icon that someone else made. I nearly always watch movies with graphic designing in mind; if I see a shot that I like, I imagine it as a graphic of some kind, then try to make it. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't.
A few designers that inspire me are Endelyn (I find her icons very lovely and inspiring), innocent_lexys (she has a very dynamic style), whispyr (her stock icons are calming, and I would love to be to make them half as well), and Narniawebber Kate (if I can one day be as good at making icons as she is, I will be more thrilled than I can say!).

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? (Like, I know some people layer on multiple textures, some prefer one or none, some occasionally use textures, that sort of thing. :) )

I always use textures; I sometimes wonder if I've forgotten how to make an icon without them. ;)) I typically layer 2 or 3 different textures to help control the lighting and coloring in my icon. Black and white/gray grunge textures are some of the best inventions ever. And of course, light textures frequently find their way into my icons.

@ Dot: I think your thoughts about texture usage made perfect sense, and I definitely agree with you! :)

Becca, about graphic making... wrote:I think it's one of the best things I ever decided to do.

I would second that, and I'll add that your graphics have been very impressive lately! It has been such a neat experience to watch you grow and improve as a designer over the past few years!

*blushes at Becca's comment about her graphics* You're sweet, dearie! :ymhug:
Ack!!! Icon love here!! Caspian, Edmund, and Ben all look simply amazing!!

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

Absolutely! :D I love seeing the comparisons! It so neat to see how far everyone has come since they started!

WunderLu wrote:What are some areas that you struggle with?

Experiments that go bad. I have a lot of those, and they usually don't live to see the light of the forum. ;))

@ Girly: *shuddering gasp!* Oh-my-word!!! I literally stopped breathing when I saw the Allan icon; it is stunning!!
Girly wrote: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

Lol! ;)) I don't know that it's weird, but it does make for an amusing quirk. ;))

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? ;))

This is a good question. I actually can't think of any one thing that I go back to over and over again; I really try to switch stuff up as much as I can, because when I first started making graphics I would just use the exact same technique over and over again... whether or not it looked good. ;)) As I've matured as a designer, I've tried to challenge myself to experiment and try new techniques as much as possible, and keep myself from getting stuck in a rut. I hope that I'm succeeding.
Oh, one coloring tool that I use on just about every single icon I make is Levels; I simply love that tool!

Hoooboy, here we go. The moment of truth... here's some of my earliest graphics. These are not my very first (those have long since been deleted, thank goodness!), but they are the earliest that I have.
Image
Image
Image

...and here's some more recent work. :)

Image Image Image Image Image
Image
Image
Image

Thank goodness for improvements!

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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby winterlife » Oct 04, 2011 10:59 pm

Thanks everyone for your comments on my question! I love hearing everyone's opinions on things like that. :)

Well, I've been putting off posting again for the same reason as in the other graphics thread I post in - I've re-organized my photobucket. *remembers she needs to re-link to her siggie* But now I can post links without breaking them in a few days, so it's safe to post again.

My worst graphics are not so much my older ones as they are the ones where I first tried out new techniques: e.g., while all my quote siggies are fairly recent, the first ones are awful.

Some beginning graphics (some of which I never posted here for obvious reasons :p ):

Image Image Image

Image Image Image

Then, some of my favorite graphics are older, but I had more experience with the techniques I was using (although I've only recently switched to saving my graphics in png format, so they're sometimes a bit grainy).

Some of my favorites (this was actually hard :p ):

Image Image Image

Image Image Image Image
Image
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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby Wunderkind_Lucy » Oct 29, 2011 2:09 pm

*pops back in*

Wow! I love seeing the comparison between the old graphics and the new. Everyone seems to have improved greatly! ;)

So what are some areas that you would like help in? (Not that I am the knower-of-all-there-is-to-know-about-graphics, but I'm sure that there are those who have expertise in certain areas or those who you would like to emulate)

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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby Ithilwen » Oct 29, 2011 3:19 pm

Wunderkind_Lucy wrote:So what are some areas that you would like help in? (Not that I am the knower-of-all-there-is-to-know-about-graphics, but I'm sure that there are those who have expertise in certain areas or those who you would like to emulate)


I've always wondered how to do the backgrounds Flam or Djaq makes for lyric sigs. I've made lyric sigs as well, but somehow mine always end up looking completely different than the type they do. For example:

One of Flam's:

Image

One of Mine:

Image

She does a more solid background, with little specks of other colors, as opposed to my big-brushed effects. I've never been able to make one like that, and I have no idea how she does it.

Question: Out of all the avvies you guys have ever made, which ones are your favorites? Like if you had to pick a top 5, or top 10, or top 20?

For me, my favorites that I've ever made are:

Image Image Image Image Image
Image Image Image Image Image
Image Image Image Image Image
Image Image Image Image Image


~Riella =:)
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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby wolfloversk » Oct 29, 2011 3:38 pm

Ithilwen wrote:I've always wondered how to do the backgrounds Flam or Djaq makes for lyric sigs. I've made lyric sigs as well, but somehow mine always end up looking completely different than the type they do. For example...


I've always wondered how they do that too :P I've nearly asked them to make as few tuts but somehow it always slips my mind...
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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby narnian_at_heart » Oct 29, 2011 4:20 pm

My favorite avatars are:

Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

My favorite sigs are:

Image Image Image Image Image
Image
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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby winterlife » Oct 29, 2011 8:24 pm

Out of all the avies I've ever made, I barely got it down to 20. :p They're not all really good in terms of style or quality, but they're all ones I love the look of or just have a special attachment to. So here they are, in no particular order (actually, they're in the order I found them/uploaded them on photobucket :p ). I think some of them may have never been posted before, I dug pretty far into my graphics folders for these.

Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image
Image
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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby flambeau » Oct 30, 2011 5:43 pm

*thumbs up to WunderLu for starting the conversation again*

@ Ithi and Wolfy; have y'all seen this tutorial by MissAdventure? She gives a step by step look at how she constructs quote sigs, and it's pretty much the same as what I do. It's a really great resource, and I'd recommend giving it a look!

Another secret about siggy backgrounds: once I make a background that I like, I will reuse it over and over and over again; I'll just change the coloring up so it doesn't look totally identical. For example, I used maybe 3 base backgrounds for the 20 icons in this post, and just altered the coloring or added a texture or two on top to change the look. ;) (Icons #1, 2, 4, 13, 16, 17, 18, and 20 from that post all have the same base. ;)) )

Lovely graphics from all of you! :D I still can't get over how much you've all improved! It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. *hugs self*

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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby daughter of the King » Oct 30, 2011 7:27 pm

There are two things that I have really tried to do but can't seem to get the hang of: layer masks and transparent signatures. With layer masks I'll usually be following a tutorial and I guess I'm just not following the directions properly because my icon always seems to look way different from what it was supposed to. Of course I get a lot of interesting results that way so maybe it's not an entirely bad thing. ;))

As for transparent sigs, I'm assuming there's a step that I'm not doing. It will always be transparent when I start and when I add text but when I flatten the image the background turns white. How do I stop that from happening?

That tutorial is really helpful, flam! I've been wanting to make quote sigs for forever. My current sig is my most recent attempt and it's nowhere near as good as I wanted it to be.

All-time favourite avatars (so far ;) ):
Image Image Image Image Image
Image Image Image Image Image
Image Image Image Image Image

I am going to be crazy and attempt to explain why these are my favourites.

1: I remember playing with the coloring a lot on this one. I wanted there to be very little color in it, but at the same time I wanted Aslan to be very golden. I was so happy with how it finally turned out because it was exactly what I wanted and that doesn't always happen.

2 and 6: For some reason I have a hard time with black and white. I am always trying to find just the right amount of contrast between the different shades of grey. I was extremely satisfied with how they turned out.

3-5: The lighting. On 5 in particular I worked hard to get the lighting just so and to have just the right amount of color.

7: I was relatively new to the world of textures when I made this one (which I think was based on one of flam's tutorials). I just really love the dramatic effect.

8: It makes me giggle. :p

9-10: I love these two because of the coloring. I stumbled upon the light and ethereal effect on 9 entirely by accident and of course I didn't write it down so I've only come close to duplicating it once. I love 10 just because.

11: I used so many textures on this avatar it's ridiculous. But it works. The original was really dark and gloomy and I wanted to brighten it up and make it sparkle.

12: It's almost the antithesis to 11. I think there's only one texture on this one and I thought it captured Gwen's quieter personality really well compared to Morgana's dramatics in 11. Not that Gwen doesn't demand attention when she wants to. ;))

13: Listen to Heather Dale's Kingsword. It's awesome. And it captures the myth and mystery behind Excalibur really well. This one was my visualization of the song.

14-15: The screencaps on both of these were very dark. I used different techniques on both to lighten them, but I am very pleased with the results since I usually don't do as well with darker images.

That was probably a lot longer than it needed to be. ;)) :p
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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby winterlife » Oct 30, 2011 8:18 pm

daughter of the King wrote:As for transparent sigs, I'm assuming there's a step that I'm not doing. It will always be transparent when I start and when I add text but when I flatten the image the background turns white. How do I stop that from happening?

I may be able to help with this one. It's one of my favorite things to do at the moment. :) I just have two questions first. 1) What photo editing program do you use? 2) What file are you saving them as?
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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby daughter of the King » Oct 30, 2011 8:35 pm

Silly me, I should have said that the first time around. I use GIMP and I usually save the files as .jpg. Lately I've been saving avatars as .png but I haven't done that with any signatures.
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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby winterlife » Oct 30, 2011 8:50 pm

daughter of the King wrote:Silly me, I should have said that the first time around. I use GIMP and I usually save the files as .jpg. Lately I've been saving avatars as .png but I haven't done that with any signatures.

That's it then. :) I use GIMP too, and I used to always save stuff as JPGs. But JPGs can't have transparency. If you save them as PNGs, they will keep the transparency. :)
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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby Ithilwen » Oct 31, 2011 3:20 pm

winterlife wrote:If you save them as PNGs, they will keep the transparency. :)

Whenever I save them as PNGs, they still lose the transparency. I usually just save it without flattening the image. (I use GIMP, by the way.)


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Re: Graphics Workshop #1

Postby flambeau » Oct 31, 2011 3:44 pm

Flattening an image will make it lose its transparency; use the merge all feature instead if needed, and then save it as a PNG. JPG files do not save as transparent.

Ithi, if your PNG files aren't saving as transparent you might want to check your Gimp PNG default settings next time you save one. (I don't have Gimp on this computer, or I'd check and verify which settings are supposed to be used. I can't currently remember.)

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