Rowan's Gallery/Tutorials

Ainsley Lynch

🌼head in the clouds🌼6'3"🌼 🪄ollivanders🪄
 
Messages
3,270
OOC First Name
Rowan
Blood Status
Muggleborn
Relationship Status
Seeing Somebody
Sexual Orientation
Amber ) ( Pansexual
Wand
Knotted 12 Inch Flexible Pine Wand with Fwooper Feather Core and 6'5" Sturdy Carved Walnut Staff With Phoenix Tail Feather Core
Age
3/2030 (24)
Thought it was finally time to set up a spot for my gallery & any tutorials I make. I've been doing various forms of digital art since about 2002 & first started making graphics in 2008, though I only really started making them regularly in 2016. I still very much consider myself in the process of learning, but I love passing on things I've picked up, so any tutorials/tips & tricks I think of will wind up in this thread.

Newest graphics at the top!

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2016/17:
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2009/10:
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Credits - this is a list of where I downloaded all the resources I use in my graphics. It's a long list, but there are a lot of amazing, talented people making assets and I want to make sure they all get recognition!
 
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Ainsley Lynch

🌼head in the clouds🌼6'3"🌼 🪄ollivanders🪄
 
Messages
3,270
OOC First Name
Rowan
Blood Status
Muggleborn
Relationship Status
Seeing Somebody
Sexual Orientation
Amber ) ( Pansexual
Wand
Knotted 12 Inch Flexible Pine Wand with Fwooper Feather Core and 6'5" Sturdy Carved Walnut Staff With Phoenix Tail Feather Core
Age
3/2030 (24)
Tutorial time!

Several times now people have asked me for tips/tricks/basics when it comes to photoshop and I find it really difficult to articulate through text without visual aids, so I finally sat down and recorded a video, where I talk about the basics of my process and the tools I use. I didn't cover everything by a long shot, but this video does at least dig into how some of the functions in Photoshop can be used to get certain effects. Photoshop is a HUGE and OVERWHELMING program if you're just starting out, but hopefully this gives at least some solid basics for how to use some of the tools it has to offer!

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Ainsley Lynch

🌼head in the clouds🌼6'3"🌼 🪄ollivanders🪄
 
Messages
3,270
OOC First Name
Rowan
Blood Status
Muggleborn
Relationship Status
Seeing Somebody
Sexual Orientation
Amber ) ( Pansexual
Wand
Knotted 12 Inch Flexible Pine Wand with Fwooper Feather Core and 6'5" Sturdy Carved Walnut Staff With Phoenix Tail Feather Core
Age
3/2030 (24)
ello lads i made another video

I've wanted to try out just. recording the entire process of making a graphic for a while, and finally decided to give it a go on this request (a great choice because I tried some stuff that's very different to my usual process so it's not really representative of my usual process and I'm not 100% happy because it's a new technique I'm not familiar with :) ) This was just kinda a trial but I thought it might (maybe?) be interesting to watch so ? lemme know if you'd be keen to see more like. full sig process stuff like this?

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Ainsley Lynch

🌼head in the clouds🌼6'3"🌼 🪄ollivanders🪄
 
Messages
3,270
OOC First Name
Rowan
Blood Status
Muggleborn
Relationship Status
Seeing Somebody
Sexual Orientation
Amber ) ( Pansexual
Wand
Knotted 12 Inch Flexible Pine Wand with Fwooper Feather Core and 6'5" Sturdy Carved Walnut Staff With Phoenix Tail Feather Core
Age
3/2030 (24)
HOW TO MAKE GIFS THE LAZY EASY WAY

ello all I am once again here to ramble about graphics but this time.... in text form

I've been moving towards making all of my own gifs for HNZ and I wanted to throw together a quick guide for anyone looking for resources to do the same, since it's not an easy skill to learn, but is very useful when it comes to more obscure PBs. (I'm pretty sure I've made every single gif of Kahurangi's PB that exists on the entire internet......) There are other tutorials out there for how to do it the ✨right✨ way, but my way is..... easy

YOU WILL NEED
Either Photoshop or an equivalent graphic program capable of handling animation. GIMP is a decent free option, if you don't have access to Photoshop. Photopea is another free option that doesn't require you to download anything.
Gyazo. Gyazo is a free screen capture program that allows you to capture short video clips of your computer screen, as well as still screenshots.

STEP ONE
Find the video you want to make a gif from. Unfortunately this method doesn't work on Netflix, because of their screenshot blocking system, but it should work just fine on youtube/downloaded videos/an actual DVD/whatever else. I'm gonna use the third clip from this video for demonstration purposes.

STEP TWO
Make sure you have Gyazo running, then use the ctrl + shift + g shortcut to capture a gif. You should be able to select the portion of the screen you want to capture, pause the recording, anything you like. It might take a couple of tries to get the timing right, but Gyazo is fairly intuitive to use. Once the recording is finished, Gyazo will take a moment to process, then automatically upload your recording to their servers. Nice!
(If you have trouble with timing, I recommend pausing the video a second before the shot you want to capture, starting the Gyazo recording, then pressing play on your video while it's recording. It's easy to cut those extra frames out, and makes the timing much less stressful.)
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You should now see something like this. To save the gif to your computer, click on the share icon top right, and select Download GIF. (Bottom of the menu shown!)

STEP THREE
YAY now I have a gif! (Linked offsite to save HNZ's servers)
But... it's massive. And doesn't look great. So let's trim, adjust, and crop this baby! I'm going to be using Photoshop CS6 from here on out because it's what I'm familiar with, but PhotoPea and GIMP have their own systems for handling animation, so I'd recommend checking those tutorials out as well as mine.
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Here I've got the gif in Photoshop, ready to edit! The important parts of the screen I want to highlight are the long bottom panel, titled Timeline, and the bottom right hand panel, titled Layers. (If you don't see either of these panels on your own screen, make sure they're enabled in the Window menu.)
The first thing I want to do is trim excess frames. Gyazo usually records more than I actually want, so I'm going to remove those frames and make sure the gif only contains the action I'm actually looking for. To do that, I'll select the extraneous frames in the Timeline panel, and delete them.
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You can also delete the corresponding layers in the layer panel, but with this method it won't matter much in the long run. But now I've shortened my gif, yay! It only shows the moment of the video I actually wanted. But the colours are a little dull, let's spice 'em up. Before applying any adjustment layers or colouring PSDs, make sure you have the top layer selected, and are in Frame 1 in the timeline!
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(I forgot to screenshot the timeline thing but you can see from the screenshots above. Make sure you have Frame 1 selected in Timeline, the top layer selected in layers, and the Propagate Frame 1 box in the Frames panel checked!)
Once you're good to go, apply any adjustments you would like, and play the timeline through a couple of times to make sure it looks the way you want.
Finally, you'll want to resize your gif. The bigger your gif is and the more frames it has, the larger the filesize is and the more work websites have to do to host it. This can lead to gifs taking a long time to load, causing server strain on websites like HNZ (pls do not post lots of big large gifs for Nick's sake if no one else's), and in some cases just refuse to display entirely. So I'm going to resize my gif by going to the menu bar at the top of the entire screen, picking Image > Image Size and adjusting it down to a more suitable size.

STEP FOUR
Let's save that gif! You'll want to export it for web, by hitting ctrl + alt + shift + S. Make sure the loop is set to infinite (unless you want the gif to play once and then stop forever for some reason) and save your edited gif under a shiny new name. Upload it to the webbed site of your choosing, and you're away laughing!

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Ainsley Lynch

🌼head in the clouds🌼6'3"🌼 🪄ollivanders🪄
 
Messages
3,270
OOC First Name
Rowan
Blood Status
Muggleborn
Relationship Status
Seeing Somebody
Sexual Orientation
Amber ) ( Pansexual
Wand
Knotted 12 Inch Flexible Pine Wand with Fwooper Feather Core and 6'5" Sturdy Carved Walnut Staff With Phoenix Tail Feather Core
Age
3/2030 (24)
FINISHING TOUCHES
Hi hi hi I'm back to post another tutorial! This time I'm focusing on finishing touches, little things you can do after arranging all the elements of your graphic to bring them all together and make everything look more cohesive! This is by no means all-encompassing or something that will work for everyone, it's just how I usually do things to get certain effects. This isn't also necessarily the order I would have actually added these layers in, I often go back and forth tweaking things as I work, but this is at least the rough order I try to work in.

Before I get started, I want to explain quickly what an adjustment layer is. Adjustment layers are special layers that tweak the colours of everything underneath them. It allows you to edit really specific elements of a graphic without damaging the layers underneath. For example, I could turn all the yellows in the image blue if I wanted, using adjustments, but leave all the other colours intact. To find adjustment layers, look at the bottom of your layer panel for a half black, half white circle. Here are screenshots of where the menu is in Photoshop and PhotoPea! Unfortunately, I'm not familiar enough with any other software to give any specific help there.

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I'll give general descriptions of each layer as I use them, but I would recommend just messing around with the settings as much as you can, to get a feeling for how each layer kind works. If you do something you don't like, you can just delete the layer and start again!

I'm going to be demonstrating with this sig I made recently for this request!
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First of all, let's take a look at the sig after I had finished arranging all the elements, without any extra colouring or lighting effects on it.
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Missing something, isn't it? So let's get to work adding that something!

PRE-LIGHTING
Before I do anything else, I add a levels adjustment layer, and bring the whites down and the blacks up. Levels layers allow you to change what the darkest and lightest values in your image are. This is important, because some of the effects I'm going to be using later won't affect pure white or pure black at all. So I want to make sure none of my whites are pure #FFFFFF white, and none of my blacks are pure #000000 black. To do that, I'm just going to pull my blacks up by 5 points on each side, using this slider.
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The slider above (with the slope) does the opposite - it'll make MORE of your image pure black or pure white. That might be what you want sometimes, but to apply effects you want to make sure there's no pure black or white to start with. Here's a gif of the difference between my original image, and the levels layer - a subtle difference, but an important one!
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If you overdo the levels your image can wind up looking muddy, so it's important to use a light touch here!

Next, I'm going to be applying a gradient map to everything except her face, just to warm up the image slightly. Gradient map is an adjustment layer that maps a gradient to the values of your image. So anything that's black will take on the darkest colour of the gradient, and anything that's white will take on the lightest. I've already used a gradient map once in this sig, to colour the larger face in the background, and now I'm going to use another one just to warm up the colours very slightly.
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Perfect, sig finished! Obviously I don't want this much colour, I'm only after a very slight warming, so I'm going to switch the layer mode to Soft Light, and the opacity to something low - 34%.
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Beautiful!!

LIGHTING
This is a really fun part of the process, because it's where you see a graphic really start to come together. We're going to accentuate the natural light sources in the graphic to tie elements together and make it seem as though they're being lit together. For demonstration purposes, I'll show you each layer on Normal mode, with 100% opacity, so you can see where I've painted things, but I'll say in the description what layer mode/opacity I'm actually setting these to.

The first thing I'll do is make at least two regular painting layers and with a soft brush, paint in some shadows and highlights. I always put shadow layers below highlight layers, and use this as an opportunity both to add depth to the image, and to maybe sprinkle in some extra colours. I kept it simple for this sig, but in others I've used 5-6 layers of different colours. I set these layers to soft light or overlay, and put them on a low opacity - play around to see what's right!
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Next up is light source, and this can make a huge difference. A lot of the time if pictures don't look quite right together in a sig, it'll be because they're being lit from different directions or at different intensities and your brain can't make the light work. One way to counter that is to add in your own light source, so everything is lit from the same direction. I always use these incredible light source brushes, by PerpetualStudios on Deviantart. I paint the light on where I need it, then set the layer to Soft Light on a low opacity. This sig only needed a small light source, so I've included another more extreme example in gif form to show how much of a difference light sources can make!
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Next is the most important element. If you only take away one thing from this tutorial, make it this. I'm going to use a lighting layer, this one comes from a pack by the user KaYLO REN on the forum The Dark Arts. Lighting layers are greyscale textures designed to cover an entire graphic. The idea is that you put the dark parts of the texture over areas of your graphic you don't want attention on and the light parts over your focal point, to help focus the eye, as well as adding depth and texture. You need to be careful about using these on graphics featuring dark-skinned characters as it can be easy to accidentally damage someone's skintone, but as long as you use midtones and double check the skintone before and afterwards you should be able to find an effect that works! I usually set these layers to Overlay or Soft Light (depends which one looks best) and - you guessed it, a low opacity.
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Next, I'm going to add a gradient fill adjustment layer. This is different to gradient map, it's just a flat gradient directly over top of the entire image, no matter what's underneath it. Sometimes I'll use a dark colour at the bottom and a light one at the top to draw the eye up to faces, but in this case I just used a pretty mid-range colour at the bottom just for a little bit of difference. This layer gets set to Overlay on a low opacity.
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Finally for lighting, I'm going to add a vignette to the whole thing. Again, this is all about drawing the eye to where I want it - the center of the graphic. The vignettes I use on every graphic I make without fail are these incredible ones by SpoonGraphics. I've been using them for years, and I can't recommend them enough. The vignette will distort as you fit it to frame the sig, but that doesn't really matter, since you guessed it - this baby is going on Soft Light, low opacity!
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And that's lighting done! Take a look at what a difference all those effects put together makes on the graphic!
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COLOURING
This is the part that scares people - it scared me for a very long time. I've been doing my own colouring for years now, and only recently have really started to feel like I know what I'm doing. If you don't feel confident with colouring layers, you could absolutely slap a PSD on this and call it a day, but if you want to dig into colouring layers, I'll give you a quick walk through of the ones I use commonly. These could go in any order depending on what looks good, and sometimes I'll use as many as 5-6 of the same layer kind, just making very small tweaks at different levels. I've included my settings as an example, but the only thing I can recommend is experimenting! Every graphic is different as are every person's tastes, and playing is the best way to learn!

First up, I'm going to use a colour balance layer. Colour balance allows you to tweak the shade of different value areas of your image. Basically, you could make all of your dark areas red and all of your light areas blue if you liked, depending on what colour scheme you're going for for the graphic. In this case, I've made my shadows a purpley blue, my midtones a warmish yellow, and my highlights a coolish yellow. This is obviously too extreme, so I'll as usual, be setting this layer to Soft Light on low opacity.
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Next I've used a selective colour layer, which works similarly but allows you to be a lot more specific. This includes controls for affecting every colour in an image - remember when I said I could make everything yellow blue? This is how I would do it. In this case I've only worked on the whites, neutrals, and blacks though - making the whites a warmer yellow, the neutrals a little bit pink, and the blacks a lot lighter and a LOT more purple. This layer is actually pretty subtle, so I'll just be putting it on about half opacity, normal mode.
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Next up is the big one - Curves. I was terrified to use curves layers for a long time, and if I'm being real, I still have absolutely no idea what they do or how to use them. I basically just mess around with them until it looks kinda right. I have no advice I have no understanding all I can do is show you my settings and say sorry??? I'll set this layer to normal mode, low opacity. I have no advice all I can say is sorry and good luck???? Don't be afraid to play with curves just because I don't understand them - they ARE really cool and can do some really cool stuff, I just don't understand how they work or how to describe them :p
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Next up is a layer type that's probably a bit more familiar sounding! Exposure! It's basically the same as exposure on a camera, affecting how much light appears in the image. I tend to go very heavy-handed on exposure, then set them to an extremely low opacity (think 5-10) and possibly overlay. I wanted to counter the over-brightness in the image, so I went very heavyhanded on the offset/gamma correction, and I'll be setting this to overlay at just 12% opacity.
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Aw yeah, familiar territory! Next I've used another levels layer identical to the one above, just to bring the whites and blacks back under control. Normal mode/100% opacity.
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More familiar territory, I'm gonna add another Selective Colour layer. This time I'm going to use some of that colour change magic - I want to boost the reds, blues, and magentas to be even more magenta. This layer stays at normal/100%.
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FINAL colouring layer! I've used another gradient map (again erased over her face to protect her skintone) to unify the image colours slightly. This I leave on normal mode, but set to just 5% opacity.
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And that's the colouring layers done! YAY! Here's a gif showing the difference between the image with the pre-process and lighting layers, and the colouring layers all applied. Again, a subtle difference, but a much better look!
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There are other adjustment layers I didn't use in this graphic that I do use often (I recommend experimenting with Vibrance especially!) but for now, let's move on to....

FINAL RENDERING
Yay, the graphic looks the way I want it to! But there are a couple more steps I can take to make it look really polished, so let's get through those quickly so we can enjoy our finished product! First of all, I'm going to select every layer all at once and duplicate them, then press Ctrl+E to merge all of the duplicates together, so I've got my entire graphic all put together on one layer. Then I'm going to duplicate that layer, so I've got two copies to work with. Hide the uppermost one for now, let's work on the lower one first.

For this layer, I'm going to apply a smart sharpening filter. To find this, go to Filter > Sharpen > Smart Sharpen, in the very top menu bar. I'm going to sharpen the image quite aggressively, to really bring out as much detail as possible. Leave this layer at Normal/100%
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Yay! But that's a bit.... crunchy for my liking. Too grainy. So I'm going to return to that very uppermost copy of my image (which should be a plain copy of the original final image, before you sharpened it) and run a Noise Reduction filter on it. (Filter > Noise > Reduce Noise) Again, these are quite aggressive settings, because I'm going to be using this in combination with the sharp version.
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From there, I'll play with the opacity of the noise reduced layer - I usually set it somewhere in the middle (This one wound up looking good at 40% opacity, but every sig is different!) And...

THAT'S IT
The sig is now finished! YAY! Here's a little walkthrough gif to show you just how much difference each of those little fiddly tweaks made to the final look of the overall sig. The final render didn't do much on this sig but it's a really dramatic change on others, so I included it as well to be safe.
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And here, once again, is the final sig!
(PLS IGNORE THAT THERE'S A SHADOW AROUND HER HERE BUT NOT IN THE TUTORIAL I ACCIDENTALLY HID THE LAYER WHEN I STARTED MAKING THE TUTORIAL AND ONLY REALISED WHEN I WAS FINISHED AND IM NOT REDOING ALL THOSE SCREENSHOTS)
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