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  • Tutorial Thread: techniques

    Did you write a tutorial for a specific technique? Post it in here!

    Any size or form is welcome in this thread. So post your tutorials for wallpapers, icons, wallscrolls, Tumblr-graphics, blends...whatever! It's up to you! If you want to write a tutorial with a lot of pictures or if you prefer writing it all out. As long it's made by you.

    Don't be afraid to write a tutorial. Even if you are new to fanart or this forum, afraid your skills aren't advanced, or afraid your English isn't great, all are welcome. Most fanartists learn a lot from seeing/reading how others work. Something that seems simple and basic to you might be a revolutionary new trick to another.

    Thank you to Nina for creating this thread.

    Using The Shapes Tool - Jenni Lou
    Blending Multiple Images using the Lighten Blend Mode - Jenni Lou
    Color Range Selection - Jenni Lou
    Text Effects - Jenni Lou
    5 Easy Color Tricks - Jenni Lou
    photo retouching tutorial - Vanessax17
    Manipulation - Nina
    Various Techniques - Nina
    How to use Levels to balance light and dark image - ciderdrinker
    a Line with Letters - Nina
    Placing a character in a scene - Nina

    Lydia made the punch!

  • #2
    Using the Shapes Tool

    This is a tutorial for beginners or people with a basic knowledge of Photoshop. Here I am going to explain how to make images into shapes.

    First you are going to want to select what kind of shape you want to create. This includes the many default sutoms hape tools Photoshop has already included in its default settings. For the ourpose of this tutorial, I using a simple "Rounded Rectangle Tool." Here is where you can find the shapes on your tool bar:

    Next I am going to want to make another selection. With the "Rounded Rectangle Tool" selected I am going to make sure I have the "Paths" option in use. And here is where you can find that:

    What the "Paths" option does is make it so that when you place a shape on your canvas, it will just give us the path and it won't fill it in with color. The first option in that list, "Shape Layers," will fill the area with color while also creating a new path. The third option, "Fill Pixels," will fill in the area with color without creating a path.


    I have this pic of Inara ad I am going to select part of the image with the "Rounded Rectangle Tool" and this is what that shouild look like:

    Now I want to turn that path into a selection. There two ways to do this. I can either right-click on the image (while the custom shape tool is still selected on the tool bar) and choose "Make Selection" or I can go to my Paths palette and coose from there:

    (If you don't know where your Paths palette is, you can easily retrieve it under Window >> Paths.)

    SO now I am going to copy that part of the image I have selected and then paste it and move it. And I repeat these steps a few times and now I have a bunch of rounded-edged boxes.

    And remember, you can do this and more with any shape tool!
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    • #3
      Blending Multiple Images using the Lighten Blend Mode

      I do get requests through email relatively often for tutorials. I just don't think I am any good at them so I always put them off. But when a member here asked, I thought I should go ahead and get at least one done!

      This is already up on my site. I just changed the coding to post it here on the forum as well.

      Blending Multiple Images using the Lighten Blend Mode

      This tutorial is intended to illustrate some of the way in which blend images. As you may have noticed, many of my fanarts incorporate lots of images. I know this doesn't appeal to everyone but I quite like it myself. It's also fun to sort of squeeze a lot in without making ii appear overcrowded.

      It is also prudent to note that this tutorial supposes that you have some general knowledge of Photoshop. I will not explaining what certain tools are or anything like that.

      In this tutorial I will attempt to demonstrate a few ways I like to arrange images, emphasizing blend modes--particularly Lighten--and image selection. I have chosen some screencaps from The X-Files: I Want to Believe. You can see the images I am using below:

      I choose images based on certain elements. I like ones that have some architectural value to them, with lines or a flood of light cascading in. I also like when faces are arched in interesting ways. Often times, the lights and lines of these images make a wonderful flow of their own with little outside guidance from me, so long as I position them in a cool way.

      I begin as I would with any fanart by opening a new document. I prefer to work in 1400x875. I realize it is an odd sized canvas but that's just the size I choose to use! I make a new fill layer with black<. I choose black because it makes the blending easier for me when working with images that are predominantly dark.

      I choose two caps to start. And I place them on the canvas and apply layer masks, erasing away parts of them. I want to pause and say that erasing can be very subtle. I rarely erase with the Flow or Opacity set at 100%. In fact, I like to have the Flow (or Opacity should work just as well if you are using an older version of Photoshop) set somewhere between 18-30%. This way is erases part but not all of the images and it allows for the image to fade more naturally rather than just ending abruptly. The only trick to make sure that you keep softly erasing away the harder edges of the caps. Also, it is good to find a brush set that is meant for masking. I use my "Clouds" set sometimes (and you can download that in the media section of my site) but I also enjoy using the masking set from

      Okay, so I have two images down. The second one I place as the top layer and set it to Lighten. Here's what I have now:

      Now, another trick I have. That second cap has a lot of light on it and it a bit to bright. So I am going to pull up Image >> Adjustments >> Brightness/Contrast and tweak the settings.

      Not to bore with you each tiny thing, let me just say that I repeat these steps a few more times with new images. Each new image I lay down I set to Lighten. As for where I position them, well, I just sort of move them around until I get them somewhere that works for me. Again, the images sort of find their own place, I find. It's amazing how much you can get out of this blend mode. (But Lighten works better on dark backdrops. If you want to make a very light and bright art, then Lighten won't work in quite the same way as it will here.) So here's where I am at a few images later:

      On some of the images I applied a little color balance. Some where more yellow or blue than others so I wanted to even out the tones. You can experiment with color balance and see how this works. It's a great tool (and comes in escpecially handy when you are doing head swap manipulations and need to match skin tones.)

      So that's it. This is the beginning of something. Now it's ready for effects and/or stocks/textures and text and gradient maps and all that good stuff. I hope this was somewhat helpful to you!
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      • #4
        Color Range Selection

        This is a cool little way to extract a certain color from your image and change or subdue it. For example, as with the image below, there is a lot of green in there. And sometimes it can be hard to work with so much green, especially if green isn't in your overall color scheme. So this picture, then:

        No, you got the your menu and choose "Select >> Color Range." A little dialogue box will appear. The Fuzziness bar is how you choose how much of the image you want to select. And at the bottom there is a drop down menu labeled "Selection Preview." Choose whatever you want. It doesn't really matter; they just give you a few different views in the preview box so you can see how much of the image you are selecting. Usually, I prefer Grayscale or Quick Mask.

        So, now you can mess around with the Fuzziness and see how much you want to select. You don't even have to choose "Sampled Colors" (from the top of the dialogue box.) You can choose one of the colors from the drop-down menu. But for this instance, I want to use Sampled Colors. I use the little eye-dropper tool and click on the green spot on the grass. But I also want to choose the greener areas in the tress in the background, so I clikc the little eyedropper tool with "+" next to it, which allows me to select multiple ares of the photo. Finally here are my options:

        You can see I have the Fuzziness set very low. But this is because I used the eye-dropper tool to sample my colors.

        Now I click OK. And you can see how much of the image has been selected.

        The cool part comes now. You have several options. You can create a new adjustment layer or a fill layer, even a gradient or pattern layer! First I inverted the selection. (Right-click >> Select Inverse). For this example I have created anew adjustment layer using a gradient map. I have set the blend mode to "Color." Check it out!

        Pretty neat, huh? And because I used a new adjustment layer, I can brush/erase the mask and get an areas that the selection didn't pick up or place it did that I didn't want it to!

        Just to give you an idea of more cool stuff, you can do, check it out when I add a pattern layer instead:

        I hope this was neat trick for you to read about!
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        • #5
          Text Effects

          This is just a little tutorial I thought I would write up to show some ways to show some cool tricks to get neat results. I am using a wallpaper I made already, the full version of which you can see here. But here is the text portion:

          Basically I am just going to show you what kinds of settings I used for various layers. But first...a little trick I like.

          After you finish your wallpaper and are ready to add text, select the entire thing, or even just a portion of it (it doesn't matter if the layer are merged or not) and then go to "Edit >> Define Pattern."

          Now, you can write up some text. (I'm not going to go into fonts and sizing and spacing and that stuff. You know how that all works, presumably. This is just an effects tutorial. I also don't want to go into colors because you will have a different color scheme than I am using--again, presumably--so my colors won't necessarily work for you. It's one of those things you have to play around with.) But if you are curious about the particular fonts I used for this, they are: angstygirlymusic, Byron, Collins OE Demo, Olho de Boi and Anglo Text.

          For my layer with the word rich I have the blend mode set to Difference. And in the Blending Options, I am using Bevel and Emboss, Color Overlay, Pattern Overlay and Stroke. I'll show you the setting below. But first I want to tell you why you defined that pattern earlier: obviously, because you are going to use it on your text. It's a very effective little tip. It brings the text some variance and defintion and shine; it isn't just flat and one-toned. So when you apply your pattern overlay, just find that pattern your defined and use it. It will be located at the bottom of whatever set of patterns you have loaded at the time.

          For the layer with the word "Sweet" I have it set to Vivid Light, 100%. And I am using Bevel and Emboss and Pattern Overlay:
          The "&" layer is set to Darken, 100%, with Drop Shadow, Bevel and Emboss, Color Overlay and Pattern Overlay applied:
          For the "Eric is intriguied..." layer, I have it set to Normal, 100%. I use Gradient Overlay, Pattern Overlay and Stroke:
          [center][img]" class="imgborder2"> </P>
          Next, the layer with "He anticipates your..." is set to Normal, 100%. It also uses Gradient Overlay, Pattern Overlay and Stroke:
          And the last layer with "And your beautiful" is set to Normal, 100% using Pattern Overlay and Stroke:

          Now, I realize there wasn't a whole lot of actual explanation in here, but really, the images have all the information there's no need for me to repeat it. And you, of course, don't have to use these settings. It's always good to fiddle around with different opacities, blend modes, contour for bevel, colors, etc. I hope this helped a little bit for folks looking to do a bit more with their text!
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          • #6
            5 Easy Color Tricks

            It's no secret that I pretty much live and die by gradient maps. But they are not the only way to achieve some cool color. Photoshop is full of tasty alternatives. So here, I will take you through a few various ways that create some cool color.

            But it should also go to note that typically, I use several adjustment layers. Some are gradient maps, some are color balance or selective color or curves or other things. And they are set to different blend modes. So as with every tutorial you read, you should experiment around with what you pick and see what happens!

            Also keep in mind that these are basic instructions or techniques. Most of the color tools also have eyedropper capabilities (which means you can sample a color from you main image and that color will be the only effected with the changes you make.)

            Anyway, let's start with this image:

            Trick #1. Now got to Layer >> New Adjustment Layer >> Channel Mixer. Blend mode: Normal. I applied these settings:

            The result brings softer hues to her face and the background gets a nice blue tinge:

            Trick #2. Now got to Layer >> New Adjustment Layer >> Curves. Blend mode: Color. Opacity: 54%. And I applied these settings, note that I selected RED from the drop down menu instead of the default RGB:

            The result of this bring out a lovely and rich red but it doesn't over saturate her skin:

            Trick #3. Now got to Layer >> New Adjustment Layer >> Levels. Blend mode: Multiply. Opacity: 100%. I applied settings to both RGB and RED:

            This has brought the image some heightened shadows with a touch of dark red.

            Trick #4. This is a little different. For this effect, go to Select >> Color Range. A dialogue box will pop up. From the drop down menu, select SHADOWS and press OK. You will see that parts of your image were selected. The shadows, obviously. Now go to Layer >> New Fill Layer >> Solid Color. Blend mode: Color. Opacity: 100%. I chose a grayish-blue color and got this:

            Trick #5. More Color Range Selection. I recommend this tool. I use it frequently and there are infinite ways to use it. This time I am going to use the eyedropper tool and select the lighter gray tones just outside her body. And then I set the controls like this:

            After hitting OK I create a Layer >> New Fill Layer >> Solid Color. Blend mode: Darken. Opacity: 100%. I use a soft orangey-brown and the results offer a neat mossy green color. Again, her skin still looks normal.

            Okay, so this was super basic but I hope I was able to show a few cool things you might not have known! Certainly be sure to look into Color Range Selection because what I have shown here is hardly anything! I use it in almost everything I make.
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            • #7
              Photo Retouching Tutorial

              so i guess this goes here? o_o is the image too long? rules say keep width under 500 .. so i hope its ok, if not i can resize
              photo retouching tutorial
              description/steps written on the image. click thumb for full view
              flying high | online portfolio & resource site


              • #8

                In another thread Sky asked for a manip tutorial so here it is. Little warning: it's my first tutorial and not my best manip. But I hope it's clear what I do when I swap heads.

                When you want to manip by far the hardest part is the beginning. Because you’ve to pick the right base for the right face. Some tips:
                • Don’t make it too hard for yourself when you don’t have to and also when you just started making manips. Try to manip a character who looks straight into the camera and try to find a base which needs only a little bit of altering.
                • Check if the body fits the character you want to ‘create’. By example SMG is a short and thin woman which means that you can’t paste her head on a tall woman with a lot of curves and make it look like Buffy.
                • Always use HQ pictures because you need to do a lot of altering and low quality pictures won’t look good after you changed the colors and contrast. Also it’s easier when you can zoom in a lot.
                • Don’t think too lightly about changing hair colors. It’s possible but in most cases it looks off.

                The character I want to manip is early!Ats Cordelia. So I’m looking for a slender female with long brown hair, in her late-twenties/early-thirties and not flat-chested. Katie Cassidy (Laurel Lance in Arrow) comes to mind and thankfully there is a picture I can use in Daydreaming’s fabulous gallery. So I go with:

                and (for some reason the Laurel picture doesn’t fully load; but it doesn’t really matter for this tutorial.)

                I copy-paste both pictures in photoshop.

                And this is where I ended up with:

                I'm so sorry for the many type and grammar mistakes.


                • #9
                  Text Techniques

                  Not a real tutorial but a few techniques I use quite often.

                  The caps I used were by Kiss Them Goodbye and the texture was by Sweet Taste of Bitter

                  Some Text techniques/tips:

                  How do you place a picture in the centre of your wallpaper/graphic:

                  Use the Defringe option:

                  Improving the look of your screencaps:

                  Cutting your picture into a circle:

                  Add focus:

                  How to deal with a bad quality cap: (better is not to deal with those at all but if you really have to...)


                  • #10
                    How to use Levels to balance light and dark images

                    I have selected these 2 screencaps to illustrate how Levels works.

                    As you can see the image of Buffy is dark but the image of Angel is light (or a silhouette). There are not the most extreme differences between the images, but will be perfectly suitable for what I’m showing you.

                    To start using Levels I suggest that you use it as a layer, so that you have more control over it. You can do that by clicking on the black and white divided circle at the bottom of the layers palette and selecting Levels or Layer>>New Adjustment Layer>>Levels

                    Once you have you levels layer, right click and select Create clipping mask. This means whatever you do to the layers level will only effect the layer you’ve clipped it to (the one below it). I’ve clipped it to the Buffy cap as that’s the hardest one to do and is likely to need the most adjustment.

                    This is what the Layers palette looks like:-

                    The most important things you need to worry about here are the 5 little triangles. The top white one when dragged to the left will brighten the bright parts of the image, the grey middle one will brighten or darken the mid-tones depending which way it’s dragged (left for brighter, right for darker) and the top black one will darken the dark parts when dragged to the right.
                    The two at the bottom will brighten or darken the whole image in a similar way to Brightness/Contrast does. To lighten drag the black one to the right and to darken drag the white one to the left (it’s opposite to the way they top 3 work)

                    OK so with the Buffy image I want it brighter. If I drag the bottom black triangle all I get is a grey tinge to the whole image which is completely useless for this image, so I need to use the top 3 triangles to sort this out. I dragged the white one left until the brightest part of the Buffy image, her hair, was about as bright as the Angel image lightest part (the blue around him):-

                    I’m fairly happy with that, but I wanted to brighten her face a bit more. I don’t want to use the white triangle anymore or the hair will start to be too bright, so I choose the grey triangle and also move that to the left a little. There is a bit of playing about here until you get something that you’re happy with, but I’m pleased with this now. The images are very much more of a similar brightness:-

                    I decided that the Angel cap needs some work, so I added a Levels layer above his cap and created another clipping mask as before. However when I start playing about with both brightening the Angel cap and darkening it, I decided that it was pretty much fine as it was and did not use a Levels adjustment on the screencap at all.
                    Before and After

                    As you can see they are very much more balanced, and make it a lot easier to blend together, erase edges etc.
                    I’m also going to show how these screencaps interact with the background and each other depending on the blend mode you choose. In the images above the caps are on a white background and both caps have the blend mode set to Normal.

                    If I set both to Lighten or Screen I get a completely white background. Nothing of the original caps can be seen. However if the background is set to black instead I get this:-
                    Lighten before Levels and Screen before Levels

                    Lighten after Levels and Screen after Levels

                    The opposite is true as well, so when the screencaps are set to Darken or Multiply with a black background I get just a black background and can see nothing of the images, but if I change the background to white I get this:-

                    Darken before Levels and Multiply before Levels

                    Darken after Levels and Multiply after Levels

                    If you cannot get your caps to even up enough then this is an option that can work, because it needs the light and dark contrasts and makes them interesting rather than jarring.
                    As you can also see the effects are different before and after levels, as well as the different blend mode and background colour. There is no right or wrong way to use your images, it depends on the images, what you want to achieve and the composition as to what will work best.

                    Hope you find this interesting and imformative
                    Last edited by ciderdrinker; 10-10-14, 06:03 PM.

                    Peter Capaldi is the 12th Doctor


                    • #11
                      A Line with Letters

                      I was asked how I did that; so here is a tutorial. It's not my best tutorial but I hope it's clear what I did. ^^


                      • #12
                        Placing a character in a scene

                        Yeah I had no idea how to call this one, but you probably understand what I try to do here. Sometimes it just looks off when you try to place your character in a new setting. After hours of cutting (or somebody else did it and you just saved yourself a lot of work, like with the picture I used this time. Cinderella can be found here. Save this picture as a .png and open it in photoshop (or PSP)... do not copy-paste!) you are finally ready to put in in your blend or wallpaper and it looks... not very good.

                        I placed Cinderella in these woods (GC Textures):

                        and ended up with this:

                        So we will have to do some work to make it look better.

                        It's time for three layers to adjust the coloring (Selective Color, Vibrance, Curves). These layers are optional, color her the way you want to color her (if you even want to color her).

                        Selective Color Layer (Normal, Opacity = 100%)



                        Vibrance Layer (Normal, Opacity = 57%)

                        Curves Layer (Normal, Opacity = 100%)
                        Don't tweak, just press "Auto" (RGB).