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Old 2006-12-12, 15:34  
Zaris
of Porsche
 
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Pasadena, California
Age: 29
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I got a lot of smiles from people about my most recent signature. I personally love it more than some of my previous ones. Since we're more or less unanimous that this is truely amazing, I'll disclose the creation method (simply because I want to lol). Go ahead and mash and bash it as much as you like, of course. Everything could use a touch up - mild or serious - and mine's no exception.

Thanks, Kira_Naruto for pointing me to this wonderful thread. = O And thanks to jellybean and Lost for taking unnecessary steps to say "love love". lol

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e_Utaware Sig 05.psd Creation Process
Drawing Program: Photoshop 7.0
Creation Time: A little more than 2 hours
Skill Level: Intermediate (You should have some basics skills such as drawing lines and creating layers)
(for the first 3 images below, click on them for a larger version)

I took this wallpaper (one of the 134 Utawarerumono wallpapers I have):

Cropped it:

It was looking a tad dull, so I went to Image > Adjustments > Levels... Those who don't know what this is, this is where you can get the whites to look white and the blacks to look black. All my photoshoping goes through this as step 1. I adjusted the left and right sliders so that the background around their faces had a white RGB (255, 255, 255).

Nice, clean image. Now it's time to create the frame. Go to File > New and enter a width of 500 pixels and height of 120 pixels (the limit for AnimeSuki forums when you want text above or below it). Contents should be Transparent. Press "OK" to generate your frame.

Hit CTRL+R to get the ruler function activated. Make sure it's on pixels for precise accuracy. If not, right click on the ruler and select "pixels". Now, select the Move Tool (important! Must be the Move Tool) and click and hold on one of the rulers to generate a line. This is a reference line when you want to make specific boundries (or points via multiple lines) for future drawing. Drag the line to the center of the frame. Then do the same on the other corner so it should look like a cross intesecting at the center (zoom in if you have to).

With the layer provided, I drew two black lines 5 pixels in weight at the top and bottom of the frame. I call this my signature border since nobody else does it. Plus, I like the movie-esque feel.

Go to View > Snap. Create a new layer. Draw another black line from upper left to bottom right while holding the Shift key in this new layer. This will guarantee that the line is on a 45 degree incline. Once done, move the line to the center of the frame. It will snap in place to where you had the ruler lines intersecting.

Create another new layer and move it behind the other two. Fill it with white.

At this point, go ahead and remove the blue ruler lines by dragging them back to the ruler itself (note this can only be done via the Move Tool). After pulling the cropped wallpaper into my signature frame, I aligned Aruruu to best fit the space on the left (make sure this layer is behind the black lines but in front of the white background).

Create a copy of this layer. Make one of them invisible and with the other layer, create a layer mask. I never, EVER mess with the original image. All my character extractions (extracting them from backgrounds of established images) is done on the layer mask. That way I can erase and undo without harming the original image. Those who don't know, while you're on the layer mask, black erases, white restores. Gray tones will lessen the process. Using the brush/pencil tool, I wipe the area right of the diagonal line with black. This way, only Aruruu is present on the left.

Unlock the layer. If you need to adjust Aruruu's positioning in the frame some more, this will let you move her without moving the layer mask. If moving her get a little jerky, it's probably because the Snap feature is moving the image to the side of the frame. You can disable this feature by going to View > Snap again.

Go ahead and make visible the untouched copy of the layer. For Eruruu on the right, the provided image makes her head look way too big compared to Aruruu. I did Edit > Transform > Scale and shrank her down to best fit the proportions. Move her in place. Once that's done, create a layer mask and wipe away everything left of the diagonal black line. Again, unlock the mask and layer apart and move Eruruu again if you think she's not in the proper positioning.

We're not quite done yet. Something didn't look right to me at this stage. It took me a while to figure it out and finally I saw the problem. Only a sliver of Aruruu's hair is shown on Eruruu's side of the signature (it can't be helped). But there's a mass of Eruruu's hair and a bit of her ear on the left of Aruruu! It's slightly confusing, isn't it? So I had to get that out.

Go to Image > Canvas Size and increase the size of the frame temporarily by 50 pixels both ways extending top left.

This is where the artsy part comes in. With your brush tool, slowly wipe away Eruruu's hair off the canvas on the Aruruu layer mask. If you make a mistake, switch to white (by pressing 'X'), restore the mistakes, and re-erase. It's important to erase a little ways past the upper black line too, so make invisible the black lines layer if you gotta.

Click to enlarge.

Shrinking the canvas back to its original size (500x120), it was time to duplicate the shadows that's cast on Eruruu. On the Aruruu layer (not the layer mask), add a drop shadow. Apply these settings:
- RGB 195, 195, 173
- Optimacy 80%
- Angle 50 degrees (Use Global Light)
- Distance 12 pixels
- Spread 9%
- Size 5 pixels

That should properly mimic the shadows on Eruruu. If you didn't erase part of Eruruu's hair past the upper frame, the shadows of the unerased parts will be cast onto the frame and thus your shadows will look all wierd on the left. Add some nice text, and voila. My Christmas sig.

Joy.
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