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Old 09-04-2013, 10:06 PM   #1 (permalink)

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Default Madame Malkin's Artist Spotlight
Big Tuna | Booger | Team Men | Chris's SS!BFAM | Jules says I'm RAD | #Superman | Dustbin



Hello and welcome to a new feature here in Madame Malkin's! Each month, we'll be spotlighting our hottest and most talented graphic makers in the forum. Come read up on your favorite graphic makers to learn how they got started and what inspires them. You might even get a few tips from them, as we'll be asking each spotlighted artist to provide a tutorial that shows off their unique style. And of course, we're all here to look at the pretty, right?

We hope you enjoy! If you would like to leave a comment, please feel free to do so in Colin's Corner.

Sincerely,
The Madame Malkin's Team

Last edited by cake.ninjak; 09-05-2013 at 06:26 AM.
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Old 09-05-2013, 05:48 AM   #2 (permalink)

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Default September 2013: iBeJenn
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Our first spotlight is on iBeJenn, better known to some of you as Jenn (never would have guessed that her name is Jenn, wouldja? hehe). She was kind enough to sit down with me for a quick interview, as well as provide us with a quick coloring tutorial and a look into her portfolio. Look under the spoilers to read all about Jenn!

Text Cut: Part 1: The Interview
Interviewer - cake.ninjak (Kelvin)
Interviewee - iBeJenn (Jenn)

Kelvin: So first things first - how did you get into graphic making? Was Snitchseeker your first exposure to a graphics-making community?

Jenn: I think I started graphic making way before I even knew what Snitchseeker was. When I started making graphics, I really just wanted to make little icons for MSN and have a nice display picture. But after discovering Snitchseeker and the Madame Malkin's forum I thought "hey... this seems like fun" so from there I really tried to make nice graphics and try out new things.

K: Oh that's awesome! I used to just go to the icon sites that used to be really popular to get my buddy icons. Haha.

J: THAT was what made me want to make my own icons, because there were all these cute ones and it was just like "d'awwwh. so pretty. I want those skills".

K: Hahaha I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought that a few times as well.
So when you're making graphics then, what kinds of things inspire you? Do you actively look at other sources for inspiration, or are you just struck randomly?


J: It's funny you ask me that because I had to write about this for a college admission essay. haha. There are a few things that inspire me to make graphics - music, tv and other people. I love seeing what everyone makes and then after admiring their graphics for a bit... I want to make something better. LOL. But mostly music. I like listening to iTunes and letting that determine what I make. Darker graphics are probably because I'm listening to sadder songs than when I make lighter graphics... Or it depends on the part of an episode of whatever show or movie I'm watching/listening to. And I also like looking through Deviantart because, as you can probably tell from my graphics, I use a LOT of textures and Deviantart is a great place to find textures and just... stare at all the prettiness there.

K: Yeah, textures are great! I have definitely noticed that you love to use those, and if I do say so myself, you use them very well!
Since textures relates a bit to style, how would you describe your style of graphics? And is there a specific type of style that you really enjoy but don't necessarily try to emulate?


J: Awwwh, thank you. I don't know exactly how to describe my style of graphics, especially since I feel like it keeps changing! But if I HAD to describe my graphics I'd say "unnecessarily complicated" because of all the random layers and textures I have on top of each other. Which is why I love simple graphics. I like seeing something clean; like a person, some coloring and a little bit of text. It's something simple and effective and really showcases someone's ability to color graphics. Sadly, every time I try to do something like that, I try to make the text all fancy to make up for the lack of background. haha.

K: Sadly? Your stuff always turns out great! I don't think that's sad at all. But I like that you describe your style as "unnecessarily complicated." Haha. Not that I agree, but I think it's funny.
What are your favorite types of graphics to make?


J: You're just saying that because you're interviewing me. haha. Anyways, my favorite type of graphics to make on Snitchseeker are probably profile pictures because of the size. I like signatures too but profile pictures have this nice height and width ratio... avatars are nice to practice coloring. I do love to make wallpapers but those require a lot more time and effort... Apparently, I'm not too lazy to make graphics for other people but too lazy to make a decent wallpaper for myself. XD

K: I promise I'm not!
Wallpapers are definitely tough, though. There's so much space to work with, but at the same time, it can almost feel like TOO much space.

Okay now it's lightning round time.
Favorite font?


J: It does! But it's nice to have so much space~ Oh. lightning. Favorite font is a tie between 'Arsenale White' and 'Times New Roman' because Times New Roman is just so perfect for everything.

K: It is quite versatile!
Favorite photoshop tool?


J: Type tool.

K: Good choice!
Describe your favorite texture in 5 words or less.


J: Eep. Uhm... uhm... my CURRENT favorite texture is the texture that people have seen in practically ALL my graphics recently. It is... dotty, spotty, simple, effective, AWESOMETASTICAL.

K: Sometimes you just need to make up a word, right? Real words aren't good enough.
Last one - what is your current graphic-related goal?


J: It is a real word. It's in urban dictionary. :3 Ah. It's not a Snitchseeker-related goal but to be able to create... like... a billboard advertisement. A graphic-related goal for Snitchseeker is just to not disappoint anyone with any of the graphics I may make for them in the future. ^^;;

K: That sounds awesome! Hopefully I'll be seeing one of your billboards soon!
I'm out of questi----WAIT! One more! Any advice for members looking to get into graphic making, or even for us oldies out there who are feeling stuck in a rut?


J: ONE MORE QUESTION. Okay, just keep pushing forward. Even when you think your graphics suck or you think you've run out of ideas, you'll find something. You can NEVER run out of ideas or creativity; it might abandon you for a while but it will come back. Find more than one thing that inspires you because the things that inspire you are like batteries- they will run out of energy and will need to recharge. *totes just made loads of sense* But honestly, new members who want to get into graphic making - if you look at my graphics from when I started compared to NOW, you can see a HUGE difference. Just keep trying because you shouldn't be making graphics to make other people happy all the time... you should also be doing it to make YOURSELF feel good.

K: I think that's some great advice, Jenn!

Welp, that concludes the interview, so thanks so much for sitting down and chatting with me!


Text Cut: Part 2: The Tutorial
A Tutorial by iBeJenn
Hey hi hello~ Okay. So here's a really simple, easy breezy coloring tutorial that I personally find very effective in graphics. It works best on light graphics and makes colors really pop out. I used this coloring loads and you can see it being used in an old grab bag of mine for phones (here). This tutorial was created with Photoshop CS6 and since it contains Selective Coloring, it is sadly incompatible with other programs.

In this tutorial, we will go from THIS to THIS.

Step One. This image in particular is very light and the colors are all faded. First thing I did was bring out the red in it using selective color. I created a new adjustment layer for selective color as opposed to just going to Image > Adjustments > Selective Color. There is a difference between the two; when you create a new layer, you can always change the values that you've entered in as opposed to just applying the adjustment to the image. To make an adjustment layer you go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Selective Color. Then I applied the following settings...

SPOILER!!: step one

REDS
Cyan: -100
Magenta: +100
Yellow: +100
Black: +100

BAM. Your result:



Step Two. Okay, after that adjustment, you can see that everything is more red/pink. The image itself had yellow in it and it seems completely washed out by the red now. Plus, the black isn't very prominent in the image either, right? There is a solution! Create a new adjustment layer for selective color like you did before. Then apply these settings:

SPOILER!!: step two

YELLOWS
Cyan: +100

BLACKS
Black: +100

Your image should look like this now and you should have TWO selective coloring layers and your original image.



Step Three. You can bring out shadows in two different ways - by using the burn tool or by creating another adjustment layer. The image is very light, so it's probably best to bright out some of the shadows that the picture has. To make this layer, you go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels. It varies with each image where to drag the arrows for the levels. By default, your levels settings should look like this. The three arrows under the jagged lines represent, from left to right, shadows, midtones, and highlights. Usually I just drag the shadows' arrow to meet where the jagged lines first start, like so...

SPOILER!!: step three


As you can see, the first arrow (shadows) has been dragged to where the white lines first start. The rest of it has been left alone. Your image should then look like this:



Step Four. Next, I created a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer. After the levels, the image just looks a tad bit too dark for my taste. So, I went to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Brightness/Contrast and these are my settings:

SPOILER!!: step four

Brightness: +20
Contrast: -35

what it should look like after that step...


Step Five. Don't worry, we're almost done! But look at it, doesn't the image look a bit softer after the Brightness/Contrast layer? Well, with this new adjustment layer we'll be bringing back some of the reds! I created a new Hue/Saturation layer by going to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation and applying the following settings:

SPOILER!!: step five

Hue: +6 (it brings out some yellow)
Saturation: +30 (the colors are popping now, yes?)
Lightness: -7 (you don't want it to be TOO bright, do you?)

And at this point, my image looks like this:


Step Six. This is the last step, I promise. Lastly, I created a Channel Mixer. To make the image look 'cooler' color-wise, I messed around a little bit with the Red channel...

SPOILER!!: step six

OUTPUT CHANNEL: RED
Red: +112
Blue: -18

Final:



Doesn't it look slightly less rosy? What I do with a lot of my coloring is reuse them. It just requires so much work trying to make something new, doesn't it? To make this coloring work with other graphics, I group it and lower the opacity level, add a curve and it's practically something new! For example, this image of Natalie Dormer (from a request) has the exact same coloring, but grouped with an opacity level of 49% and two preset curves (lighter) under it.

That is the end of my tutorial! As mentioned in the interview, there is a texture that is currently my favorite. It's been used in MANY of my graphics and I thought I'd share it with you! Click HERE. I can't remember where I found it but I am pretty sure it is through google somewhere. What I usually do with that particular texture is put it on top of all my work and set it to screen, lower the opacity to somewhere around 40~50% then add a curve with the preset setting of medium contrast. It just adds a little something to the graphic.


Photos!: Part 3: The Examples








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Old 10-11-2013, 05:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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October's Graphic Maker Spotlight is momentai, although some of you older members might remember her as the awesome Tailzinator! Tailz has recently come back into the graphics biz, and due to her awesome style we've chosen to showcase her for the month of October. Congrats Tailz!
SPOILER!!: Part 1: The Interview
Interviewer: Lissy Longbottom
Interviewee - momentai

Hello ladies and gents of SS! Today we have the lovely momentai with us, although some of you older members might remember her as Tailz! Tailz has been selected for the AWESOME honor of being October's Graphic Maker of the month! So first off, you've been around SS for a while now, and I remember wayyy back in the day when you first started to make graphics (and by the way, we're SUPER excited to have you back graphic-ing again!) so what first got you interested in making graphics? How did you get started?

Haha, heey! Thank you for having me. It's an honour to be chosen! I got into graphic making just shortly after I joined SS, actually. My best friend at the time, and former member of the site, had her own shop and was making these little text icons and I thought it was just the coolest thing ever. I was inspired and I've been sucked in ever since.

Awesome! I feel like that's the case with a lot of people - they see their friends doing it and want to get in on the fun! haha. So what were some of the first things you ever did? Grab bags, requests, banners - how did you jump into it?

I believe I just jumped right into it with requests and grab bags. I was absolutely horrible and I had, like, the most lame photo editing software, but I did what I could at the time by seeing what others were doing.

Speaking of software, what did you start off with? And what do you currently use to make your graphics?

Oh man, I don't remember...that's how lame it was. It had come with my laptop. Currently, I have Adobe Photoshop CS6.

I vaguely remember using a pre-installed program to get my graphic career going as well haha. So, speaking from experience, I know that Photoshop can be CRAZY expensive. Any cheap alternatives you've used that some of our starting graphic makers might want to look into?

Well, if you're looking to pay nothing, GIMP is a free download. I only have a very limited knowledge of how to use it, but I've seen people do well with it. If you're okay with paying, Adobe Elements is a solid program and it's only around $100. I used Elements before moving on, so I can definitely recommend it. Also, a tip to anyone enrolled in a university/college, you can usually pick up the CS series at a reduced cost. My university (well, former) had 60-70% off deals.

Those are definitely important tips to keep in mind when buying a graphic program, I know I've used those same tips when getting stuff for my own graphics shop! So, you currently have a shop on SS - what really inspires you with your current stuff? Are there certain types of graphics you really like to make, a certain tool you feel is your "signature" tool, etc?

I think that, most of the time,I draw my inspiration from whatever resources I'm using or have just acquired. Whether it be a texture or a particular font, I'm motivated to create a graphic in a way where that resource will fit. Especially with fonts. However, I do get inspired by seeing what other people make and draw what I can from it, and that includes use of colours, blending styles, layouts, texture use.

I enjoy making all forms of graphics, whether that be avatars or signatures, but every once in a while I really do enjoy the challenge of a larger graphic, like a wallpaper or a poster. Very recently, I had to do this GIANT poster for a final university project. The dimensions were, like, 32" by 48" and I did it all in photoshop and it was an absolutely insane thing to do, but I had a ton of fun doing it. I just find that having a bigger canvas presents so many more possibilities with how to take a graphic.

As for a signature tool, I don't think I have one. I'm always learning new ways of doing something, so I never really get attached to one.


Oh wow!! So, if there's anything our readers should take out of this, it's that all that time on SS can actually be useful in school!! If used in the right context, of course haha. So one final question before we leave - what's one piece of advice you'd give inspiring graphic makers who are kind of scared to get started, or have no idea where to really start?

Hahaha! Stay in school, kids.

My advice would be, when you get that photo editing software, you play around with it and you go out and google for tutorials. That's how I did it. Practice does make perfect. Also, don't let yourself be intimidated by what you see other people making, instead let that inspire you to enhance your skills and become just as great as them. Finally, don't be discouraged or upset if people don't post in your shop. Just keeping practicing making all sorts of graphics and you will grab someone's attention. Practice. Practice. Practice. & have a little faith


Great advice! Thanks so much, and I can't wait to see what you come up with for your tutorial! And don't leave us again! Stay here. In MM's. For a long long time haha


SPOILER!!: Part 2: The Tutorial

Summary:
Tutorial: Animations
Difficulty: Easy to Medium, depends on your knowledge of Photoshop
Software: Photoshop CS6 (some earlier versions may work as well. CS5, for sure.)

Hey, everybody! How are you all doing today? I hope it’s good! I'm going to be showing you how to make this today:



KMPlayer Tutorial:
1. I highly recommend that you download a program called The KMPlayer. Go ahead and install that. Go on. I can wait.
2. Installed? Great! Open the program up and you should get something that roughly looks like this. Don’t freak out, my KMPlayer will look different from yours, mine is an older build so that I can screencap DVDs. This tutorial is going to focus on capping from a digital file.
3. Open up the video file you wish to screencap. (I’m using MysteryGuitarMan). Right click on the window, go to Capture > Frame: Extract (CTRL+G), and you’ll get this handy little window
4. These are the settings that I use. I’m pretty comfortable with them, but I recommend tinkering around to find what is right for you. I find that the ratio of 1:4 (one capture for every four frames) can still give a pretty seamless animation.
5. Create a folder wherever you want to house your screencaps. Use the drop down menu, as seen here, to the left of the open button, navigate to your folder and set that as the destination for the output.
6. Once you’re ready, click start. In the “information” box, a timer will start, it will tell you the number of frames that you have gone through, and let you know how many frames you have captured. Hit play on your video to start capturing images. Take a look here to see what I mean.
TIP
: You don’t have to capture the WHOLE video. If you just want a part of it, navigate to that part and click start there. Once you’ve got the scene you want, hit the Stop.
7. Now, if you go to the folder you specified as a destination, you should see that it has populated with a lot of frames.
Animated Icon Tutorial:
Given the restrictions on the file size of avatars on SnitchSeeker, your animated icon needs to fall under 20 KB and that can be quite the task. If you create an animated icon that is 100x100 pixels and the animation takes up the entire canvas, you can maybe have two frames. This tutorial will allow you use more than two, but there is still a max number of frames you can have. It depends on how much you are willing to sacrifice on quality.
1. So, pick your caps and drop them into photoshop. I like to load them all into one document, so open up the first cap that you want (using file > open, or drag and drop into photoshop) and then you can simply add the rest by selecting them in windows explorer (use ctrl/shift/whatever the equivalent is on a Mac) and drag and drop them on top of the first cap. This should happen. Just keep hitting enter until all your layers are placed.
2. Right click the “Background” layer (the one at the bottom of your list) and select Layer from Background. You’re going to get a dialogue window, just click OK. The layer should now say “Layer 0”.
3. Notice how the rest of the layers have a funny little icon at the bottom right of the thumbnail? Right click any one of those and click Select Similar Layers (or you can ctrl + click them all). Right click on any one of them again and, this time, select Rasterize Layers. Icons should be gone now.
4. Time to resize our images. I generally use a width of between 75-80 pixels. It depends on how large the cap is. Also depends on the ratio. For example, setting a width of 80 on an image that is 640 by 480, will have a different height than an image that was originally 1920x1080. Play around, find what is right for you. Also, consider cropping the document first before resizing, especially if you don’t want your focus to become teeny tiny after resizing.
5. Go to Image > Canvas Size and change the size of your canvas to 100 x 100 pixels. (You may have to change the size type from cm to pixels using the little drop down menus. For some reason, cm’s is a default for me.)
6. Now, do whatever you want to the image and canvas. Don’t go too crazy, though! Remember, we need to keep it under 20 KB. Here is what I have.
7. Now, the animation part. Go to Window and click on Animation to turn it on. It should have a little check mark beside it and you’ll see a bar appear at the bottom. (If you notice, it’s been turned on the entire time for me).
Now, if you get this window, don’t worry. Just click the button at the bottom right (highlighted) and you’ll get the one we need for this tutorial.
8. Click the drop down menu on the animation toolbar (highlighted), and select Make Frames from Layers. It does exactly what it says: turns all your layers into individual frames. What Photoshop does is that it turns the visibility off for all but ONE layer. For example, the first frame is the first layer (first layer is at the bottom, fyi). It keeps the visibility on for that one, but turns off the visibility of the rest. The second frame turns the visibility of the first layer off, turns the second layer on, and keeps the rest of them off. Does that make sense?
9. Now, the first two frames for me are just the background layers. I don’t need those frames, so I’m going to delete them. Highlight them and click the little trashcan (highlighted). You’ll get a dialogue box, click Yes.
10. Also, you’ll notice the last two frames are empty. These two frames hold my adjustments layers. I can get rid of those frames as well. Now, we are left with the frames we want.
11. Hold up, what about the stuff we added? Do not worry, we’re going to turn those back on. HUGE TIP: if you are going to add anything or adjust anything, make sure you have the first frame selected! If you don’t, the changes will only affect the frame you have selected and the ones after. Having the first frame selected ensures that our changes will apply to ALL the frames. Also, you may have to toggle your first layer on and off a couple times before it’ll apply to all the frames. Photoshop is weird like that. So, here are my frames with the proper added layers turned on.
12. Open that drop down menu again and, this time, choose Select all Frames (or ctrl+click all the frames.)
13. You see that little time parameter on each of the frame boxes? Has a little upside down triangle beside it? Click that. You should see a list of times. 0.1 sec, 0.2 sec, etc. Choose a time. (I usually start with 0.2 seconds). Also, if you have to, there’s a little box to the bottom left that says “Once”. Click that triangle and select “Forever”. Now, your animation will run over and over and over..FOREVER.
14. Hit the little play button to see your animation in action! If you think it’s too slow, play with the timing until you feel it is just right. For example, I thought mine was a little too slow, so I adjusted the time to 0.15 seconds. Feels a lot better.
15. Save the animation. File > Save for Web and Devices. Now I got super lucky, my animation falls under the 20KB limit on my first try (also, there’s no dither on it, so that kind of helps.) This will not be the case every time. Here is where you really need to play around.
Dither - No dither, diffusion, pattern, and noise. These help the colours blend together better in your gif. I recommend you have it on. It will raise your file size, but there’s one other thing you can play with to lower it again...
Colors - You’ll notice that mine is set at 256. You’ll also notice that my file size is 22.05KB which kind of sucks. If you lower the number of colors that are in your gif, the file size will decrease. For example, if I select 128 colors, my file size drops to 18.15 KB, which is good! Also, to me, there is no noticeable difference between that and when 256 colors is selected.
16. Once you’re satisfied with your settings and your gif, go ahead and save it.
Congratulations! You’ve made an animated icon with MULTIPLE frames! You did awesome and I welcome you to share your results with me. I’d love to see what you’ve done.
A small disclaimer: I am not saying that my ways are absolute. I’m just sharing with you the way that I make animated icons. I HIGHLY encourage you going out and research and fine tune this process. Perhaps, one day, y’all will be teaching me the art of making an animated icon.

Other animated icons:




FREEBIE FOR YOU. Enjoy this texture. I use it a lot when I make animated icons.




SPOILER!!: Part 3: The Examples

Lots of examples of momentai's very long SS graphic career!













Photos!: Large Graphic: Manipulation

Photos!: Large Graphic: SS RPG Movie Poster
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Hello fellow SSers! After a short hiatus, the MM's Artist Spotlight is BACK, and February's Artist of the Month is none other than Miss GrapehGrape, known to some around the site as Sarah. Congratulations Sarah!

SPOILER!!: Part 1: The Interview

Interviewer: Lissy Longbottom
Interviewee: GrapehGrape

Hello SSers, and happy new year! I do apologize for the long break between interviews, but we're back and I have the honor of having the super awesome Sarah, aka GrapehGrape, with me to talk about her graphics! Sarah has been around SS for quite some time and is back with her latest superhero themed graphics shop (which I am in LOVE with, by the way ) So, Sarah, I guess the most obvious question is - WHO is your favorite superhero?

Definitely Captain America. I mean he's a big sweetie and VERY attractive. The perfect combination in my eyes.

MMMM I do love the Cap' - so hard to pick a favorite! So the shop theme is awesome, but you need an even awesomer graphic maker at the helm, and you've definitely achieved a level of awesome in your graphics! So what made you first start to dabble in graphic art? What were some of the first graphics you played around with?

I started dabbling mainly because I just loved the idea of photoshop and I've always had a love for all types of art. After awhile, I finally got comfortable enough that I opened a collaborative shop with a couple of my friends and BAM! I caught the bug. Just playing around with graphics on SS made me decide I wanted to go to graphic design so that was a big plus. Honestly I started off simple: avvie photo edits and simple sigs. I just really started playing with more complex things recently when I started going to college for design and learned more little things the programs had to offer.

So you're studying graphic design now in school? That's awesome! What's a really cool technique you've learned recently that you want to bring to your SS graphics at some point?

Yep yep. Mainly just little things like coloring and the best way to cut out an image so it's clean and crisp on plainer backgrounds...and just getting better at it in general.

yeah, practice makes perfect! And those are always good skills to improve on - I know I'm constantly looking for new coloring and stuff like that! What's a piece of advice you'd give to someone who hasn't really mustered up the courage to jump into graphics yet?

Just give it a try. No one's good right off the bat. Everyone needs practice. Mess around with it. Experiment. It takes time to learn the programs, but once you do it'll become a breeze to make pretty things.

What's your favorite program to use?

I use photoshop for my SS graphics...but for my own design stuff I love illustrator.

Oooh interesting, I've never really dabbled in that program but it sounds fancy haha! Well thanks so much for taking some time to chat with me today, and I can't wait to see your tutorial! Keep making graphics, and good luck with the graphic design programs in school! You're gonna do AWESOME stuff!


SPOILER!!: Part 2: The Tutorial and Examples
Hey there everyone. I love using brightly colored pictures in my graphics and I have a very distinct way of achieving this look. So I'm going to share it with you lovely people! I'm using the Photoshop Creative Cloud to make it, but you should also be able to do this is CS6 for sure.

We're going to go from THIS to THIS.

Step One: I cropped down the image to avatar ratio. I kept it big so it's easier to work with the color but I can always resize it later to use as an avvie.

SPOILER!!: step one


Step Two: Now that it's all sized and proportioned the way I want, I'm going to make the colors a tad bit brighter. I go over to the photoshop layer that has my image on it and right click > copy layer. Once I do that I go to Layer > Layer Style > Blending Options and change the settings from Normal to Screen. This makes the image brighter. If it's too bright you can adjust the opacity on the layer to tone it down a bit.

SPOILER!!: step two


Step Three: Now that it's brighter, time to mess the vibrancy a bit. I do this by going to Layer > New Adjusment Layer > Vibrance. I set the Vibrancy slider to 100% and the Saturation to 76%. Again, every picture may be a bit different so you can put the saturation one wherever you want.

SPOILER!!: step three


Step Four: Now for the fun part: coloring. First go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Selective Color. My percentages for each setting are as follows:

Reds:
Cyan – 58
Magenta – 66
Yellow – 0
Black – 0
Yellows:
Cyan – 44
Magenta – 100
Yellow - -50
Black - 0

Greens:
Cyan - 44
Magenta - -100
Yellow - 22
Black - 0

Cyans:
Cyan - 37
Magenta - -100
Yellow - 24
Black - 0

Blues:
Cyan - 32
Magenta - -100
Yellow - 41
Black - 0

Magentas:
Cyan - 11
Magenta - 38
Yellow - -56
Black – 0

Whites:
Cyan - 43
Magenta - -34
Yellow - -44
Black - 1

Blacks:
Cyan - 59
Magenta - 0
Yellow - 77
Black - -4


Again, you might want to tweak a couple of things to make the coloring look right with the specific image.

SPOILER!!: step 4


Step Five: Now for the final bit. The darks aren’t dark enough for me and the image is kind of washed in a midtone. I go to Layer > New Adjustment Level > Levels. The settings I used are as follows:

Darks – 40
Mid – 1.00
Lights – 255


Tweak things as you need to so that there is a nice balance…and voilà! You have your finished product!

SPOILER!!: end result


Here’s a couple of graphics I made for myself using this image and coloring to show you how it looks in use.

SPOILER!!: examples


After this go ahead and do whatever you want with your image. Resize it to an avvie. Use it on a sig. The possibilities are endless!

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Old 03-26-2014, 07:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hello fellow graphic makers! This month, I have the privilege to announce that Dee, also known to many as Gryffindoll, is our March Artist Spotlight winner! Check out her awesome interview and tutorial below. Congrats Dee!

SPOILER!!: Part 1: The Interview


The interviewee (Gryffindoll) is in red italics
The interviewer (Lissy Longbottom) is in bold purple

Hellllooooo Dee! So congratulations and being graphic maker of the month! I'm gonna be honest, I'm a hugeeeeee fan of your work and was super happy when you returned to us! *fangirl squeal* So first things first, how did you get into graphic making? Also, how do you resist the urge to make a million and one graphic shops and just keep the old one going? I love that, I have ZERO self restraint and I'm on shop seven or eight hahaha

HAI LISSY.
THANK YOU. Thank you! Um, I would like to take this moment to thank my mom, and my cat, and— I kid.
Okay. How I got into it… Um. You know what? I think it started here on SS, actually. I was like 12 when I joined and I saw all the little shops and stuff and I was all “EYYY I WANNA DO DAT TOO! ” So I opened up my very first shop - “Dee’z Avviez” (don’t judge me I was a child ok) and I remember I actually used to just crop images and type text on them using Microsoft Paint.
Anyway eventually I was able to get my hands on Paint Shop Pro and tutorials on Livejournal and etc. And now I’ve upgraded to the much more elegant and appealing title of *drumroll* Gryffindoll’s Graphics.

As for keeping one shop this long, I’m lousy at titles, so I just… I made that and just stuck to it. xD


Really? That's awesome! Seems a lot of our awesome graphic makers get their start here on SS - so, if your parents ever bother you about spending too much time on a HP fansite, just tell them YOU'RE LEARNING NEW SKILLS OK?? Haha So now that you're an experience graphic maker, what's your graphic program of choice?

Totally, that’s been my excuse for the past ten years or so.
Oh, Photoshop for sure. At least for signatures and avatars and things like that. Sometimes I’ll use Illustrator too, but Photoshop is the way to go.


I hear a lot of people say they use Illustrator...um, what is that exactly? Haha I only know of Photoshop! Also, what's one of your favorite tools/techniques/etc at the moment?

Illustrator is a vector-based program, it’s more graphics-oriented. I use it for package design or sometimes for small editorial designs. Photoshop is more photo-editing/manipulating.
Hmmmmm my favorite tools… the selection tools?! You can’t make a graphic without having to cut SOMETHING. XD But something I always use is the “Levels” and “Selective Colors” layers when modifying the intensity of the contrast and the colors on the images.


Ugh I LOVE Selective Coloring. It's my go to tool to make things look awesome real fast haha. So you seem to know a LOT about graphics and Photoshop and that fun stuff - does that mean you do graphic stuff OFFSITE as well? Or are you just super well versed in the world of PS?

RIGHT?! Isn’t it the best?!
Thanks, I’m glad you think so! & Yep, I actually went to school for graphic design and work full-time in the field. So I guess you could say SS had an influence in what was to become my career.


That's awesome! I feel like SS got a lot of people into the graphics field - that's so cool though! You'll always be remembered of us SSers at work even if you leave us someday (Which you never will, by the way *staples you here* ) hehe. OK SO FINAL QUESTION. What's the one piece of advice you could give someone looking to start graphics? OH ANOTHER QUESTION TOO SORRY. If you didn't go into graphic design, what would you want to do? Doctor? Author? Superhero?

SS is clearly a good influence on all its members. *Happily hangs from the spot where she’s been stapled* :3

Oooh. Let’s see… the best advice I can give is to just experiment and REALLY get to know the program you’re working with. There’s so many amazing things computer programs can do, like millions of things, and we really only use so few! Mess around with the filters and settings and adjustments and tools, sometimes you end up doing something really cool and saying “WHOA how did I even do that!”

Oh, superhero for sure. Of course, isn’t it obvious? XD
Hm. I’m really not sure, I always wanted to do something in the visual arts, I knew that much. I was kind of tempted to get into illustration because I used to draw and paint a lot. But now I can’t even draw a proper smiley face, so I’m glad I stuck to working with computers instead.


Aww, you're probably an awesome paper artist hehe. Well thanks so much for agreeing to do this interview with me, Dee!! I hope you stick around SS and continue to serve us all such pretty graphics - and I can't wait to see your tutorial as well! Congrats again and keep up the awesome work!



SPOILER!!: Part 2: Tutorial and Examples


For this tutorial I will be using THIS picture of the amazingly beautiful Lily Collins, and modifying it to look like THIS.
Special notes:
- The original coloring/tone of your image has a huge impact on how good or terrible the coloring will look. In this case, the coloring works best with images that have neutral tones and not too many different colors.
- This tutorial was made using Adobe Photoshop CS6.



STEPS:


1. Unless I’m working with an image that is already very light, I use this step 90% of the time, regardless of which coloring technique I’m practicing at the moment.
Go to Layer -> New Adjustment Layer -> Curves…
On the pop-up, press OK.
Input: 122 Output: 172

Now you have a nice and BRIGHT image.
___________________________________________





2. She’s looking a bit pale, so let’s add some warm tones using Color Balance.
Go to Layer -> New Adjustment Layer -> Color Balance…
On the pop-up, press OK.
On the Tone drop-down menu, select Shadows
Cyan-Red: +14
Magenta-Green: -6
Yellow-Blue: -7
On the Tone drop-down menu, select Midtones
Cyan-Red: +10
Magenta-Green: -5
Yellow-Blue: -5
On the Tone drop-down menu, select Highlights
Cyan-Red: -16
Magenta-Green: -10
Yellow-Blue: -8

Voila!
___________________________________________




3. Now it’s a little too warm and sunny. I want to create a contrast between warm and cold tones using Selective Color. (If a color is not listed, its value stays as “0”)
Go to Layer -> New Adjustment Layer -> Selective Color…
On the pop-up, press OK.
Colors: Reds
Cyan: -79
Yellow: +9
Black: +20

Colors: Yellows
Cyan: +7

Colors: Cyans
Cyan: +95

Colors: Blues
Cyan: +61

Colors: Whites
Cyan: +53
Black: -42

Colors: Neutrals
Cyan: +61
Magenta: +10
Yellow: +13

Colors: Blacks
Cyan: +41

Oohlala. Contrasty. And look at that red!
___________________________________________





4. Let’s make those reds pop even MORE using Saturation.
Go to Layer -> New Adjustment Layer -> Hue/Saturation…
On the pop-up, press OK.
Select Reds from the drop-down menu
Saturation: +73
Select Greens from the drop-down menu
Saturation: +47
Select Cyans from the drop-down menu
Saturation: +53
Select Blues from the drop-down menu
Saturation: +52
Now she’s like super orange, so lower the opacity of this layer to 30%

___________________________________________




5. This is another personal favorite I always use. There is no special reason behind it besides that it looks nice.
Go to Layer -> New Fill Layer -> Gradient…
On the pop-up, select “Soft Light” from the Mode drop-down menu and press OK.
Now select a basic black and white gradient (Photoshop should have one by default) that fades from pure black to pure white.
Style: Linear
Angle: 90
Press OK.

This effect places more emphasis on wherever the white falls, and places a shadow where the darker side of the gradient falls. In this case, the lighter part falls on her eyes which is great because she has lovely eyes so let’s emphasize them!
___________________________________________




6. Let’s dull out the whites a teeeeeny tiny bit using an Exclusion layer.
Go to Layer -> New Fill Layer -> Solid Color…
On the pop-up, select “Exclusion” from the Mode drop-down menu and set opacity to 40%
Use color #13171e

The difference might not be HUGE, but it helps soften the harsh whites a little.
___________________________________________




7. Now let’s make it feel all dreamy and whimsical by giving it a warm glow.
Create a new layer and set it to “Screen”
Using the brush tool (with a 0% hardness) press on the upper left-side of the image using color #F5DA8F (about once or twice, you don’t want the glow to become harsh). There is no right or wrong on the size of your brush, but in this case I used it at size 400px.
Now it looks like the sun is shining its rays upon our lovely Lily Collins. But it’s a bit strong, so let’s lower the opacity to 60%.
Duplicate the layer with the glow and this time set it to “Soft Light” with 100% opacity.
Move this layer UNDER the “Screen” layer.
NOTE: The placement of the glow, its intensity, size, etc. are all entirely up to you and will most likely vary from image to image.

___________________________________________




8. Lastly, we will warm and soften the blacks just very slightly using a fill layer set to Lighten.
Go to Layer -> New Fill Layer -> Solid Color…
On the pop-up, select “Lighten” from the Mode drop-down menu and set opacity to 70%
Use color #362f2d



WOO!!! We’re ALMOST done!
Now simply merge all your layers
Layer -> Flatten Image
And most important step in graphic design history: sharpen.
Filter -> Sharpen -> Sharpen
WOO!!! We did it! And here is our final image:

I hope you guys enjoyed the tutorial and use it in the future!
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Old 04-30-2014, 01:36 AM   #6 (permalink)



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This is my first Artist Spotlight to do, and I'm so proud and honored to have completed it with Grrr..Meow--our chosen spotlight for the month of April! I'd do a big introduction with lots of balloons and confetti, but we get pretty excited about things in the interview below. After you read it, check out Robyn's awesome tutorial on what she calls "Cute Avvies!"

Text Cut: Part 1 :: The Interview


Anna Banana
Grrr..Meow

May is just around the corner, and with a new month comes a brand new "Artist Spotlight" for the Madame Malkin's forum! The Madame Malkin's mods have been searching high and low, and we've come up with somebody who's been pretty active in the graphics world! You've seen her all over--in her graphics shop, in the SS community shop, and in competitions. Give it up for Grrr..Meow, aka ROBYN!


*bows* Thank you so much. I'm pretty excited for this, because I'm a complete graphics addict.


Well, that's why we're here today--to talk about graphics! And because you're an all around awesome person. *grins* So, when did you get started in making graphics and how did you get started?


Oh wow, it's been a long time since I've been making graphics, and its all because of SnitchSeeker. *beams* I started, because once I joined SS, I saw loads of pretty things, and I wanted to learn. So thank you, SS! A lot of you awesome members still here today have helped me a lot and given me tips, which has gotten me where I am today.


That's exactly where I got my start--right here on SnitchSeeker! *loves you all* Well, you learn well, because we do love your graphics! When choosing the new "Artist Spotlight", I remember thinking of your "cute avvies" you started a little while back. What exactly inspired those? Also, how do you find such cute images?


Awww, thank you so much. My cute avvies, I want to pet them all. The first one was actually for an SS member, and after I made her one, I made a few for me (naturally, lol). Then they just spread like wildfire. Everyone wanted them, which made me really happy. Anna! You want me to give away my secret? I guess for you I'll tell you how I find the cutest pictures. All I have to do is use the good old google search "Cute Cartoon Cat" or "Cute Cartoon Anything", and it usually brings me to all the cuteness.


So the secret is revealed! I kept wondering how you came up with the most adorable little images I've ever seen! Thank you for sharing that tip with us! We loved (and still love) your cute avvies so much! What program or programs do you like to use to make graphics?


I use Photoshop, but I honestly can not remember what kind it is (I've had this forever). I have others, but I just love PS so much. It works for so many things. Ha! Now everyone will be searching google for cute pictures! Is there any way for us to shut it down for so many searches? *thinks*


Photoshop is amazing! There's so many parts of it I still have no idea how to use, but hopefully I'll figure them out some day! lol Yeah, I think Google images might be pretty busy after this interview is posted! What's your favorite type of graphic to make? I personally love signatures, because I get to see them every time somebody posts. It makes me happy to see my work being enjoyed!


I know, right? There's so many parts on PS that just boggles my mind. Poor Google. I kind of feel bad for it right now, lol. I am so totally in the same boat with you. I love signatures, but sometimes I totally don't like them. I always take forever to create a signature. I always create that first then create the profile picture and avatar, so all the hard work is the signature.

*insert a looooong pause in the conversation right here*


I'm sorry! I left to go get ice cream. I have cookies and cream ice cream now.


Haha! I just finished a sundae.


Ahh, ice cream is so made of win! *is such a happy person right now* Anyway, you do graphics the same way I do--signature first then everything else! A set comes together so much easier that way! We've talked about the things you enjoying doing with graphics, but we haven't talked about challenges yet. What are you currently stumped on and working hard to figure out? Anything? I know I'm working on Gryffindoll's flare from the last spotlight. I still can't get it right.


I agree with that--yay, ice cream! We are both in the same boat. I am currently trying Gryffindoll's light tutorial. I've made a few graphics with it since it was posted, and they've turned out great. As for the challenges, I always have a hard time with placement--like what should go here or what should go there, ugh. Once I think things are in the right spots, I save it, and its out of my mind. Sometimes after graphics are made for competitions, I'm like ughh, why did I do it like that? I'm my own worst critic.


I think we're all our worst critics, unfortunately! But just know that we love your work enough to spotlight you! So we've come to the end of our interview, but before we go, would you like to take a moment to tell the world of SS a little about yourself outside of graphics?


Oh wow, you guys know how to make a girl blush. Hmmmm, lets see, right now I am a stay at home wife. This includes lots of cleaning and taking care of our two dogs, Chewy and Luna (I got to name one Luna which makes me really happy). I am a TV and movie nut! My husband and I love watching our certain shows, and we love going to the movies. It's really bad that I can quote a lot of movies or shows I've seen. Right now, thats about it. I have a boring life *sad face*, but SnitchSeeker makes me happy, and I love talking to all my friends daily.


Quick list of your top two movies and top two TV shows of all time!


TV shows are - 1. Game of Thrones, and 2. Trueblood (yay HBO!). Movies are - 1. Hocus Pocus, and 2. ALL HARRY POTTER FILMS


All very awesome and popular shows, and I'd go into a deeper discussion of all of them, but we ARE interviewing for the graphics portion of the site. I should exercise some self-control, so I don't launch into a conversation on why "Lost" is the greatest show ever. Everrr. Anyway, that's all, everyone! Thank you again, Robyn, and congratulations on being chosen for our "Artist Spotlight"!


No, thank you, Anna and everyone. *waves goodbye to everyone*


Text Cut: Part 2 :: Tutorial and Examples
How to Make Cute Avvies

I use Photoshop (not sure what kind it is ).

I start off creating a new blank canvas.

Steps: File>New

Once this is done, you choose the size. SS rules state that an avvie can not be bigger than 100x100, therefore choose your width and height to be 100 each. Make sure the resolution is in pixels.

Steps: File>New>Width=100, Height=100>Resolution=Pixels>hit okay

Now that you have your blank canvas, you will need to color the background the same color as the background of your SS Profile to make sure it blends and that it looks like it's meant to be there. The color code is below.

Color Code = #F0E7CF

I use this a lot so I have a screenshot saved on my desktop so I can always pull the color from the screenshot.

This is what it should look like at this point:



Okay, that was the easy part. Now we have to find a cute animal you'd like to use. This is where my tip will come in handy, as I usually tend to find all the cute animals people ask for. Go to Google Images and search for "Cute Kitty Cartoon" or change the animal you’d like to use to maybe "Cute Zebra Cartoon." This is how I find all my awesome pictures to use

For now, I'll be using the "Cute Kitty Cartoon”" as an example, because I just love cats.

For this tutorial, I've chosen to use the picture below:

Text Cut: Unaltered kitty


Now, here comes the tricky part. Open this picture in Photoshop and use the Magnetic Lasso Tool (L) to trace around your cute animal until the loop has come back to the beginning. The picture will look like this:

Text Cut: Lasso


Now click on your Move Tool (V) and drag the image to your blank canvas. Once you move it to your blank canvas you will see this:

Text Cut: Big Kitty


To make the kitty smaller and to fit with in the width and height go to.

Steps: Edit>Transform>Scale

You are going to be using the scale tool instead of resizing the image, because you'll need to fit some writing underneath (unless you choose not to have any writing). Scale your cartoon until its how you'd like it to be.

Below is the scale and the beginning of the final look.

1. 2.

Now I like to have a stroke around the cartoon image, because it makes it stand out a bit more. To do the stroke, follow these steps.

Steps: Layer>Layer Style>Stroke

Now that we are here, you'll need to the select the size. I normally go with size 2 and choose the color white. This is what it should look like now:

Text Cut: Stroke



now follow the same steps, but instead of going to stroke, select Drop Shadow. We will be making it pop from the background. To make it nice and easy, I leave everything where it is but the Distance and Size.

Distance = 3
Size = 5

Once you’ve selected that, hit okay, and it should look like this now. Hope everyone is sticking with me, and I'm not just rambling on. hahahaha

Text Cut: Drop Shadow



Okay, back to business. So our cute animal is complete. Now all you have to do to add your name is to use the writing tool. You can choose whichever font you'd like to and just follow the same steps with the Stroke and Drop Shadow (the exact same size, as well) and save it.

This is what the final cute avvie should look like.

Final Look


eeeeppppp I hope you all enjoy making your own cute avvies. 's
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:19 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Hello everyone! It's that time again - time to introduce all of you to another one of our fantastic graphic makers! This month I'm honored to present the interview with one of our long time shop owners, Bre AKA DinosuarsOnASpaceship! Congrats Bre, and I hope you all enjoy the fantastic tutorial she provided for us and the great interview I had with her!

SPOILER!!: Part 1: Interview

Interviewer: Lissy Longbottom
Interviewee: DinosaursOnASpaceship

Hello SSers! Welcome back to another fabulous edition of Madame Malkins Graphic Maker of the Month!! This month, I'm super honored to have DinosaursOnASpaceship, aka Bre, here with me to talk about her fabulous graphics! First off, CONGRATS AGAIN! Your stuff is amazing and I love your style! How long have you been making graphics for and what inspired you to get into it?

*BLUSH* OHMERGERSH! Thank you so much, once again. I'm so beyond shocked right now. xD I've been making graphics since I was in eighth grade. So that was...*counts on fingers* about six years ago, a year before I joined SS. I started a trail version of Adobe Photoshop CS3, I wasn't the greatest at making or using graphics at that point in time and I didn't have anyone to show me how to use it. I actually used Photoshop CS3 up until last year when I bought my MacBook Pro with my graduation money and bought the Adobe Creative Suite. Before I used YouTube or Tumblr to give me ideas and teach me how to use Photoshop I just explored it on my own. I'm pretty sure I don't use anything correctly in Photoshop.

Haha, I'm not sure exactly what I'm doing on PS either but the results look nice so thats all that matters, right? And that's awesome! I usually hear of people getting into graphics AFTER SS, so you were ahead of the game, nice!! So what did you make before RP graphics and such?

Before SS I would just mess around with all different kinds of pictures. For example at one point in time I was obsessed with Niagara Falls so I had my mom import the pictures she took when we went to Niagara Falls and Ontario, Canada. I would change the color of the waterfalls from blue to orange, red, yellow and just all different colors. Once I got into into SS and noticed all the amazing graphics made by Suziella and Ama I wanted to change what I wanted to do and learn with all of my graphics so SS still had a impact on me.

That's an awesome start, though! And awww, I'm sure Suzy and Ama will be honored to hear that hehe. So now that you're a seasoned graphics maker, what's one of your favorite techniques/tools/etc. Also, who has been your favorite model so far? (For example, mine is totally Natalie Dormer, hence why I make so many Gabi graphics haha)

I really miss Ama's graphics, I just loved the colorings she had. I actually still have sets that she made me. Haha! My favorite techniques/tools have to me the way I make black and white photos. I actually just had to edit some pictures from my cousin's baby shower and the lighting was horrid so I picked out the pictures that I liked copied the photo into a new layer and set the blend mode to screen and used the gradient map tool and set it to black and white that way. It just gives the photos a nicer black and white photo and corrected the horrid lighting. Haha! My favorite model would have to be Josh Hutcherson, Bella Thorne (or any ginger person 'cause they're beautiful and amazing) or Chris Hemsworth because he has some nice blue eyes and he plays Thor. *DIES*

UGH YES THOR! Although I have to admit that Loki stole my heart and I'm a total Hiddleston fangirl haha. ANYWAYS *clears throat to get back on topic* That's awesome! I love hearing about how SSers take their graphic talents off site And that's another way of making black and white pics that I never thought of! That's what I love about PS too, you can make the same effects a variety of ways! So it sounds like you're definitely really into editing (although aren't we all if we're just bored and have nothing else to do? haha) so are you looking to use graphic making in a real world application any time soon?

I'm such a Loki/Hiddleston fangirl too but I can't come to not like Chris. XD *squishes them* Don't get me started on anything Marvel/Superheroes. *pushes away Hiddles and Hemsworth* I actually just finished my Freshman year of college as a graphic design major so I have to know how to use Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. I can't believe it's almost been a year since I graduated. *feels old* When I was in my Junior and Senior year of high school my school and nineish other schools all went to this place called BOCES for half of the day, it's a vocational school. I signed up for a graphic arts class and we got to do logos, web design, photography and t-shirt designs. I really miss my BOCES class. <3

That's fantastic! I'm starting to feel that in a few years, SSers are going to be dominating the graphics industry haha. Well thank you sooooo much for taking the time to come chat with me, but before we go, I have two important questions - First off, your favorite marvel superhero BESIDES Thor/Loki (even though Loki is a villain but whatever) and TWO, what is one piece of advice you'd give an SS newbie who wants to get involved in graphic making??

We would be the greatest people EVER to dominate the graphics industry! AWWW, you're very welcome, this was sooooo much fun! <3 *HUGS* That's such an easy question because I have him in toothbrush form CAPTAIN AMERICA but Black Widow is a very close second because she's amazing and needs her own movie. My advice for an SS newie would be don't teach yourself how to use Photoshop because it made me so angry when I wasn't able to figure something out or how to use a certain tool. Haha!

haha yeah, tutorials are created for a reason! Thanks again, that was some great advice, and I can't wait to see what your tutorial looks like!! So SSers, until next time, and keep your eyes peeled for Bre's amazing work around MM's!



SPOILER!!: Part 2: Tutorial and Examples
Quote:
Originally Posted by DinosaursOnASpaceship
Movie/Song Poster Tutorial.

A long, long, very long time ago, I went on tumblr to spark some inspiration for graphics and found a song movie poster. The posters are smaller than a normal movie poster that you see in a movie theater or a Doctor Who and Ed Sheeran poster that you may have hanging on your wall like myself. I’ve never tried making these posters as profile pictures, I’ve never been asked to make them into profile pictures but I could if someone wanted me to. This is really the first time that I’ve ever made a tutorial. I hope I don’t get anyone confused. Now enough of my rambling, lets get started.

I will be using Photoshop CS6, this could be used on CS5 but the vibrancy settings can’t transfer over to any other version of Photoshop. (at least not to my knowledge) To make my life and your life a lot easier I have posted screen captures. I’ll be making a Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone/Sorcerers Stone poster.

Now I’ll be using screencaps from the first Harry Potter movie, I got the screencaps from Home Of The Nutty I use that website all the time when I need screencaps for graphics. Most of the screencaps are HD but if you want to download ZIP flies of screencaps of your favorite show or movie then Screencapped.net | Screencapped.net is the way to go.

The screencaps I’ll be using are here. Once you have your photos all saved open the ones that you want to use for the poster.


Step One: Lets start off by making a new document. Go to File > New Document then follow the screen capture below.

SPOILER!!: STEP ONE



Once everything is exactly like mine hit the Okay button.

Step Two: After all of my images are all opened I like to resize them so go to Image > Image Size and change the width to 500 pixels. The screencap of Hogwarts Express, Hogwarts and the Philosophers Stone I resized down to a 650 pixel width.

SPOILER!!: STEP TWO



Step Three: I’m just going to start dragging my Harry, Ron and Hermione screencaps into the top of the document. You can just set the group of photos to the side of you work area and just drag them with the move tool or you can press command {MAC}/ control {PC} + A to select the photo then command {MAC}/ control {PC} + C to copy the photo then click on your empty document and press command {MAC}/ control {PC} + V to paste the photo into the document. I personally think it’s easier and saves time to drag and drop the photos into the document.

Your layers should look something like this.

SPOILER!!: STEP THREE



Step Four: Now we need erase some areas are Harry, Ron and Hermione to make it look all neat and clean. So I take the eraser tool, my brush size is 29 px, the hardness is 25%.

SPOILER!!: STEP FOUR



I zoom my document into to 200-300%


Step Five: When you’re done with that use the paint bucket tool and paint the background layer black ( just to hide any imperfections that might show through in the dark screencaps }. Drag or copy and paste the capture of Hogwarts Express in the middle of the graphic so it overlaps parts of Hermione, Harry and Ron’s faces. Just take the eraser tool and turn the hardness down to about 10 – 15%. Also add the Hogwarts screencap below the train and do the same as well.

It should look something like this.

SPOILER!!: STEP FIVE



Step Six: Click on the top layer and hold down shift and click on the bottom layer. Right click on one of the layers and click merge layer.

SPOILER!!: STEP SIX






Now for the fun part.

First off I like my graphics to have a sharpen effect more so when I’m making graphics with any kind of screen captures.

So go to Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen

Now for the coloring, I’ve always had and still have issues when it comes to coloring screen captures because not all of them have the same lighting.

Image > Adjustments > Gradient Map

SPOILER!!: GRADIENT MAP


Image > Adjustments > Curves ( just brighten the graphic a bit )

SPOILER!!: CURVES


Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast ( you’ll need three of these layers )

SPOILER!!: BRIGHTNESS/CONTRAST







There’s a little circle icons on the bottom of the layers menu click that and find solid color, select the color white and set the opacity to 15%.

SPOILER!!: SELECTIVE COLOR


You’ll need another solid color/color fill (just like you did for the white) in black and then set the blending mode to screen.

Now you’ll need a Vibrancy layer (not all Photoshop versions have this ) Image > Adjustments > Vibrance

SPOILER!!: VIBRANCE


Now for the final Adjustment layer. Image > Adjustments > Selective Color

SPOILER!!: SELECTIVE COLOR


Your graphic should look like this.

SPOILER!!: GRAPHIC OVERVIEW



Step Seven: Now it’s time for some text. When I use the text tool I click on the text icon and then I go to Window > Character. I just find it as an easier way to make the text look how ever you want. You can choose any font you want for the time of the title of the graphic. I’ll be using Harry P. The ‘Harry Potter’ text should be about 30pt. The ‘and the Philosopher’s Stone’ should be about 7pt.

SPOILER!!: TEXT


Final Step: Now we can now drag in the movie credit png into the graphic. When you’re done resizing the movie credit just go to File > Save For Web

Here's the final product.



SPOILER!!: Examples



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Old 06-26-2014, 10:25 PM   #8 (permalink)



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The month of June brings us an exciting interview and tutorial from one our amazing site admins. She's the talented BanaBatGirl--our chosen Artist Spotlight for the month of June. You've may have seen her work in The Badger Den and The Batcave, viewed or entered her competitions in 1w1p, and seen her lovely challenges in her Bag o' BatGrabs. Read all this and more (including why we all owe Kelvin a round of applause), in her interview posted below. When you're done, be sure to check out her tutorial on blending images.

Text Cut: Part 1 :: The Interview


Anna Banana
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It's now the end of June, and you know what that means--a brand new "Author Spotlight" brought to you by the Madame Malkin's mods! I'm so excited to be able to interview this month's spotlight! I really look up to her in the world of graphic making and wish my work was even half as great as hers! Please welcome the amazingly talented... *pauses while Batman theme begins playing* ... BANABATGIRL!

Hahahaha I got the Batman theme! All riiiiiiiiiight.... thanks for that kind introduction, Bonana.

*taps foot patiently as Batman theme fades out and stops playing* Ahem. Now then. Hiii, Roro! So seeing as this is an interview for the graphics portion of our lovely site, let's jump right in to talking about...GRAPHICS! What else? lol Did you get your start here on SnitchSeeker? If so, do you remember how that came about?

I sure did! I guess that came about in part to complaining to my SS BFF (Kelvin) about not having Photoshop. Once I was able to get Photoshop, I took cues from the awesome graphic geniuses of SS, and I haven't stopped learning new tricks yet! I used to be so bad at Photoshop though. You guys should look at my Badger Den stuff... and stuff buried at the bottom of my Photobucket.... lol

That's funny--Kelvin played a part in me getting started with graphics, as well! He probably doesn't remember this, but I IMed him with a TON of questions that he so graciously answered. Does this mean SS owes Kelvin for helping all of us get started in making such pretty graphics? Haha. Anyway, I know you told me before that you stopped cutting out pictures and started blending them instead. What caused you to change to that method?

I think we DO all owe Kelvin. ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR CAKE.NINJAK, everybody! lol I was never really a COB (cut-out background) kind of graphicer anyway... I just didn't think that style worked for me, besides the little transparent background avvies I made of peoples' characters. It's just a lot easier to blend with the background/match up backgrounds. I think it gives the graphics a more realistic or natural look? Just my personal preference.

*pauses interview to give Kelvin a random round of applause* Oh my goodness, I remember those avvies! They were so cute and so popular! I still have mine of Anna Greingoth (now Newell). I love the blending look, too, but I'm just not very good at it. It's super easy when the background is a solid color, but when you have those busy backgrounds, it just falls apart for me. Is there an easy way to do those at all?

Hmm it depends on what you mean by busy background. There's really only two ways, I've found, to blend a background. It either has to be a lighter colored background so you can set it to darken, or it has to be a very very dark background, which you can set to 'lighten.' If the background is like... a house with windows, you can sometimes copy and flip sections of the background, then set it to darken to make it merge. Hopefully that makes sense. I think I'm going to try to explain this blending thing better in my tutorial, lol. Adding textures, lens/light flares, text, and gradients can all hide merge-y photoshoppy effects. *and I want to add that I am in no way a trained graphic artist, so I probably do things very inefficiently and with the wrong terminology. LOL

Ohh, I've never tried the whole 'darken or lighten' effect to help blend! I'll have to try that! Thanks for that tip! And I would love for you to explain how to do that in your tutorial! I've never been very good at that, and I'm sure our other graphics makers would love to try that, as well! With terminology, I think we SSers have developed vocabulary all of our own. Don't worry--we can talk your talk and have the same vocabulary, as well, I'll bet! You were talking about textures, flares, etc. up there which brings me to the next question I wanted to ask. Besides a good blending, what's your favorite Photoshop features to work with? I'm assuming you still have Photoshop?

Yessssss lol I still have Photoshop. Oh what a question lol. I LOVE selective coloring. I think that's pretty obvious to anyone who looks at my graphics. xD

That's true! You also have a School RPG charrie with gorgeous red hair, so I bet selective coloring is a lot of fun when making stuff for her! What's your favorite type of graphic to make and why? I personally like signatures, because I have way more luck with them than any other type. I'm not good at getting a good angle on avvies.

Haha yeah, Amy Adams is just a pretty person. All my RPG characters are pretty. Too pretty. I like making signatures as well. I just think that ratio of horizontal to vertical is easiest to manipulate. Avvies are my second favorite, because I think they don't take themselves too seriously. Profile pictures are the hardest. I've never really been good at those.

So let's talk about your graphics competition, 1w1p, for a moment. What brings you the most joy out of hosting a competition like this? Also, what advice do you have for people that want to enter your competition or really any competition here on SS?

Hmm... I like seeing the pro tips everybody sends in. They're always so different and yet so useful! It just goes to show that we really can learn something new every day. The advice I have is to think outside the avvy box. Brainstorm a little before you select an image to use in an icon. I always like seeing the people who are the most creative, and yet still on topic, win, because I think that's the point of these competitions? Not so much to win, but to stretch yourself creatively in the process of entering. Andddd that was my one deep thought for the day.

LOL! Well, it's really good advice and something I have the most trouble on. I'll work really hard and THINK I'm outside the box, and then when all the other avvies are posted, I'm just like, "Ohhh..." I still love to try, though, because I won't get better and improve if I don't try, ya know? Also, I think somewhere in this interview this needs to be said, and I think I'll squeeze it in now since you're giving advice. When I was choosing the Artist Spotlight this month, more than just your graphics skills came to mind. The other thing that came to mind was how encouraging you are to other graphics makers. I'm always seeing you in various threads telling others how much you enjoy their work and just being so encouraging overall. I was so happy and excited that day you poked in my request thread and complimented a set I'd made!

Awww! That's like, a compliment on a compliment! *blushes* Thanks, Anna, I try. It's either the Hufflepuff or the teacher in me or both. I mean, I sure wouldn't be making graphics still if people hadn't taken a chance on me and been encouraging and patient with me! <33

Well, I just thought you might want to know that your compliments and encouraging words are noticed and appreciated! You're right in that we all start off with work that we might cringe about years down the road, but if it weren't for people encouraging us along the way, we might not continue to try and therefore get better and better! Do you have a favorite resource site, such as one to get new textures or brushes?

N'aww well thanks again! It is nice to be noticed... for being nice. Hahahaa. Oh tough questions here though. I used to go to Deviantart for textures quite a bit... now I just use Google if there's a specific kind/type of texture I'm looking for. I don't use them as much anymore.

Thanks for sharing a bit of your expertise, Roro! I know I can speak on behalf of all of SS when I say your graphics and competition are thoroughly enjoyed! Of course, I focus on that part, because this is a graphics interview, lol. We love having you with us on ALL parts of the site! So that sadly brings our interview to an end. Anything else you'd like to shout out before we close? If not, you can stroll out, cartwheel out, fly out...however you chose! It's YOUR interview!

Thanks again for interviewing me, Anna! I was so honored and excited to hear from you. A shout out to ALL of SS' current, former, and aspiring graphics makers! We're all in this together! And now, iBatgirl. *grapple hooks onto a nearby building, swoooooooooooooshing out the window*


Text Cut: Part 2 :: Tutorial and Examples
Hi! So I don't know how everybody else does backgrounds and blending images, but here are at least two ways to try merging images together.

Most of what I'm going to show you is done by adjusting the mode of your layer (normal, darken, soft light, lighten, screen, etc.). And I also use the eraser tool. Like, a lot.

For a blending example, I'm starting with this beautiful image of Amy Adams. In Photoshop (I have CS3), I pasted it into a blank 450 x 150 canvas. Then I shrank it down; I usually do this the lazy/easy way, which means I hold down shift to keep the picture in proportion and I drag from the corners until the portion on the canvas is what I want to see!

SPOILER!!: So now it should look like…


Now, to blend, I paste another copy of the same image on the canvas and shrink it down too. I shrank it A LOT and set the layer mode to lighten. I set this small Amy Adams in the corner just because that layout seemed to work with the original image. ALSO, this is important: Setting your mode to lighten will only work if the background is dark black or gray. So you can see that in the original image (look under the first spoiler tag), there's a lot of photographers on the right side with dark clothing and dark cameras. The image I pasted into that corner then shows up with the lighten mode because of the darkness of the photogs behind it. Make sense?

The next thing I did was erase the left side of this mini-Amy because a key to blending is making the puzzle pieces all look like they fit.

SPOILER!!: Now we are here...


You can erase by adjusting the opacity and fill of the two layers on top of/below each other. Also, click the eye on or off to view or not view the images as you erase. This takes time to learn but just play with your layers and you'll get the hang of it!

So that's really all there is to blending two images together. Now, I also added textures to this image and a pinkish gradient, with selective erasing on those layers as well. Here's what my final layers looked like.

SPOILER!!: Final


I think I put a copy of layer one on top and set the mode to soft light to really make that layer more in focus/closer than the second layer. I think. I also did a little selective blurring and sharpening on the photographers' faces and cameras.

SPOILER!!: Similar example with same techniques
The layers are set to lighten and I used the eraser tool to eliminate the background of each from overlapping the other layer's face lol.



This shows the erasing from each side.





And here's the final signature, after text and selective color, etc.



That's my tutorial on blending using the lighten mode. Here a few examples of setting the layers to darken. I typically use lighten mode for black/white photos, or images with a lot of VERY dark background. Darken works best with images that have the same color background or a lighter background in general.

SPOILER!!: Example of images blended...
Here's a signature I made for Kaos.Doodles with two different images. Each had a dark gray or white/gray background, so they fit together nicely when set to darken. You can see my layers to the right.







Again, I shrank these images down until the faces were roughly the same size and the people looked like they were posing next to each other. I do all my blending/sizing before I add in textures or text.


Few more examples using the mode darken to blend:

SPOILER!!: Bunz
One layer actually has a lower opacity than the other, did you know?



+ with a pink gradient (this is how I wore this siggy)





Okay, one more example of two different models, similarly colored backgrounds. I try to be as picky as possible when blending images. I look for images where the models have a similar background, where the light is coming in from the same angle/side, where the models are looking in the same direction, etc. Things like that.

SPOILER!!: These two are both looking down lol








I also do tricks like adjusting the color balance on each layer to make sure skin tones look similar before I selective color both layers merged together. If you're not confident in your blending, easy ways to start include using a dark background and textures to hide your little mistakes, or to use the same image only reflected or in two different sizes or blended via the model's pretty hair.

Here are some things I've made more recently that I think are particularly good examples of blending without losing too much of the image's real background.

SPOILER!!: Examples






















So that's it for me! I hope all this makes sense and helps you out. If you need clarification on anything, please IM or PM me!
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Old 10-28-2014, 05:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Hello SSers! Once again thank you all SO MUCH for being patient with us as life got a bit crazy for the MM's mods. And thanks a BUNCH to our pick for October for being equally patient and super dooper awesome - BECKY! Becky has been around MM's for quite some time, and I'm super excited to announce that she made not only one, but TWO tutorials for you guys! Our interview is also below so you can learn a bit about Becky and how she became the awesome graphic maker she is today. Congrats Becky!

SPOILER!!: Part 1 :: Interview

Interviewer (Lissy Longbottom) - Italics
Interviewee (Becky) - BOLD

Hello lovely SSers! Thanks so much for being patient with us in MM's as life got a little crazy for a few months. BUT we're back with our awesome graphic maker of the month for the month of October - BECKY! You've probably seen her entering our graphics contests recently, and those of us who have been here for years are already familiar with her awesome tutorials (speaking of, we've got a DOUBLE tutorial for you guys this time around!) past graphic shops and her willingness to get involved in all sorts of other fun stuff around the site! So without further ado, let's get started! First off, HI! How are you?! Second of all, how long have you been making graphics now? How did you first get into it?

I’m okay! Uhm, how long? Jeez, that’s a question and a half. I think 6 years…? Don’t quote me on that, though. I first got into it when Linda (Slytherin Fox) suggested I try it out. Thinking back, I wasn’t very good at it back then. I do cringe when I look back at what I created.

Awww yes, I remember you and Linda used to be a team! *tries to use mind power to bring her back to SS* I think most people tend to do that when they look at their past work! I know I certainly do haha...so what did you first use when you were starting off? What programs do you use now?

I think she’s moved on to modding other sites now At first, I used GIMP because it was free, but now I’m on CS6. I mostly use photoshop, but sometimes a graphic calls for Illustrator, especially a text heavy one.

I keep hearing about Illustrator and have to seriously look into it, because it sounds AWESOME. And GIMP is a great way to get your feet wet in the world of graphics! I could never figure it out, but I know you and a few other people have used it and made some super pretty stuff! So do you make graphics outside of SS at all? Like for school or other sites?

It really is! The vectors are so easy to work with GIMP was always easier to me than Photoshop until I actually learnt how to use it properly, I guess it was more like baby steps for me. I definitely do! Today I created two booklets and two booking forms for a Wedding DJ. I’m actually a qualified Graphic & Multimedia Designer, so… yeah

That's so awesome! I love that time and time again, SS seems to get our graphic makers hooked on actually making a career out of graphic making! Who says spending time on the internet doesn't pay off? So what's your favorite tool/technique at the moment? If you could describe your "style" at the moment what would it be?

Haha, I know! It’s definitely what gave me the push. I used to want to be a paramedic. Graphics changed all of that for me, though. Oh gosh… I’m really into Selective Colouring at the moment. It’s amazing to be able to change the balance of a picture just by using the colouring. My style? I’d say simple… or minimal. I don’t really like creating crowded things right now.

Very nice - and I LOVE the selective coloring tool as well! My real motivation behind actually buying the real version of PS hahaha...well, I think that just about does it! Thanks so much for taking time out of your day to talk about graphics with me, and I cannot WAIT to see the tutorial (or tutorials, I should say!) you have in store for us!

I got all my Adobe stuff cheaper because of the student stuff, so that helped! Anytime! I love talking about graphics with anyone Thank you for talking to me, too, and for this awesome honour!


SPOILER!!: Part 2 :: Tutorial #1 - Graphic
This is my original image in photoshop.



I created a greyscale version of the image and then doubled the layer. Once that was done, I cut out the shape of the microphone and deleted the original greyscale layer. That left me with this image.



To bring out the microphone's colours, I darkened the background even more using a selective colouring layer



I removed the background using another layer that was just coloured with black and then added the simple text



Once that was done, I kerned it and got to my final outcome:




SPOILER!!: Part 3 :: Tutorial #2 - Type
Firstly, I'd like to help you to set up a document for screen usage. I named my file, and then gave the dimensions to it. My usual ones are 450x150 for siggies. This leaves space for text, too. The resolution should be 72 pixels per inch and the colour mode should be RGB.



Key:
Red - Point size
Blue - Leading (Pronounced lead•ing, as in pencil lead.)
Green - Kerning
Yellow - Tracking



For this typeface, I usually set the leading and the point size to the same amounts. Usually, the leading is on 'auto' as shown below



Leading is the amount of space from the baseline of one line to the baseline of the next line.



When the leading isn't correct, the descenders and ascenders can almost touch and become illegible. This is why leading is important.



In the image below, the u and the s are almost touching. This is where kerning comes in. Kerning is the spacing between each letter, and sometimes typefaces are created in a way that it will look natural when typing a lot of text, but when it's larger and there is less text, it can look a little unbalanced.



Using the kerning tool (circled below) can be confusing at first. There is a game to help you practice and learn this! Link here. My personal best on this is 97%, so try and beat that! If you do, I'd absolutely love to hear! If you absolutely can't fathom how to do this, don't worry about it. There's an 'optical' option for you. It may be slightly different to what you'd get if you did it manually, but that's definitely better than not doing it at all.



This next tool is the tracking tool. It spaces the letters out with the same amount of space between each one. This should always be used in conjunction with the kerning tool to give the best effect. To use it, highlight the text and either use the drop down menu, or left click and slide either left to bring the letters together, or to the right to space them out.

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Heeeey SSers, happy May! It's been a while, but we're back with our Madame Malkin's Graphic Maker Spotlight - this month, the honor goes to none other than hermionesclone, also known as Kita! Kita sat down with Anna Banana to chat about graphics and presented an AWESOME tutorial (starring an Avenger, so you KNOW I loved it ) for all you aspiring graphic makers out there to see how she does it! Enjoy, and don't forget to head to Colin's Corner to discuss how amazing Kita's interview wa!
Text Cut: Part 1 - Interview

Interviewer - Anna Banana
Interviewee - hermionesclone

Ladies and Gentlemen! Boys and Girls! Good people of SS! I bring to you yet another exciting interview with an extremely awesome SSer! We've known her as Alec and Grayson's RPer, and she likes to hang out in a little place called The Secret Garden. She's the ONE, the ONLY...KITA!! aka hermionesclone! Kita dear? You may come out now! Say hello to our lovely SSers!

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*ENTHUSIASTIC RUNNING OUT FROM THE SHADOWS* DID SOMEBODY SAY KI-- *trips* *straightens self up again ahem* Kita's me, I am Kita! HAI Anna and HAI lovely SSers! Thanks for the lovely introduction, by the way.

-----

*tries to act composed but rushes to Kita's side anyway* We can't have our Kita getting hurt! *clears throat and continues interview* So...we have Kita here today, because she's been awarded the honor of being the Madame Malkin's Artist Spotlight for the month of April! YAY, KITA!!! Kita is one of the co-owners of the shop The Secret Garden, where very awesome graphics are made! Kita, how and when did you get started making graphics?

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MY HERO! I'm so excited for this, can you tell? *bounces and blushes* You're sweet, Anna-face! And you're asking me that as if I actually remember the origins of my graphics making. UM, I know that it started from SS (where else?) and it was waaaaaaaay back in the 2010/2011 region when I was an itty bitty 16/17 year old who wanted to try ALL the things on SS. I remember seeing other people's gorgeous pieces of work and wondering if I could do something like that and so, I thought I'd give it a go. I wasn't very good, though, so looking through my old graphics was......... interesting, to say the least.

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I'm SO EXCITED for this, too! WHAT WHAT? You don't remember exactly how you got started with graphics? *gasp* Just kidding! I remember my early days, when I wanted to do EVERYTHING on SS, too. *is still that way* Well, I'm really glad you decided to try graphic-making, because you have amazing skills! AMAZING. I remember being completely in awe of those house table graphics you made for the banner competition we once had. Congratulations (again) on that, by the way! You co-own a shop on SS, which was mentioned before. What's the most rewarding part about having a graphics shop?

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XD It sounds bad, I know. SS is just SO exciting, that's what it is. *convinced* Aw, Anna! Thank you, lovely! That means a LOT to me. *loved* Is it bad that seeing those table banners in the threads still makes me fangirl and beam in pride? *still does* *is cool yo* Thank you! I'm glad you like them! <3 Most rewarding part has to be the comments. Nothing can beat reading comments from people you've made the graphics for (or from anyone, really) saying that they like what you've made for them. Even if it's a simple thanks, it still makes my heart swell. It's definitely my favourite part! And I LOVE co-owning a shop with the amazing Talikins and we're very good friends so having that friendship through all of this makes it rewarding as well.

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No, no! It's not a bad thing at all! I would be so proud, too, if those were my banners! You want to know a secret? When those banners...
were first shown in the competition, I IMed Roro on Skype and went on and on about how awesome your banners were, only I didn't know they were yours at the time! And YES, reading comments from people AND seeing them wear graphics you made is very rewarding! *agrees with you there* Do you have any tips for people who want to start making graphics or who already do? *is SO wanting to learn from you*


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*FANGIRLS* Anna, you're SO ADORABLE! Gosh, that made my heart melt and I'm going to end up crying happy tears <33 Tips? Gosh, that's a hard *FANGIRLS* Anna, you're SO ADORABLE! Gosh, that made my heart melt and I'm going to end up crying happy tears <33 Tips? That's a hard one! I think my tip would be to not be afraid to try something new, whether you're a beginner or a super duper whizz at graphics making. You never know: this new thing could just end up working out well for you. I always try and think about image placement/what images will work well together (if I want to select more than one) before I start the actual process of making the graphic. And believe that you CAN do it and keep at it until you get it. You'll get there, I believe in you <3

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I'm the adorable one?! No, YOU are! You are our SPOTLIGHT, after all! It's true, though. I was so amazed at your banners. I remember thinking that I wished I could design graphics like that. I can do graphics, but I'm rubbish at designs, I think. So, TIPS! I'm so excited to learn something from you! It's such good advice, too, and you are such a sweetheart for giving us such motivation! *throws confetti all over you* You're right, because I just had to practice and practice to get graphics I was somewhat happy with, and I do believe I got better over time! That's good inspiration for anyone wanting to try their hand at graphic-making! Thank you, Kitakins! What's a graphics-making feature that's hard for you? I know blending is really tough for me.

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You're going to make me blush! I think, what happened with those banners was just experimentation? It was just a bunch of textures and shapes, each with their own modes applied to them. Aww! Thank you, lovely! *!!!!!!!* *twirls around in the confetti* Yes exactly! You get better over time 'cause you're always learning something new? So yeah, don't give up. No problemo! :3 A graphics making feature that's hard? Gosh, am I allowed to say everything? *joking, maybe* I'd say working with pictures that aren't of good quality? Or, I usually use a certain number of adjustments in a certain order and if the picture doesn't come out looking good, I'm usually at a loss for what to do. And yeah, blending is REALLY hard! I don't know how Roro does it. Trying to crop out pictures of models who have their hair flying out behind them is something I struggle with as well. I try to avoid it as much as possible.

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Ahh, I love when graphics brilliance just happens by accident! That doesn't happen to me often, but when it does, I just love it! *reads the part about what's difficult for you when it comes to graphics* I agree about high quality pictures, and it's something you really don't understand unless you're a graphics maker yourself! Also, YES! Models with curly and wavy hair are very difficult to work with. At least for me! So, Kita, as you know, with each Artist Spotlight, we ask the artist to give us a tutorial. Tell us a little about the tutorial you have for us! *is so excited to learn from you*

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Same! It makes me feel so smart, for some reason XD Exactly! They're impossible to work with. OH OH! The tutorial, yes! Funnily enough, the tutorial is linked with what we were just talking about in regards to the quality of pictures. It's a little tip my graphics design teacher told me about and, after doing a bit of research and tweaking, I came up with my own tutorial for making the quality of pictures look just that little bit better. I've tried to use it for some of my recent graphics as well, especially in the case of banners where I've REALLY wanted to use a picture in particular but, after adding in the adjustments, nothing looked right. So, hopefully this tutorial should help with that.

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Well, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen--the amazingly talented and sweet KITA! Okay, Kita--any parting words? If so, here's your chance to tell us and then to make your GRAND EXIT! Thank you so much for this interview and tutorial and congratulations again on being the Artist Spotlight for May!

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Anna, you're so sweet! *all beamy and emotional and trying and failing to act cool* Parting words? Is this the part where I try and fail to sound wise? *thinks that's likely to happen* Just thank you to everyone who's given me a chance or given me warm complimentary words or words of encouragement and to those who've helped me along the way. I really appreciate it. And good luck to anyone trying their hand at graphics making. And with that, I go! Thank you for interviewing me, Anna! This was fun. *squishes before poofing in a puff of glitter and smoke*


Text Cut: Part 2 - Tutorial
HAI! I'm going to be showing you a tutorial on how to make screenshots look better and make it look like it's a bit better in quality. It won't make it a completely high quality image but it should tweak the image in a way to make it look good. I started off with this screenshot of Scarlett Johansson in Iron Man 2 and ended up with this at the end. I created this using Photoshop CC and because of the use of Selective Colouring, it can't work on other programs. Sorry!

1) First thing’s first: open the picture up on Photoshop and duplicate the base layer. Easy peasy!

2) Next, go to Filter > Blur > Surface Blur. This should hopefully make the picture smoother and get rid of any weird pixelated parts. The Radius and Threshold varies from image to image so have a fiddle around with it until you reach a point where you’re happy with the overall result. Honestly, I tend to fiddle around with my graphics a LOT and it takes a bit of time and patience but you’ll get there!

For this particular image, I changed the Radius to 5 pixels and the Threshold to 6 levels. I then changed the Opacity of the layer to 50%.



3) Once that’s gone, duplicate that layer (the one you just added the Surface Blur to). Go to Filter > Other > High Pass. On the window that pops up, adjust the Radius to one where you’re happy with the outcome. Mine was: 31.9 pixels. Then, lower the opacity to something around the 50-60% mark and change the Mode to Soft Light. This is what my image looked like after that step.



The quality looks quite a bit better there but we still need to add in some adjustments to it because we like adjustments, yes? These set of colourings are particularly good for dark screencaps but if you have any other adjustments you like to use, feel free to go with that.

4) Firstly, select the first three layers (original layer, surface blur layer and high pass layer) and duplicate them and THEN merge those three duplicated layers.

5) Duplicate that base layer and set the Mode to Screen.

6) Insert a Levels layer! The settings I used were: 0, 1.00, 209.



7) The image was starting to look a little TOO bright but no worries! I went ahead to insert a Colour Balance layer. You can use whatever settings work for your image, since different images will need different adjustments, but the ones I used are in the screenshots below.



8) The image is starting to look VERY bright and yellow but that'll be good for the next couple of steps. Duplicate and merge the following layers: base layer (this is the NEW base layer, the one made in step 4), Screen layer, Levels layer and Colour Balance layer.

9) Go to Image > Adjustment > Desaturate. This will make your image black and white. To make it look better and to make it blend into the layers beneath it, change the mode to Soft Light. The image should look something like this:



And the layers menu should look something like this:



10) Add a vibrancy layer. This is exactly as the name suggests: it’ll make the picture look more vibrant and is very similar to adding in a curves and levels layer but the effect comes out quite a bit different. I added a Vibrancy of +100 which should work for most images but it’s totally down to personal preference :3 This step works especially well for the darker images.



11) Next, Selective Colour! This adjustment can either be your best friend or your worst enemy but if you get it right, the image will look stunning! This is the one that adds a major contrast to the image as a whole, in my personal opinion. Different images will require a different setting but this one is based on my love for making colours pop in my graphics. Have a fiddle around and see which values work for you? The settings I applied to this image are shown in the screenshots!



12) After all of that, my image ended up looking something like this, which is MUCH better than what it looked like before.



13) Then I simply added in a gradient layer of black to white and set the setting to Soft Light, which is a trick I picked up from Dee’s (Gryffindoll) tutorial up there. It just makes it look better in my opinion so thank you for this tip, Dee! <3 The screenshot below shows the list of layers I had after applying the Gradient Fill layer.



14) Here’s the final result! It’s probably not as great as some of the more high quality pictures that I like to use but it looks much better than it did before. :3



Hope this tutorial helped and isn't too complicated! If you have any questions, don't hesitate in contacting me about them <3
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