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GustavMattias

Beginner advice for using Gimp?

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To whoever a) can help me out a bit and b) wants to help me out a bit: 

As you can see from my (current) signature, I know nothing about photo editing whatsoever. As a new GM, I'd love to be able to make some decent-looking sigs or graphics for my players by the end of next season, and would indeed consider it an underachievement if I couldn't at least make something passable by that point. I just recently downloaded Gimp and I've been playing around with it, but I really have no idea where to start. Does anyone here use Gimp for their editing? And if so...

-What's the best way to isolate a player from an image (for example, to put over a different background)?

-How can I get any sort of font that doesn't look like it would be readily available in Microsoft Word?

-What are some other features that I might find useful, and what do they do?

To anyone who gives me any valuable input on this, THANK YOU. I'd appreciate it a ton. 

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19 minutes ago, GustavMattias said:

-What's the best way to isolate a player from an image (for example, to put over a different background)?

 -How can I get any sort of font that doesn't look like it would be readily available in Microsoft Word?

-What are some other features that I might find useful, and what do they do?

 

 

1) The best way to do it is either using the PEN TOOL to create a "path" around the outside of just the render, then turning it into a selection, and clearing/erasing the background.

 

 

 

For forum signatures, though. I find using the eraser tool (or applying a LAYER MASK to the image and then using a BLACK hard brush) to just manually erase out the background is good enough and produces a result similar to what you'd get with the pen tool. Because forum signatures are lower-resolution, using eraser/black brush on a layer mask doesn't look as bad as it would if you had a huge resolution image.

- To do this, you take your image, you apply a LAYER MASK to it, and then you take a HARD BRUSH and basically erase out the background.

 

 

 

 

There's no easier/quicker way to do it than manually tracing/erasing the background.   You could try using the MAGNETIC LASSO TOOL but it'll look like shit.

 

 

 

2) Go here: https://fonts.google.com/

 

 

 

3) This question is way too open ended to answer. IMO the best advice I can give you is to ditch GIMP, get a cracked version of Photoshop CS5 or CS6, then download/install the TOPAZ LABS plugins (Topaz Adjust, Topaz Clarity, Topaz Clean 3)  and the GOOGLE NIK plugins (Analog Efex Pro 2, Color Efex Pro 4, Viveza 2).    These plugins MAY be compatible with GIMP, I have no idea. You could research it yourself.

 

Making sigs is basically composing multiple images  (background, render, stock images, text) and using different LAYER PROPERTIES.... i.e. most of your "stocks" you probably want to set the layer property to LIGHTEN or OVERLAY or maybe HUE. You should also use ADJUSTMENT LAYERS like Curves, Exposure, Levels and maybe Photo Filter and Gradient Map on pretty much every signature. Adjustment layers give the signature a more uniform look/lighting situation, and prevents the obvious-looking "layered" sig where you can clearly tell the layers apart because there is no blending/uniformity between the background, render, stocks, etc.

 

 

 

You can pretty much youtube  "GIMP tutorial layers" or   "GIMP tutorial Curves"   or  "GIMP tutorial ______"   (any word I wrote before) for more info..... but yeah, abandon GIMP for Photoshop CS5 or CS6.

 

 


Here's a well-made sig, and although this is a speed video and not a tutorial/walk through, you can still see how much work/layers/adjusting goes into a "good looking" sig:

 

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@gorlab wish I could like this more than once. I have a TON going on this week, but as soon as I can I'm going to use all of this and hit the photo editing. I'll probably be back watching these videos and reading what you said multiple times...I wasn't expecting anything near this level of response from anyone here. Thank you.

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Oh, another valuable tip is to build up a pretty big STOCK IMAGE database/resource.

 

You can do this by going to google images and typing in random words, and seeing the 'advanced search' setting to a specific COLOR   or  setting the COLOR to TRANSPARENT when looking for a render or something.

 

So, like.... google image search  "soft gradient"   or  "sunburst"  or   "grit texture"  or   "digital art"   or  "c4d"   or   "paint spatter" etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. and then take 5 minutes to scroll through and save images you think look cool or could work for a sig.  Then change the COLOR setting from color1 to color2, and repeat.

 

Also, I find WALLPAPER PACKS to be filled with good graphic resources. Like download a ' minimal wallpaper pack' from somewhere, and a lot of it will be usable graphics for sigs.

 

 

 

I've been making sigs for a couple of years, and my "stocks" folder on my harddrive is 3.2GB in size and looks like this:

 

image.thumb.png.5ff2ab84822baa84b9c4af4ccda3b9ad.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

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and the final and most important advice:

 

Nobody becomes a sig god over night, or within a week, or within a month.

 

IMO it takes literally 100+ individual attempts/projects before you are even at a basic designer skill level. Then another 500 individual attempts/projects before you are a sim league sig god........ and sim league sig gods are absolute trash compared to real graphic designers.

 

 

So don't get frustrated, your first 50-100 sigs are going to look like shit, pretty much.... and that's okay. It's all a part of the process.

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15 minutes ago, gorlab said:

and the final and most important advice:

 

Nobody becomes a sig god over night, or within a week, or within a month.

 

IMO it takes literally 100+ individual attempts/projects before you are even at a basic designer skill level. Then another 500 individual attempts/projects before you are a sim league sig god........ and sim league sig gods are absolute trash compared to real graphic designers.

 

 

So don't get frustrated, your first 50-100 sigs are going to look like shit, pretty much.... and that's okay. It's all a part of the process.

This is 1000% true.  I’ve been making sigs for like 6 years and feel like I didn’t really get good until 2016-17 lol.  I’m still trying to catch up with people like Koradek, Squinty, and Boubabi :P 

 

 

Another important note: find out what kind of things you like style-wise, and keep going from there.  IMO having a taste in the appearance of sigs is just as important as knowing how to do things.  Experimenting is what makes the process of getting better fun.  

And as someone who used to work with GIMP for a long time, I can say it’s not as good as Photoshop but once you learn it and get used to it you can make some solid sigs with it.

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Stick with it man. Learn what the various tools do and when you can utilise them. Be creative and don't lose hope or patience. FWIW, gorlab and solas are at least 75% more talented than me, but occasionally I can do something that I'm really happy with. So follow their advice and you'll be happier with your work in no time. It's when you can tell that you are getting better and your GFX are cleaner, creative and just look good, that you'll really appreciate your efforts. 

Edited by BOOM™

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