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30 November 2011 @ 04:08 pm
Christmas Requests - Tutorials  
Christmas Requests - Tutorials

I'd really love to do something to say thanks to everyone for leaving awesome comments this year. This was my 'icon year' - I've mucked around a lot with colours in particular and y'all have been amazingly encouraging. I still geek out whenever I get that message that says someone's... (I was going to say 'watching me' but that's kinda creepy)... added me to their watch list. If I was super-organised I'd do something like lemonpunch's Christmas Palooza... but I'll leave that to the professionals ;)

Leave a comment with your TUTORIAL / Q&A request and I'll do my best to fill it! ♥

[+] I use The GIMP, but I think most things should be translatable.
[+] I'd also appreciate it if you could choose from the more recent graphics posts - I'm a forgetful pers... What was I saying again??
[+] I'll be putting up separate posts for icons and wallpapers in the next couple of weeks, too :)

Current Mood: thankfulthankful
There is no sin except stupidity.six_two_four on November 30th, 2011 01:42 pm (UTC)
I use GIMP too, so I'm actually really excited to see how you work with it. My questions are pretty general, so I hope that's okay. When I use GIMP, I have a hard time keeping things looking as smooth and crisp as they seem to with PS, starting even from the resizing step. So, I'm especially wondering how you resize, color, and possibly smooth/sharpen so that your icons don't seem to lose quality or have added graininess. I'd also love to hear anything you have to say about texture usage.
hovercarracerhovercarracer on December 1st, 2011 11:39 pm (UTC)
Hail, Fellow GIMP User! :D
For some reason I don't usually have a problem keeping my images sharp. A few pointers can be found here: http://bel-perdente.livejournal.com/22947.html. The only tips I can think of are:

[+] Work from good quality images: For example, I get a lot of screencaps from disparue.org - the caps there are 2000x1125! I like using promotional photos / episode stills.
[+] I size the caps slightly larger than the canvas size (around 200 px height) before colouring.
[+] I'm horrible at close-crop icons and avoid them like the plague! XP
[+] Never size upwards because that decreases the image quality a lot.
[+] Even when sizing smaller, do it as little as possible. If you resize and find the cap doesn't show what you want it to, UNDO and then try again. I find multiple resizes can affect image quality (not sure if that's just my imagination, though)
[+] Getting the brightness/contrast levels right can make things seem sharper too. I use curves rather than GIMP's brightness/contrast tool. That way you can make the dark parts darker, for example, without affecting the light parts. Usually I pull the right side of the Value curve up to make the image brighter, then pull the left end-point inwards a little to make the shadows darker.
[+] When using the hue/saturation tool, don't be too heavy-handed because that can add graininess. If it is grainy, use one of the small, fuzzy circle brushes to smudge it smooth but DON'T smudge over any hard edges.
[+] Something I picked up from a few tutorials: After the icon is done, merge all the layers. Then duplicate the base twice. Set the lower duplicate to soft light (or overlay; I can't tell the difference) at 60-80% opacity and Gaussian Blur it 5-7 px. Keep the top layer on normal at around 80% and sharpen it by ~15 px. (Not the Unsharp Mask - just normal Sharpen) I figure the Overlay layer is good for bringing out the colours just a little more and to stop the icon from being too sharp (I'm paranoid about over-sharpening. The Sharpened layer is there to stop things from getting too blurry and the contrast from getting too high.

For colouring I usually use curves again. I like the blue/yellow thing that's going around at the moment - under the blue channel, drag the right-side of the curve up to increase blueness, and pull the left side of the curve down to increase yellow-ness. Then I usually increase the saturation using Hue/Saturation.

As for textures... I have no process. I literally scroll through my collection and randomly pull out ones that might look good. A few favourites are:
(By ?) and (radiospeaking) > on Screen.
(By ?) > Gaussian Blur ~15 px and set to Lighten (gives a glossy look)
(By ?), (misssnoopy25), (innocent_lexys) > Overlay but usually not at 100%
(innocent_lexys) > On Multiply... more interesting than a straight black border
(innocent_lexys) > On Lighten

I'm trying to write up an icon tutorial but it's turning out to be really wordy, lol. There are some really good ones at bel_perdente and wicked_signs.

Anyway, hope that was helpful and I didn't ramble too much!
There is no sin except stupidity.six_two_four on December 8th, 2011 12:34 pm (UTC)
This was super interesting and helpful; thanks so much! Plus, I'm excited to try out new textures! Thanks!