Hi! You don't have to answer this if this is annoying but I had a question. There's a drama that I really like but there's practically no gifs for it. So I'm trying to make some to promote it but every time they come out so grainy :_; Yours are so flawless and beautiful and smooth. Do you have any advice? I really want get this right and your gifs are so amazing.
hey, sweetie! I can totally relate to your question. this was also a struggle for me in the beginning (still is, sometimes). I’ll put together a quick guide for you, I hope this helps :) if you have any other questions or something you don’t understand, feel free to drop me another comment!
I'm the anon who asked on your group about how you get your graphics so nice! If you don't have a tutorial I would appreciate some tips :)
I really wish I had time to do a proper tutorial for you! I honestly don’t do anything different to your average Photoshop user, but here goes:
#1 Never use the ‘Save As…’ option on Photoshop. Always use the ‘Save for Web and Devices’ / ‘Save for Web’ option — Use the PNG-24 option. This makes sure that no image quality is lost during the save process.
#2 Use HQ images. Not large images, but proper high quality ones. If you’re stuck on HQ images for character bios I suggest this and this website. With regards to blog graphics (banners etc), Google search an image make sure it HQ. If it’s not, try searching the actual image on Google.
#3 Get a decent sharpening action. The one I use has since been deleted from Tumblr because I’ve had it for +3 years, but you can find plenty of good ones here.
#4 Know your theme post dimensions. Dashboard size has increased to 540px wide, but a lot of themes are still set to 500px. You will either have to decide to create graphics that are too big / too small (and ultimately lose quality) for your blog, or manually change the post size yourself.
#5 Play around with PSDs — Downloading a PSD and slapping it on top of a photo doesn’t work if you ask me. The PSD is merely a base for the look you’re trying to achieve. You should play around with the layers, add and take away to manipulate the image in the way that you want. And take it from me, you will possibly download hundreds of PSD’s until you find one that you like.
#6 Always look here and here if you are stuck. Those two blogs are the freaking Photoshop bibles.
UPDATE: Because I’ve answered this multiple times over the last few weeks. If you are using a theme that only supports 500px posts and would like your graphics to appear their true quality on your blog AND dashboard, install THIS SCRIPT — It is essentially a script that doesn’t resize photos / photosets / etc to 540px if they are 500px.
ALRIGHT LITTLE BABIES! I have never made any sort of tutorial in my fucking life, and goddamn if I’m not terrified. I’m here to help you,and I’m going to attempt that. ..Oh, christ, I’m nervous. HELP. I’m using Cs6, and that’s all I have - no fancy nonsense around these parts, no babe.
Step 001 (to look fancy). Prepare yourself! If you’re going into a manip, make sure that you’re relaxed, and don’t psych yourself out. If you think it’s gonna look like shit, it’s gonna come out great (I know this from experience). Pop on some Rufus Wainwright/Fiona Apple/Mills Brothers, and just chill.It’ll make the experience easier.
Step 002. Find your manip photos! This is an easy step for me, because I have a folder full of Alexa pictures, but when it comes to Al, I need to search a little (elusive chanteuse, etc).
So, for this little manip tutorial, we have her lovely self (and a clutch that I desperately want) looking dewy and perfect as always - I’ve desperately wanted to use it for a while, so why not now?
For Alexander, we’re taking one of he and Miles at the GQ Awards from a bit ago, because this is a tutorial and I had that right at hand (and I enjoy it, let’s be honest).
Step 003.Now comes the resizing and positioning, and you’re going to be doing this a lot - it’s very trial and error, but that’s okay! You’ve got this, you really do. I believe in you. I drop the opacity of the top layer (Alexander) to about half (66% in this case), and drag it about until I feel sated. Lookin’ good!
Step 004.This is the fun bit, the actual manip! What I do is take about half of the photo off (soz, Miles), bringing the top layer back to full opacity, and see how it looks. Fantastic? Fantastic. Fuck yeah. You’re about half way to stardom, baby.
Step 005.Oh, great, erasing. Erasing and positioning, I bet you’re real excited for that. For this bit, use a soft brush to get out all the unwanted bits (the half of Mile’s face that is still visible, guh), and if needed, clean it up later. You’ll be alternating between hard and soft brushes for this (hard for limbs/fingers/feet, and soft for edges of clothing/purses/hair) to keep everything looking natural.
Step 006.For this bit, you’ll want to bring the top layer down to about 20% opacity and start erasing away parts that obstruct Alexa’s hand and clutch - don’t worry about messing up, really, but use a hard brush on any fingers or hands for crisp lines. Bring it back up to full opacity to check your work, and keep erasing if needed - it’s gonna look great.
Step 007.Now we add our PSD, and this will hide all the imperfections.Whatever you fucked up on, it’s gone. My holy grail PSD is by dnacoloring, and it has never failed me.
Step 008.Now, Al doesn’t have feet in this picture, so we’re gonna have to do some cropping. I don’t mind it, as long as it looks nice. So, how about we chop off our feet?
Step 009.Touch ups. If you don’t like something, paint over it in black! Just make sure to make a new layer over everything.
Step 010.Match colour will save your fucking life (sometimes). I do it because it’s my security blanket, let’s be honest - fuck around with it until you feel comfortable, and then you’re home free!
Step 011.Level time! Levels are great, and they help..well..balance everything out. Don’t worry about any specific combination. If it looks good to you, go on with it.
Step 012 (jesus fucking christ).Colour balance! Al wasn’t red enough for Lex, so we had to blush him up a bit. I know I’m saying tool around with thingsa lot, but it’s really just trial and error for me, I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. Then add exposure, if you want to - sometimes a little voyeurism is required, etc.
Step 015.Save it! For based god’s sake, save it!
Step 014.Flatten your image! Flatten the fuck out of it.
Step 015.Put your action on! Or don’t! I use dirrtylady’s topaz like one in 03, normally, but go back a couple of steps so it’s a smidge blurry (but still painfully pretty).
Step 016.You are done. I am so proud of you. Marvel in your work, have some chicken caesar salad, and knock back a hot chocolate (it’s holiday season). You’re great, and I love you.
hi! you do a ton of really awesome freelance work, and I was wondering--do you ever find yourself in a situation where the deadline is, say, tomorrow, and you have SOMETHING done but you don't like it or it's not exactly what you want it to be? what do you do in that case?
Only ALL THE TIME
That’s a pretty good question- one of the biggest challenges of freelance is time management and I am… Well, see, time management is more like NUMBERS and PRODUCTIVITY and not very much like COLORS or FEEEEELINGS, so I can’t say that I care for it terribly much.
But, like taxes, laundry, dental diligence and parallel parking- it’s one of those things that you have to grit your teeth and figure out if you’re going to be a “grown up”. I guess.
The truth is that more often than not, in professional art-making (of any kind, not just freelance) deadlines are tight, work is needed, and whatever-it-happens-to-be is perpetually DUE TOMORROW. You may have heard the quote floating around somewhere- “Inspiration is for amateurs”. It’s a tough love kind of quote, but it’s true. Professionals can’t afford to wait on inspiration, or for every piece to be “exactly what you want it to be”. One of the biggest parts of working as an artist is building up the ability to be “good enough” under pressure. There are moments when you have enough time, or just the right assignment, or the perfect inspired moment of euphoric artistic conception. But sometimes they just need a blue lizard man with a sword, and they need it tonight. In those moments you just need to do it- doesn’t matter if it’s not mind-blowingly original- just look up some lizards and google some swords and get to it. With enough practice and a few tricks in your bag, you can solve just about anything on the fly to a good-enough level.
In concept art, illustration, and just about anything I’ve done, I’ve discovered that when it comes to process: function has to proceed form. It has to work. If it’s a big, bruisery Ogreman or an illustration that tells the story of the aforementioned Ogreman- it needs to serve it’s purpose and meet all the criteria (clarity, readability, messaging/storytelling, etc) before it needs to look pretty.
I try to spend as much time as I can squeeze on the idea-part of the process- coming up with the plan, sketching, designing, thumbnailing- setting the ground work up. After that, the rendery finish is icing. If by the deadline the rendering isn’t all done, but the idea is working and ticks all the boxes, I wind up a lot less embarrassed in the meeting! “Well you see the Lizardkin Swordsman would have a sword…if I had time…to draw…a sword. But as you can see, the individual scales on the inside of his forearm were really tricky, so-“
First and foremost do the job*- if you can help it, do it well.
*I will say this all with a caveat- whenever possible, don’t send/show something you hate just for the sake of showing something. Many a time have I padded out a PSD with some extra (awful) sketches just to show them I was busy and they have PICKED THOSE ONES. ALWAYS. WITHOUT FAIL. You were warned.