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Old Aug. 5th, '08, 9:17 pm   #1
jujimum
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Default Avatar Tutorial (basic) - Photoshop

This is a very basic tutorial for making avatars. There are MANY different ways of getting results. I'm sure some of the more experienced Photoshoppers will cringe at my methods, but they should be good enough for beginners. Any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. We have a few graphic guys on the site who will be more than happy to help.

I'm using Photoshop 7 so some things might look different in newer versions of PS, but should be similar enough. This tutorial is also for Windows users since I don't have a Mac.

In this tutorial we're going to take a simple logo and turn it into this:



Open a web browser and also open Photoshop.

Go to this web page to grab the logo we'll use for the tutorial:

http://www.sportslogos.net/logo.php?...sch5xhjjfaof90

While on that page, press the printscreen button on your keyboard.

Go back to Photoshop and in the top menu go to File > New. A window should pop up giving you some options. The only thing we should need to change, and it's a preference, is under the contents section. We want to select "Transparent". Click OK and a working window opens. Go to Edit > Paste (or ctrl-v).

Now, we need to trim this down a bit and get rid of the unnecessary junk. So grab the Rectangular Marquee Tool, shown here:



Start a little above and to the left of the bird. Click, hold, and drag to just past the bottom and right of the bird making sure that all the bird is inside the marquee. Let go.

Go to Edit > Crop. Then go to Select > Deselect (or ctrl-d).

Now, we need to erase the outer white color. Go to the Eraser Tool, click and hold it to bring up a menu. Then choose Magic Eraser Tool, as shown below:



A tool options bar should appear (most likely at the top of the program). If it doesn't, go to Window > Options. This will bring up that bar. The settings should look similar to this. It is important that "Contiguous" is selected.



Click anywhere on the white OUTSIDE of the bird.

Go to Image > Trim. A window should appear. Make sure that "Transparent Pixels" is selected under the section "Based On". Under the section "Trim Away", make sure all are selected (Top, Bottom, Left, Right). Click OK. Our bird is isolated.

Avatars at XBox-Sports.com are set at 150X150 pixels. We want to have a little room to work with so we are going to make the bird 130 pixels wide. Go to Image > Image Size and make the settings look like this (make sure Constrain Proportions is selected):



At this point, your might not be viewing your image at 100%. Go to View > View Actual Pixels.

Now go to Image > Canvas size. Since we'll want to use the full size allowed, make that window look like this:



Now for the fun.

Last edited by jujimum; Aug. 5th, '08 at 10:15 pm.
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Old Aug. 5th, '08, 9:18 pm   #2
jujimum
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If any of the Windows I mention aren't showing, go to the Window menu and click the name of the Window I mention.

In the Layers Window, right click the text "Layer 1" and select "Layer Properties". Where it says Name, change it from Layer 1 to logo. This is not necessary to do, but will help with the tutorial as I will refer to any layers by their name.

Create a new layer. There are three ways to do this. Go to Layer > New > Layer. Or press Shft+Ctrl+N. Or in the Layers window, click the following icon:



Right click on that layer, choose Layer Properties, and change the name from Layer 1 to background. Click and hold that layer then drag it down in that window until it is under logo layer. Let go.

Now go to the Eydropper Tool.



Click it and then click on the red part of the bird. Now, go to the Paint Bucket Tool.



With the Paint Bucket, go anywhere to your image and click. Make sure you have the layer called background selected.

Now I want to focus your attention on the foreground and background colors. This is where we can make gradients. And we'll us a gradient for our border.

First, create a new layer (see above). Rename it to "border". Click and drag it to where it's above logo and background layers.

Now, let's select our colors for our gradient. The foreground and background colors are here:



We want a black to yellow background (not really, but for the tutorial we do). Click the Foreground color. The following window should appear. If it looks different, make sure Web Colors is NOT selected.



Where the # sign is change the number that is in that box to "000000" (zeroes) without the quotes. This tells PS that we want Black as our color.

Now, click the background color. When the window appears, make sure you move it to where you can see your bird image. Click on the beak of the bird where it's the most orange.

Now go to the Paint Bucket again (see above), but this time click and hold until a menu appears:



Choose the gradient tool. An options bar should appear (possibly at the top) that looks like this:



If the gradient bar doesn't looks like the image above, click the gradient bar dropdown and choose the top left button.

Now, making sure the border layer is selected, click the very top of the image and drag down to the very bottom of the image (not the working space, but where the red is). HOlding Shift while dragging will make a straight line. Your image should look like this:



Now, grab the Rectangular Marquee Tool again (see above). Click on the image just inside the top left corner. Hold and drag to the bottom right of the image (holding shift will keep the square ratio in tact). Your selection (marching ants) should look close to this (doesn't have to be exact):



Press delete. There's our border.

Now let's add some flair. Photoshop has COUNTLESS options to alter the image. Please, by all means expirement with different settings knowing you can always go to Edit > Undo if needed. But for the tutorial, I suggest just following along.

Click the logo layer. Then go to Layer > Layer Style > Bevel and Emboss. The settings I chose are as follows:



You can toggle between the original and changes by checking/unchecking the preview option.

While we're in that window, we can add some drop shadow. Up at top of that window is an option for Drop Shadow make sure to click the words and not the box. The box will just add drop shadow, but clickign the text will give you options. You can also get to the drop shadow options by going to Layer > Layer Style > Drop Shadow. Here are the drop shadow options I used:



Now, my bird has some stranded white, rough looking edges. To easily fix this and make the logo a bit slicker looking, I'm going to add some Inner Glow. If you still have the layer options window open, click on the text called Inner Glow. If you closed the window, go to Layer > Layer Style > Inner Glow.

The first thing you'll want to do with Inner (and Outer) Glow is change the color. So in the Inner Glow options, click on the little square that is probably and ugly yellow color. Showing below, click on the yellow square to bring up the color window I showed you above. Again, where the # sign is, change it to "000000" (zeroes) without the quotes.



Now change some of the settings, I went with:



If you want to see what that did, check/uncheck the preview option. Looks much better right?

Now, let's select the background layer. Go to Filter > Render > Lens Flare. This will take some trial and error to get it to your liking, but this roughly how I chose to do the lens flare:



Now, let's go the border layer to add some depth to it. Click on the border layer. Then go to Layer > Layer Style > Bevel and Emboss. We don't want to go too extravagant here and only want to add a little depth. I chose the following:



Some drop shadow on the same layer:



Now we want to add our text. Normally we'd add a gamertag or something personal, but since this is a tutorial we'll just add the team name. Click on the Horizontal Type Tool.



Now a font can make or break your avatar so keep it as simple as possible. Since everyone has many different types, I'm going to go with Arial Black (Italics). After clicking the Type Tool, look at the "Character window". Make it look like this (notice that the slanted T at the bottom is selected for Italics, just click on it to select it):



Now, click toward the bottom left of your image. This will give you the type cursor. Type the word "Cardinals". Now, grab the "Move Tool". It's the North, East, South, West looking icon here:



Now, you can either click and drag the text to where you want, or use the arrow keys on the keyboard. The arrow keys will give you greater control. Try to get your text to about this position:



At this point, you change the text color, font size, italics, bold, etc. Just click on the options in the Character window. For educational sake, let's change the color of the font.

In the character window (see above), click on the black square. This should bring up the color picker window. When it does, by the # sign, change that number from 000000 to FFFFFF. This will make the font color white. Click OK.

Now, let's add some effects to that font. Go to Layer > Layer Style > Drop Shadow. Here are my settings:



It's basically finished. I would like some texture on the plain red background though. But since we already added a lens flare, any changes will affect that flare. But we can still add without taking away too much. So, select the background layer. Go to Filter > Texture > Texturizer. In the dropdown menu for Texture, change it to Sandstone. Then change the following values:

Scaling - 60%, Relief - 1, Light direction - Bottom Left.

The image should now look like the "After" photo at the top of this tutorial.

That's it. You can save it all separated by layers as a psd file (which would allow us to tweak it later if we want). But in order to upload it to the site we need a .jpg file. So go to Layer > Merge Visible. Then go to File > Save as... Make sure when the window pops up that you change the dropdown menu to JPEG. Name your file and select a location you'll remember. Click Save. A JPEG Options window appears. Drag the slider to the Maximum quality. Click OK.

And there you go.

Last edited by jujimum; Aug. 6th, '08 at 7:59 pm.
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Old Aug. 5th, '08, 11:31 pm   #3
Stokley Rose
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Right on man! Thanks!
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Old Aug. 6th, '08, 2:44 am   #4
Jepockn
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excellent stuff. A+ tutorial juji

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Old Aug. 6th, '08, 8:03 am   #5
OldTimeHockey
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Awesome! Now if I only had the program to do it, and the patience to learn it.

I'll probably continue to bum avys off of unsuspecting members willing to make them for me.



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Old Aug. 6th, '08, 8:29 am   #6
SkatingPenguin
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Thanks Juji for yet againt another awesome tutorial!! As you can see I used the other program on a crappy windows laptop... I never claimed to be an artist...lol

Cant wait to try this on the mac now...

Last edited by SkatingPenguin; Aug. 6th, '08 at 11:10 am.
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Old Aug. 6th, '08, 2:25 pm   #7
jujimum
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Thanks guys! This, as a I said, is a very basic way of doing some. While it's not the greatest avatar, I did it to try and get everyone used to the most common tools you'll use.

This kind of stuff just takes practice and most importantly, EXPERIMENTING! I can't stress enough that you need to play with all the options before saving. Under the effects menu, just click on some of the different effects and if you can tweak the settings, tweak them. You can always undo something if you don't save first.

I learned what I know not from a book or teacher, I learned by playing around. My understanding is pixelslash learned it from just playing with the program. I also know ExArmy learned this just by asking some of us a few questions here and there. There are so many ways to do this it's impossible to make a tutorial. My hope is that I got you started, and brave enough, to where you won't be intimidated and will start kicking out some avatars.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldTimeHockey View Post
Awesome! Now if I only had the program to do it
The other tutorial I did was for a free program

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkatingPenguin View Post
Thanks Juji for yet againt another awesome tutorial!! As you can see I used the other program on a crappy windows laptop... I never claimed to be an artist...lol

Cant wait to try this on the mac now...
That's not bad AT ALL! It's not gawdy or ugly. That is my main concern. For a first attempt, it's nothing to be ashamed of.

As I just said though, and especially with Photoshop, you need to start basic. There's no shame in it I hope my tutorial gets you started, but I really hope no one gets discouraged. You have to practice and once you get the basics and then start playing around with stuff I didn't put in the tutorial, it should be a lot more fun and your avatars will be unique.

PLEASE DON"T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS! Someone here can answer them for sure.
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Old Aug. 6th, '08, 2:36 pm   #8
SkatingPenguin
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One thing I dont get is why my avatar looks grainy. I did the feathering thing but it feathered the whole thing not just the outer edges. Maybe there was a jpg quality slider I missed?

other question is how to make a thin line border. I did it by doing a layer and then deselecting but I know it took me a while to drag the selection box to what I thought was the right thickness on all sides. Would it be better to do the avatar first and then shrink the canvas or image so you can see better? just a thought...

I'll try it again tonight but in photoshop and then compare..

Just thought of this now.. how do you make the avatars flip between ia couple of images?

Last edited by SkatingPenguin; Aug. 6th, '08 at 2:37 pm.
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Old Aug. 6th, '08, 3:07 pm   #9
jujimum
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkatingPenguin View Post
One thing I dont get is why my avatar looks grainy. I did the feathering thing but it feathered the whole thing not just the outer edges. Maybe there was a jpg quality slider I missed?

other question is how to make a thin line border. I did it by doing a layer and then deselecting but I know it took me a while to drag the selection box to what I thought was the right thickness on all sides. Would it be better to do the avatar first and then shrink the canvas or image so you can see better? just a thought...

I'll try it again tonight but in photoshop and then compare..

Just thought of this now.. how do you make the avatars flip between ia couple of images?
It's all personal preference, but I don't like to make my avatar big and then shrink it. Especially in Photoshop because when you shrink it, sometimes the layer effects need to be tweaked all over again.

As for the grainy look, I'm assuming you mean the edges of your circle. I'm not sure how it was when you selected it, but you might have had to invert the selection. I don't want to get into it too much until you try Photoshop so I don't end up confusing you. The bevel and emboss could've affected the feather which caused the choppy look.

As for the border, you can always go to View > Zoom In and do the selection for your border. That way it's not messing with the size of the graphic, just how big you see it. Obviously it will look really pixellated until you zoom back out to 100% or 1:1.
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Old Aug. 6th, '08, 6:42 pm   #10
SkatingPenguin
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Juji thanks again.. it looks much better now! There was no feathering involved. I guess the trim is similar to feather?

Just a note on your tutorial. There wasnt a screen of your bevel and emboss settings just the drop shadow. I just left it standard anyways, but wanted to let you know.

One question is how to you make the avatar change between 2 different ones etc?
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