[Guide] - Todgott's tips and tricks to Signature making

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[Guide] - Todgott's tips and tricks to Signature making

Post by todgott on 21/6/2012, 9:48 am

Content
1. Foreword
2. Composing your signature.

Introduction to powerpoints.
Styles
Choosing a render
Effects and details
Flow
Text
Signature environment

3.Additional signature details
Lighting
Depth
Coloring
Border



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1. Foreword

I am creating this tutorial to help everyone understand how basic things in signature making work. This guide, hopefully will help all of you either learn something new or refresh your knowledge. Also, this tutorial is based on my experience and knowledge I have gathered over time and it might oppose to some of your opinions about signature making. I would like to thank the internet resources, graphic forums and everyone who has helped me either via making nice tutorials or giving tips - without gaining these knowledge from them I wouldn't be able to write this for you guys! Last few words about signature making, before tutorial begins. When creating your signature, don't be afraid to experiment, be patient, careful and persistent - that's how the best signatures are made! Above all - express yourself and your creativity, imagination Smile

Well then, let's get started!


2. Composing your signature

I'm sure all of you are aware of what composition means when talking about art. Well, as signature making is art aswell, it should be composed for it to look good.

Introduction to powerpoints.

Those of you who know what powerpoints are and what they are for should read further, while this is a brief introduction of powerpoints.
Basicaly powerpoints are 4 places in your signature where the eye is naturally drawn to, meaning that things that are on powerpoints will most probably be noticed first and attract your eyes attention. They are easily locateable by dividing your artwork 3 same sized sections width and height.

Here's an example of power points.
So, knowing that powerpoints attract attention, you should place your focal on or nearby a focal point, also you can add nice details and effects which compliment your signature, but this isn't always necessary. However note, that the details and effects on different powerpoints than your focals shouldn't be too flashy, because they will distract attention from your focal and that we do not want Razz

Styles

In my few years of browsing through the internet I've noticed six main types of signature styles used.
A broad overview:
Smudge signatures - They are made mostly with render's not stock images. This style focuses on creating smooth textured signature and nicely merging every aspect of signature.
Vector signatures - Well the name of the style says it all. This style is based on adding good looking vectors throughout the signature for nice and crisp end result with visible shapes/forms. Most of the times quite colorful and dashing, but this isn't always the case. Merging render while using this style only might be tad difficult.
Cinema4D signatures - This type of style focuses on creating signatures with modern looking theme. It is mostly used to give nice, detailed shapes to the signature. Varying from the type of c4d, they can be used create either abstract signatures or to compliment different style signature.
Splatter signatures - These are based around using splatter brushes of different sizes and forms. Of course they are complimented by filters and vector masks etc.
Grunge signatures - They are made using grunge brushes and adding lots of small and sharp details, who can actually merge with the render quite nicely.
Ripple&Distortion signatures - Once again the name says it all. Made via using different filters and actions, which make the end of signature look gooey and wavy. In hands of a professional usually great signatures Smile

Of course nowadays, you rarely see a clean signature that is made up only from using one of these styles, they are almost always being mixed together. My advice is try using 4 of styles on 1 signature at MAX, because if you try to stuff more than 4 styles in your signature, it will end up chaotic and a lot of your effort will be pointless.

Choosing a render

I've seen so many potentialy great signatures which are ruined by the choice of bad render or stock.
Here are some guidelines that helped me and might help you choose a good render.
Always choose a render with high quality! This is truly a must and #1 rule, if you want to make a nice looking signature. If you choose low quality render the result of your signature will never be very good.
When searching for a render, you should try to avoid taking renders that have too much empty space between their details (arms, legs etc.) and those, which additional details take up too much space in your signature.
A point to take - you should search for a render that has some action going on aswell

Examples of good and bad render.
good

bad


-



Effects and details

Whilst composing your tag, never should you leave it without adding details and effects to it. I will not tell you how to create specific effects and details - that you have to do yourself (as I said in foreword - be creative Smile ) ,however I will give you guidelines that have helped me with this.
The quantity of the effects can differ from person to person, but you should try avoiding making your signature looking chaotic - don't overfill it with pointless effects and details! Also, most of your effects should be around your focal (placing effects on focal is not advised, however you can add small, interesting details to it) and near powerpoints, but do not be afraid to throw on some effects even in the corners of the signature - it will make it look less boring!
A great philosophy I want to share with you about creating signature effects&details - ''Every defect is a potential effect'' Try to embrace this, when you create something and it doesn't look that good, do not instantly delete it - play around with it, try placing it elsewhere and so on - it might give you a great effect to detalize your signature Wink


Examples of good effects and bad effects.

good


bad


-


Flow

Good old flow, where would we be without you ;p
The effects and details are usually placed in a flow near the render. Flow is a crucial component to making your signature look composed, not chaotic. Composed = easy on the eyes = nice signature.
Adding flow can be difficult to some people, because they don’t know what they're looking for and they tend to get it wrong from time to time. However, finding the right flow is easy. The key is to watch your renders natural flow. Natural flow is the way your focals legs, arms or body is placed in a 360degree angle from the center or focal point. By following that you can very accurately determine flow, in which you should place effects&details!

Here are some examples of natural render flow.



Text

Text is a part of the signature that can either greatly improve or ruin the signature. That is why I should tell you - if you don’t know how to add good text, or you think it doesn't work on the particular signature - don't add it. And if you would prefer adding text or rather it's a must, here are some tips to add the text nicely.
First off, do not make huge size and very flashy texts, because text is supposed to compliment the signature, not dominate it. Try using simple, small to medium size font, you can add a little detail to the text for it to not look plain.
Secondly, don't place your text on focal points, if possible place it not far from the focal, but not so that it draws away attention from the focal itself. Try adding your text when you are nearly finished with your merging/adding Eff&Detail not at the end of the signature. While this might seem a bit reckless at first, it has a purpose - after you've finished the tag, the text will be blended it much nicer than if you would’ve added it at the end.
Here are some examples of good and bad text adding.

good

bad

-


Signature environment

This termin I mumbled up myself. Everything I know about this has been gained from experimenting with different tags of mine and has mostly payed off.
So, signature environment is like levels of layers each differently executed to maximize the detail, depth of the signature.
I tend to create my environment with at least 3 levels, but I suggest you use 4 or 5.
First level is the background. Creating it quite detailed will result in you having to make next levels detailed aswell. As this is the background, for depth purpose i usually finish it up and add a Blur more filter.
Second level is the effects and details, that are behind the render. While regarding to renders flow, I add my details and effects. Second level usually is filtered over with a simple blur, also for depth purposes.


Third level is the level where your render is (it should’ve been added at the very beginning), if you want you can add effects&details on this level aswell. Leave this alone for now, no blur nor sharpen.


OPTIONALLY
Fourth level is the level of foreground. This is where all the effects&details that are in front of your render. This level I usually sharpen by hand with the sharpen tool.


Fifth level is the level of effects&details that are too close to your eye to see them clearly, so these are usually blured by hand, not with filter. I suggest you don’t overdo this level, cause it might ruin the end result.





3. Additional signature details

Lighting

Good lighting is a nice addition to the signature. First of all, it implements little depth in your signature and also makes it look a bit more realistic and the overall look of your signature will surely be better.
Now that that has been found out, I should probably tell you beginners how to find the right spot for your light source in your signature. It is very simple, just like watching flow on render, you watch the shadows and highlights of your signature. The light source will be in the direction, where the highlights are (Well that's just logic Very Happy). After you’ve pinpointed the lighting source, you should add it. Now there are a lot of methods of adding lighting source - soft brushes with changed blending mode and opacity, dodge tool, lighting filter etc. - and I believe that for different kind of signatures, different light sources should be made. However I prefer to use filter and dodge tool more often.
After you've added the lighting source, you should edit the overall lighting of the signature. This is done via Adjustment layers -> Levels, Curves and Brightness/Contrast.
A tip - try getting the right amount of contrast and brightness, do not ''go with it'' if it looks too bright or too pale etc.

Examples of a signature with and without lighting added

without


with


-




Depth

You probably already have seen this somewhere in the text above. Yes, one thing that determines if your signature is any good is depth.
Some people tend to ignore this aspect, but in most cases it is needed. Depth is the thing that gives a realistic sense to the signature.
Some basics of getting your signature the depth you want.
The first and simplest thing to do is blur and darken the edges of the signature, except the light source. Another thing you can do is darken and blur the things that are supposably behind your focal, where its shadow would fall. Bluring details of focal that are in the background and details that take your attention away from focal increases the feeling of depth. Sharpening focal and lighting source helps depth aswell. However try not to overdo these things.
Adding lighting, as previously stated, also adds feeling of depth.

Here is a Signature with and without added depth.
without depth

withdepth


-




Coloring

Who doesn't love to see nice colors on a signature, that make your eyes melt in joy?

Coloring can be added in different ways, but i mainly use gradient maps and color adjustments. A quick tip - when creating effects and details you don’t have to worry about the colors, if you are to recolor your signature afterwards.
To create nice coloring to your signature you need to know what each color combination does. I made a brief description for gradient map color schemes.

Here is a quick color wheel I drew.



Monochromatic color scheme - Desaturates, smoothes out color imbalance. Consists of 2 Different shades of the same color.
Analogous color scheme - Creates nice results, pleasing to the eye. Consists of one hue and one or two colors that are adjacent to the Hue color.
Complementary color scheme - Creates vibrant, energetic, dynamic feel to the signature. Consists of two colors opposite on the color wheel.
Split-analogous color scheme - Creates nice, saturated color scheme. Consists of Color + 2 colors to the right or left on color wheel.
Split-complementary color scheme - Makes your signature look dynamic. Consist of 1 hue + 2 colors on the opposite side of color wheel.
Triadic color scheme - Can create nice results in some situations. Consists of 3 colors in a triangle on color wheel.
Double complementary color scheme - Same results as normal complementary color scheme + adds more contrast and resonation. 2 pairs of opposite colors on color wheel.
Neutral color scheme - Desaturates, levels out the color imbalance. Consists of grey, brown, beige, white, black colors.
Accented neutral color scheme - Neutral color scheme with added accents. Can create smooth looking signatures. Consists of grey, brown, beige, white, black + any accent color.

A notable tool is the photo filter adjustment layer. It can make your signature either look warmer or cooler. There are a lot of tools to use for coloring your signature, these include:
Color balance, Hue/Saturation, Channel mixer, Selective colors and so on. Also you should experiment with color adding overall, while it has a very wide array of outcomes.
Here are previews of a signature before and after recoloring

before

after


-

And lastly - be creative with your colors, experiment, don’t be afraid to use brushes for coloring aswell Wink



Border

Adding a border is the simplest thing, but as with text, I should warn you that not always adding a border will make signature better, especially if the border is awful. Of course at some point you will need to add a border so my best suggestion for you is to don’t go too crazy and creative with them. You can spice them up a bit, but stick to classic rectangular few pixel borders - they nearly always work out great Smile

Here are examples for good and bad borders

classical border

border you should not use, looks bad in any case

-



Congratulations if you read this. Now go and make yourself that awesome looking signature!

Well, these are the basics that I wanted to share with you guys, hope you enjoyed them, if you have any questions feel free to PM!

BTW, sorry for the bad signatures – I didn’t want to make new, better ones for the sole purpose of exhibiting them.








Last edited by todgott on 19/11/2012, 11:53 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: [Guide] - Todgott's tips and tricks to Signature making

Post by D avy on 21/6/2012, 9:54 am

Didn't took time to read it all, but I gtg soon.
But this looks amazing. +rep !
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Re: [Guide] - Todgott's tips and tricks to Signature making

Post by Zeus on 21/6/2012, 2:11 pm

Some very nice tips you have here. It'll definitely help some people. +rep! Smile
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Re: [Guide] - Todgott's tips and tricks to Signature making

Post by Leakee on 21/6/2012, 3:41 pm

I'm sorry Todd but I don't see how you can go round telling everyone else how they could have done it better when you have just 26 posts and we haven't exactly seen a lot of your work. All I'm saying is that if people want help, they'll ask for it. Rolling Eyes
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Re: [Guide] - Todgott's tips and tricks to Signature making

Post by Jiri on 21/6/2012, 3:42 pm

Pretty complete guide, might add in somewhere some stuff about the clipping mask tool.
Other than that, pretty impressive, a well deserved +rep for that.
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Re: [Guide] - Todgott's tips and tricks to Signature making

Post by Broeder on 21/6/2012, 3:44 pm

CP4E wrote:I'm sorry Todd but I don't see how you can go round telling everyone else how they could have done it better when you have just 26 posts and we haven't exactly seen a lot of your work. All I'm saying is that if people want help, they'll ask for it. Rolling Eyes

Yeah, people who actually know about stuff shouldnt post helpful information until people who dont know anything about it tell them to.

This truly is a great addition to the forum, thank you for posting Smile
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Re: [Guide] - Todgott's tips and tricks to Signature making

Post by todgott on 21/6/2012, 3:53 pm

CP4E wrote:I'm sorry Todd but I don't see how you can go round telling everyone else how they could have done it better when you have just 26 posts and we haven't exactly seen a lot of your work. All I'm saying is that if people want help, they'll ask for it. Rolling Eyes

I didn't make this just for people whose work I have criticized and reviewed, and if you had read the Foreword you would know that.
Are my skills in graphic designs determined by my postcount? And yes, you haven't seen alot of my work. This is because I have just re-started creating signatures - once I have decent amount of them I will release my portfolio. Also going to take on web designs and layouts this summer.

Thank you all for reps Smile
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Re: [Guide] - Todgott's tips and tricks to Signature making

Post by PRISM on 21/6/2012, 4:46 pm

Wow great stuff Tod!

cheers!
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Re: [Guide] - Todgott's tips and tricks to Signature making

Post by D avy on 21/6/2012, 5:06 pm

We should be happy that Todgott shares his knowledge with us, in my humble opinion.
I haven't see many people with that low postcount making such a huge & well thought out guide.

We haven't seen much work yet, but that's impossible because all his work should be in 26 posts :L ? But of what I've seen, he knows what he's doing.
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Re: [Guide] - Todgott's tips and tricks to Signature making

Post by Relax. on 21/6/2012, 5:26 pm

Here we are again, comments on post count.
Just because he's new to this community, doesn't necessarily mean he's new to graphic designing Wink

CP4E, that was just plain disrespectful. adding to that, you don't need to know one's work for judging his guiding capabilities. and why do you think people only want guides because they need help - me, for instance, read this guide because I was intrested in learning new things, strategies or ways of improvement, not because I needed help with the basics.
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Re: [Guide] - Todgott's tips and tricks to Signature making

Post by D avy on 21/6/2012, 5:44 pm

Relax. wrote:Just because he's new to this community, doesn't necessarily mean he's new to graphic designing Wink

Even a 40 year experienced Graphic Designer can walk in here today. He'll beat us all with 1 postcount :L
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Re: [Guide] - Todgott's tips and tricks to Signature making

Post by Tuff Tiga on 21/6/2012, 5:49 pm

Good job here Tod. Will help some of those new people out. Razz

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Re: [Guide] - Todgott's tips and tricks to Signature making

Post by Captivate on 21/6/2012, 5:53 pm

CP4E wrote:I'm sorry Todd but I don't see how you can go round telling everyone else how they could have done it better when you have just 26 posts and we haven't exactly seen a lot of your work. All I'm saying is that if people want help, they'll ask for it. Rolling Eyes

yes post count matters so much when 90% of you posts are in forum games dont they CP4E


Todd this is a wonderful guide and im suprised a new member has posted something like this Smile
its very good and will help many people in the future create signatures. +rep
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Re: [Guide] - Todgott's tips and tricks to Signature making

Post by Kelly on 22/6/2012, 11:32 pm

I've edited the title to include "Guide - " in the beginning, so when I go through and manually clean out old, unused threads, no guide threads get accidentally removed Smile I'm also adding this to the "List of Guides" thread.

Good, detailed guide! Smile

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Re: [Guide] - Todgott's tips and tricks to Signature making

Post by Delta 7x on 23/6/2012, 5:45 am

Very nice guide Tod! If, and when, I decide to get into actual signature making I'll come back to use this for a reference

+Rep
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Re: [Guide] - Todgott's tips and tricks to Signature making

Post by Grim IReaper on 23/6/2012, 9:31 am

CP4E wrote:I'm sorry Todd but I don't see how you can go round telling everyone else how they could have done it better when you have just 26 posts and we haven't exactly seen a lot of your work. All I'm saying is that if people want help, they'll ask for it. Rolling Eyes

I've seen 3 pieces by him, and I could tell from the first he knew what he was doing. He's mastered flow. To the point where I can say for certain that he's hands down better than me for traditional signatures. Which is a lot to say considering my portfolio to join the graphics team was mostly composed of traditionals, and not my regular C4D's.

I don't exactly see what his post count has to do with his knowlege of Photoshop either. It's not like posting on this site makes you any better. I've only given this guide a quick glance, but he's covering some very good stuff here. Power points, flow, render choice. All are vital for making a signatures. And still, I'd say half the users who provide graphics on here have yet to learn these basics.

Good guide, Todd.

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Re: [Guide] - Todgott's tips and tricks to Signature making

Post by Road to Z1on on 23/6/2012, 1:52 pm

Awesome tutorial Todgott! If I knew how to give +rep i would totally do it! haha (still new to this forum)
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Re: [Guide] - Todgott's tips and tricks to Signature making

Post by DoYouPlay_RS on 23/6/2012, 7:10 pm

CP4E wrote:I'm sorry Todd but I don't see how you can go round telling everyone else how they could have done it better when you have just 26 posts and we haven't exactly seen a lot of your work. All I'm saying is that if people want help, they'll ask for it. Rolling Eyes

Here's a tip: If you want respect, stop going around making negative comments about well-written guides. Read it first at least. Enjoy your -rep

This is the best guide I've personally seen, +rep Smile
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Re: [Guide] - Todgott's tips and tricks to Signature making

Post by Easy on 24/6/2012, 10:07 pm

I rarely ever comment on guides, but your guide has amazed me THIS much. I really learned a bunch from this.

I love that you cover the important points, and show everything with a great and clear example. I'll be trying some of this out later (:

Thank you for making this.


[Side Mark: That comment on the first page is seriously disrespectful.]
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Re: [Guide] - Todgott's tips and tricks to Signature making

Post by Atlas on 2/8/2012, 11:41 pm

Nice guide Todgott Smile rep. Here's what I made with this guide
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Almost always have trouble with the text :/

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Re: [Guide] - Todgott's tips and tricks to Signature making

Post by Kelly on 6/8/2012, 9:36 pm

I have changed the color of your topic title to reflect the new requirements that have been set in place. Please consult this thread for more information on it.

If you have any questions, feel free to post them up on that thread, or private message me.

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Re: [Guide] - Todgott's tips and tricks to Signature making

Post by M Dog on 6/12/2012, 1:36 am

Great Guide! But is there a programme used for this? I'm just a beginner lol
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Re: [Guide] - Todgott's tips and tricks to Signature making

Post by DoYouPlay_RS on 6/12/2012, 1:37 am

You can use GIMP for free, but the pros usually go with Photoshop, which you need to pay for Smile
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Re: [Guide] - Todgott's tips and tricks to Signature making

Post by M Dog on 6/12/2012, 1:46 am

ohk thanks for the help Very Happy
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Re: [Guide] - Todgott's tips and tricks to Signature making

Post by l3reakd0wn on 31/12/2012, 11:56 pm

Where would I go about finding backgrounds for signatures, or how would I create them?
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Re: [Guide] - Todgott's tips and tricks to Signature making

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