Just how involved can a sig get?

Nov 22, 2001
9,699
0
0
Southern Virginia
#1
Some of you had asked what sort of work I put into a sig. While I try to make the best out of every sig I work on, the limiting factor most often works out to be the quality, variety and just how interesting the pics are that I have to work with in the first place.

If I get 8 or fewer basic shots (one from each side, front, back and then one from each corner) it honestly puts a serious damper on the chances of coming up with a really creative sig. And it honestly takes longer to do because I have to struggle to turn out something half decent.

So in case you didn't read my pointers for sig pics thread, read up and learn something -- you and I both will be happier with the results. Give me interesting shots.... wheels at unique angles.... focus on mods you've done, etc... and good lighting!! I can't stress that last part enough.

With that out of the way, I took the time to capture some screenshots during the buildup of cbraga's sig earlier tonight since some of you were interested. For those of you who don't know, this is westcoastz71's friend who was just featured in the TruckinSUV magazine. The pics I had to work from are here.

The first thing I try to do when working on a sig is plan out the look I want it to have. If possible, even build a theme around it that best captures the truck. In this case, cbraga's truck has a flame theme going so I decided to use these three pics:







So, I opened up Photoshop and created a new pic. (BTW -- I'm using 6.0, but the procedures should be similar for newer versions)



The 500x150 size self-explanatory. 72 pixels per inch is the best that most monitors can handle. If I were looking to make something printable, I'd go higher. But I know that these are only intended for the web so it's all I need. I'm pretty sure it helps keep the file size down too...

So, with my blank canvas ready to go, I copied the full size pics into the sig. For Photoshop newbies, you can keep tabs on each pic because they're on different layers as shown in this toolbar below.



To keep even better track on something you know could be huge, it doesn't hurt to right click on each layer in this toolbar, go to properties and rename them since the thumbnails are so small.

Now that I've got all the pics all in one place, I went ahead and stretched out the workspace by clicking and dragging on the borders. You could also just optimize it so that this file is the only thing you see rather than all the files being tiled. This extra space around the sig comes in handy as you'll soon see.

Next thing up... resize and layout the pics in the position you want them. Handiest tool for this is the Free Transform. Make sure that you've got the layer you want to work with active (check the toolbar mentioned above), then right click on the sig and go to Free Transform. Now you can rotate, scale and move the pics. Here I've already started to scale the steering wheel down:



Note: if you hold the Shift key on your keyboard while you scale the pic up or down (by grabbing and dragging the corners only -- it will not work if you grab the middle of one of the sides, top or bottom!!), it will keep the height and width proportional. Or you can click the chain-link icon in the toolbar at the top of Photoshop between the height and width percentage settings.

I went ahead and did this for all 3 layers. Here they are in their final size and positions:







I plan on having the full pic of the truck as the top layer, followed by the steering wheel, then the flames down the side, so I went ahead and reorganized them in the Layer Control toolbar. Just click and drag to do this.

I decided I wanted just a little bit of a blur on the flame layer. So, with that layer active, I went to Filter => Blur => Gaussian Blur...



Since I wasn't quite sure yet what I wanted to do with the steering wheel, I decided to move on to getting the background out of the truck pic.

This is something that really requires a steady hand and some good hand-eye coordination, especially as you get nearer to the truck. I normally use a small round brush with hard edges. Here are two key things to keep in mind:

1. For straight lengths, hold the Shift key, click at one end, then the other. Photoshop will connect the two points. Same thing works for the paintbrush and pencil tools.

2. If you're not using the "dot-to-dot" type approach I described in #1, don't try to erase it all at once freehand. If you do and you spend the time on all the intricate details as you go around the truck (mirrors, etc.) and you slip up at the end, you'll have to redo all of it. Always move in short managable lengths.

Here I've already cleared out around the suspension and I'm starting on the nose of cbraga's truck:



Another thing I normally do is take care of what can be seen through the windows. No need erasing all the rest of the background if you missed the guy giving you the finger through the truck... I went ahead and erased the windows on the opposite side of the truck, but smudged the reflection on the near side windows.

Since that layer was active, I decided to set it off using the blending options. Right click on the layer in the Layer Control to get there:



And I thought an outer glow would be pretty cool...



But wait... I don't want the halo to be visible where I erased the windows. Cancel that blending option for a minute...

I change the tool to the Polygon lasso like this:



This lasso allows me to select an area in a "dot-to-dot" manner like holding the Shift key does for the other tools. Just click where I want sides of the perimeter to end, and then look for a little circle to show up next to the lasso to close the loop:



Instead of doing a regular copy, I went to Edit => Copy Merged so that I fill the hole I had created when I erased the windows with the corresponding section of the flames from the other layer.

Edit => Paste to put this on a new layer. It lined right up with the area I copied it from.

Now, back to the truck layer and the blending options. I didn't want a pale yellow outer glow and I wanted to change the size too. So I clicked on the little yellow box to change the color, and used the sliders below there to adjust the size and spread of the outer glow.



Now that it was coming together, I realize I can't see much of the dash. So I erased it, leaving only the steering wheel. And in the blending options, I gave it a bit of a drop shadow.

To finish it off, I copied in the FSC logo from a separate file that I made up and I added cbraga's username. Changed the fonts a bit and played with the blending options...







So, after about 2 hours (on a slow comp and including the time to take all the screenshots) here's the end result:




cbraga -- you can link right to this pic to set up your sig. Thanks for letting me use it for this demo. :rocking:
 
Last edited:
Nov 22, 2001
9,699
0
0
Southern Virginia
#3
The font is called Grand Stylus and the gradient that you're looking for is not in the main toolbar. You want to right click on that text layer for the name, go to blending options and it's near the bottom of the list, down under satin.

 
May 14, 2003
348
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39
merced, ca
#4
thanks for the help im sorry to keep bothering you but im still kind of lost when i right click on the text layer and go to blending options it looks like your but some of the things are different and when i do it i cant get it to turn out right and can you do color fades like red to black or something like that thanks for all the help


p.s. all your work rocks:head: i love the flame job on your sig

one more thing i forgot where do you get the font grand stylus i have ps7 and its not in there?:(
 
Nov 22, 2001
9,699
0
0
Southern Virginia
#5
Well, that would be a hangup... I'm still using 6 so the options might be a little different. I know when I do the gradient, regardless if I'm looking to do a whole layer or just use it as a layer style, there are about 2 dozen color options. For as useful as it is, it'd gotta be in 7 somewhere. :think:

As for Grand Stylus, that was a freebie font that I downloaded some time ago. There are at least 5 or 6 different sites I've been to for fonts, so I'm not sure which one it came from. Normally, if I know a font name, a google search will find the source.

oh yeah... that gradient option... the blending options screenshot above has outer glow highlighted, but I was referring to gradient being below satin -- you can see satin at the bottom left of that pic. Gradient was just cut off....
 
May 14, 2003
348
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merced, ca
#6
ok i think i got it now one other thing i went to 1001 fonts and found some cool ones and grand stylus but i downloaded them and saved them to my computer but now i dont know how to use them they dont show up in the fonts so do you know how to fix this problems thanks:head:
 
Mar 5, 2002
352
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16
Surprise, AZ
#7
After you download the font you have to put it into the font folder. On XP at least it is C:\WINDOWS\Fonts.
By the way, i saw you a few time driving around merced, but you were going the other way. The bed looks a lot better red than it did green primer with black guide coat.
 
May 14, 2003
348
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39
merced, ca
#9
shyster7 said:
After you download the font you have to put it into the font folder. On XP at least it is C:\WINDOWS\Fonts.
By the way, i saw you a few time driving around merced, but you were going the other way. The bed looks a lot better red than it did green primer with black guide coat.
thanks for the help with the fonts, ya im hoping to get it painted to match here real soon this weekend im put the 5/7 kit back on then i just need to get it painted:head:
 
Apr 4, 2004
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cincinnati
#12
nice work!

Can you make me a sig if you get time one of these days?No hurry.I'll take a bunch of pics @ all different angles.I may even try making one myself.

BTW-Your tutorial was sweet :head:

thanks!
 
Apr 4, 2004
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Havelock, NC
#15
Re: Just how involved can a sig get?

Alright, i have a question that is off topic but been driving me crazy for some time now. I have made me a sig, one not to bad considering im in Iraq and i am just trying to figure out the process of how i get the thing onto my posts...well, one might say just making it my signature. Any help would be awesome! Thanks gents.
 
Feb 22, 2002
17,915
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Hawaii
www.allynch.com
#16
Re: Just how involved can a sig get?

You have to hav it hosted on the internet. After that you can then change you profile in the "user CP". In there you will go to the sig section and link to the address of the hosted sig.

Let me know if you have any more questions.

TIm
 
#17
Re: Just how involved can a sig get?

Your link "pointers for sig pics " did not work so not sure what they are. I want to get a siggy made once I get my 20" rims wednesday. I can not upload to fsc gallery. I don't even have a photo program to put a name in a pic. My pc crashed and I lost everything. :banghead: