How to photoshop stuff the way Achariya does it (even if sometimes I suck).
This is a small tutorial that I just posted in Plurk, and thought I'd share in this blog. This list compiles two years' worth of playing around and learning things from various people, and I sincerely thank everyone for their wisdom.
(1) Photography. The first trick is to photograph your avatar against a bright color that you can select out. Bright green is a safe bet!
(1a) Make sure you photo at the biggest size you can. I use 1600x1200 cause it's all my macintosh will let me.
(1b) Use good lighting. I like Sunset, and then subtracting the red with Channel Mixer.
(2) In Photoshop, open up your pictures. Open a new blank document of the size you'd like (I like 1200x1200 square)
(3) SELECTING TIME. My hints for this come from hyasynth, Grady, Mourna, and Elysium
(3a) Go to the Select menu item, then down to Color Range. Choose all the color that you want out of your shot. I like a fuzziness of 6 so as not to choose anything in your avatar.
(3b) Then go to Select again and down to Inverse -- this chooses your avatar.
(3c) Then go to Select and feather, and make it small, 1 pixel -- this will make the line around your avatar not quite so fracking jagged
(4) COPY. Paste onto new untitled document.
(5) Background fun care of Mourna.
(5a) Choose two nice colors. She tends to go dark. Then use the gradient fill, and fill your background with a star or gradient in two colrs
(5b) Then make another layer over it and set the mode to overlay or lighten or multiply...
(5c) Pick a pretty brush, set the color to white, and paint some tasteful things onto that layer. Mourna does awesome stripes, but i can't.
(6) Putting a dropshadow behind your av, hints care of AnaLu.
(6a) Select your avatar image layer. Go down to the little f-in-a-circle on the layer palate, and play with stuff. Drop shadow is fun. So is outer glow. Play with distance and size...until you get something cool.
(7) Make yucky stuff around the edges of your avatar go away, hint care of Grady. Say your avatar still has a nimbus of another color, which mine did until Grady showed me The Way. Here's exactly what Grady typed to me:
(7a) once you have separated your figure into it''s own layer: select the layer with the figure in it, then: top menu bar / select / load selection / "layer # transparency / ok
(7b) then: top menu bar / select / modify / contract / enter a value of 1 or 2 (pixels)
(7c) then: top menu bar / select / inverse selection
(7d) then: top menu bar / edit / clear
This process will delete the the fringe that remains after you have separated your figure from it's coloured background. -- thank you Grady!
(8) Borders. Photoshop action hints are from Wimsy. Bless you, Wimsy !
(8a) See that history tab? There's one hidden behind it called 'actions' There's a little tiny arrow over to the side of actions. Click that, there are default photoshop frames in this menu.
(8b) Click on Frames to load it.
(8c) In Actions again, click the down arrow to expand the Frames list. There are lotsa frames to choose from. Pick one, then hit the run button to make that action go. Run is the arrow all the way down at the bottom of the action window.
(8d) Voila, a frame. Unless it snafus, which it sometimes does. But most of them work.
(9) Making pretty photo colors, hints care of Cajsa and Gidge and the other amazing people on that blog.
(9a) Okay, these talented women do it by using "filter --> flaming pear (which you can download at deviantart, I think) --> ghost" for a ghost layer over the image, and then they play with the lighting effects in the layer under that. however.
(9b) I just go to Image --> adjust --> channel mixer and play with balance. Since I take photos at sunset, I generally reduce the red, and up the blue and green, and play until I like it.
(10) Stuff you can download. You can download brushes and actions by searching for them in deviantart.
(11) Posting on the feed.
(11a) Go into your image URL (you know, the image tag) and SET border="0" to get rid of the ugly blue link line around your photo.
(11b) If you like centered photos, put center tags around them -- very easy html. Or learn your blogging program's language for centering photos. (I still haven't mastered Rezzables!)
(11c) If you use something wysiwyg like Wordpress, make sure you put a hard return under your images, or fuss with image settings so that words kern around them. It looks like shite when your images hang out haphazardly with words going every which way. Learn to play WITH your blogging tool, not despite it. :D
(12) Shots with a natural background...this will be an entirely different post. heh.
Many thanks to the people who taught me, and I hope they don't kill me for compiling and sharing their wisdom. People are sharing wisdom at the original plurk page, if you are curious.
Additional notes from Momo:
***Lighting: Caliah Lyon's presets
***Brush downloads: here and here.