Thursday, 15 August 2013

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

A Bunch Of Tricks (tweaking Glows and Shadows)

In this tutorial i will show you my technique on how to find the right color for stuff like Shadows or Glows.

Its quite simple !

I used a canvas of 800x400 and the font Yokawerad 226px in a dark red (#a10000).

Made a crisp highlight as shown in the last tutorial and now we need to add an Inner Shadow.

Here the problems begin, when i want to fill my inverted selection with a colour, what colour should i choose ???
The simplest way would be to make it black.

Another, better way is to open your colours, activate the text colour and then drag the slider so that you will get a darker shade of the same colour. This way i got #5f0000.

Next problem: how much blur should i apply to the inner shadow layer ??
I want my Inner Shadow blur to reach the highlight. Or almost.

So i open Gaussian Blur and judging by the preview i see that 5 is way to less.
Same with 10. So i go a little higher and choose 14.

Inner Shadows have an offset. My next problem will be to estimate what it will look like when i offset my layer.

Heres what you can do: alpha select your basetext and save it to a channel.
Click on the eye of the channel to make it visible. 
Now a grey haze is overlayed.

We want that to be completely opaque, so we double click the channel and the Channel`s Attributes Dialog will open.
Here we can change the opacity, but also the color.
For demonstration purposes i change the channel color to green.

Now we see the text clearly again and the shadow layer is confined to the inner text boundaries.

I changed the Mode of my Inner Shadow layer to 'Multiply' because i want it to darken the text.
Next i call up the Move Tool and drag the Shadow layer around. Also i use the arrow keys on my keyboard for fine tuning.
Because the green mask is on, i can see what it will look like in the end.
That makes the final offset 5px to the left and 1px up.

We can turn the channel off again and get rid of the Shadow outside the text boundaries so that we can see the original background again.
As usual i do this by applying a layermask from channel.

Maybe you now feel that the Inner Shadow needs a bit more blur or maybe less...

No problem ! Make sure the Inner Shadow layer is active, call up the curves tool and set the channel to alpha.
Drag the curve around to make the blur expand or contract.

And maybe you decide you want a completely different colour for your shadow.
Well no problem too. I changed the mode to normal again, so you can see it better.
Call up the 'Adjust Hue/Saturation/Brightness' Tool and play around with the values until you get something good.
The green looks quite cool, doesnt it ?!

Now lets see what happens when we use a different mode (Screen) with that green shadow.

Or invert the shadowlayer`s colour, then try some more combinations of Mode and Hue/Saturation/Brightness.
Here the Mode Grain Merge with pink (inverted colour) gave me this interesting blue kind of shade.

To be honest, this is no longer really a shadow, it has become some sort of glow or reflected coloured light but it adds a 3D effect to your text and im sure you get the idea, how you can find all kinds of variations for your effect easily.

Of course you can change the colour of your layer with other tools like Color-Curves or Levels.

That concludes this tutorial of my little box of tricks. Hope you found it useful.

Crisp Highlights

This tutorial is inspired by Efenstor's 'Glass or Bevel' script.
I dont know exactly how his script achieves the effect, as its written in python, but i will show you a way how to get a similar effect manually.

The main feature of the effect is a crisp, offset highlight, that gives your text a glossy and slightly rounded appearance.
Basically its a bevel without the shadow, but the highlight does not line up with the text edge, instead it is offset a bit inside the text boundaries.
So really its just a variaton of bevelling.

Lets start !

01. My canvas is 800x400 – i applied a gradient as the background.

02. Type your text – i used the font Ventography at 300px
dont make your text too small to avoid jaggy edges !

03. Align your text, apply layer to image size if necessary, then alpha select.

04. Save the selection to a channel (Select → Save to channel).

05. Shrink the selection by a value that you want your highlight to be offset (i used 4).

06. Create a new transparent layer on top of all.

07. Fill the selection on the transparent layer with a 50ies grey (#808080).

08. Save the shrinked selection to a channel – in the channels tab, rename this channel to 'Highlight'
then deselect.

We will bump map this grey layer, then get rid of the grey to extract the highlight.

09. Gaussian blur the highlight channel (thats the one from the shrinked selection) – i will use a value of 5, higher and lower values are possible, but 5 is mostly a good value

10. activate the grey highlight layer, call up the BumpMap (thats under 'Filter → Map').

Under BumpMap choose the blurred highlight channel
….decide on the direction of light – i will use the default.
Find a Depth that will give you a strong highlight – this can be as small as 3 or much bigger
i will use 10.
Depending on what kind of effect you want, you may want to have a very bright highlight – for that play with the Angle – see how the brightness changes with different values.
I used an Angle of 15

For this effect we dont need a shadow, so turn up the Ambient to the max - that will filter out all the black shadows.

11. To extract the white highlights out of the grey layer, apply Color to Alpha (Colours →  Color to Alpha), with the exact 50ies grey (#808080).

12. Next we want to tighten that extracted highlight with an alpha-curve
this step depends on what you made your highlight in the BumpMap process.
In my example the highlight is already  pretty tight, but sometimes it can be fuzzy.

Call up the curves-tool and set the channel to alpha !
Now give the curve an angular shape like you see in the screenshot.
Depending on your individual highlight, the anchors may be dragged higher lower, more to the right or to the left....
important is, that you find a good middle ground between too fuzzy and jaggy !

For demonstration purposes i will show you the same highlight made fuzzy by blurring it by 5.
Also i changed the text-color to black for better contrast.
As you see, this looks pretty good as it is (licorice, lol) and depending on what you want to achieve this can be great.

Here are a few examples how you can custom shape the highlight:

Here the highlight is way too jaggy. Try a different curve !!!

This is a very thin highlight (that could benefit from a duplicate to make it brighter)....

and here its quite fat.

To finish our little texteffect i will add an Inner Shadow

01. Alpha select your basetext and then invert.
02. Create a new transparent layer, name it Inner Shadow.
03. Fill the selection with a dark colour, depending on your basetext.
04. Gaussian Blur the layer (i used a value of 8)
05. Next offset the layer so that you get a 3D-ish effect.
I clicked the layer with the Move Tool, then used the arrow keys 2 px down and 2px to the right

06. To get rid of everything that is outside the textboundaries apply a layermask 'from channel'
(Make sure to use the channel for our basetext, not the blurred bumpmap !)

07. Set the Mode to 'Multiply' or any other that makes sense for you and play with the Opacity if necessary.

For the sake of the effect i added a dropshadow and that concludes this tutorial.

I hope you found it informative and useful ! ;)

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Glass Experiments

The basic idea is bevelling text with the contour 'rolling slope desc.' and for the gloss contour 'double ring'.
I did the contour with layerfx but the gloss contour manually with curves, because you get better results.

Tried several contours: cone and cove deep.

All three results have G'MIC Light Glow on top.

If you want to study the effect, here is the xcf for all three versions: