• Chesty's basic editing tutorial
    156 replies, posted
  • Avatar of ChestyMcGee
  • [b]Disclosure:[/b] I get a message asking about editing this or that effect almost daily now so I have decided to create an in-depth tutorial for the techniques myself and many others use in their pictures. I am aware that Vman has already written an editing tutorial but, and I’m sure he will agree with me, times have changed since then for both of us and we have both developed newer and better ways of editing. Also, this tutorial will hopefully put right some common mistakes that I see made in a lot of pictures now-a-days. Finally, please don’t perceive this thread as anything less than an attempt at helping the community, I am aware that I am not the greatest editor on the site by any stretch of the imagination, but hopefully this tutorial will help beginners. ---------------------------------- The shortcuts and parameters in this tutorial are for [b]GIMP 2.0[/b]. If you know your way around Photoshop or other editing programs already, the methods outlined in this tutorial will be easily transferable to your program of choice. For this tutorial I will be using this generic picture, made to incorporate lots of different editing effects: [b][url]http://img691.imageshack.us/img691/3069/ntskylinectg0003.jpg[/url][/b] It might be a good idea for you to use this picture yourself as it might make the instructions easier to follow. ------------------- [highlight]Beginners stuff...[/highlight] ------------------- [b]Isolation[/b] Before you should even think about editing effects and more importantly lighting, you have to isolate the main subjects of your pictures. Isolation is the process of selecting an object out of your picture and pasting it onto a new layer, thus “isolating” it from the rest of the picture. Isolation can be an incredibly time-consuming and boring tasks, and perhaps the worst part of editing, but get it out of the way at the start and it will seriously increase the overall quality of your work. Nine times out of ten this is going to be a character of some sort that you are isolating. Here it is my two Jinrai soldiers from Neo Tokyo. To select the character, I use the “lasso tool”. [img]http://img269.imageshack.us/img269/1610/lasso.jpg[/img] Some people use the pen tool and create a selection from a line but I don’t see any benefits between the two – it is a matter of preference I guess. Depending on how far away your subject is from the camera, you may need to zoom in more. The key is zooming in just the right amount. Don’t zoom in so far you can barely make out where one thing ends and another starts, but don’t zoom in so little that you aren’t detailed enough. Start at a point you can remember (like the bottom corner, in this case a foot) and begin clicking carefully around your character, drawing an outline like so: [img]http://img697.imageshack.us/img697/1436/isolation1.jpg[/img] Continue to outline your entire character. Zoom in a little to check that your outline is okay, and zoom in to do small curves and little details. If you stay zoomed too far for too long you can make silly mistakes, like entirely miss out limbs or start isolating a random object in the background, so make sure you keep checking your work. Remember that you can grab previous points and drag them if you make an error. [img]http://img189.imageshack.us/img189/6112/isolation2.jpg[/img] Ah the hard work has paid off... sort of. Copy this selection and then, but without clicking off your selection, create a new layer [GIMP: “layer/new layer” or “Ctrl + shift + N”). Paste the selection onto this layer. If you didn’t click off the selection, it should paste right into the correct place. Hide your background layer (click the little eye icon next to the layer) and then use the lasso tool again to select any areas of your new layer where parts of the background show beneath and delete them (in this image, there is a little gap in between the legs where you can see the wall behind, most often these areas will be between the legs and arms of characters). Now you should have a lovely isolated character on his very own layer: [img]http://img189.imageshack.us/img189/8881/isolation3.jpg[/img] There is a faster way to isolate characters using “greenscreen” techniques but, in my experience with GIMP, this method of isolating often leaves errors and aliasing issues. It may be different in Photoshop, but I wouldn’t know. [b]Shading and Highlighting[/b] The most effective shading and highlighting method uses only the “dodge/burn tool”. [IMG]http://img37.imageshack.us/img37/3011/dodgeburn.jpg[/IMG] It’s best to do the shading first. Pick a soft brush [GIMP: “circle fuzzy 19”], select “burn” from the tool’s parameters list. For the first set of shading, the main shadowing on the character, a big brush is okay [GIMP: roughly brush scale 3-4]. Take note of the direction of light-sources (in this case the muzzle of the character’s rifle and the light in the corridor) and use the lighting already on the model to guide you. Particular areas to shade heavily are areas where limbs, armour or weapons are blocking a light-source. After you have done the basic shading, begin to vary your brush size and add in more detailed shadows. Don’t be afraid to make jet-black shadows, but make them very small and only in areas that would be naturally dark (like under the ridges of the armour on this model). Now we need to highlight areas of the character. Highlighting should be far less strong than the shading. Select “dodge” and set tone down the opacity and exposure [GIMP: opacity 20, exposure 20]. You might need to tone it down even more for some areas of the character. Highlight in the same way that you shaded but, whereas you could create shadows in the previous step, do not try and create highlights from scratch with the dodge tool – you will only mess up the colours in the picture. For highlighting, simply accentuate the highlighting that the model and in-game lighting already has. [img]http://img37.imageshack.us/img37/5340/highlighting.jpg[/img] This is how my character looks after all of the shading and highlighting. Note the dark areas under parts of the armour (thigh armour, and shoulder pads especially) and behind the left arm and left leg. Highlighting and shading can be done on the background layer but you’re best not to put as much detail into it, especially if the background is blurred, as it will look out-of-place and take the attention away from the main subjects of the picture. I feel shading on the background should mostly be used for creating shadows where Source does not (eg. on things leaning up against walls). [b]Motion Blur[/b] Most pictures won’t have a lot of motion-blur, depending on how daring you want to be. Motion-blur has a fairly simple technique but miss out one vital stage and it can really look like shit. To start with, isolate the area you want to be blurred and paste it onto a new layer, as you did with your character (in this example, we shall be blurring the shells ejecting from the rifle): [img]http://img189.imageshack.us/img189/8235/motionblur1.jpg[/img] Now, use the motion blur filter [GIMP: “filters/blur/motion blur”] on the layer (if you have more than one object on the layer and they are moving in different directions, as in this example with the shells, select the each object with a box before applying the filter to the layer). The key here is to think carefully about the direction(s) the object will be travelling in and apply the blur as suitable to the weight and size of the object, as well as its speed. The shell nearest the ejection port in this picture will be blurred more than the others, for example (as a rough guide, motion blurring of 5-10 should be easily enough for a small object like a shell). After applying the filter, the object will be motion-blurred but it will have a sharp outline on the leading edge. [img]http://img37.imageshack.us/img37/6459/motionblur2.jpg[/img] To remove this, we need to use the “clone tool”. [IMG]http://img37.imageshack.us/img37/9851/clonestamp.jpg[/IMG] The object that has been motion-b
  • Avatar of Santz
  • Gonna keep this in my favorites in case someone asks for a nice editing tutorial :P I'm gonna wait for the Rim lighting one, I have been wondering how to do it properly :P
  • Avatar of Sean C
  • Yay finally! :iia: Can't wait to see your more complex tutorials, should be great.
  • Avatar of crazymonkay
  • i have a question, does anyone else get some kind of white/transparent line around whatever they isolated? If so what is the best way to deal with it?
  • Avatar of Drizzy
  • Thanks for sharing this with us chesty, and I gotta say, that generic screenshot used for the tutorial looks so friggin flawless.
  • Avatar of Noteloc
  • Wow! I've been waiting for this from you Chesty! It's great that you provided! This is great, I [b]Definetly[/b] need good tutorials (Not saying anything bad about VMan's Tutorial, it helped too) But yeah! Awesome!
  • In the words of Ace Ventura. AllRightyThen. Bookmarked this one for future reading.
  • Avatar of stea1th
  • Combine this with Vman's and we'll have a fantastic tutorial for GIMP editing. Also, do blood and lighting soon please :3:
  • Avatar of Mrfantasticool
  • :iia: Can't wait for the more advanced to improve my own cuz they're rusty stuff that I made up in like 10 minutes :xd: Never thought about lighting with gradients and stuff, you got my attention.
  • Avatar of The Vman
  • Good start chesty! :keke: It's about time my tired old tut got replaced. Though it could still be useful for anybody still using a version of GIMP lower than 2.0 (I personally can't stand 2.0, it's too difficult to get rid of a selection) Might I suggest a few things however: - You should mention that you can hold ctl and scroll to zoom without changing your tool, you can also press shift and scroll to scroll left and right quickly (combined with normal scrolling it can make navigating your picture a breeze) - When you do muzzleflashes you might want to suggest good old reference using as well as hand drawing (if you are going to cover that. Though it is a more advanced technique and you might have a bunch of newbies getting ugly results trying it without knowing what they are doing) - Might want to include a few more pictures. I know from experience that visual learning is a [I]lot[/I] easier than trying to soak in walls of text (not that your writing is bad) It's a little tedious to get all the pictures but it can be a godsend to the reader. Otherwise, keep up the good work. We need a new tutorial around this place.
  • Avatar of Jim_Riley
  • Good, another tutorial to be added to previous dozen that existed before it. I never take editing tutorials seriously. There's no "right" way to edit a picture. That's up to the editor. I think this tutorial would be good if it just stopped at how to isolate in a picture because that's surprisingly complicated for many people.
  • Avatar of CaMpEr_DoOd
  • -He edited and got rid of it, such a good boy- Good tutorial, i'll add to favourites for future.
  • Avatar of ChestyMcGee
  • [QUOTE=crazymonkay;19044830]i have a question, does anyone else get some kind of white/transparent line around whatever they isolated? If so what is the best way to deal with it?[/QUOTE] You mean after the character has been isolated it has a white line around it? You are isolating too wide then. To fix it, use the "magic wand" and click outside your character on his layer. Then go to "selection/grow" and pick one or two pixels, and then press delete. That should hopefully fix it this time around. In the future though, you'll need to isolate closer to the character.
  • Avatar of ChestyMcGee
  • [QUOTE=The Vman;19048679]Good start chesty! :keke: It's about time my tired old tut got replaced. Though it could still be useful for anybody still using a version of GIMP lower than 2.0 (I personally can't stand 2.0, it's too difficult to get rid of a selection) Might I suggest a few things however: - You should mention that you can hold ctl and scroll to zoom without changing your tool, you can also press shift and scroll to scroll left and right quickly (combined with normal scrolling it can make navigating your picture a breeze) - When you do muzzleflashes you might want to suggest good old reference using as well as hand drawing (if you are going to cover that. Though it is a more advanced technique and you might have a bunch of newbies getting ugly results trying it without knowing what they are doing) - Might want to include a few more pictures. I know from experience that visual learning is a [I]lot[/I] easier than trying to soak in walls of text (not that your writing is bad) It's a little tedious to get all the pictures but it can be a godsend to the reader. Otherwise, keep up the good work. We need a new tutorial around this place.[/QUOTE] Thanks Vdude. In the "soon to come" bit I was hinting at including both the hand-drawn and reference-using techniques, so both will be included eventually. I didn't include many pictures for shading and highlighting because... well there wouldn't be any I could put, apart from showing the gradual build up of shadows. I think shading and highlighting is easier to describe in text because it will be so different in every picture and there are general "rules" for it, rather than a set way of doing it every time. More pictures will be included at the more difficult parts such as muzzleflashes, which look very different at every step. I didn't mention short cuts because I just wouldn't know where to stop. I'm trying to make a beginners guide to editing, rather than a beginners guide to GIMP 2.0. Thanks a lot for the critique, mate. [QUOTE=BigBoom;19050879]Uh, wheres the finished piece? :v:[/QUOTE] Soon, my friend, soon. I can't go too far ahead with it because I need to take screengrabs as I go. The picture will be finished when the tutorial is finished! [QUOTE=Resistance777;19049513]its great. also do a tut on rain.[/QUOTE] Great idea. Will do! [QUOTE=Jim_Riley;19048867]Good, another tutorial to be added to previous dozen that existed before it. I never take editing tutorials seriously. There's no "right" way to edit a picture. That's up to the editor. I think this tutorial would be good if it just stopped at how to isolate in a picture because that's surprisingly complicated for many people.[/QUOTE] This isn't supposed to be the definite guide to editing. It's supposed to be a very brief introduction to the techniques pretty much [i]everyone[/i] uses (we all know dodge/burn is how to do shading and highlighting for example). It's also supposed to put right the mistakes that a lot of people do now-a-days, like far too much burning, terrible muzzleflash cut-outs, badly made hand-drawn flashes (same for explosions), contrast rape, rim-lighting where it is not needed/couldn't exist and rim-lighting that is far too thick or not emitting light. At the end of the tutorial, I will include some advice about editing and how the true fun of editing is gained from experimenting and inventing your own techniques, creating your own style from the inspiration of others and building up your skills from the ground up. In today's screenshots community where everyone is trying to sprint with editing before they can crawl, or before they can barely even pose, a tutorial is desperately needed. ---------------------------- Thanks so much for all the comments, guys! I hope this has been helpful so far! Seeing as it's the Christmas holidays now and I have quite a lot of time on my hand, the tutorial should be updated quite frequently and may perhaps be finished by Christmas.
  • Avatar of Back_Slash
  • Nice man I need to learn muzzles and smoke. Also make a tut on when to make muzzles or smoke. [sp]I hate when I see an M16 spewing fire [/sp]