Friday, February 27, 2009

Special Effects

Right, lets start creating the wallpaper shall we. In this tutorial we will be making this (tiny) wallpaper:

sprite large piece wallpaper tutorial

1. Right, start with a new file. Like I said in the introduction, if you want to make a wallpaper, pick your size. For the purpose of this tutorial we picked 400 by 400.

new file

2. Grab your Paint Bucket Tool, and fill this background with a lightish black color, we picked #0F0F0F.

bucket tool

3. We have to find a nice Cinema4D render. You can find plenty of free and good looking renders at our resources section. Paste the render on your image, and change its blending mode to screen. Move it into a good position:

c4d render wallpaper

You can set the blending mode to screen by going to your Layer pallette and selecting Screen from the dropdown menu.

blending mode

4. To enhance the colors and effect, duplicate the layer (either by pressing CTRL + J, or by going to Layer > Duplicate Layer…). Remember the blending mode has to be set on screen.

c4d render wallpaper

5. Duplicate the layer again, and move it around to fill your canvas a bit more. Remove parts that you don’t like with your eraser until what you see looks good.

wallpaper tutorial

6. Duplicate this layer again to enhance the colors and effect. Do not move this layer.

c4d render wallpaper

7. Grab another bubbly Cinema4D render and put it into place. You can use different colors, however you should try to keep the general color scheme somewhat the same. Change its blending mode to screen again.

c4d render wallpaper

8. We’re going to repeat the previous steps a few times, untill you get a nice and colorful canvas. Remember to set the layer to screen, duplicate it to enhance the colors and effects, and move and erase it around until you are satisfied.

c4d render wallpaper

our canvas after duplicating the effect a few times:

c4d render wallpaper

9. We’re now going to smudge our background into a good looking canvas. Make a new layer, and go to Image > Apply Image. This will combine all of our previous layers onto one new layer. Pick your smudging tool, and grab a soft rounded brush (around 30 pixels in size). We have to set a specific smudge setting to our brush. we can do this by clicking on the Brush Preset button found in the top right corner of your toolbar:

The smudge tool:

smudge tool

Brush settings:

brush settings

splatter brush styles

10. Smudging can be a little difficult at first. To make your canvas look good, try making circular movements. Do not overdo this effect, and do not rush this. If you rush the smudging, your canvas will look a bit messy and will not look to good.

smudging wallpaper

11. Now we have to find a sprite (or render) for our wallpaper. The best sprites for these colourfull wallpapers are the ones that have some sort of action into it. Like the one we picked, he’s performing some sort of kick or jump, whatever he’s trying to do, it’s as if he’s moving. We can enhance this effect later for a good looking result.

Paste your sprite onto a new layer, close to the middle or wherever you want your focal point to be.

sprite wallpaper

12. We’re going to smudge some more. Make a new layer, Image > Apply Image… and start smudging with your smudge tool. Erase smudging that overlaps your sprite with the eraser tool for now, we’re going to blend in our sprite in a later step.

smudge tool

smudging the wallpaper

13. While smudging, try creating a good looking focal point, and maintain the lighting in that spot. We’ve picked the spot just above our sprite:

wallpaper lighting

14. Add in another bubbly Cinema4D render, and set its blending mode to screen. Move this into position near the focal. If you place it below, you will get too many focals and people will not know where to look at initially.

c4d render wallpaper

15. Take out your eraser tool, and reduce the opacity to about 40%. We’re going to blend our character into our background by erasing parts of the sprite. Lower the opacity of the eraser if you’re erasing too much of your render at once.

brush settings

16. Grab your smudge tool out, and smudge a bit of your Cinema4D bubbles. Keep smudging untill your background starts to look good. Erase any unwanted parts, and smudge some more.

brushing wallpaper

Our result after smudging some more, this image is saved in a bit higher quality t osee what ours looks like now:

large piece tutorial

17. Make a new layer, and once again go to Image > Apply Image… we’re going to apply a sharpen effect. Go to Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen, and repeat this several times untill you get an oversharpenned layer.

sharpened large piece

18. Set this layers blending mode to Lighten, and reduce the opacity to about 25%.

layer settings

19. We’re going to add some lighting onto our sprite. Create a new layer, and take out your Brush tool. Select a soft round brush, and set your foreground color to a random color that matches your color scheme (use your eyedropper tool to select a lightish color).

Softly tap your brush around your sprite, and set the layers blending mode to Linear Dodge. In the box next to it you can see what it looks like when set to normal to get an idea of how to tap around your sprite.

lighting the large piece

20. Apply the image on a new layer (Image > Apply Image…). Get the sharpen tool, and use a soft rounded brush to sharpen the sprite up a bit. Reduce the opacity of this applied layer afterwards to about 30 to 40%, to have it fade in better with the rest of your image.

sharpening tool:

sharpen tool

sharpened sprite with reduced opacity:

sharpening large piece

21. We’re going to smudge our background some more, apply the image on a new layer and smudge the background a bit. avoid smudging around our sprite for now, focus on the background.

smudging the large piece

22. We can start adding some hints of lighting and detail now. Simply create a new layer and select your brush tool. Load a soft round brush and set your foreground color to a light color in your canvas. You can use your eyedropper tool to get a nice color. Softly tap your brush in places where you would like to add some detail. Change the blending mode to overlay afterwards, and reduce the opacity between 20 to 30%

brushing the large piece

23. Apply the image on a new layer (Image > Apply Image…). Go to Filter > Render > Lighting Effects, and play aroudn a bit with the settings until you’re pleased and then hit ok. We’ve used these settings:

lighting effects

Erase spots that came on too strong with your eraser tool.

erasing lighting

24. We’re going to add Gradient Maps. These are adjustment layers that can color your canvas. You can either create these by going to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map, or selecting the black/white circle on your layer palette:

adjustment layers

gradient map

Set this layers blending mode to screen, and reduce its opacity to about 45 to 55%:

result gradient map

25. We’re going to add another gradient map. Once again select your blue/white circle, or go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient map, and select this gradient:

gradient map two

Set the layers blending mode to Multiply, and reduce the opacity to 50%

result dark gradient map

26. We’re going to smudge the background some more, however we need to make sure we follow our lighting and flow. Apply the image on a new layer (Image > Apply Image…) and grab your smudge tool:

smudging large piece

27. Apply the image on a new layer, and go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur, and use about 2.5 radius to blur this.

blurring large piece

28. Set the blurred layers blending mode to screen, and reduce the opacity to 50%. Set the fill of the layer to 80%

blending mode

result of the blending mode change:

blending mode

29. Duplicate this layer, and change its blending mode to soft light. This time however, set the opacity to 20% and leave the fill at 80%:

blending mode lowered

30. We have to add some more brushing around our sprite. Grab your brush, and on a new layer, use a soft color to tap on your image. Change the blending mode to color dodge to have it blend in.

wallpaper tutorial high quality

31. We’re going to add two more adjustment layers. First, a color balance layer. Only the midtones were changed. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Color Balance…, and select these settings:

color balance

Leave the blending mode and opacity as they are unless it looks really bad, however try not to reduce the opacity too much.

color balance applied

31. Add a curves layer, Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves…, and toy around with the settings until you’re pleased with the adjustment layer.

curves adjustment layer

Don’t change this adjustment layers blending mode or opacity either.

result curves adjustment

32. Apply the image on a new layer, and go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation… or simply press CTRL + U to open up the adjustment window. Lower the lightness a little to make it look a bit darker.

hue saturation change

33. We have to add a little more detail into the background, add in a Cinema4D render and set its blending mode to screen. Move it somewhere nice where it follows the flow of your coloring, and possibly interacts with your sprite (like the kick of our sprite in this piece). If needed, erase parts that cover the sprite.

cinema4d render added

34. Apply the image on a new layer, and grab your smudge tool. Use the same brush settings we used before, and smudge some of your piece again. We smudged some of our newly added Cinema4D render.

cinema 4d render

35. Duplicate this layer, and set its blending mode to lighten to brighten it up.


36. Enhance some of the lighting that we’ve created in our wallpaper. Create a new layer, grab your brush tool and select a soft rounded brush. Set your foreground color to a pinkish color, and brush over our lighting and change the blending mode to screen:

wallpaper tutorial high quality

37. Add in another gradient map, either by selection the black/white circle on our layer palette, or by going to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map… and select the black to white gradient.

gradient map tutorial

38. Change the blending mode to multiply, and lower the opacity to 15 to 20%.

large piece tutorial

39. We’re going to lighten up our focus a bit. Create a new layer, and load your brush tool. Select a soft rounded brush and set your foreground color to a nice pinkish coor. Brush over your sprite, and then change the layers blending mode to lighten. Lower its opacity to 10%.

brushing wallpaper

40. In this step we’re going to add some more detail. Make a new layer, and go to Image > Apply Image. Set this new layer to Dissolve. Lower the opacity to 1 or 2%, and you’ll have your canvas filled with spreckles. Move them around, and erase parts that you dont like. Create some detail around your spreite.

blend mode dissolve

41. Because our sprite got blended in a bit too much, we’re going to load our sprite again. Duplicate your sprite and place it on top of your layers. Press CTRL + U (or Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation…) reduce the lightness to -100, all the way black.

Set this layer to soft light, and lower the opacity to 20%. This will make our layer stand out a bit more, yet keep it blended in.

sprite wallpaper

42. We’re going to finnish our canvas up with a levels layer. Go to Image > New Adjustment Layer > Levels… and play around with the settings untill you get a nice looking result.

levels adjustment layer

Final result of our tutorial:

sprite large piece wallpaper tutorial


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