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How To Make Graphics Like Llama. -TUTORIAL-
 By Llama In A Box   •   21st Dec 2009   •   4,092 views   •   4 comments
Right, I don't know how to make a huge "formal looking" tutorial, so I'm going to try my hardest to explain how I make my graphics in the form of text. Best of luck trying to understand this. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to message me on here!

Before we get started, I'm letting you all know that I save my graphics at regular intervals - like every 15 minutes for example IN CASE my program crashes mid graphic. Programs DO that, they don't think about how long you've spent on that graphic - so make sure you're one step ahead!!

---

When I'm making a graphic, I look for very clear stock. Blurry horses, and clear backgrounds, just don't work. It draws your attention away from the horse, which of course you want to be the main focal point of the image. I also look for an image that has a good size. I don't want a BG as big as my screen, and a horse as tiny as a dog, it just doesn't work, again.


Things I look for in horse stock:
Clear stock. This is a MUST!
Great angle (for example, not looking up from the feet of a horse)
Clear eyes (don't want a horse with blurry eyes)

Things I look for in BG stock:
Clear stock. This is a MUST!
Perhaps something unique, not just a tree. I want something that stands out, but blends in with the image at the same time.
Something realistic. Generally a cityscape background doesn't go to well if you're looking for something really down to earth.

MAKE SURE THAT YOUR STOCK CHOICES ARE ALLOWED FOR USE ON SIM GAMES. If you can't find it in their journal, or on the image itself - send the person a message.

Now, I've chosen my stock, what do I do next?

I use Adobe Photoshop Elements 8, but I'm sure that any program will work just fine for most steps. I also use a Bamboo Wacom Fun Tablet. (Which has its' bad days)

+I use the BG eraser to rub out around the horse, that way the areas I have rubbed out are replaced with grey and white BG squares. MAKE SURE that you leave as much of the original mane and tail as possible. I use the mane an tail for colour references when I later re-paint them. This is the transparent part, so rub the bg out ONLY. I leave a little bit of the original bg around the horse, then I use the select tool to drag a square around the horse. Then I copy.

+Next I open the stock BG. If it's at all "too bright" for my horse image (for example, too faded) I use the BURN tool to darken it a bit. This is something that can be very easily overused! Make sure you keep it realistic. Then I PASTE the horse on top of the BG. (My program automatically makes it a new layer, make sure the horse is on a layer ABOVE the BG!)


+So, you've got your horse, and your Bg. Nup, it's not finished..yet.
Now I go and erase those last bits of the BG around the horse. This takes practice - you don't want a horse with a bumpy bum, but you don't want a sliver of BG around the bum either...so, how to decide? As I said, heaps of practice. Don't get disheartened when you look at your pointy bum-ed horse, it will get better - trust me!

+Now, you should have a horse with the horse's BG removed, sitting on your new stock BG. I use a Bamboo Wacom Tablet to draw my manes and tails (which occasionally turn out *really bad*). NEW LAYER HERE!!
I use a size 1-5 pixel brush, and I use the Eyedropper tool to select a colour from the mane or tail. I start with the lowlights, so pick a darker colour that is near the base of the mane. Then I draw in free, flowing motions if the horse is standing still. (Movement, I use other horse pics for reference of where the mane should go.) Then I use the Eyedropper to select a highlight. Be careful with highlights. You don't want a black horse with a white mane, you really don't. Same with the tail, and again this takes lots of practice. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

+So, your horse is standing against the BG, with a gorgeous (hopefully xD) mane and tail. What next?
Now I add a shadow. NEW LAYER HERE!! Make it on a new layer, this is another absolute MUST! Set the layer options to "Overlay" and select the brush tool. Up the brush size to 25-50, and change opacity to 25%. Make sure your brush colour is black! Then, I use another horse picture as reference for my shadow, for shadows are very important! They stop a horse from being out of place, and most importantly - they stop them from floating. Horses aren't like balloons, you know. They need to LOOK solid. I decide on the basic shape of my shadow, and lightly draw it in using mouse/touchpad/tablet. Then I go over it again, until it's dark enough to look real, but not too dark. You still want to see the BG beneath it.


+Now..add the credits. Very, very important part of this process if you want the world to see your new graphic! Create a new layer, and I use Arial text type - size ranging from 4-14, depending on the overall size of the graphic. If it's a dark BG, I use white font, if it's a bright light Bg, I use black, etc, etc.

+SAVE IT. Now, before anything can happen to it. As mentioned at the beginning of this tutorial, you should be saving at regular intervals (5 mins, 10 mins, whenever) Better safe than sorry, as they say!

+I use Tinypic to upload my images to get the code for Ponybox. I'm not always sure of the maximum size that my graphic will turn out, and to avoid breaking the page size limit rule on Ponybox Forum Rules, I select the 15" Screen size. This uploads your image to a certain size, without damaging your image AT ALL. Perfectly safe. Then copy the HTML code, and paste into your "New Forum Post" box as though it were just a normal sentence.


Well, I hope this has helped you a lot. Any questions? Message me. I don't bit. =D

+The first image (below) is one of my latest graphics. You'll see the mane, and tail. (Size 2 pixel brush) and you'll also see the shadow. =D

+The second image is a GOOD STOCK IMAGE. Very clear, great posture. Also a strong, healthy horse. =D

+Third image is a GOOD STOCK IMAGE. Clear again, without any rubbish, man-made structures, nothing.

Good luck!
Horse News More In This Category:  Graphics      Horse News More From This Author:  Llama In A Box
T W I  
Very informative. A good post. :)
  Dec 21, 2009  •  2,144 views
 
Heartland4Ever  
Thank you for the tutorial, it was really helpful!
  Dec 21, 2009  •  2,185 views
 
Alti  
iPrograms DO do that. xD/i Great post. (: You used that background in my layout on Morgan. :D
  Dec 22, 2009  •  2,183 views
 
Wanderin Boy Memorial  
Great tutorial Llama ! I've always wanted to make graphics like yours =)
  Feb 2, 2011  •  2,141 views
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