Signature Composition 101
Posted 09 May 2009 - 03:38 PM
Have you ever heard that your sig lack depth? needs lighting? has no flow? needs color work? well, then this is the tut for you. In this tutorial, ill go over all the basics of composition, and everything you need to know about four major aspects of signature making, color, flow, depth and lighting.
And with that, well get started.
Color is an important part of making a sig. without good looking color, even the best sigs can look very bad. There are many ways to use colors in a sig, most of which ill be explaining in this tut. But first off, well look at this version of the color wheel.
Some important things to remember-
colors on opposite sides of the wheel will rarely work together. as a beginner, try to use colors that are close to each other, and not have a huge range of colors in one signature. colors that are within about 90 degrees of each other will often look good with each other (blues-greens) (yellows-reds) (reds-purples) Colors are important to experiment with and try diggerent combinations with. remember to always use a wide range of each, with dark, and light versions of each color. lastly, always use more than one color. a sig with only one color is normally considered "monotone" and will very rarely ever look good, especially when there is a low range, as mentioned above.
When determining color-
mainly, to determine colors you should use in a signature, look to your render or stock. use the dominant colors you see there, to create your effects. The colors in your render should almost always match the color of the rest of the signature.
Examples of color styles-
In this signature of mine, there is one dominant color, red. It is also used with some yellow, and then black in the background but the dominant color is the red. There is also a large range of light-dark reds which gives this sig its nice color.
Here is another example of having one dominant color. In here, the purple is the main color of the signature, which is combined with gray. grays, blacks and whites can often make a good secondary color in a signature. Due to this, the same signature can also work with green as the main color, or any other color because the gray doesn't clash with anything.
Here is another abstract example. is this sig, many colors are used. often, this can work with an abstract, and sometimes with render signatures. It is very risky though, remember to use colors that work and will not clash with each other. often, using to many can ruin a signature, but in this case the colors match nicely. For beginners, i would suggest staying with two, and sometimes three colors.
Here's another example. notice how the two colors are used in this signature. The blue is dominant, and the gray is the secondary color. The colors i chose, came from the colors or the render. also notice how the stock is colored to match the colors in the rest if the sig.
This is a black and white sig. Black and whites are commonly used, when it is hard to find a color scheme for a signature, or for when it just looks good. I suggest always looking at BW versions of your signatures, to see if it looks better than it does colored, because it will sometimes when the colors are off in a sig, or it fits the concept. Don't use this method to much, or your sigs will get repetitive. A black and white can be made using a black-white gradient map.
Depth is a very important aspect of making a sig, that is often overlooked, especially by beginners. Depth is making a sig look like it is farther away, the deeper it goes. It can turn a sig from a 2 dimensional rectangle to a 3 dimensional piece of art, when done right. It is important to include is almost every sig.
Heres the first example. In this sig, focuson her arm. You can tell easily, by looking that her arm is farther away than, say, her gun. This i can tell by the size of different areas of the render. Use size, as a guideline for creating depth and telling where things are far, and close. Since her arm was far from the front, i blurred, smudged and added effects to it to make it seem farther away. I also sharpened her gun to make it seem closer. this adds a feeling of realism, and depth to the signature.
Depth can also be created by blurring a stock. Notice here (one of my older sigs) how Spiderman is obviously swinging away from the city. (Remember, aways look at the render to create depth.) so i used that, and blurred the city because it was much further back in the sig. This created realism here. It also attracts attention to the render, and prevents the city stock from becoming another focal.
Depth can also be made using lighting. (in this sig, I intensified the lighting to make it obvious). The lighting can either go behind, or in front of the render. Ill go into detail about lighting later. In this sig, the lighting behind the render creates a feeling that something is back there, behind him, which created depth in the sig. That, and the effects around him that lower in opacity as the get farther away from him.
Last for depth, ill be using Subzero again. in here, I wanted it to look like the stock was going farther away, as it moved right, or to fade out kinda, as it moved away from the render. So as you can see, the stock is blurred more and more as it goes right. this creates more depth in this signature.
Flow is making a signature move from one end, to the other. It is a mojor part of a signature. flow makes the person looking at your sig see the whole thing evenly, rather than focusing on one area. The eye should flow in one direction, from one end of the sig, to the other. Of course, the render should be the focal, but it should not disrupt flow to where the persons eye is only looking at the render. Remember to always think when adding effects, if it matches the flow, or contradicts it. In this part, ill show you how to create flow, what it can be like and how you know where flow should move.
In this sig, the flow is shown by the arrows. It moves from left to right. This can be easily seen here, mainly by the effects. When i started, i know the flow should resemble this because of samus's pose. In the signature, the eye drifts from left to right, and there is not place where it stops, which means that flow is shown well here. Yet, the eye is still slightly attracted to the focal, at the tip of Samus's gun, without it messing up the flow. Always think of that when making flow.
In this vertical signature, the flow is moving up. This is, as in most sigs, is shown by both the render and the effects. the render should 99% of the time, determine the direction of flow. The effects you add in enforce that. In this sig, the flow is shown by the render as moving up, then is enforced by the smudging, and a few c4d's in the background.
This is another example of how flow can look. Here, it moves outward from the center. As ive said, the render shows this, and the effects enforce it. Smudging is very good for showing the flow in a signature. Pentooling is also.
This sig has slightly more complex flow. it goes from bottom left to top right, diagonally. Flow can go in any direction, just not more than one in the same sig. That can often ruin it. Anyway, here, it is coming from the focal, the bright area on the bottom left. this is a good technique that can often bring nice results, but this does not always need to be used.
Lighting can add a very nice effect to pretty much any sig. Wheh adding lighting, there are a lot of important things to ask yourself. Things like where should it go, how strong should it be, etc. always remember to make sure it doesn't become a second focal. If it does, then it can hurt the sig. Some signatures dont need lighting, such as vector style sigs, but always try to add some into other styled sigs. Lighting should always be done last. In this part of the tut, well learn how to make lighting, where to put it, how strong to make it and how large it should be in different situations.
In here, basic lighting style is used. A white transparent gradient is placed right around the focal. (below it, in this case). This not only attracts more attention to the focal, but adds a good effect that adds to this particular sigs style.
Here, the render comes from the focal of the sig. The ball was the obvious place to add the lighting here, because of the way it glowed and how all my effects seemed to come from around it. Try to ask yourself sometimes, where your effects are coming from, when adding in lighting. The same applies for the halo signature, and many, many others.
This is another example of from the focal. It was obvious, again, to make it coming from her gun. Although the focal is really her head, as it was in the subzero sig, this is still a good method to use, that, when used at a low enough opacity, can help a sig, without making a another focal. Notice here, how the lighting seems to even move with the flow, from bottom left to top right. This applies to all the signatures above, and should always apply when adding lighting.
Another example. Here, the effects all come from the center-bottom so thats where I added lighting. This also adds a very nice effect to the render, and even helps the flow in this sig. By adding this, it makes that area lighter, which adds to the “exploding” concept in this sig.
In rare situations, it can help to use a different source of lighting. Here I used a supernova o make the lighting. This will rarely work, and has to match the concept of your sig to pull it off right. But here, it does, and even becomes the main focal. That is okay in this case because its very close to the render, and its exactly where all the effects are coming from, so, naturally, it should be the focal.
Posted 10 May 2009 - 01:31 AM
*edited for poor typing skills
Posted 19 November 2009 - 05:09 AM
Ryan Stiles: Dear Diary, Ryan looked at me again today.(buzz)How I wish I was sitting on his lap.(buzz, Ryan then leaves and then returns)Dear Diary, when will people find out that I'm not a man. (buzz)
Drew Carey:And moving right along (pulls out a paper) What our audience is thinking right now?
Ryan Stiles:I wonder if that's all true.
Posted 20 November 2009 - 02:07 AM
Here is the link if you decide want to CnC :mrgreen:.
Thank you in advance :)
P.S If anyone else wants to CnC feel free :P .
If you are in to art, please check out my blog The Factoid Firefly!
Posted 22 March 2012 - 03:04 AM
Here is the link if you decide want to CnC .
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Thank you in advance
P.S If anyone else wants to CnC feel free .
woooow i found a GOLD mine of great info! Thank you so much for this wonderful guide which will better up my sig making skills!