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09-13-10, 9:00 AM
Joined: Apr 2008
So here is my wondrous signature tutorial, it's pretty long but then it's supposed to be. If anyone needs help or has a question feel free to ask!
So yea here is my tutorial for making a signature and adding it to MAL using Gimp...enjoy! Also this could be used for Photoshop too...though forgive me that was my first signature so I know some parts are not done correctly...lol. I just don't feel like making another tutorial correcting it. Also this is meant to be a detailed long tutorial as it's meant for people who have never used such a program before and that don't know much about photo editing programs in general...
Welcome to my MAL Basic Signature GIMP Tutorial! By: abbyrose
In this tutorial I am going to show you how to make an easy signature, how to slice that signature and how to add it to MAL...Yay rejoice!
If you haven’t downloaded Gimp yet here is the website…http://www.gimp.org/…I recommend an older version of the Gimp because the newer versions are very buggy.
I am just going to show you guys an easy tutorial about making a very basic signature with the program Gimp…so depending on how much you know about gimp it should only take you about 20 minutes and another 10 minutes to configure it into MAL, but if you don’t know much it could take you a lot longer. So this signature is just going to be the bare essentials nothing really complex. I am not going to spend the whole day making a signature like some people, I just don’t have the time lol.
If you already know how to make a signature and just need help with adding the MAL part to it skip down to Step7.
Anyways here goes…
Step 1. Find an image you want to use from the internet…using phtobucket, google etc…
In that case I picked this image…it’s usually easier if you pick an image with not so much in the background to make your signature. Or if you want you can just leave the background in the picture and use it in your signature. Next if you want to use a background find one…Gimp also has some backgrounds that you can either make or use...using Gradients, Brushes, Paint, Patterns etc… If you really want to you can make backgrounds using Gimp but I am not going to show you how to do that in this tutorial.
For my background I am going to use this image. Now save your images to your computer and open up the gimp program…
Step 2. Opening Gimp…Just click on the Gimp icon that should be in your desk top, not rocket science really...lol. In the gimp tool bar, click file and open to find your pictures you saved to open them up in gimp
All right leave the background picture alone for a minute. Go to your main picture and you should see a series of tabs at the top of your main picture…I made an arrow pointing to it
In that tabbed menu click on the Layer tab, then Transparency and lastly Add Alpha to Channel. The Add Alpha to Channel option lets your image become transparent when you delete background from it, so you are able to add your background behind it…
If you want to do something more precise or advanced you can try rendering an image to a background if you want to do it that way...here is a basic rendering tutorial....
Step3. Deleting Background…now I want to delete the white background in the picture. In gimp here are different options to do this; The Lasso Tool and the Magic Wand are two. The Magic Wand is easier to use when you have a lot of the same color and the Lasso is more of a free hand tool used to delete parts. First I started out with the Magic Wand but as seen as the picture below, if I press Ctrl X to delete the background, part of his shirt would be deleted too. So I want to use my Lasso tool around those parts first. For the Lasso tool it’s a lot easier to zoom in and then use it so you can see the line parts you want to delete easier...also if wanted you can use the paths option to delete something too...all of these options work
Now I use my Lasso tool to delete those parts.
So now it’s time to use the Magic Wand again. When selecting the Magic Wand you want to make sure that the Threshold is closest to the edges of the image that you can get without deleting parts of your picture that you want. Your Threshold is in the gimp tool bar when you select the Magic Wand. Your image should look something like this….if there are white parts left around that you still want to delete it, just put the magic want over them and press Ctrl X, or use the Lasso.
Have ugly edges? You can delete them with the Lasso by zooming in, feathering the edges, burning, smudging or blurring them. All of those options are found in the toolbar…
Another good way to tell if your lines look okay is to go to new and open a new canvas in the gimp toolbar press, the paint bucket option also located in the toolbar and select a bright color, change the canvas to that color and paste your image onto it…like so
To paste an image first go to your image and in the tabs option, go to the edit tab. In the edit tab you should see an option called Buffer, go to that option and select copy visible named. Something should pop up asking what you want to name your Buffer…you can name it or not just press ok. Go to the new image you had opened and once again…Edit and then Buffer, except this time select paste named and select your image to paste, then exit out of your image if the edges look okay, now back to your original image.
Step 4. Resizing and Pasting your image into your chosen background. Okay now it’s time to play around with your background image so select that. Since MAL has a restriction on how large your signature can be I think the largest it can be is 600x140, so I am going to re-size my background.
Okay first have your background open and go to the tabbed menu, click on the image tab and select scale image…and just scale it to whatever size you want…I went with 550x140. If your background or any other image looks a little blurry you can cut parts out with the crop option in the gimp tool bar and try resizing it again, also you can use options in the filters tab, under enhance such as filter and anti-alias etc…to help your images look better...remember if you mess up you can undo an action by pressing Ctrl Z
Okay pasting your image into your background…..to do that we need to talk about Layers…but first re-size your original image to however large you want it to be, before pasting it into your signature…I went with 350x311 for my original image (the one of the anime character Hibari)
Step 5. Layers…All right do the Buffer option as I explained before to your original image and then go to your background image. Look up in the tabs option once again and click on the dialogs box, select the Layers option and another toolbar should pop up. It says you should have one layer which is your background layer.
Go to Buffer and paste named and your image should appear in your background. The Layers option should say Floating option pasted layer. If you see a little anchor come up when you are moving your picture around don’t click, it will anchor your image so that it will not be able to move it…but if you mess up just use the undo option...
Double click the little white box in the layers tool bar…a box should pop up named layers attributes…then you have to give your layer a name. Now after that you are free to move that layer around to where ever you want.
More information on layers…do you see the little eyeball? Click the eyeball to turn off a layer, click it again to turn it back on. You can also create a chain making more that one layer move at a time…you do this by clicking next to the eyeball and a little chain should appear on each layer that you want to move. Re arrange layers by dragging other layers on top or bottom of each other etc. In the layers tool bar you should see a menu that says mode…that is basically different effects that you can give to your layers.
The ending product with a layer added…
A more difficult option for backgrounds is to use a layer mask but I decided it was a little more advanced than I wanted to get into with this tutorial....look up gimp layer masks on you-tube if you want to learn more. Also there are other great videos showing you how to delete items that you don't want in your picture using the clone tool, how to copy an image using the mask option etc..if you are looking to use some more advanced options for your signature.
Step 6. Adding Text, Borders etc…There are a few ways to add text. Using the font in the gimp toolbar, pasting some text from a picture in a website, using Gradients for Text or the Logos option which is in the gimp tool bar under the menu Xtns, it’s my personal favorite...the comic book one especially. You can also create texts and download other gimp texts from websites, you can do the same thing with backgrounds also.
So for my text I went to Xtns in my gimp toolbar and selected Frosty and picked what text I wanted to use for it…sometimes for logos texts you might have to delete text backgrounds and merge text layers together to get them to paste in your original image the right way.
So I went to the text layers menu and deleted the white background image layer so now it just looks like this…and then I clicked image in the tabs menu and merge visible layers to make it all one layer. I also did the same thing for the Updates text…and then put both things of text in buffers, pasted them, made layers for them and added them to into my signature…
Now I have four layers…my background, the main image I posted, my name and my updates text layers
Anything else you do now is up to you…do you want to add a border? Round the edges, give your background some effects etc…basically can all be done in the filters option…Also brightness and contrast is in the colors option if you want to add a little brightness or darkness to your image. Fool around with some other color options like those in the Auto section, the Curves Color option etc..Using the curves option will blend your colors so that it will make them look equal but you need to do each color separately.
Also an easy thing you can do with just boring old text…Open a new image and create a new layer with some text from the gimp toolbar…so you should have a text background and the normal layer background. Right now just boring regular old text right?? So then…click your magic wand in the gimp toolbar. Then go to image, transparency, alpha to selection, and then only the text should be selected.
After that go to the tabs option and pick grow from the select tab option…I picked to grow it by two. Then go the gimp toolbar and click the paint bucket option and pick a color…then just fill in the text with the paint can, you probably want to zoom in when doing this…you can also fill it in using the stroke to selection option as well.
and viola…not so boring anymore…right??
Now that that is done, I am going to do a border for my signature...just go to the tabs option and select filters and the decor option and select add a border…I just went with a black border of two…and your border should come up in a new layer…Ok I am done now…whatever else you want to do is up to you…
Now for the Slicing and adding the MAL part…Here is where things get a little tricky, don't be afraid to message me asking questions for help...
Step7. Adding the MAL Part to your Signature...
Okay…basically the MAL part is where the updates show on your signature. Most people have it right under their names in the signature. All the MAL part is is a sliced png image that 260 in width. It can be positioned anywhere you want on your signature...As I only wanted two anime entries in my signature my mal part is 260x44...if you want three, four entries etc. your mal part height will be larger. However the mal part length must always be 260!
If you need help adding the MAL part.....
1.) If you aren't sure how large to make your mal part add it to your signature first...the easiest way to do this is to is to go profile edit, my signature and under image type only choose from the recent options and then put how many entries you want...2,5,7 etc...as of right now your mal image shouldn't have any background and just be a white image with black text...save the white image...
2.) paste the white mal image into your signature and position it to wherever you want
3.) after adding the mal part you will set the guides right on the outside of the white mal box.
4.) after you have the guides situated outside of the mal part which again must be of 260 width keep the guides as they are and delete the white mal layer that you made in the beginning....so now after deleting that you should be ready to slice your image.
Step8. Slicing your Signature…
A.) Guides…You should see two sets of guides with lines and numbers on them, one on your left and one up on top. Those are what you are going to use as the guides for slicing your signature…just click on the guides to drag them, lines should appear on your signature like so…
After your guides selected and you know where you want your MAL part added,(remember you can have it sliced anywhere you want. It just doesn't have to be on the edge of your signature it can be in the middle too) you have to line them all up onto where you want your MAL part added…after slicing the image it must be 260 in width because later on or it will not fit right when you configure your signature together…
I would recommend you zoom in to at least 400% when trying to line the Guides up with the MAL border…the guides need to be right on the outside borders on all four sides. If you mess up on the size redo the guides and try again.
This is what mine looks like with my guides situated…so after slicing my signature, I should have 9 separate parts...since your image is different you could have less images after slicing or more...there is a restriction to how many separate images can be in your signature....
B.) Slicing your Image…Now that the guides are added don’t touch them leave them how they are once you have them situated.
C.) Guillotine…Go up to the image tab, click Transform and then Guillotine at the bottom…after that you should get a multitude of smaller slices from your signature…nine for me because that is how many sections I had in my guides…
*IMPORTANT NOTE!…MAKE SURE THAT THE IMAGE FOR THE MAL PART IS 260 IN WIDTH IF IT'S NOT THEN YOU NEED TO REDO THE GUIDES AND SLICE THE IMAGES AGAIN!
D. ) Saving your files…okay now if you are ready you can undo the guides from your signature by pressing Ctrl Z and save your signature…..make sure when saving your signature that you save it as a Gimp file…other wise, it will merge all the layers together and you won’t be able to make any changes to your signature in the future if needed.
In the tabbed options click on file and Save As…go down to Select File Type (by extension) and click Gimp XCF Image…so it will save it as a Gimp file, if you want you can also save one as a jpg fie...
Okay you should still have your slices floating around in Gimp from when you Guillotined them…basically I just organized them in the order I want to save them. So starting from the top one I will save them like so giving each one a different name, you need to save all of those images as a jpg file. Make sure you save each one as an easy name as it will be easier to configure them in MAL later…like top,center bottom and such are easy names...
I saved mine like this…top1.jpg,top2.jpg,top3.jp,center1.jpg, (your center 2 one is your mal part so that one is going to be saved differently than the others…this is one is saved as your user name and as a png file…) so the center2 one for me is going to be saved as Abbyrose.png, then center3.jpg,bottom1.jpg,bottom2.jpg and last is bottom3.jpg
When saving gimp files as a jpg file this box comes up…jpg plug in can’t handle transparency flatten image…you just need to press Export and Save…now with all the slices saved exit out of gimp finally…. XD
Step9. Configuring your image in MAL
A.) Uploading…First you need up upload your jpg slices into a photosharing website…I recommend Imageshack or imgur…here are my photos in imageshack uploaded…you can see one of my old signatures in there too lol.
B.) Configuring the Images in MAL…Now we want go to the MAL Website after uploading the pictures…and go to edit profile, forum settings and put your signature information in the signature section…basically the configuration of your signature should look like this…
This is basically how my MAL configuration texts looks…but yours could look very different…I just copied the first line from the my signature part in the edit your profile in MAL and the rest in the [img] tags are the images from the Imageshack images…besides the png file which is also in the MAL signature section…
Now for the configuring part…go to imageshack again, start by clicking on each individual picture in the order you saved them in…that is the order that you will configure them in MAL so I will start with top1, then top 2 until I end with bottom3 …Anyways so click on the individual image, right click to view image and copy the hyper link at the top...after copying the Hyperlink in imageshack paste them in the Signature section, you should do this for however many images you have for your signature, so I did it 9 separate times.
Get ready to paste all of the individual image hyperlinks that you copied between the [img] and [/img] tags in MAL.
C.) Adding the MAL Part…okay remember when I had you save that 260x44 image after I Guillotined it? You better have, I screamed it at you…ha-ha. Well go to the My Signature part in MAL and do the same thing you did before with the image type earlier…have make the rows transparent checked and also have the to use a custom background checked as well…and upload the username.png image you saved, you might have to do it a couple of times for it to load…but you should get something like this with background.
And go back to your forum settings to preview your signature and it should be complete…Oh Happy Day!!
Step10. Icons…I made this nifty little icon too…it can be made from things that you have learned in this tutorial…basically just selecting part of the signature, cropping it and resizing the signature to 100x125...also adding a border and text the same way as I did earlier in my signature…
Now for the final close ups...the hair still doesn't look as good as I wanted it to but oh well!
Here are some websites that I use for downloading other gradients, texts, brushes, filters etc...it also has some great tutorials showing much harder things you can do in gimp...
How to Install Brushes, Gradients, Texts etc. for Gimp
Making an Animated Gif
Texture and Pattern Downloads
The Gimp Community
DONE!!!....Phew…finally, that was a lot of work but hopefully it was helpful to all of you beginners and alike using gimp…If you have any questions, suggestions, comments, help, think of something useful to add to my tutorial etc. just message me on MAL and I will try my best to help you guys out, so good bye for now!
So Please Comment and Enjoy...Thanks :)
Modified by Abbyrose, 07-31-12, 1:48 PM
07-30-12, 11:31 AM
Joined: Jul 2012
Thanks so much for the tutorial! I'm new here on MAL so I'm still having a little trouble slicing my signature , but I really appreciate how detailed your instructions were! Now if I can ask I don't understand where the guides have to be, do they have to be in a certain place? or can I just follow the way you placed your guides?
07-30-12, 1:04 PM
Joined: Jul 2012
Ok I figured out the guide part but now I'm stuck on saving my MAL part.When saving as a png file it says I need to export the slice. My two options are 1 -Flatten Image 2-Merge visible layers. What would I choose? Or would I just click ignore?
07-31-12, 8:54 AM
Joined: Apr 2008
Thanks I appreciate it!....yea the guides can be situated anywhere you want in your signature. And just press ignore for the mal part image when you save it and make sure to save it as a png file.
hmmm...I had more information about adding the mal part with extra pictures on that tutorial but it looks like it was accidentally deleted some how....lol so I added some extra info where I could...
Modified by Abbyrose, 07-31-12, 1:51 PM