larryb123456

custom avatars and signatures

746 posts in this topic

This Post concerns Tripredacus' Post # 154, in which he presents a "powerfully delicate" image referencing Max Planck, whose picture is shown in my avatar.

The link to Tripredacus' image is:

http://i579.photobucket.com/albums/ss236/tpx_bst/Designs/TEST1.jpg

Tripredacus *very kindly provided* the source material which he used to make his JPEG, and he indicated that others could do with the image as they wanted.

So, this provided me with a *great opportunity* to try to come up with my own version -- of course, using Tripredacus' version as a *springboard*. (In Art, as well as in Olympic diving events, springboards are *very important*. lol)

This is the image I developed:

V03.teal.V1, http://postimage.org/image/4e14py75h/

This image looks different than Tripredacus' image, because I simply did not want to *exactly reproduce* his image, but I wanted to come up with something that would reflect my own artistic tastes.

This Post basically concerns the steps and considerations I used to make my version.

I will try to provide as much detail as I can, so that those of you who aren't too familiar with Photoshop can get a feel for my "PS approach".

In this regard, then, I guess this will be something of a "mini-tutorial".

To start off, I've listed the links to Tripredacus' source material, and I give my "initial treatment" of this material.

link # 1, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Max_Planck_signature_10_years_old.jpg

shows Max Planck's signature on a cream-colored, parchment-type paper.

Since the background was not uniform, I did not use the Magic Wand Tool on this image to "extract" the signature.

link # 2, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Max_Planck_signature.svg

shows Max Planck's signature in black on a white background. I took a screenshot of the page, cropped out the Max Planck part, and then removed the background (Magic Wand Tool) to leave the signature on a transparent layer.

link # 3, http://photos.aip.org/history/Thumbnails/max_planck_institute_e1.jpg

gives the background Tripradecus used.

The JPEG shown here is 428x330 pixels.

I reduced it proportionately to 385px wide -- (instead of 380px wide, the width we want the final image to be) -- so that I would have some leeway (i.e., flexibility) in positioning my image border over it. The *very first thing* I did with this background was to remove (Rubber Stamp Tool) that indecipherable, large, dark mass in the light-colored area -- (right above the crowd) -- at the left side of the picture. [i'd guess(?) this "mass" is a door. Nonetheless, it is *very distracting*.]

link # 4, http://www.wildlifeandecosystemhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Max-Planck-Institute.jpg

gives the logo for the Max Planck Gesellschaft (translated into English as the "Max Planck Society").

This logo gives the outline of a "Roman face" and the word "GESELLSCHAFT".

The JPEG image is very large, at 3,590x1,980 pixels.

I removed the background of the image using the Magic Wand Tool to leave the Roman-face outline and GESELLSCHAFT on 2 different transparent layers.

Now, the further development of my image will be discussed.

I'll be numbering the layers from "1" up, where higher values indicate layer(s) *above* layer(s) with lower values in the Photoshop "layers stack".

I won't be discussing these layers in sequential order from bottom to top, because I think this will make the discussion clearer.

Layer "1", background

I *really liked* the cream-colored parchment shown in source-material link # 1 above, and I wondered how the background (link # 3) would look if it had this *tone* rather than the "grayish tone" of Tripredacus' image.

I color-sampled the parchment (Eyedropper Tool, "Sample Size: 5x5 Average") -- which was shown to have r,g,b = 247,224,200.

I "over-layed" the background (link # 3) with a new layer having these r,g,b values, and changed the Opacity of this new layer to 45% (that looked about right to me).

I then linked and merged the original background with this reduced-opacity new layer to get the "cream-tinted" background shown in my version of Tripredacus' image.

Layer "5", top layer

Settings for MaxPlanck signature:

Signature size: 112x28 px

Lettering color: the "teal-family" color shown

Layer "effect": Outer Glow (Mode:Normal; Opacity:100%, Blur:
6 pixels
; Intensity:600%) with color r,g,b = 238,228,217. I arrived at this color by sampling the light color on the steps in Layer "1" above.

Settings for GESELLSCHAFT:

Letter size: 207x17 px

Lettering color: the same "teal-family" color used for the Max Planck signature.

Layer "effect": Outer Glow (Mode:Normal; Opacity:100%, Blur:
20 pixels
; Intensity:600%) with color r,g,b = 238,228,217, the same color as used for the Max Planck signature.

Layer "4", 2px border outline with 2px horizontal line

I used a solid (i.e., no transparency effects), light color, more or less in the teal "family, with r,g,b = 141,186,180.

Layer "3", Roman-face outline (with outer circle)

Size:100x100 px. (I did not want the face to be *really* large.) I positioned the outline as shown in my version so that the Roman's lips would not be covered up by the 2px horizontal bar.

Color: I sampled a rather dark color in the background -- (it turned out to be a "tan" color) -- and used it for the outline color. I then reduced the Opacity of this outline layer to be 70%, so that the outline would neither be too light nor too dark as it showed up against the very-light-colored steps. So far, so good. But the dark area on the background showed through the upper part of the Roman-head outline, and it was virtually impossible to distinguish the outline from this dark area (i.e., the two basically merged together). To remedy this situation, I made Layer "2", as described below..

Layer "2"

I made a new 100x100 px circle -- (the same size as the Roman-head-outline circle) and placed this new circle *exactly under* the Roman-head-outline circle. The color of this new circle was sampled from the very lightest part of the steps, and its color parameters were r,g,b = 235,225,214 . I reduced the Opacity of this new circle to 65% to get *everything* finally in balance.

A little final discussion:

First, I want to sincerely thank Tripredacus for providing the *basis* for my additional work.

I like the way in which my image has four *clearly-defined* levels in going from front to back as:

Max Plank GESELLSCHAFT;

The 2px border-and-horizontal-line "unit";

The Roman-head outline;

The background.

I let the opaque outer glow around GESELLSCHAFT cover up the *lower part* of of the Roman-head-outline.

(I didn't do anything else, as in fades, etc., to cover up this part of the outline. However, I made one *very small correction* that the outer glow didn't cover up -- so small that it doesn't warrant discussion.)

One reason I wanted to use a cream-colored background was that it made the picture stand out well against the very-light-colored MSFN background.

Also, I think many other colors will work well with this background -- (but I could be wrong).

Two other colors that I might(?) try are maroon and blue.

I have the .psd file(s), and the only thing I'd have to change would be Layers "4" and "5".

If these versions look as interesting as my version seen in this Post, I'll Post the results -- (that is, if I even take the time to do these additional versions).

Thanks again, Tripredacus.

I really enjoyed playing with your image.

Reason for edit:

to change the file name and link for my one image given above in this Post -- to provide consistency with the "descriptors" used for my images in the following Post # 182.

Edited by larryb123456
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As I mentioned in my last Post concerning Tripredacus' elegant Max Planck image, I thought I might *experiment* with different colors for the (lettering)/(horizontal bar)/(outer outline) "basic unit", just to see what the results would be.

There's really no way to tell the effects of changing color combinations in an image -- (in advance of making the changes) -- because, often times, these effects are just too subtle (IMO).

I wanted to approach changing the colors in a *systematic way*, without much consideration as to the possible results.

They say, "The proof is in the pudding", so I basically made seven "pudding samples" to "taste" (i.e., look at).

I more or less moved through the color spectrum -- (i.e., really, the primary colors: red, yellow, and blue).

I chose for the red "family", maroon, burnt sienna, and burnt umber (these latter two colors are "reddish earth tones").

I chose gold to represent the yellow "family".

For blue, I used "standard blue", r,g,b = 0,0,255.

I tried one "secondary-type" color, that being in the teal family (i.e., teal being a combination of green and blue). Please note that this was basically the color Tripredacus used in the Posted version of his image, so my use of this color was no "genius move" on my part.

To complete my color *tests*, I chose a very neutral, "tannish" color called burlywood. I chose this color since color samples of my image (on the cream-colored and dark parts of the background) indicated that the colors were in the "tan category" and *not* the "grayish category".

I've presented the results below, categorized in the following order, with the color groups discussed above: teal, maroon/"reddish", blue, gold, and neutral "tan" burlywood.

I provide a little discussion concerning these images, when I feel it's appropriate.

Teal group

V03.teal.V1, http://postimage.org/image/4e14py75h/

This is the image I showed in my last Post.

On further consideration, I felt that the horizontal 2px "bar" here really wasn't *dark enough* to "push back" the Roman-face-outline *far enough* in "visual space". However, I really couldn't make it any darker, because the 2px outline around the outside of the image would then be way too dark. (Note especially how dark the outline looks at the upper left corner.)

V03.teal.V2, http://postimage.org/image/x9wnsvj4h/

Here, I darkened the horizontal bar to get it dark enough to "push back" the Roman-head-outline, but the 2px outline around the outside of the image was way, way too dark.

V03.teal.V3, http://postimage.org/image/mpmq9z9g7

The above problem was solved by reducing the thickness of the outline around the outside of the image from 2px to 1px. I kept this same (horizontal bar)/(outer outline) "unit" the same for all the rest of the images shown in this Post.

V03.teal.V3_desaturated, http://postimage.org/image/gx55mm3yb/

To get an *accurate feel* (i.e., not influenced by colors) for the "value distribution" (i.e., regions of darkness and lightness) in V03.teal.V3, I desaturated the image. (This converts the image to grayscale, but keeps it in the RGB mode.) An analysis of this image will provide a "guide" to what I'm shooting for in the rest of the images shown in this Post.

The analysis is very simple:

I want "Max Planck Gesellschaft" to stand out the most (i.e., that's why it is the darkest).

Next, I want the horizontal bar to be bold, but at a "visual level" below (i.e., lighter than) "Max Planck Gesellschaft". I based the darkness/lightness of the horizontal bar on a visual comparison with the top of the "P" (with outer glow) where it intersects the horizontal bar.

I want the horizontal bar to be darker than the Roman-head (with outline), so that the former will keep the latter well in the background.

As you can see from the image, the Roman-head outline (with circle) stands out from the background, primarily because of the good contrast between the light-colored steps and the much darker face outline.

So, in summary, all these discussed ingredients will result in the *best* image possible involving these pictorial elements.

I like V03.teal.V3 and V03.teal.V3_desaturated very much.

Maroon/"reddish" group

V04.maroon, http://postimage.org/image/s4il8gupv/

V07.burnt.sienna, http://postimage.org/image/9hnch1bx3/

V08.burnt.umber, http://postimage.org/image/6u7jhjelx/

I don't like V04.maroon as much as the other two images, because the maroon doesn't seem as compatible with the background. The burnt sienna and burnt umber images are more compatible (IMO), because they have a *basis* in the "earth tones", like the cream/tan background of the image itself. The sienna and umber images are almost identical, since their r,g,b values are "close". I think I like the burnt sienna image the best of the three.

Blue

V05.blue, http://postimage.org/image/9qukhtkfp/

I don't care for this image at all. The blue color is totally incompatible with the rest of the picture (IMO).

Gold

V06.gold, http://postimage.org/image/ac1mec2v7/

I don't care for this image at all.

Neutral "tan" burlywood

V09.burlywood, http://postimage.org/image/rooxwhfat/

I like this image very much, because of its "elegant simplicity". I think the "tan" burlywood is *very compatible* with the cream/tan of the rest of the image.

In summary

*My most favorite* images are:

V03.teal.V3, http://postimage.org/image/mpmq9z9g7

V03.teal.V3_desaturated, http://postimage.org/image/gx55mm3yb/

and

V09.burlywood, http://postimage.org/image/rooxwhfat/

If I *had to choose* one more favorite it would be

V07.burnt.sienna, http://postimage.org/image/9hnch1bx3/

Again, Many Thanks, Tripredacus for your "image generosity", which allowed me to "immerse myself" in a little "color experimentation".

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Hello to everyone, and especially to e-t-c:

I've been intrigued by e-t-c's rather "mysterious" one-line signature below all his Posts:

... to exercise patience - and beside learning to l(i)(o)(ea)ving (at the right time) ^L^ ...

I like mysterious things, so I wanted to see if I could make a signature *JPEG* for e-t-c to use (if he wanted to).

Another *major reason* I wanted to "embark" on this project was that it would give me a chance to work again with really small letters -- [i.e., "pixel" letters (aliased letters), which show up clear and sharp at a very small size]. I had to use very small-sized letters to ensure that e-t-c's new signature would still fit within MSFN signature guidelines.

My favorite signature that I made was:

06_template.over.05.JPEG, http://postimage.org/image/9pwkof91b/

I really like the way the "eyeballs" pop out here in the ^L^ "face".

If you want to use this image as your signature, simply input the following into the text editor at My Settings>Profile>Change Signature:

[center][url=http://postimage.org/][img=http://s11.postimage.org/gt4g41egz/06_template_over_05_JPEG.jpg][/url][/center]

(Also, there are also 2 other "candidate signatures" that I made, 03 and 09. See the discussion at the bottom of this Post.)

This signature is 250x31 pixels and it uses letters *only 5px tall*, not including a 1px outline. IMO, because of all the color choices I made, I feel that this signature is very compatible with e-t-c's avatar.

As I said, e-t-c is welcome to use (or not use) this signature as he sees fit.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I also took this opportunity to "convert" this little project into something of a mini-tutorial for those of you who might not understand some features of Photoshop, like "pattern fills", for example. I have not left out a single step of the images' construction, and I tried to be very clear and "simple-minded" in my discussion. The discussion for each image is given next. I provide JPEGs illustrating each step to make things even clearer.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

01_template.over.red.background, http://postimage.org/image/dxoqn909j/

I showed the "lettering/border template" on a red background, just so the black/white components of the lettering would show up well. In actuality, the template is on a transparent layer, and not merged with a red layer.

02_basic.background, http://postimage.org/image/s6od5bes7/

This background will always be the *bottom layer* in the PS "layers stack" for the "signature-type images" I develop here (i.e., 03, 06, and 09 below).

To make this background, I used the Linear Gradient Tool with settings "Normal", "Opacity:100%", "Gradient: Foreground to Background". I checked the boxes for "Transparency" and "Dither". For the brown colors in the background, I started with the coffee colors in e-t-c's avatar and adjusted their shades as follows: for the Foreground Color, I used r,g,b=165,99,80 (luminosity=115) and for the Background Color I used r,g,b=64,37,28 (luminosity=43). It took a little "experimentation" to get these two colors as I wanted (i.e., as in the *best signature version* shown below in 06_template.over.05.JPEG). To get a *perfect* vertical gradient, just hold down the "Shift Key" as you drag the "indicator" down from top to bottom. Again, this dragging had to be repeated a few times to get the look shown in 06.

03_template.over.basic.background, http://postimage.org/image/5oda4oy4x/

This could be used as a signature if so desired.

04_pattern.01.at.800%.enlargement, http://postimage.org/image/imsmhw683/

I put this pattern on a black background here, just so the light-colored pixels would show up well. (Each square represents 1x1px.) In actuality, this pattern is on a transparent layer, and not merged with a black layer. If you look closely at the light-colored pixels, you will see that they all are not the same color. I arrived at these colors by "randomly sampling" the pixels on the saucer in e-t-c's avatar.

05_pattern.01.over.basic.background, http://postimage.org/image/owaxroi53/

Here, the pattern in 04 (made at 15x15px) was filled into a 250x31px transparent layer. That was the size of the finished image(s).

The approach to fill a layer with a pattern:

With the Rectangular Marquee Tool, make a selection around the part of the pattern -- (which you just made or already have on your C: drive) -- you want to use. (In my images shown in this Post, I selected the *entire* 15x15px pattern.)

Choose Edit>"Define Pattern". In the *active* layer that you want to fill with the pattern, choose Edit>Fill>Contents>"Use:Pattern" with the Blending Options that you want to use. In all the examples in this Post, I chose Opacity:100% and Mode:Normal. Finally, click "OK" and the active layer will be *completely filled* with the pattern.

06_template.over.05.JPEG, http://postimage.org/image/9pwkof91b/

This is *my absolute favorite version* for the signature. Because of all the color choices I made for the pattern and background, this signature is totally compatible with e-t-c's avatar. Both the signature and the avatar communicate "coffee."

07_pattern.02.at.800%.enlargement, http://postimage.org/image/wiciay4rl/

I put this pattern on a white background here, so that the relatively dark 1x1px squares would show up well. In actuality, the pattern was on a transparent layer. The two shades of brown in this pattern were based on the darkest and lightest pixels at the surface of the coffee in e-t-c's avatar. Using these shades of brown in a new image helps insure that there is "compatibility" between the new and the old.

08_pattern.02.over.basic.background, http://postimage.org/image/srckzhms7/

Here, the pattern in 07 (made at 15x15px) was filled into a 250x31px transparent layer using the approach detailed in 05 above.

09_template.over.08.JPEG, http://postimage.org/image/p03vsehnf/

This is another contender for a signature. I like 06_template.over.05.JPEG better, because of the rather subtle texture. However, 09 is perfectly acceptable also. It just depends on one's tastes.

Reason for edit:

I reduced the spacing -- (by 1 pixel) -- between the two lines of text in the signatures to arrive at what is shown in images 03, 06, and 09 above. Therefore, the links had to be updated.

Edited by larryb123456
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Hello,

hmh, i must say THIS images & attention are too much "mysterious" to me - too ... ^^

About: ... to exercise patience - and beside learning to l(i)(o)(ea)ving (at the right time) ^L^...

I'm not soo an "visual type" - i love the message's in it.

(but I can't really english - therefore I can't catch a meaning ?)

What I mean't : Think different everday - leave habits, before come to obsessions !

BTW: I'm living "TV media & movies - free" for over 16 years

... my only "obsession" just hearing music ... and only from time to time (o;

cheers

Edited by e-t-c
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Hello, e-t-c:

I also like the *text signature* you're using now (the "mysterious" one -- much better than the not-so-mysterious-explained version).

Your text signature is very subtle in its "small-sized understatement" and it doesn't compete with your avatar for attention.

I just made the image-signature versions 03, 06, and 09 in my Post # 183 more or less to see -- (primarily for myself) -- what kind of "visual alternatives" I could come up with for your text signature.

(I thought it turned out well that I could also make, in this process, a little mini-tutorial concerning the steps I took. I don't know if anyone got any benefit from my explanations or not.)

You might want to save my 3 signature images to your hard drive, because if you don't use them on MSFN, you might think of other uses for them sometime in the future.

It might also be interesting for you to Post version 06 *temporarily* as your signature, just to see how it looks with your avatar in the "environment" of the MSFN page. If you didn't like the look, you could immediately switch back to your current text signature. Who knows(?) -- you might like the image signature better.

Sincerely,

Larry

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Hello, Everyone, and especially Tripredacus:

I thought I'd make a small graphic using Tripredacus' color scheme shown in his signature (black, white, and red) as well as the person/figurative imagery therein. I also incorporated the "tagline" in his avatar, "K-Mart-ian Legend". I made the graphic small -- in tune with the size of standard "Regional Userbars", 350x19 pixels (although my image turned out to be 313x19 px).

I wanted the graphic to be this size, because I have a pretty extensive Post planned about Regional Userbars -- to be "delivered" in a few days (if nothing happens, of course). Also, the lettering style/size is the same as in the "pixel font" I used in my recent Post # 183 to e-t-c.

I also want to take this opportunity to give another *mini-tutorial* about how I made Tripredacus' graphic. (I sure hope this will benefit someone.)

There is some similarity between this Post and the e-t-c Post in regard to pattern fills. However, I cover the *complete explanation* of the elements typically involved in constructing a Regional Userbar -- especially the scanline layer and the ellipse layer (which is a "basic ingredient" of most Regional Userbars). Anyone with a basic knowledge of Photoshop (or other similar image-editing programs) should be able to take my example and make *many variations* on it, to arrive at *something* that suits them. Really, the steps are quite simple, and I tried not to leave anything out in my explanations.

The link for the final image I made is:

07_final.image.with.scanlines.&.inverse-ellipse.layer, http://postimage.org/image/ka04b2s0b/

What I'll do now is go through *all the steps* I took in making this image, fully illustrated -- step by step -- with JPEGs.

01_template.&.making.background.gradient, http://postimage.org/image/z6h11m9rn/

I first made a 350x19px border with a 1px black outline inside (not knowing at this point what the final length of my image would be).

The lettering was from a "pixel font", 5px tall with a 1 px black outline. I colored the inside of the letters white.

I took the figure image from Tripredacus' signature and cropped it to an original size of 116x36px. I removed the white background with the Magic Wand and Eraser Tools, to get the image on a transparent layer. I first reduced the image proportionally to a size 55x17px, a height to fit *exactly* inside the border. However, at this "correct size", the image was really too "puny looking" inside the border, so I stretched it out to 75x17px to "beef it up" to get the look shown in 01 (a little "artistic license" was applied here, but the image is somewhat "radical looking" anyway, so no harm done, IMO).

I arranged the lettering and figure image as shown, and cropped the border down to the final length of 313px as shown.

As the background layer, I wanted to use a linear horizontal 3-color gradient using black, white, and red -- the colors in Tripredacus' signature. I wanted the red to be centered directly over the figure's head, because that seemed to be the best color to use to really *activate* the image. I measured from the left side of the border to the center of the figure's head (Measure Tool) and found the distance to be 136px. I opened a New File 136x19px, and experimented with the fade to get what I liked -- the fade shown on the left side of the 01 JPEG. To get the fade *perfectly symmetrical* about the head, I flipped the fade horizontally to arrive at the middle fade. (I left a 1px gap between the fades so that the viewer can *see* the "components" of the final background-fade layer. In actuality, I butted the fades exactly together.) The fade on the right was made by flipping horizontally the fade in the middle. Notice that this fade has a little gray on the right side near the end of the border. I simply colored these pixels from gray to black there. I butted the three fades together and linked and merged them to get the final background fade. (Of course, I simply erased the part of the fade that stuck over the right side of the border.)

Note that the template (i.e., the border, the lettering, and the figure) will always be the top layer in the PS layers "stack", while the gradient-fade background will always be the bottom layer.

02_background.gradient.behind.template, http://postimage.org/image/toiwxbrbb/

This JPEG shows the final result of the steps in 01. I like the look of it. To me, there is great "depth" in the red background behind the image. It makes the figure "pop out". The figure is also nicely framed by the symmetric white to the right and left sides. But, we can add a few more touches to jazz up the picture even more.

03_white.scanline.pattern, http://postimage.org/image/4dne8axhj/

I had already discussed some scanlines in my Post # 183 to e-t-c, but I referred to them there as "pattern fills" -- same difference. The scanline pattern I made to use here is shown in the above 03 JPEG. I used white pixels on a 15x15px transparent layer. (It is illustrated here on a black background, so that it will show up well.) I made the scanlines somewhat widely separated so that they wouldn't alter the look of 02 too drastically. (Of course, one can lower the opacity of the scanline layer to tone it down, if desired.) There are an *infinite number* of possible scanlines, so you can experiment with making them in your own projects. You can use different colors too, as in black, for example.

04_scanline.pattern.fill.of.313x19px.trans.layer, http://postimage.org/image/fwse15hch/

I discussed pattern fills in Post # 183, but I'll more or less restate it here to keep everything together in this Post.

In the white.scanlines.psd file, make the transparent layer with the scanlines the active layer. With the Rectangular Marquee Tool select the entire 15x15px scanline pattern. Edit>Define Pattern (then Select>Deselect). Open a New File, transparent, 313x19px. Duplicate the bottom layer and make the duplicate the active layer. Edit>Fill. For Contents, Use:Pattern and for Blending use Opacity:100% (you can change it later if you want) and Mode:Normal.

Click OK, and the entire 313x19px transparent layer will be filled with the scanline pattern, as shown in the 04 JPEG. I show the white scanlines on a black background, so that they can be seen easily. (In actuality, the scanlines are on a transparent layer.)

05_template.&.white.scanlines.above.gradient, http://postimage.org/image/sb5z9zu3p/

This JPEG shows the white scanlines on a layer above the background, but below the template. I reduced the opacity of the scanline layer to 40% to get the 05 JPEG, because the white was just too bright compared to the other elements in the picture. This image could be considered to be a final image, depending on one's tastes. I really like the way the scanlines "do their thing". It's almost like the figure is in a (somewhat subtle) "driving rain".

But, Regional Userbars usually have an "Ellipse Layer", so I'll consider that next to finish up this exercise.

06_ellipse.&.inverse-ellipse.layers, http://postimage.org/image/9duhr4lz5/

In this JPEG, part (i.e., the bottom half) of the ellipse is shown in black. I actually used the gray-colored area, whose proper name is the inverse-ellipse, in making 07_final.image.with.scanlines.&.inverse-ellipse.layer, which is shown below. Of course, the actual ellipse could be used -- (by following the same steps discussed below for the inverse-ellipse) -- in creating a final image. The result would just look a little different from 07, and the preference would depend on the viewer's tastes.

I'll now detail how I made the gray area, the inverse-ellipse.

Open a New File, transparent, 313x19px. Duplicate the background layer and make it the active layer. Double-click on the Elliptical Marquee Tool to get the "Marquee Options". I used Feather: 0 pixels, I checked the box for Anti-aliased, Style: Fixed Size with Width: 313px and Height: 19px. Set the Foreground Color to the color you want for the inverse-ellipse (or the ellipse, if you want to use it instead of the inverse-ellipse). I chose a light gray, r,g,b=192,192,192. (Of course, other ellipse sizes and colors can be used to get different looks.) Click inside the transparent New File, and a row of "marching ants" will appear, in the shape and size of the ellipse. You can then position the ellipse anywhere you want inside this New File (by simply moving the mouse). I chose to line up the ellipse to be symmetric inside the New File in the position shown in the 06 JPEG. Then, Select>Inverse, Edit>Fill. For Contents, Use: Foreground Color. For Blending, use Opacity:100% (you can change it later if needed) and Mode: Normal. Click OK, and the inverse-ellipse will be filled with the Foreground Color. Then Select>Deselect. This inverse layer may now be dragged into the main .psd file and added to the layers "stack". If you want to use the ellipse in making your image, instead of the steps "Select>Inverse, Edit>Fill" just perform "Edit>Fill".

07_final.image.with.scanlines.&.inverse-ellipse.layer, http://postimage.org/image/ka04b2s0b/

I placed the inverse-ellipse layer immediately above the background layer and just below the scanline-pattern layer. I reduced the opacity of this inverse-ellipse layer to 35% and kept the opacity of the scanline layer at 40% as in 05, above. These settings gave the picture shown in 07.

This is my favorite version of the image.

I like the way the inverse-ellipse layer adds "visual interest" to the upper left and upper right corners, while not disturbing too much the white "driving rain" in the red area behind the figure.

P.S.

I am totally aware that I *appropriated* -- (lol) -- the ideas and image used in this Post from Tripredacus, so the following quotation is more than appropriate here:

"Good Artists Borrow, Great Artists Steal."

Pablo Picasso

Reason for Edit:

I redid the discussions concerning 06 and 07 (given above) to be more *precise* in the statements concerning the ellipse layer and the inverse-ellipse layer.

In my original Post, I was a little sloppy in that I often referred to the inverse-ellipse layer as the ellipse layer (although it was clear what I meant from the context of my statements).

Edited by larryb123456
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If it helps in any way, I can try to recall what I did to get it where it is. First, the picture in the background is from a frame in this video:

I had downloaded this video and pulled a frame out with various tools. I originally wanted to make an animated GIF with it, but nothing timed out correctly, ie there were too many frames involved. All that my signature is *is* fonts. The top (MSFN) has four sets of fonts layered on top of each other. The "name" is just one font of course. The top has the layer of MSFN in white, under that is the full forum name in a different color. Behind that are one layer of "Barcode" font, and the other layer is a "non-rendering" font. By non-rendering, some fonts do not work in Fireworks, and end up displaying as Squares. I use these "error" fonts too.

I likely won't end up using those sigs tho, as my usual default signature is this:

TripredacusLogo.jpg

Which was made for me a long time ago by one of the many Lio Kaisers that litter the internet. Unfortunately it is too big to use here. :rolleyes:

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Hello, Tripredacus:

If it helps in any way, I can try to recall what I did to get it where it is.

Thanks. (Additional Info) = (Possible New Idea Generators)

First, the picture in the background is from a frame in this video:

I watched the video from the viewpoint of:

"Is there a better image of the figure that I can use?"

I like the way the arms/hands are extended upwards in your signature, so I wouldn't want to change that.

That basically leaves the face, which I'd like to have a little brighter and more well-defined (i.e., so that one can see the features better).

I had downloaded this video and pulled a frame out with various tools.

What I do (not having "various tools" -- lol) is make a screensave of the frame I want while watching the video, and use that. Those screensaves that way are amazing. They get it down to the microsecond and the clarity is great.

I use these "error" fonts too.

Yes, errors can sometimes look absolutely great !

I guess *great-looking errors* are just God's reward to us for leading *perfect* lives.

I likely won't end up using those sigs tho

No problem. (It never even crossed my mind that you might use those sigs.) My intent in making these images was to "fiddle" with the small "pixel letters" -- which I absolutely love.

P.S.

It would be ultra-easy to change the figure in the signatures (if I found a better image via the screensave route), but I don't know if I'll do it or not. Certainly not in the next week or so. (I've lined up other projects.) But, in all probability, I'll be getting around to changing the figure at some later time. (I've got the .psd file with *each element* on a separate layer.)

Edited by larryb123456
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Hello, Tripredacus:

I went ahead and worked on my "userbar-type" Tripredacus signature image using the input (i.e., the video link) you gave me in your Post # 187.

[i had no choice. Not doing it was like a "loose thread" in my brain! (lol) I'm sure you know what I mean.]

It only took about an hour to complete it.

I took a screenshot save of the video when the face was really highlighted well, and I worked with that image in Photoshop.

With a video, you can stop it precisely where you want it, so I got *exactly* the face image I wanted.

Again, I stretched the face out some horizontally to make it a little more predominant in the signature.

I also straightened out the fingers some in the new image.

The link to my new image is:

08_new.figure.&.scanlines.&.inverse-ellipse.layer, http://postimage.org/image/vrvl6njnf/

This 08 version is far superior to the 07 version in my Post # 186:

07_final.image.with.scanlines.&.inverse-ellipse.layer, http://postimage.org/image/ka04b2s0b/

the reason being, of course, that I really didn't have a very good face image to work with as a starting point in 07.

Again, Many Thanks for your input here, Tripredacus.

It allowed me to get the *best version* in my little signature exercise.

Even though nothing is going to become of my image, it brings me satisfaction knowing that I got a better-looking image in 08.

Edited by larryb123456
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This Post actually is something of a continuation of the "spirit" of my avatar, which references Max Planck, who is credited with founding quantum mechanics.

Two other theoretical Physics researchers active in the early years of quantum mechanics were Louis de Broglie and Paul A. M. Dirac. (These two men also made additional contributions in other areas of Physics throughout their long lives.)

I have included a rather short Appendix at the end of this Post concerning these three great scientists, so I won't go into any additional details in the main body of this Post.

I wanted to make signature/avatar sets for de Broglie and Dirac that would be totally compatible (i.e., more or less in the same "style") with my Max Planck avatar, which was very simple to construct. The results are shown in the picture links in the "Images" section at the end of this Post.

The signatures consist of two Photoshop layers, the top "template layer" (which is identical for each signature) and the bottom layer (which changes in color for each and every signature).

The template layer, which is 277x73 pixels in size, is composed of:

a 1px black border inside the 277x73px;

a picture of Dirac on the left side, facing to the right;

a picture of de Broglie on the right side, facing to the left; and

quotations by both men in the middle of the picture (white "aliased" lettering was used, so that the words would be easily readable at the small size).

(It took quite a bit of research to find quotations from both men that were as "well balanced" as those shown in the image links.)

The bottom background layer, which is also 277x73 pixels in size, has a different color for each signature.

Some care had to be used in choosing the background colors. They couldn't be extremely dark, because then the dark outside parts of the de Broglie and Dirac images would not show up well. And they could not be extremely light, because then the white quotation lettering would not show up well. So, in effect, something of a "mid value" had to be used. Also, the background couldn't be too busy, as shown, for example in the image for the Higgs boson

because the lettering, which is rather busy in itself, would get totally lost against a background such as this.

The avatars, like the signatures, consist of two Photoshop layers, the top "template layer" (which is identical for each signature) and the bottom layer (which changes in color for each and every signature).

The template layer, which is 91x59 pixels in size is composed of:

a 1px black border inside the 91x59px; and

the text, THE MYSTERY OF MATTER AND ENERGY, on three lines, in all-capital white aliased letters (the same height as the capital letters in the signatures).

The bottom background layer, which is also 91x59 pixels in size, has a different color for each signature.

The color for each avatar was determined by "sampling" the color of its corresponding signature. That way, the signature/avatar sets would be totally compatible. This compatibility can easily be seen when the image links are viewed.

So, there is no doubt that this "setup" is very simple, but I feel that *very effective* signature/avatar sets can be generated by varying the background color(s).

In effect, then, this Post examines the relationship between the characteristics of the background "color fields" (color distribution, lightness/darkness variations, color "flow", etc.) and the elements of the topmost template layer (the border, the picture images, and the white text quotations).

P.S.

I noticed that there is a relatively new MSFN member, whose member name is DiracDeBroglie. He is more than welcome to use -- (without any restrictions whatsoever) -- any of these avatars and/or signatures on MSFN or on any other of his forums.

Images:

Images 01 through 04 have solid-color backgrounds. These images are totally acceptable, but since they are not quite as "exciting" (IMO) as images 05 through 17 -- (which have color variations in the background) -- I'm putting them at the bottom of the list. Since my favorite signature/avatar pair is 08, I'm putting it first on the list. The background here was made using a simple blue-maroon linear fade.

08: blue-maroon fade background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/mcc849o0z/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/i7wxcfprr/

These images are my favorite. I think the blue/maroon combination, dynamically speaking, works very well. The contrast of the hot (maroon) and cold (blue) is very effective. This look is somewhat unique on MSFN.

05: (light purple)-(darker purple) fade background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/br7ijm0on/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/6ixmcy5g5/

06: brown and gold background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/6317spwch/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/ol5kcye47/

07: dark to light blue-green fade background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/rc3275mwb/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/k0i0bwfm3/

09: brown and black background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/audb7yvfp/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/d2040qdb7/

10: teal, blue, and black background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/3x0xycoo3/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/jviufyxor/

11: purple, magenta, and black background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/qzrgxiq5f/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/9cotqnz7b/

12: purple background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/xxlxslslx/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/67pcro3rp/

13: multicolored background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/yrcs9tjoj/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/rt9l6mjgh/

I don't like these two images at all. To me, the mixture of colors is rather "repulsive".

14: brown background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/v9ybnqval/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/ym9y2wa9t/

15: black and blue-gray background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/orvnz5cln/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/lnbtavh0j/

I think these background colors are very compatible with the shades of gray in the images.

16: pink and blue background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/qxwecw16f/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/53jn54f0h/

17: blue and teal background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/c708suia3/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/us22j9os9/

As I mentioned above, the next four images have solid-color backgrounds.

01: solid blue background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/m64i11j3h/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/bwx51d9yd/

The blue works well with the white letters and images to give a feeling of "crispness". But, as a negative comment, I feel the blue is too "intense". (It kind of hurts my eyes to look at it.)

02: solid reddish-brown background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/vggm4ktt9/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/3ztjtaq6t/

I like this image very much, in the way everything works well together. This image illustrates the fact that *simplicity* can be very effective (IMO). The reddish brown color is somewhat unique on MSFN.

03: solid turquoise background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/f3j4yrfnl/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/3np1939kn/

I feel that this turquoise needs to be a little darker to have the most effective images.

04: solid blue-gray background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/oo1uiw737/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/w2r6b9syr/

I used this background color when I reworked the avatar of jds (Joe). The blue component in the background makes the Dirac/de Broglie images (which are done totally in shades of gray) "pop out" a little more. As in 02, I feel that this image illustrates the fact that *simplicity* can be very effective.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Anyone not shocked by quantum mechanics has not yet understood it."

Neils Bohr

and

"If your model contradicts quantum mechanics, abandon it!"

Richard Feynman

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Appendix

Quantum theory was developed as a new branch of theoretical physics during the first few decades of the 20th century in an attempt to understand the fundamental properties of matter.

In contrast to Einstein's relativity, which is about the largest things in the universe, quantum theory deals with the tiniest things, the particles that atoms are made of (i.e., "subatomic" particles).

Max Planck (1858-1947), a German physicist, is recognized as the founder (in 1900) of quantum theory. He received the Nobel Prize in Physics for this work in 1918.

My avatar is an "homage" to Max Planck. It shows Planck's image, the visible light portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, and Planck's well-known equation which formed the foundation of quantum mechanics. This equation expresses the energy of a light wave (i.e., electromagnetic wave), E, in terms of its wavelength, the Greek lambda. Here, h is the Planck constant and c is the speed of light (i.e., the speed of any electromagnetic wave) in a vacuum. Plank's equation is probably better known in the form E = hf, where f is the frequency of the electromagnetic wave. A substitution of f = c/lambda results in the equation shown in my avatar. I put the arrow in my avatar to show that E increases from left to right, from red to violet. (I also showed the colors in my signature in terms of increasing E.) I put the thin "fade to black" area on the left side of the avatar to show that outside the visible spectrum, everything is perceived to be black by the human eye. (There is also a thin, corresponding, "fade to black" area on the right side of the avatar -- to the right of violet -- but it is covered up by Planck's picture.) As we move to the left of red, in the direction of decreasing E, we have Infrared and Radio waves. As we move to the right of violet, in the direction of increasing E, we have Ultraviolet, X-rays, and Gamma rays.

Louis de Broglie (1892-1987) was a French physicist who discovered that electrons have a dual nature, similar to both particles and waves (i.e., particle/wave duality). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1929.

In 1923, de Broglie generalized the Planck relation by postulating that the Planck constant represents the connection between the momentum and the quantum wavelength of not just the photon, but any particle. His work culminated in what was to be known as the de Broglie hypothesis, stated as:

With every particle of matter with mass m and velocity v, a real wave must be associated, related to the momentum by the equation:

lambda = h/p = (h/mv)(1- v
2
/c
2
)
1/2

where lambda is the wavelength, h is the Planck constant, p is the momentum, m is the rest mass, v is the velocity, and c is the speed of light in a vacuum.

De Broglie's work created a new field in physics, wave mechanics, which united the physics of energy (waves) and matter (particles). For this work he won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1929.

Paul Dirac (1902-1984) was a British physicist, who is characterized as "the father of antimatter". He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1933.

Dirac, in 1928, developed a wave-equation theory that combined quantum mechanics with Einstein's special relativity. Through complex mathematical calculations, Dirac managed to integrate these widely-different theories. Eventually, in 1930, he saw that his equations predicted the existence of a new form of matter -- antimatter (i.e., anti-particles) -- hitherto unsuspected and unobserved (thus, bringing something entirely new to science).

The positron -- (an anti-electron) -- has the same mass as the electron but opposite charge, and it was first detected experimentally in 1932. (This theoretical discovery of the positron allowed an explanation of matter/antimatter annihilation.) The anti-proton was first detected experimentally in 1955.

Dirac's research marked the first time something never before seen in nature was "predicted" -- that is, postulated to exist based entirely on theoretical rather than experimental evidence. (Dirac's discovery was guided solely by human imagination and mathematics.) For his achievement Dirac was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1933.

Edited by larryb123456
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I am making this Post for two reasons:

# 1) I wanted to inform those interested that I edited my Post # 186 (under the 06 and 07 sections) to be more *precise* in my language concerning the ellipse layer and the inverse-ellipse layer. In the original Post, I was a little sloppy in that I often referred to the inverse-ellipse layer as the ellipse layer (although it was clear what I meant from the context of my statements). I also discuss how one can use the actual ellipse (rather than the inverse-ellipse) in the final image.

# 2) For those of you curious about what the visual effect would be of using the ellipse layer as opposed to the inverse-ellipse layer, I've shown JPEGs 08 and 09 below. (08, which uses the inverse-ellipse layer, was shown in my Post # 189.)

08_new.figure.&.scanlines.&.inverse-ellipse.layer, http://postimage.org/image/vrvl6njnf/

09_new.figure.&.scanlines.&.ellipse.layer, http://postimage.org/image/jii6796hv/

The differences between these two images are rather subtle, but I prefer 08, because the red area behind the figure goes from darker (at the top) to lighter (at the bottom). Somehow, that seems more "appropriate" than in the "reverse trend" shown in 09. But, really, that's just my preference. Someone else might prefer 09. There's really no right or wrong.

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While the ellipse layers give a polished or glass type look over the back portion (on each side) of the image, it detracts over the white portions in the middle.

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Thanks for your input, Tripredacus:

08_new.figure.&.scanlines.&.inverse-ellipse.layer, http://postimage.org/image/vrvl6njnf/

09_new.figure.&.scanlines.&.ellipse.layer, http://postimage.org/image/jii6796hv/

I don't like the polished look (lighter at the top) that the ellipse layer -- (i.e., in 09, which was made with the ellipse) -- gives on both the left and right sides of the image. I prefer the top to be darker than the bottom on the sides (i.e., in 08, which was made with the inverse-ellipse). I agree with you that the ellipse layer (in 09) detracts over the white portions in the middle. I don't think the inverse-ellipse layer (in 08) detracts in the middle white portions much at all, if any. In fact, I *very much like* the "white driving rain" going through the 2 shades of red around the figure -- darker at the top than at the bottom. (For me, this is one of my favorite features of the image.) For these reasons, I prefer the image made with the inverse-ellipse layer, 08, over that made with the ellipse layer, 09.

Reason for edit:

to add the 08 and 09 image links at the top of the Post for easy reference.

Edited by larryb123456
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For purposes of completeness and clarity, I thought I'd give a visual presentation of the steps used to make the "new figure" discussed in the last Post, # 193.

A_new.figure.(showing.template), http://postimage.org/image/ig7zopvev/

B_new.figure.(showing.template.&.gradient), http://postimage.org/image/6aisebgp3/

C_new.figure.&.scanlines, http://postimage.org/image/rmptsmjoz/

08_new.figure.&.scanlines.&.inverse-ellipse.layer, http://postimage.org/image/vrvl6njnf/

09_new.figure.&.scanlines.&.ellipse.layer, http://postimage.org/image/jii6796hv/

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For your ellipse layer, is it possible to change that into a gradient that has no color in the middle to make up for the problem with the gray color appearing over the white?

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