larryb123456

custom avatars and signatures

746 posts in this topic

To be honest with you, Tripredacus, I don't understand *at all* why you say there is a "problem with the gray color appearing over the white."

As I've said many times, I *very much like* the subtle way the inverse-ellipse layer "divides" the red area behind the figure into two horizontal bands, with the red being a little darker on top. It's undoubtedly a nice effect, IMO:

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

However, I went ahead and tried to do as you asked in your Post # 195.

(But I didn't know if what I was doing was *exactly* what you wanted, so I am attaching my .psd file for you to play with, if you want, to get the transparent ellipse *exactly* to suit your tastes. I'll be curious to see what you come up with.)

I made the ellipse to be transparent in the middle, as you asked, and the resultant image is:

10_new.figure.&.scanlines.&.transparent.ellipse.layer, http://postimage.org/image/aypot3g3r/

To me, this image is very boring, compared to 08.

The steps I used to make this transparent ellipse are shown pictorially in:

making.transparent.ellipse, http://postimage.org/image/3xy0pbmu3/

For reference, the top image (C in Post # 194) was made using just the scanlines and no ellipse or inverse-ellipse layer. The next image down shows the background gradient layer. The next image down shows the (solid-colored) ellipse used to make 09 in Post # 194. The color of the ellipse was light gray -- (r,g,b=192,192,192) -- with opacity=35%. The next image down (4th down from the top) shows the construction of the transparent ellipse.The distance from where the ellipse was cropped on the left side to the middle of the head was 58 pixels. So, in a 58x9px New File -- (9px was the height of the ellipse at the left side where the crop was, and since the ellipse was virtually flat over the region until the middle of the head, I approximated the shape of the ellipse in this region by a 58x9px rectangle) -- I made a linear gradient fade from the above-mentioned light gray color on the left to transparent on the right. I then set the opacity of this layer to 35% and dragged it into the main.psd file. I then flipped this New File horizontally, dragged its layer into the main .psd file, and butted it up against the layer from the previous New File. In this way, the ellipse was perfectly symmetrically-transparent about the head. I then lined up the four components of the ellipse as shown in the bottom figure, and linked and merged them to get the final transparent ellipse used in making 10.

Tripredacus_userbar-type.signature.zip

Edited by larryb123456
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I see what you mean. It may also come down to the monitor and settings I use and see it differently. But to each his own.

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I found a quotation that somewhat explains why I like the "flaw" produced by the inverse-ellipse layer in the central portion (behind the figure) of 08 ( http://postimage.org/image/vrvl6njnf/ ):

"The absence of flaw in beauty is itself a flaw."

Havelock Ellis ["Impressions and Comments" (1914)]

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@ CoffeeFiend or Tripredacus

I have a question about the "preservation of opacity" in linked and merged layers. Suppose you have 7 PS layers, in which 2 of them have opacities less than 100%. If you link and merge these 7 layers, will the opacities of the 2 layers remain *unaltered*? My guess is that the opacities will not be changed, since opacity "should be (?)" just a physical property of the 2 layers, in the same way that a gradient fade in a layer -- (with all its different colored-pixel distributions) -- will not be changed upon linking and merging. Thanks in advance for your response.

P.S.

If the opacities of the 2 layers will not be preserved *exactly* upon linking and merging "in the usual way", are there additional steps I can take to make sure that the opacities will be preserved as originally set?

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This Post is really a continuation of my Post # 190, concerning signatures and avatars referencing Louis de Broglie and Paul Dirac. I wasn't totally satisfied with the images, and, being something of a perfectionistic artist, I wanted to try to improve them. These improved-image links are given at the bottom of this Post. I have given these links in the same order as given in Post # 190, to make it easy for those of you who want to compare the "new with the old". This comparison can easily be made by opening 2 browsers and taking one to Post # 190 and the other to this Post.

In this Post, I use pixel "userbar" letters, scanlines, and an ellipse layer to try to give a subtle improvement -- (i.e., in the form of a "texture") -- to the images. The success of a new image really depends on the *interaction* of the scanlines and ellipse layer with the background layer. This can easily be seen from the images.

Fortuituously, the height of the signatures turned out to be the same in this Post -- (using the pixel "userbar" letters) -- as in Post # 190, so I could use the same images for Dirac and de Broglie as before. (However, I enlarged the de Broglie image by a little less than 2%, because in Post # 190, I felt that his head was a little small compared to Dirac's head. I also brightened the de Broglie image by PS +5.)

The same scanline pattern was used for all the signatures and avatars. The pattern consisted of black diagonal pixels separated by 4 pixels horizontally. The scanline layer was given an opacity of 20%, to make its effect somewhat subtle.

The ellipse layer for the signatures and avatars was made in the usual way (which I have discussed before). I chose the color to be white with an opacity of 15%. The bottom of the ellipse layer can be seen in the signatures between the second and third lines of the quotations text. All the pixel lettering for the signatures and avatars consisted of white outlined by a relatively dark gray, (r,g,b=69,69,69), luminosity=65. (A black outline was too "strong" to be used here.)

The signature layers, from top to bottom, consisted of:

the template, which had:

a 1px wide black border

the quotations lettering

the images of Dirac and de Broglie

the ellipse layer

the scanlines layer

the background layer

The avatar layers, from top to bottom, consisted of:

the template, which had:

a 1px wide black border

the lettering

the ellipse layer

the scanlines layer

the background layer, which was "sampled" from the background layer of the corresponding signature -- (thus insuring that the avatars and signatures would be compatible).

Note: I absolutely didn't like the "flimsy" white lettering in the avatars in Post # 190. That was one of the *major reasons* I wanted to do the improvements in this Post. IMO, the avatars in this Post are a 100% improvement thanks to the more *dynamic* pixel "userbar" letters and the ellipse/scanlines layers.

Next, I'll present the images.

This presentation is in tune with my philosopy that if you try 10 (or so) variations to come up with 1 winner, then that's time well spent.

As I mentioned above, I present the images in the same order as in Post # 190.

Images 01 through 04 have solid-color backgrounds. I'm putting their links at the bottom of the list.

As in Post # 190, I'm putting the link for image 08 at the top of the list.

08: blue-maroon fade background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/cqf9a9syd/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/v1r7jpmqn/

one of my favorite signature/avatar sets

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

signature, http://postimage.org/image/mqer3wtlh/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/bfbmw65s1/

06: brown and gold background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/hd8jkyz1j/

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

one of my favorite signature/avatar sets

07: dark to light blue-green fade background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/40mrn60ut/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/45zpoms35/

09: brown and black background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/ii5q6k72j/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/sh9ivdqyf/

one of my favorite signature/avatar sets

The ellipse layer works very well with the background.

10: teal, blue, and black background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/l4l8nrlg5/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/rl8g26rx1/

11: purple, magenta, and black background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/r48zr5j2j/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/z55nyltj5/

one of my favorite signature/avatar sets

The ellipse layer works very well with the background.

12: purple background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/vwdr5qulb/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/5x593etlh/

one of my favorite signature/avatar sets

13: multicolored background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/x8rrwddbh/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/d5unxnnbf/

14: brown background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/apaxk7sml/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/7x4owwb85/

one of my favorite signature/avatar sets

15: black and blue-gray background

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

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/8n19esl2p/

one of my favorite signature/avatar sets

16: pink and blue background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/9ijyoplg5/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/3lp9zoo8r/

one of my favorite signature/avatar sets

17: blue and teal background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/7u1z7zk9r/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/kv15k8jhz/

one of my favorite signature/avatar sets

The next four images have solid-color backgrounds.

01: solid blue background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/xlwy7rzqv/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/8luzw25l7/

The effect of the ellipse layer can hardly be noticed

above the blue background.

02: solid reddish-brown background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/vfny5aua3/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/48jlb5qjx/

03: solid turquoise background

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

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/sjk7qqfv9/

a nice subtle effect of the scanlines and ellipse layer

04: solid blue-gray background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/3wf61or6r/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/rysewz5d3/

a nice subtle effect of the scanlines and ellipse layer

Edited by larryb123456
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I have a question about the "preservation of opacity" in linked and merged layers.

I don't think flattening the layers removes any of that data.

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Thanks for responding, Tripredacus, with your fine, succinct rephrasing.

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This Post is a continuation of Post # 199, which references Paul Dirac and Louis de Broglie. (And, Post # 199, itself, was a continuation of Post # 190.) On looking again at the images in Post # 199, I felt that the lettering in the signatures was too bright compared to the Dirac/de Broglie images, so everything was a little out of "kilter". This Post attempts to correct that by toning down the lettering so that it "recedes" somewhat to a "visual plane" just behind (or near) the Dirac/de Broglie images.

In Post # 199, I used white lettering (luminosity=240) with a relatively dark outline (black with luminosity increased from 0 to 65). After careful trial-and-error, for the signature images presented in this Post, I chose the lettering to be lightslategray (r,g,b=119,136,153), setting luminosity=205, with outline slategray 4 (r,g,b=108,123,139), setting luminosity=65. The slategrays are blue/gray colors, and I chose them to add a little color to the lettering as compared to the grays of Post # 199. For the avatars, I had no problem with the lettering being as bright as in Post # 199, since the avatars consisted of only the lettering above the backgrounds. So, for the avatar lettering I used lightslategray, setting luminosity=235, with outline slategray 4, setting luminosity=65.

There is a well-known adage which states that "95% of the work takes 95% of the time, and the last 5% also takes 95% of the time". Such has been the case with this Dirac/de Broglie "project". Post # 190 represented roughly 95% of the work in that the Dirac/de Broglie images, the quotations (for the signatures) and the lettering (for the avatars), and the backgrounds were established. But, I wasn't satisfied with the lettering and the overall plain look. So, Post # 199 and this Post represent the last 5% of the work to get the images to the best form possible, at least by me.

In this Post, I present the image links in the same order as in Post # 199, so that a direct comparison between the images of Post # 199 and this Post can be made. It is *only* by such a *direct comparison* that the improvements in this Post can be appreciated. To get a direct comparison, simply open two browsers and take one to Post # 199 and the other to this Post. The avatars are virtually unchanged in appearance between these two Posts since the lettering characteristics are essentially identical.

If the signature and avatar for a given set are directly compared *next to each other*, it is very clear that the avatar lettering is much brighter. However, if the avatar and signature are separated in space as they would be in a MSFN Post, the lettering of the two would look about the same. (I opened both in a large-dimension Photoshop file and separated them in space to come to this conclusion.) In addition, if the avatar lettering is made the same as the signature lettering, it is *much too dark* for its environment in the avatar.

Next, the image links will be given.

Images 01 through 04 have solid-color backgrounds. I'm putting their links at the bottom of the list.

As in Post # 199, I'm putting the link for image 08 at the top of the list.

08: blue-maroon fade background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/okwnj2co5/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/ia9tlm4z3/

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

signature, http://postimage.org/image/kb4i0jmd9/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/zf0bfi4gh/

06: brown and gold background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/gcu9efgmr/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/dsuhq87uh/

07: dark to light blue-green fade background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/jg4msnrbb/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/ljsdm6ebh/

09: brown and black background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/47a41589x/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/yern0tvrb/

The ellipse layer works very well with the background.

10: teal, blue, and black background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/f7mvn76zf/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/udsxe4x0b/

11: purple, magenta, and black background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/no40ff5b9/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/elaxudt0l/

The ellipse layer works very well with the background.

12: purple background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/zcb2b4f1z/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/xhyzx6oe5/

13: multicolored background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/v5q7vsfg7/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/hf4wgcgep/

14: brown background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/ajte5cjqr/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/mjsbsqp6l/

15: black and blue-gray background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/aklez690b/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/lni282bd3/

16: pink and blue background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/497hawx45/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/hfi8273lf/

17: blue and teal background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/6yflmj2m5/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/lbmtq2qs1/

The next four images have solid-color backgrounds.

01: solid blue background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/tue6u09wb/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/6my59rm6f/

The effect of the ellipse layer can hardly be noticed

above the blue background.

02: solid reddish-brown background

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

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/lv9tyxus1/

03: solid turquoise background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/4bvhrum1d/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/6lssu39r9/

a nice subtle effect of the scanlines and ellipse layer

04: solid blue-gray background

signature, http://postimage.org/image/wcmk8u8ef/

avatar, http://postimage.org/image/anno4z66f/

a nice subtle effect of the scanlines and ellipse layer

If "forced" to choose my top five favorite signatures, they would be:

09, http://postimage.org/image/47a41589x/

11, http://postimage.org/image/no40ff5b9/

15, http://postimage.org/image/aklez690b/

16, http://postimage.org/image/497hawx45/

17, http://postimage.org/image/6yflmj2m5/

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"A painting (or any artwork) is never finished - it simply stops in interesting places."

Paul Gardner

I added the italicized phrase.

"Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression."

Isaac Bashevis Singer

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I've been working for quite a while on a MSFN Post with a great many image links. (I'm going to develop quite a few more images, so it will be 2 to 3 weeks before the Post will be ready to be presented.)

Bottom line, I needed to take a little break from that work, so this afternoon I defined a little project for myself -- to develop some standard-sized, 350x19 pixel userbars for Tripredacus. I chose Tripredacus because I thought I could use that "monster" in his avatar in the userbars. However, that idea didn't pan out, because that image was much too small -- even with cropping -- when reduced to the userbar height.

So the question became, "What images am I going to use in Tripredacus' userbar ?". I found my answer just by looking around at some of the small icons on the MSFN pages. I used 2 icons: the "question mark with a sheet of paper" at the top of the MSFN page next to "Forums" and the orange right-pointing arrow which is shown on any given "Forum Topics" page. (The arrow stands for "Go to first unread post".) It will be clear what these 2 icons are when the userbar images are seen. I modified these two icons slightly by painting (Pencil Tool) and I didn't have to re-size either because they were already near the 19px userbar height.

I used the same template for each userbar and I just varied the opacity of the white ellipse layer, the scanlines pattern, and the background layer for the different userbars.I could have made many more variations had I wanted to.

Next, I'll present the 4 userbars I made in the order in which I liked them. V1 is "best", V4 is "least liked".

V1.Trip.MSFN.userbar, http://postimage.org/image/tnvfu3zmx/

Here, the use of the MSFN icons is shown, and the interpretation of the panel between the lettering is: Tripredacus answers one member's question (i.e., ?), goes on to the next question (i.e., -->), answers that one, etc., etc., etc., ... "infinity". (As Pee-Wee Herman would say.)

I first had the area around the rectangles with the arrows to be transparent so that the layers below would show through, but this look was just too busy, so I painted in these transparent areas with white.

V1 uses a black/white/red horizontal linear gradient, where the center of the white in the gradient was adjusted to correspond to the midpoint of the central (question mark)/(sheet of paper). White scanlines were used.

V2.Trip.MSFN.userbar, http://postimage.org/image/qjl06u987/

uses a solid-red background (no fades, etc.) with black scanlines. This, more or less, is a basic "no frills" userbar, but I like its simplicity.

V3.Trip.MSFN.userbar, http://postimage.org/image/pxmm9gltj/

uses a red/white/maroon vertical linear gradient with a white scanline pattern. I like the "puffs of white" to the left and right sides of "Tripredacus" and "K-Mart-ian and MSFN Legend".

V4.Trip.MSFN.userbar, http://postimage.org/image/avaui5i7h/

uses a red/maroon vertical linear gradient with white scanlines.

I certainly don't expect Tripredacus to use these example userbars for anything. This was just a little project done basically for myself.

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Well I'm not sure about mixing the "K-Mart-ian Legend" with MSFN... but maybe another term that defined my normal day to day activity here...

Topic Mover

:whistle:

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Topic Mover, your wish is my command !

I like these new images better than the ones in my last Post, because there is more empty space (i.e., space not filled with lettering), which gives the eyes more "breathing room". I think V3.A especially benefits because of this increased empty space. (Here, the horizontal white stripe essentially joins everything together.)

V1.A.Trip.MSFN.userbar, http://postimage.org/image/weu6b868l/

V2.A.Trip.MSFN.userbar, http://postimage.org/image/bjzgafib1/

V3.A.Trip.MSFN.userbar, http://postimage.org/image/pd0u2rs0l/

V4.A.Trip.MSFN.userbar, http://postimage.org/image/uw7yxqefp/

Edited by larryb123456
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I like the second one more, but those topic icons make the image kinda busy. It might be because they are clashing with the theme of the rest of the image, ie there are blues in there, etc.

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I formulated my little project discussed in Posts # 203 and # 205 with the restrictions that I use the Tripredacus signature colors (red, white, and black) and the MSFN icons in their original colors also. The objective was to come up with the best images possible *under those restrictions*.

Still better images are possible by relaxing those restrictions, as will be seen in the links below. Here, I "keyed" the blue colors used in the backgrounds to samples of the blue in the question mark icon. (You can see the darkest and lightest blue colors used in all the backgrounds from V1.B below. The darkest blue is on the extreme left side of the image, and the lightest blue is on the extreme right side.)

Here are the blue-keyed images:

V1.B.Trip.MSFN.userbar, http://postimage.org/image/lfbrvetmb/

V2.B.Trip.MSFN.userbar, http://postimage.org/image/wj4494cql/

V3.B.Trip.MSFN.userbar, http://postimage.org/image/vbhg8sos3/

V4.B.Trip.MSFN.userbar, http://postimage.org/image/o4jw7amc1/

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"Tangled up in Blue"

Bob Dylan

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Hello, everyone:

This Post is just an update about my status.

I haven't made a Post for quite some time due to two reasons:

The first reason is that I have been working on a large project involving making "regional userbars" -- (i.e. 350x19px images relating to different countries) -- using 5px tall bitmap (i.e., pixel) letters with a 1px outline. I have covered 25 countries total and have made 85 userbars, since I have a number of versions for each country. Now I'm in the process of optimizing the userbars to get each as perfect as I can. I'll probably be done with this project in a couple of weeks, and I'll then post the results. I wanted to make this large number of *static* userbars to perfect my skills, since the next phase of my work will involve making animated GIF 350x19px userbar images in a *variety of topics*.

The second reason is that I had a hard-drive failure and it took about a week to get another hard drive. I had every bit of my data backed up so I didn't lose any of it. (This is the second hard-drive failure in the last few months. I lost every bit of my data then since I didn't have any of it backed up. So, I learned my lesson about backing up data regularly).

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The shenanigans at the General Discussion Forum topic "Do you use smilies on the internet?" (here) led to the images in this Post. If you haven't visited this Forum topic, I think you would find it entertaining because of the comments by jaclaz and 5eraph (and I also throw in some of my own brand of "quirkiness").

Because the images really are more pertinent in this thread, I'll repeat here my Post # 48 on the "Do you use smilies on the internet?" thread.

If jaclaz were a cat (who loved guns, who liked imitating Rambo, and who also loved to play Scrabble):

Animation_119frames_0_30sec.gif

Specs: 119 total frames (62 unique frames), 0.30 second display time per frame, 100x80px, 16 KB.

jaclaz, I made the animated GIF MSFN avatar size -- (knowing full well that animations can't be used as avatars) -- so that I could make some static images that you might want to use as your MSFN Avatar:

Avatar 1, http://postimage.org/image/ln22pc9bl/

Avatar 2, http://postimage.org/image/9jzgmgkhr/

I think I prefer Avatar 2, because of the "soft elegance" of the lettering.

I think these Avatars would really jazz up your Posts, but, of course, the decision on whether or not to use them is yours to make.

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If jaclaz were a cat (who loved guns, who liked imitating Rambo, and who also loved to play Scrabble):

Well, first thing I wish to thank you for the nice avatar :), though I won't use it :no: , as it may hint that somehow my nature is somehow violent or unfriendly :w00t:, whilst in reality I am more like a nice guy :unsure:, only very, very grumpy.

funny-pictures-cat-is-grumpy.jpg

119434ae-71c6-43a1-bdaa-81e75a0f5dfb.jpg

17ac52cb-fabe-4b3b-ace4-3f8356dafbea.jpg

But you actually caught perfectly my natural attitude towards aggressive diplomacy :thumbup :

aggressiveDimplomacy.jpg

which I express mainly through the character of Wonko the Sane :rolleyes: .

jaclaz

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