In this tutorial made by me, I will cover the basic/introductory aspects of the making of signatures. Frequently Asked Questions What is a Signature? A signature (many times called siggy or sig, for short) is a graphic which represents your username in a forum community. As it's been already reffered, its main purpose is to represent the username. Therefore, every 'layer' and effect that it contains must match a defined theme. How do I know how to match a Signature with a username? Most of times (for instance, in a request), the user himself will provide all the information you'll need to make the Signature look like he/she wants. This can include: Theme - Self-explanatory. E.G: Neopets, Snow, Peanuts, etc. Render - A render is the image that you'll work with. Signatures can either be made from scratch or can be made from modifying an existing image. This topic will be discussed later in this article. Text - Almost every signature isn't completed without some text, wether it is the requester's username or just a desired text by the requester. Remember, signatures are supposed to represent something, so text can help with the transmition effect a lot. What is the best place to get renders from? Fortunately for us signatures creators, there is a fine number of sites from where you can get your images to manipulate for free. Below, there are listed my main resources: http://www.planetrenders.net/ http://www.render-world.com/ http://www.deviantart.com/ Commonly Used Expressions While working with graphics (not only signatures), people do tend to use some known expressions to define what they are looking for, they used, they like, etc. There are constantly new expressions popping-up every once in a while, but this list below will cover the most used ones and their meanings: Sig/Siggy - Signature, for short. Render - An image resource (can be real or abstract) C4D - A type of abstract render, often used by advanced graphic creators. C4D stands for Cinema 4D, a program used to create this type of renders. Flow - The concept of flow is somehow related to reality. When creating a signature, you should avoid making something that looks the same everywhere, with the same colors and effects. Instead, try spreading and 'randomize' the position of the stuff you put on your signature. Depth - Depth is related a lot to flow too. While giving a signature a flow effect, you'll also need to worry about the depth of it. Depth means basically the 'contrast' effect of the distance of each element in your signature. If you didn't understand, check this example. You wanna make a signature which 'takes place' under the sea. You can't just add a plain blue and let it be. No, instead, try making a gradient so it 'trasmits' the 'idea' of profundity to your signature, which will make it a lot cooler/real. Programs To Use Signage Art belongs to Digital Art. Therefore, you'll need to own some programs in your computer to make them. Below you'll find a good set of programs that every graphics designer should have: Adobe Photoshop - Any of the most recent versions of it should be good. It's like a swiss penknife of the graphics: it does most of everythng you'll ever need Apophysis - This is a great program to create your own renders, if you rather making your owns instead of getting them from a site. Cinema 4D - Another great program to create abstract renders, altough it's more difficult to master than Apophysis. Terragen - Some people find this program useful for signatures, altough I don't use it much. It's good to create landscapes, so it should be good for nature signatures. Methods of Creation There are 2 main ways of creating signatures: Manipulation and Addition, altough both these ways can be 'blended'. Manipulation - As the name itself suggests, it requires manipulating an image. This means, getting an image on photoshop, making it cover the whole signature and work on it so the final result is different from the actual image. Example: Let's say you were asked to do a Star Wars signature. You go pick up your photo and distort the image, saturate it and add a gradient. You also decide to add some text and maybe a border. Altough, you didn't add anymore image/render resources to the image. Basically, you made a signature by manipulating one single image (without blending any other render). Addition - Addition is a technique of making signatures in which you use more than a render and make it look like the image was one in the beggining. This can include adding C4Ds, or even blend another image. Example: You were once again asked to do a Star Wars signature. But this time, you want to add something 'special' to it. You bring the main render (the one with the, usually used, personality), distort it, add a gradient and sature it. Then you bring an abstract C4D render and place it on the right side of your signature, and turn the blending mode to overlay. So basically, you made a signature by adding more images to the 'main' render. Both techniques, if mastered, will look pretty good, altough Addition is more difficult to master, as sometimes you'll need to create your own background and it can get tricky. Note: Both technique names are not 'internationality' called that way, it's just a way I separate the type of works I do ^^ Hope that helps That's what I could remember atm, if someone has anything worth adding, feel free to say.