Some Tips on Looking at GFX

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#1
Wrote this as a means to try and help people look at GFX and what to look for and so on and so forth. Not sure if it is in the right section. Wasn't entirely sure where it would fit or if.







How To Look at GFX​











Intro







I haven’t written this with any intention for this to be a comprehensive guide as to how to look at GFX, far from it. All I’m trying to do is give people an idea as to what they are looking for to look at a piece of graphics and try to make an informed decision.







NB: This doesn’t have pictures at the moment but I hope to be able to include some later with some good designers.







It’s impossible to split it into basic simply terms but everything can “loosely” fit into:







1) Background/Stock



2) Text



3) Theme/Concept



4) Opinion
















1) Background/Stock







I’ve coupled these two together because they make up the main part of the piece and as such work together and have things that inter-relate between the two.Made by Glitch @ anime-eden.com







Background can be split into two main concepts. Firstly you are looking for depth and secondly you are looking for colour. Depth is something that is very important in a signature. Basically, you don’t want a background which looks like a set of coloured clouds. A good background is one that seems to have a lot of depth, it wants to look interesting and it wants to look unique. You don’t want the background to be full of empty space, simply one colour; it looks boring and lacks skill. However, you don’t want a background to be completely crazy and filled up with crap, it needs to flow smoothly into each section, both in colour and content.







Additionally with background the colour is important. Normally, a single colour for a background shows a lack of skill, it shows that the artist has just about mastered hue/saturation. However, if an artist can manipulate colour into something special then you have it going. More than one colour is good , however, a purple mixed with a bright orange isn’t normally gonna work (they clash you know). You want to be looking at colours which are smooth, that flow into each other but more importantly “match” the colours of the stock. They don’t just have to work with each other but also have to compliment the stock.Made by Glitch @ anime-eden.com







Stocks are a key aspect of almost every signature. They are generally the focal point of the piece. Positioning is key, if an artist has pushed their character to the side it shows that they have not thought about their stock when designing their piece. If it is overly large and obscuring the majority of their background it is showing a lack of confidence in their skills. A stock should be positioned as a focal point usually, normally, but not always towards the centre of the piece (in a signature). The background should also work to compliment this, helping to draw the eye to the stock itself to help emphasise the fact that it *is* the focal point.







You also want to be looking at a stock carefully. You cannot condemn a stock for being whored (in regular language it means overused). However, you can condemn it for being sloppy. If you can see white bits on the stock round the edges it shows that they have done a poor job of rendering it. Normally if there is blurred edges round the stock this is either poor blending (covered next) or they have rendered it poorly.







Blending is the interaction between the stock and the background. Blending, as it suggests is like trying to make a stock “fit” into the background. You are effectively trying to marry the background and the stock, they have each been created separately and were never meant to go together. This is where an artist really shines; if it looks like the background has been done and the stock slapped on top it is a poor effort. However, if the stock and the background look like they are meant to be then this is good blending. If the background seems to “consume” the stock into it, the colours don’t clash and such then it is well blended. It is important to note, however, that blending isn’t a necessity. You don’t have to blend a stock perfectly for it to be a good signature (see Theme/Concept)







Borders are something every signature needs. There is no quarrel on this it is an absolute necessity. It simply needs to “fit in” with what has been made. Remember to always check a signature. It may not always be created for a dark/light background of the forum so it is always good to highlight it to check.



Made by Glitch @ anime-eden.com







2) Text







Text is one of the most important parts of a signature. It isn’t just a means to stop ripping by other artists but almost always either decimates a signature or perfects it. Text follows the same rules as a stock, it relies on position, colour and blending, albeit not as much.







Text needs to be positioned well, you don’t want massive and covering up half the signature, but you don’t want it small and positioned in the corner so you have to get a microscope to read it. It wants to be in an area of mild prominence. Text is usually placed in the area where you have the largest amount of free space, it stops this free space being boring and adds something interesting into it, espcially as if you have multiple colours behind text it becomes difficult to read.



Made by Glitch @ anime-eden.com



Colour is also important, you don’t want text that clashes with the background, in fact you want it to fit in with it. It needs to not seem out of place and this can be done not only through colour but also via typography. You do not want a font that is say, a western style in an abstract signature, it simply doesn’t fit. The text itself, regardless of action wants to almost blend with the background and signature as a whole.







Blending
is something particularly tricky with text. Sometimes it is a bad idea to blend text as it makes it unclear, however you still want the idea that it blends with the background. Blending is always good but it must fit and be clearly readable.







Oh and remember, text doesn’t have to be for the sake of text, it can become artistic and form part of the background and be something genuinely interesting.











3) Theme/Concept







This is something that is a little tricky to understand. The theme and concept can turn everything that has been mentioned before completely on it’s head.



Made by Glitch @ anime-eden.com



In a signature you want one uniting theme or concept. A theme may be focusing on the idea such as love or the character themselves. Not all signatures have a theme but it is often the case in SOTW. A signature needs to marry with the theme it has been set (if there is one) and if an artist is conveying a theme to the person looking at it then it shows that it is truly a great piece. You are also looking at the fact that a theme *may* go against the general guidelines above. For example, a signature may be expressing the idea of anger, then you could convey this with an absolutely manic background, colours clashing, pieces of the signature working against each other to represent the chaotic nature of the signature. It is really something that is situation based.







Also in a signature you are looking somewhat for originality. You want something that looks a little bit different and stands out to you. You could also be looking at a concept of simplicity, a signature can be minimal and still be a very good signature, complex background, blending and the like are not always a necessity.







4) Opinion







One thing that is looked over quite a lot these days is the matter of opinion. Artists generally look at something as a matter of creative skill and can only see something from their own point of view. However, the opinion of those looking at the piece is of the utmost importance. You are looking at something from your own eyes and as often proven the concept of aesthetics is subjective. A piece may strike you particularly strongly or you may think that something that isn’t necessarily technically better is so aesthetically. You are welcome to your opinion and the expression of it is encouraged, however don’t just look at a piece and think “the characters look nice, I like that character, the background is ‘nice’” and so on. You need to think why it is nice and justify your opinion, what stands out to you in a signature, what makes it better, what is making you like it.











NB: If anyone would like to use this for another forum etc please have the courtesy to ask and not claim it as your own. Time and effort goes into things like this, it somewhat cheapens it to steal. Property of Glitch.








Made by Glitch @ anime-eden.com
 
Joined
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#6
*kicks whoever deleted my post in the shins*







If its useful you should sticky it =D Doesn't seem like most people did though, i.e the ones who should really look at it =/
 
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#7
Nice, I agree, I think this will help many people out there.







Topic stickied (=