Video: - 14/05/2011 Latest video: - 06/10/2013 Welcome to my tutorial. By tutorial, I mean I'm going to show you step by step how I personally make my imports. Everyone probably has different methods, and this is by no means the best/easiest method, so stay open minded. Enough introduction, I'll jump straight into this. I will put a short instruction of what to do/what I'm doing, along with a screenshot. This tutorial is for GIMP 2.0+, but can probably be followed on most other decent programs. I skip a few small steps already explained at the start during the later stages. Stage 1 Setting everything up The most important stage of this whole process is music, believe it or not. You'll find that your performance will be increased by up to 100% by simply listening to music. The following genres are recommended: POLKA Rock Metal Heavy Metal Alternative Drum 'n' Bass Good Dubstep Electronica Australian HipHop The following genres are NOT recommended: All other forms of HipHop Trance Bad Dubstep Example: (I will display images of the track I am listening to whilst creating the hair) Now, it's time to set up the screen. This is how I personally set up mine, using Windows 7's window split feature, which can be accomplished by dragging a window into the upper left/right hand corner of your screen. Here we can see the reference, and the program at the same time. Now, select the most useful tool in the whole of the GIMP. The Paths Tool. Alright, before we continue, around now I'd just select a good outline colour. Generally you want a colour that's almost black, but not, staying a dark shade of your references hair colour. Stage 2 Creation of the import Back to the actual design. I always start by clicking near the back of the head/neck (depending on her hair style). I then click to another point near the back of her head, keeping a clear gap, just for hair shape. If you're new to the path tool, it's a good idea to practise first, but a few things you should know are; - You can click and hold to make curves when creating the path. - You can drag the handles to change the curve. - You can click the line to change it, however this will select two points, and to continue with the line you must either click on a point not selected, or click away, creating an isolated point, and then reselect the point you wish to continue off of. I am now at the fringe, and I have highlighted the part I am currently working on to display to you what I'm looking at. As you can see, the hair sticks out here, so I make another point, then go back to the old one and curve it to make it look how I want it to look. I have highlighted the curve so you can see. Music change. Alright, here we have an example of a curve made by dragging the line itself. This sometimes makes it easier to get more accurate curves. As you can see, I have make the hair go just past the nose line, because I'm too lazy to do it on the other layer. This is the stage I am currently at. I am concentrating on a tiny bit of hair that sticks out of the strands at the side of her face. It is important to add these details, as it generally makes the finished hair look alot nicer. Another music change. Now for the ear. Alot of artists actually do the hair on the box to the right, but I do not, for reasons unknown. Well, it makes it easier to swap layers, which I'll show you later. When you're tracing around the ears, however, you want to be careful, or else it may look a bit odd. Now, we come to the end of making the base of our hair. The hair usually goes down at the ear, and this is your chance to complete the path. To do this, simply hold CTRL and click the first point you made. Now it's time to check our accuracy. You're not going to get it perfect, but that's part of the idea of doing it this way, making the hair fit with the style. As you can see, her nose comes out at a lower point than the one on the head of the SDT girl, but it doesn't matter. Take this time to go along and correct anything, if anything doesn't look right, go ahead and curve the line, or add more points by holding control and click on the line. Here is my corrected path, I just changed a few things here and there. Never forget to save. It's time to create a new layer. Just click the "New Layer" button at the bottom of your layers window, and click OK. You may want to name the layer, but I generally don't bother. Now, with the new layer selected, go to the button on the Toolbox window that says "Stroke Path" and click it. Check that your colour is the one we picked at the start, and set the "Line width" to 1. Finally, click "Stroke". Wonderful, we have our base outline. Now, we need to fill it in. Go to the "Paths" tab on the Layers window, and double click the path that was created of your outline. You can go here at any point to select paths again if they accidentally disappear. Swap back to the Layers tab, and create a new layer inbetween the layer with the template, and the outline. You should be able to do this by selecting the bottom layer, and click new layer, and creating one. It should appear above the layer that was selected. Now, we're going to click "Selection from Path". Now click the colour box, and find a colour close to your references' hair colour. Using the fill tool, click somewhere inside the selection, and there you have it, the base of the hair. To unselect everything, click one of the selection tools, and click outside the selection. Looking good. Missing alot of detail though. Music change. Okay, I'll stop.. We're going to add some line detail now, so select the first layer you created, which will now be the one at the top. Click the colour picker tool, and click on the outline so you have the same colour used for it. Let's add some more line inside the outline, like you may see on your reference. As shown on the following image, I think I can see a line about here on my reference, so I make one on my hair. I use the Path Tool for this. I do the same again, and make another line. Don't be afraid to not follow the reference. Add lines where you think they should go. I went ahead and drew all the lines I think there should be. Now, I'm going to select the Eraser tool. Turn the Opacity right down to the 30's, and the scale down too. Now, I'm going to start rubbing out part of one of the strands. One click down at a time, remember. We're not trying to erase the line. On the same line, I'm doing it again, only not rubbing as far down this time. Alright, after doing it once or twice more, I have finished fading the top of this line. Compare the line I just faded to the rest of the line. Much nicer, isn't it? Go ahead and do this for the rest of the lines. For a nice effect, you can fade the center of a line, like the way I have done it on the top line. Alright, let's take another look at our reference. You'll see that I have not yet touched the back of the hair. I'm going to make another layer so we can get started. This layer will go above the outlines layer. I'm going to use this layer as another outline layer, for the big piece of hair that sticks out. Stroke this path, and then make a new layer inbetween the original outline layer, and the new one. With the path still active, click "Selection from Path". Use the colour picker tool again, and select the base fill layer and click the hair colour. Let's go back to the layer we were just on, and select the Fill tool. Click in the selection to fill it. Let's unselect that and take a look. Now select the Eraser tool again. You should be able to use the same settings as last time. Click the top layer, which should be the outline layer for the piece of hair we just added, and go ahead and fade the top of the lines. Alright, now we're done with this, we're going to make it simpler for ourselves by dragging the fill layer above the base fill layer, as shown here: Right click on the layer and click "Merge Down" to merge it with the layer below. Go ahead and merge down the outline layer we just made into the original outline layer, so you should have 3 layers again. (Including the template layer) Oh look, we have an overlap. No matter. I'm going to go ahead and create a path over it, and make a selection. Hit Delete, and there you have it. I'm going to make another layer above everything again, this time for the messy part of her hair at the back. Let's make another path to represent it on the new layer. Now, go back a layer, and use the colour picker tool to pick the outline colour out. Go to the Paths tab and select the path again, it should be the latest one. Go back to the Layers tab and stroke the path on the latest layer. Let's make a new layer inbetween our old outline layer and our new one. Make another Selection from Path. Fill it in with the main hair colour as we have been doing before. Now we've done that, let's move the colour layer down above the base colour layer, and merge it. Merge the outline layer to the original outline layer as well. Another overlap has occurred, so I'm going to do some fading on it, because I think that realistically, there will be foreground hair going over the hair sticking out. Stage 3 Shading Let's make a new layer, and begin on the shading. Shading adds alot more detail into imports. I'm going to make another path and just select it. Go into the colour box again, and this time, drag the cross straight into the bottom left corner for absolute black. Fill the selection. So now, we have a black blob on our hair. That's not very good. To fix this, and make it look nice, let's change the opacity right down. You decide yourself how low it should go. I went ahead and shaded some more. I'm going to use the eraser method again to fade the shading, which will make it look better. Remember that this will only need to be done in places like this. Now for the back of the head. I'm going to create a large path for this that loops back on itself. Here is the shading finished. Stage 4 The ears For the ears, I'm going to need another reference. Not only for accuracy, but also for colour. I found this. I'm going to select a colour for the outline of them, just like when we started. On a new layer, I'm going to make an outline for the ears, following that new reference I found. Now I'm going to pick a colour close to the main colour of the ear. I'm keeping in mind that the colour of the ears in my reference are a bit faded, so I pick a more solid colour. I fill the selection from the path on a layer below the outline I made for the ear. I create a new layer once more, and this time modify the path used for the outline for the inner ear. I simply move the left of it. I fill it in with a colour similar to the one in the image once more. That ear's finished, and I complete the second ear on a layer below the hair in the same method. I then merge the two layers I use to make the second ear together. Stage 5 Finishing touches Now, I'm going to make a layer over the hair and shading, and make a path to represent the shine on the hair. I'm going to fill it with white, and then make a selection of the base hair fill layer, and invert it. After hitting delete, you will notice that any white that went outside the hair is now gone. Good. Now, let's do some more fading on it. Before it's complete, we need to fix the layering, so I'm going to move the ear at the back down to the "Back" layer. You can simply hold the down arrow key for this, to keep it in line. The rest is up to your observation. For the last step, simply turn the Opacity of the bottom (Template) layer to 0. For finishing touches, I'm going to go ahead and add strands of hair coming out. There are a few in the reference, but I would add them anyway, to give the hair more realism, after all, nobodies hair is perfect. Apart from mine. You can fade those lines too. Finished. Save it as a transparent PNG, and you're done. Let's see the difference from the base hair to the final product, and of course the reference. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. It took me ages. The character created in this tutorial was Yoshika from Strike Witches, which you can get from my thread.