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Voltlight's import tutorial - Updated with video 06/10/2013

Discussion in 'Tutorials' started by voltlight, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. voltlight

    voltlight Avid Affiliate

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    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)
    1.png


    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.

    2.png

    Now, select the most useful tool in the whole of the GIMP. The Paths Tool.

    3.png

    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.

    4.png

    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.

    5.png

    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.

    6.png

    Music change.

    7.png

    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.

    8.png

    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.

    9.png

    Another music change.

    10.png

    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.

    11.png

    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.

    12.png

    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.

    13.png

    Here is my corrected path, I just changed a few things here and there.

    14.png

    Never forget to save.

    15.png

    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.

    16.png

    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".

    17.png

    Wonderful, we have our base outline.

    18.png

    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.

    19.png

    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".

    20.png

    Now click the colour box, and find a colour close to your references' hair colour.

    21.png

    Using the fill tool, click somewhere inside the selection, and there you have it, the base of the hair.

    22.png

    To unselect everything, click one of the selection tools, and click outside the selection.

    24.png

    Looking good. Missing alot of detail though.

    25.png

    Music change. Okay, I'll stop..

    26.png

    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.

    27.png

    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.

    28.png

    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.

    29.png

    I went ahead and drew all the lines I think there should be.

    30.png

    Now, I'm going to select the Eraser tool. Turn the Opacity right down to the 30's, and the scale down too.

    31.png

    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.

    32.png

    On the same line, I'm doing it again, only not rubbing as far down this time.

    33.png

    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?

    34.png

    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.

    35.png

    Alright, let's take another look at our reference. You'll see that I have not yet touched the back of the hair.

    36.png

    I'm going to make another layer so we can get started. This layer will go above the outlines layer.

    37.png

    I'm going to use this layer as another outline layer, for the big piece of hair that sticks out.

    38.png

    Stroke this path, and then make a new layer inbetween the original outline layer, and the new one.

    39.png

    With the path still active, click "Selection from Path".

    40.png

    Use the colour picker tool again, and select the base fill layer and click the hair colour.

    41.png

    Let's go back to the layer we were just on, and select the Fill tool. Click in the selection to fill it.

    42.png

    Let's unselect that and take a look.

    43.png

    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.

    44.png

    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:

    45.png

    Right click on the layer and click "Merge Down" to merge it with the layer below.

    46.png

    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)

    47.png

    Oh look, we have an overlap. No matter.

    48.png

    I'm going to go ahead and create a path over it, and make a selection.

    49.png

    Hit Delete, and there you have it.

    50.png

    I'm going to make another layer above everything again, this time for the messy part of her hair at the back.

    51.png

    Let's make another path to represent it on the new layer.

    52.png

    Now, go back a layer, and use the colour picker tool to pick the outline colour out.

    53.png

    Go to the Paths tab and select the path again, it should be the latest one.

    54.png

    Go back to the Layers tab and stroke the path on the latest layer.

    55.png

    Let's make a new layer inbetween our old outline layer and our new one.

    56.png

    Make another Selection from Path.

    57.png

    Fill it in with the main hair colour as we have been doing before.

    58.png

    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.

    59.png

    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.

    60.png

    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.

    61.png

    Go into the colour box again, and this time, drag the cross straight into the bottom left corner for absolute
    black.

    62.png

    Fill the selection. So now, we have a black blob on our hair. That's not very good.

    63.png

    To fix this, and make it look nice, let's change the opacity right down. You decide yourself how low it should go.

    64.png

    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.

    65.png

    Now for the back of the head. I'm going to create a large path for this that loops back on itself.

    66.png

    Here is the shading finished.

    67.png

    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.

    68.png

    I'm going to select a colour for the outline of them, just like when we started.

    69.png

    On a new layer, I'm going to make an outline for the ears, following that new reference I found.

    70.png

    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.

    71.png

    I fill the selection from the path on a layer below the outline I made for the ear.

    72.png

    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.

    73.png

    I fill it in with a colour similar to the one in the image once more.

    74.png

    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.

    75.png

    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.

    76.png

    I'm going to fill it with white, and then make a selection of the base hair fill layer, and invert it.

    77.png

    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.

    78.png

    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.

    79.png

    For the last step, simply turn the Opacity of the bottom (Template) layer to 0.

    80.png

    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.

    81.png

    Finished.

    82.png

    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.

    83.png

    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.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 30, 2015
    Sharklasers likes this.
  2. Ghost Maestro

    Ghost Maestro Avid Affiliate

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    Re: Voltlight's import tutorial

    I just saw Australian hiphop as part of your recommended music. Familiar with Hilltop Hoods by any chance?
     
  3. voltlight

    voltlight Avid Affiliate

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    Re: Voltlight's import tutorial

    Oh yes. I was referring to them and the Funkoars.
     
  4. anonymous

    anonymous Club Regular

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    Re: Voltlight's import tutorial

    Polka for the win.
     
  5. No. 7

    No. 7 Potential Patron

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    Re: Voltlight's import tutorial

    POLKA
     
  6. Chance

    Chance Swell Supporter Content Creator

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    Re: Voltlight's import tutorial

    I nearly died XD
    Nevertheless, you convinced me to download Gimp.
     
  7. voltlight

    voltlight Avid Affiliate

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    Re: Voltlight's import tutorial

    Good to hear, hope you have fun with it.
     
  8. Ghost Maestro

    Ghost Maestro Avid Affiliate

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    Re: Voltlight's import tutorial

    Gonna give vectoring a go, Chance?
     
  9. Chance

    Chance Swell Supporter Content Creator

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    Re: Voltlight's import tutorial

    Yeah, this or polka.
     
  10. anonymous

    anonymous Club Regular

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    Re: Voltlight's import tutorial

    POLKA TIEM!!!!

    POLKA TIEM!!!
     
  11. Chance

    Chance Swell Supporter Content Creator

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    Re: Voltlight's import tutorial

    [​IMG]
    Am I doing it right
     
  12. anonymous

    anonymous Club Regular

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    Re: Voltlight's import tutorial

    YES, GOD YES!!!
     
  13. voltlight

    voltlight Avid Affiliate

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  14. gustanddust

    gustanddust Potential Patron

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    Re: Voltlight's import tutorial - Updated with video 14/05/2011

    Is any other program I could use instead of photoshop? my pc is really shitty and can't handle big programs :-\
     
  15. voltlight

    voltlight Avid Affiliate

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    Re: Voltlight's import tutorial - Updated with video 14/05/2011

    This tutorial is for The GIMP, not Photoshop.
     
  16. cthulhudpc

    cthulhudpc Potential Patron

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    Re: Voltlight's import tutorial - Updated with video 14/05/2011

    Ok so I gave it a shot and it didn't work out so well, but I did learn 2 things 1. This is a LOT harder than I thought it would be so I am more impressed with the artists work than I already was and 2. even with a couple of hours worth of time I'm still horrible at using gimp. The tutorial is good I'm just not very good at this kind of stuff so I tip my hat to all the artists who make hair imports. 'tips hat'
     
  17. voltlight

    voltlight Avid Affiliate

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    Re: Voltlight's import tutorial - Updated with video 14/05/2011

    I guess it's just practise. Don't give up ;)
     
  18. Sovereign899

    Sovereign899 Potential Patron

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    Re: Voltlight's import tutorial - Updated with video 14/05/2011

    Why do some of the pictures just don't appear? Says 403 when I try to open in another tab....
     
  19. anonymous

    anonymous Club Regular

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    Re: Voltlight's import tutorial - Updated with video 14/05/2011

    I've been very slowly updating the images for volty.
     
  20. Darkmodder34

    Darkmodder34 Potential Patron

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    Re: Voltlight's import tutorial - Updated with video 14/05/2011

    Thank you for this. Even it can took me a year, your tutorial is gonna help me a lot xD. I wanna contribute whit something.