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  • Character Banner - A Photoshop tutorial

    Character Banner Tutorial

    It is common practice on the net these days to find renders of video game characters and show them off in a banner using Photoshop. This tutorial will show you where to find the best renders, how best to place them in the banner and what effects should be used for the best possible outcome.

    For this tutorial I will be creating a banner of Psycho Mantis from Metal Gear Solid.

    Find some renders

    1. The easiest places to look are www.planetrender.net and www.gamerenders.com. However, do not limit your search to these places! Look for concept art and 3d models made by users or the gaming developer.

    I could not find many renders of Psycho Mantis on the above two sites. However, I did find some concept art by the great Yoji Shinkawa.

    I also found brilliant images from http://www.artbylowis.com/gallery-3d-psychomantis.php. These are 3D models of the character.

    2. From your images select one or two. Too many images can reduce the impact of the banner. I chose Psycho's head and his floating body.

    3. Cut your images out. Bring the images into Photoshop either by File>Open or by clicking and dragging your image into Photoshop. You can use the Wand Tool or the Polygonal Lasoo tool to cut around the image.

    With the wand tool click on the background. Sometimes it will select the render as well:

    Which is why using the Polygonal Tool can be the best way of cutting renders:

    Cut the image and copy it into the banner (CTRL+X) and (CTRL+V)

    3. Create a new canvas in Photoshop (CTRL+N). Size the canvas appropriately and place the images into the image. Resize the images (CTRL+T) and drag the corners while holding Shift.

    This is what I started with. With the floating body, I used the body of the 3D model and the head from the concept art. To place them think about what these images are shown. The floating body shouldn't be cropped as it won't look like it is floating. The head can be cropped and often showing a small part of the head can create dark overtones of the character.

    Now that the images are in place a background needs to be created.

    4. To make a truly unique and amazing background you need to work with the render, not against it.

    Psycho Mantis has the ability to move things with his mind. Lets create a background that shows spinning panels.

    a. Use the Marquee Tool (M) to make a box. Fill the box black (ALT+BACKSPCE)
    b. Go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. Set to 0 degree angle and 20 pixels
    c. Go to Edit>Transform>Skew. Stretch the corners of the box as shown.
    d. You now have a moving panel.

    5. Repeat Step 4 to create the entire background.

    Now to work with the lighting.

    6. Now to work with the lighting. Fill a layer with white (ALT+BACKSPCE). Add a gradient overlay over the background with these settings:

    7. Add a Colour Balance Layer.

    Slide the bar towards Green as desired.

    Add light streams.

    8. Use the Polygonal Tool (L) to create light streams. Fill with white (ALT+BACKSPCE). Lower the Opacity of the layer to about 12 percent. Use the same technique but use black and create shadows on both the character images and the background. Polish the image with a few hovering panels.

    9. Add text. Text can make or break the banner so it is important that it is well placed, subtle and works with your renders and background.

    a. I chose to write the text and go to Filter>Blur>Motion Blur. Set the degrees to 0 and the distance to 20. Repeat the blur twice (CTRL+F).

    b. Write over the blurred text.

    Add a border to complete the banner.


    a. Create a new layer (CTRL+SHIFT+N).
    b. Select the Marquee Tool (M) and select the entire banner.
    c. With the same tool, right click in the selection and select Stroke.

    d. Select 1px. Colour as black. Location Inside. Select OK.

    I used the eraser (E) to rub out the banner from the render. It helps separate the two depths of field.

    And there you have it, a Psycho Mantis Banner!

    Here are a few others I have created using the same principles:

    This article was originally published in forum thread: Character Banner - A Photoshop tutorial started by Shards View original post