Freestyle c4d tutorial

Written by AEGIS of TABLE OF CONTENTS I. II. Introduction The tutorial a. A crash course in basic artistic theory i. The rule of thirds and basic composition ii. Making an impact with colours iii. Flow – bringing elements together b. The tag i. C4d and Clipping Masks ii. Overexposure effects iii. More c4d iv. Splatter effects v. Ink Pen line vi. Custom Patterns vii. Adding depth and contrast to the tag viii. Recolouring ix. Effective lighting x. The finishing touches Notes Credits and acknowledgments Contacts and copyright information


Welcome to my first tutorial. I’m going to be showing you step-by-step how to make a tag like this: As a part-time graphic designer, I used to read a lot of tutorials, and most of the time, those tutorials only scratched the surface of the topic at hand. I very much dislike that, so I’m covering everything, but if you don’t want to sit through all of that waiting for one aspect to come up, I’ve hyperlinked everything in the Table of Contents above so it jumps right to wherever you need. As you read and follow this tutorial, branch out and incorporate some of your own techniques and style into the material. I love to see people demonstrate their individual tastes and be unique. The tutorial is there not for you to follow word-for-word, but instead for you to use as a loose guide. I would like to apologize in advance for the hyperlinks used to show the effects of each step. Unfortunately, Microsoft Word seems to dislike highquality JPEG images, and compresses them ridiculously. It also seems to like enlarging them, for some reason, and because I simply cannot denote the size of the pictures in pixels, it’s impossible for me to fix. Since it’s my first tutorial, I can almost guarantee that I’ll be doing things wrong. Even so, I hope you enjoy the tutorial. ~ Aegis

a. A crash course in basic artistic theory
The rule of thirds and basic composition The rule of thirds states that a picture can be divided into nine equal parts by “slicing” it into three equal portions both horizontally and vertically. Doing so outlines four areas of the image to consider placing elements of interest in. The theory holds that placing objects at intersections or along the lines gives it a more balanced feel. The human eye naturally goes to these intersections first rather than to the center of the piece, and thus placing elements of interest in those area lends energy. I used the Grid in GIMP and positioned the man in the stock along the left vertical line to add interest. His face is being used as the focal point, so I took the center of the face, the nose, and set it near the top left intersection. Of course, not following the rule of thirds isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and doesn’t mean that your piece is unbalanced or boring. Making an impact with colours This is the colour wheel. I can guarantee you that if you ever took a respectable art class in grade school, it will look familiar. There are three primary colours – red, yellow, and blue. When you mix two of these colours together, you get the secondary colours, green, orange, and purple. A tertiary colour sits between each primary and secondary colour. A lighter version of a colour is a tint, and a darker one, a shade.

The use of colour schemes can help to make an impact.

Monochromatic – different tints and shades of the same hue. You don’t see this in artwork a lot, because it can often make a piece look dull. However, light application in an artwork can help unify the piece. Complimentary – two colours directly across from one another on the colour wheel, like blue and orange. This colour scheme is used to make a work stand out. Split complimentary – one colour on one side of the colour wheel, with two colours equidistant from the first colour’s complementary, such as orange, coupled with blue-violet (BP) and blue-green. It’s useful for adding diversity to a piece’s colours. Analogous – Colours situated next to one another, like purple and violet-red (RP), can sometimes give a sense of light unity. Triad – Three colours equidistant from one another, such as the three primaries, are excellent for making elements of an artwork contrast. Flow – bringing elements together If a piece has good flow, it means that the human eye is drawn smoothly from one element of interest to the next. Flow can be established by the careful use of light and dark areas, elements of the artwork itself, the position of focal points, etc. Flow is important because it makes it possible for a person’s eyes not to get “strained” trying to go from one thing to the next. As you can see, in my tag, the way my focal point is positioned contributes to the linear flow, as do the extra touches like the line to the right of the focal point.

b. The Tutorial
We’re going to start the tag. Really.

C4d and Clipping Masks Make a new canvas (Bet you didn’t see that coming). I’m using a canvas of 321px by 99px, so I can easily apply the rule of thirds. Paste in your stock. If you don’t like using stocks, just take a render and put it on a nice background. Now take a couple of c4ds and drag them into your canvas on new layers. Scale them if you feel the need. Since I wanted to give the tag itself a strange feel, I chose c4ds with bright colours that contrasted one another. Erase around the parts you don’t want or you think look bad with a soft round brush, 50px or so in diameter. Set those c4d Layers that you want to be less visible on a low Opacity, and set their mode to Lighten only. I dragged in a line-art/wireframe c4d and erased most of it, leaving a large portion and a smaller one to the sides of my focal point to help establish flow. Now drag in another c4d (preferably one with a good, intricate shape) and scale it if you need to, but don’t do anything else. Instead, open up your Layers dialog. Select the Layer containing the c4d you just dragged in. Right-click it and select Add Layer Mask…. When the dialog opens, select “Transfer layer’s alpha channel.” This will create a Mask of the Layer in the shape of the c4d. Select the Layer instead of the Mask, and Clear the Layer. Copy Visible and Paste it, and move it around until you find something you think looks good. Anchor the Layer and set its Mode to Lighten only. Since I didn’t like the look, I duplicated the Layer with the checkered object, dragged the duplicate above the Masked layer, and set it to Darken only. I added in two more c4ds on Lighten only and erased what I didn’t like.

Repeat the step in which you made Clipping Masks with c4ds a few times. I did it three more times with the tag itself, and one more time with a vibrant CG wallpaper. Set the Mode to Lighten only. When you erase, preserve some areas of the background to make it look “fuller” and help with blending. Overexposure effects Now get a couple of good-looking overexposure effects and Paste them into your tag on new Layers. Set the Layer Modes to Lighten only. If you would like to add a nice touch, erase their ends with a soft round brush and taper them. More c4d Make a few more c4d Clipping Masks with the tag and set the Modes to Lighten only. I also added in two more c4ds and set them to Lighten only. Splatter effects Make a new Layer and get out a set of splatter brushes. Brush in a colour with Saturation at 100 and Value at 50. Erase around your focal point and in any other areas you think the brushing looks bad. Make another Layer and brush again, but with a different colour. Set the Layer on a low Opacity and bring it to the top. Ink Pen line Make a path with the Paths tool that goes alongside your focal point. Because I wanted to add a bit more interest, I gave it a “bounce” shape. Set your foreground to a colour you like, and Stroke the Path with the Pen.

Custom Patterns Take a custom Pattern, like dots or boxes, and fill a new Layer with them. Go to Alpha to Selection in your Layers dialog, and drag in the colour you stroked the Path with. Select None and erase what you don’t like with a soft round brush, and set the Mode to Lighten only. I also added in some scan lines on another layer in black and erased. Adding depth and contrast to the tag Depth and contrast will help to bring out elements in the tag, since right now it looks bland. Make a new Layer. Copy Visible, Paste, and Anchor it. Reset your colours to their defaults, a white background and a black foreground. Go to Filters > Colours > Gradient Map to convert it into a black-and-white version of the tag. Set this Layer to Multiply at 30% Opacity. Make a new Layer and again Copy Visible, Paste, and Anchor the tag. Use Levels or Curves to enhance the light and dark areas of the piece. After a little while, you’ll probably find that you prefer one or the other, so use whichever you have experience with. Recolouring Gradient maps are useful for Recolouring because after one inputs the command for it, they can use Layer Modes to achieve all kinds of effects. Copy Visible and Paste your image on a new Layer and experiment with Filters > Colours > Gradient Map until you find something you like. Since I want you to experiment, I’m not giving you the Gradients I used, but here are some hints to achieve similar effects: • • I used four Gradient Maps in all. Two of these Maps were used to further enhance depth, and one for contrast.

Make a new Layer and fill it with a “cool” colour, such as a tint of blue-green. Set this Layer’s Mode to Soft light at 20% Opacity. It doesn’t make too much of a difference, but it helps keep the colours in the tag from seeming too intense. Effective lighting Lighting is used to help bring out certain elements in a tag. Since the focal point needs to be accented most of all, we should place our lighting so it brings the focal point out more. Look at the lighting and shadows of the stock. The lighting is coming from above the man’s right cheek, and because the transition between light and dark is so short, the lighting has to be close. Take a 200px soft brush and, in the colour you used to stroke your Path a while back (if it’s not in your palette, just click the Pen Layer and use the Eyedropper on the line), place a spot of lighting where you think it should come from. Take your colour and lower the Saturation so you have a paler, brighter version of the same colour. Brush in the center of your first spot with a 100px soft brush to make your lighting more dynamic and realistic. Lower the Opacity to 75% and set the Mode to Screen. Make a new Layer and Copy Visible and Paste the tag. Get out the Dodge/Burn tool. With a small soft round brush, Burn the shadows of the tag to reinforce your lighting. The finishing touches Copy Visible and Paste the image on a new Layer. Go to Layer > Transform > Flip Horizontally. Again Copy Visible and Paste on a new Layer. Now go to Filters > Enhance > Sharpen…. Sharpen the tag by about 45. Erase everything that is not around your focal point or that you don’t want to bring out, and lower the Opacity of the Layer until you like the look. A border is a nice finishing touch. Fill a new Layer with black. Select All, and shrink the selection by 1 pixel. Clear the selection and lower the Opacity to 80%.


I can’t believe I just wrote my first tutorial, and that it ended up being that long. Even so, I hope somebody got something out of it, and I’m glad people like the style. If someone sees something I do and asks for a tutorial, then maybe I’ll do another. I guess it all depends on the response I get from this one. It’s also hard to believe that I got good enough over nine months that people would even ask me for one. It makes me feel special. Since it’s my first one, I’m looking for feedback on it. I know it’s long, but if anyone actually reads over everything and I see some outcomes, I’ll be pleased very much.

I want to personally thank .Genesis at Gamerenders for the awesome overexposure effects. When I find the link back I’ll post it. Acknowledgments and thanks All the guys at Gimptalk for putting up with me for so long Fileden for hosting this tutorial, because it’s big. And I’d like to thank anyone who reads this tutorial. It makes me happy.

Email – This is mine. You like ripping? Well, I don’t. If you post this tutorial anywhere and don’t have written consent from me, I will hunt you down and politely ask you to take it down. And if you don’t, then it’s my right as the original author to contact your server people and get them involved, and we don’t want that. So to clear things up: Copyright © 2007, Eric Lockett, All Rights Reserved. This document may only be posted at If you would like to post it elsewhere, contact me.