This thread will be dedicated to explaining the different terms used it Graphics and Art. :O
Some people who are new to the game may not know what some terms mean, and may find Tutorials and resources confusing.
Feel free to post Your own definitions, but make it noob friendly. >: o
Like, your talking to a 6 year old who doesn't know what a computer is.
*Note: This was copied from another forum that I am a member on, so some of the links may not work, I tried to fix all of them but please inform me if there are still some that need fixing.
**Also know that these definitions are a compilation of definitions gathered from many different people all of whom are not on this site. That being said, props to ClyDeft for contributing a lot of his knowledge.
List of Common Abbreviations:
Brush / Brush sets
The Brush is a tool that pretty much every image creator or editing program will have. The default use of this tool, it to simply create a line on your artwork, as it it was done by a paint brush. However, you can make it so the brush is not just a line, but can be pretty much anything. You can download Brush sets from places like DeviantArt and Brusheezy. An example would be to download a Splatter brush pack, and instead of using the brush tool to colour something in, you simply click once and create a splatter effect. This can give artwork that much needed life and depth. Of course, since it is still a brush, you can change the colour, size and effect just like any other brush type.
C4D stands for Cinema 4D. In Photoshop/ GIMP term, it is pretty much a 3D render that is abstract. A program such as Maxon C4D can be used to make these renders but don't be mislead. Just because a C4D doesn't come out of this program, it doesn't mean it is a C4D. C4Ds can be made with a lot of other programs as well such as blender, 3DS Max, Maya., etc.
C4Ds are used to give work an edge and generally add that shine or polish a piece of work, they also can be used as the main aspect (focal) of a piece of work when doing an abstract piece. Some advice to those working with C4Ds is to not spam it. Consider how you are going to apply it and try to match the flow in your piece of work. A lot of artists use Photoshop's blend controls to change the light settings on a C4D image, this can create a range of nice effects.
Renders / Extracts
A lot of people call extracts renders. An actual render is the image outputted by a 3D modelling program such as Blender, Milkshape, etc. after a model has been rendered. When we talk about renders in a forum like this or in the general sense, it refers to an extract. It is accepted to call extracts renders these days but if you are around people who do 3D modelling, it is better to call them extracts.
An extract is an image that has been taken out or "extracted" from another image. Extracts are used as the main element (focal) in a piece of work, they often create flow. Some advice for those working with extracts is to pick a high quality one. It is much easier working with a clean render than something that has been cut out from a scanned magazine in most cases. To create an extract, a program that offers a pen tool, a magic wand or a similar tool, like those found in Adobe Photoshop, can be used. For the best results use the pen tool and blow up your work 4x before you start and then shrink it once your done.
Click here for a tutorial on rendering
Depth is the attempt to make your tag as 3D as possible. With it you're trying to create realism. Generally for this, things in the background are smaller and less focused, whereas things up front are sharper and crisp.
Techniques to use: Normally the blur tool is a very good way to show distance, but using light and shadows can also be a good way to accomplish that.
When people talk about 'Flow' they usually mean the relation of the background/effects to the focal point of the sig. All effects and that things that are happening in your sig should all be pointing to the same thing, or in the same direction. Flow is the path across your sig that you want your viewers eyes to follow. It's usually done to highlight good effects and makes the sig look less cluttered and messy.
Color is an aspect that often depends on the preferences of the maker, however to make it easier, there's a few general tips one can follow. Here's a few different color schemes that are commonly used:
Monochromatic (colors that are the shade or tint variation of the same hue)
Complementary (colors that are across from each other on the color wheel)
Analogous (colors adjacent to each other on the color wheel)
Triad (3 hues positioned at equal distance of each other on the color wheel)
You often hear artists compliment sigs for their good 'composition' but what does it even mean?
Composition is the way the tag is made up. The positioning of the elements in way which is pleasing to the eye. They are looking how blending, flow and depth play together and guide the eye along the effects and to the focal point.
Something that is really important here is the Rule of Thirds
Imagine you split your signature into 9 equal boxes, actually instead of trying to explain it, I'm just going to show you:
Tutorial to set it up by jax
It makes it easier to determine where you want to place important things on your sig. Placing things along cross sections and along the lines is more pleasing to the eye. If you look at other sigs, will notice that the main points are rarely in the center of the boxes. I mean it can look okay in some situations of course, however especially in the beginning it can be very helpful.
Dimensions and KB
If you've ever wondered what those limits beneath your avatar and signature on your profile mean, this is the right place for you. Dimensions are the numbers that sites put in place to limit the size of signatures utilized by the user, for example, a signature limit of 500 x 100 means that the signature may be 500 pixels in width and 100 pixels in height, if you try to upload a signature or avatar with a larger size, it will be automatically resized and some quality will will be lost when it is. KB, on the other hand, means Kilobytes. This is the amount of data your signature takes up on the site. Images with a lot of special effects, gradients, and whatnot will take up more KB than those without them, so a KB limit is enforced to keep things running smoothly. When making a signature it is important to keep KB in mind because lowering the quality is the fastest way to lower the KB size, but at the cost of some appeal. Uploading a signature or avatar with a larger KB number than you are allotted will result in the quality being reduced, or sometimes it won't upload at all.
Check out this tutorial for lighting: Lighting
As well as this quick guide on how to set up your signature with proper lighting.
Comments and Critique
CnC is a form of giving constructive criticism towards a work made by another artist.
When giving Constructive Criticism it helps to start off with a positive comment, then after that adding points for the person to work on to improve their piece.
Lets say as example, if it has bad light: 'Your lighting could be improved, it looks to white or to much as a brush' it helps to say it a certain way also, dont say it like the following: 'Your lighting sucks, it looks like crap' or similar things, try to say it a bit more positive as following: 'Looking at your lighting I think it could use some work, maybe try and make it less white'. This style is effective because the average confidence level of someone just starting out is very fragile, so this helps them ease into it and work on improving bit by bit. It is also a good idea to throw in some tips or terminology to help them along.
Also it helps as was said to add some tips on how to create a certain look or how to work on these things to improve upon.
For example: Here a tip on how I create my lighting, I use a big soft brush on a new layer around 400 pixel widht and click just outside of the canvas and put the layer on linear dodge to make it glow.
I sometimes lower oppasity or delete parts that look like they are to glowy and unfitting.
Also to figure out where to add your lighting it helps to look at the highlights on your render.
Dont forget to finish the CnC off with a positive comment, something like 'I like your colours', 'I like how you placed the render' or 'nice effects' can go a long way for someone that is fresh in designing and makes them feel at least somewhat appreciated.
Example of a good, in-depth, CnC:
Edited by FireclawX, 26 January 2014 - 01:11 PM.