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Creating a Wallpaper

By Jonathan Fletcher
Web: Open Site
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Date Added: 9th December 2009
Software used:
3ds Max, Photoshop

Open the new image in Photoshop, go into channels, hold ‘Ctrl’ and click on the thumbnail of Alpha 1 to get the white selection of the alpha mask. Go back into RGB and copy this selection, then simply paste it into the PSD with your background.

As it is a separate layer we can do some painting behind it without muddling up the original image. Just play around here and add some soft shadows to the background with a burn layer, as well as adding some bright spots to give the illusion the light hitting your character is reflecting back onto the canvas.

Depending on the depth of your scene/character you could also whack some Blur on distant areas to give a fake DOF look.

But in the end, just keep it simple, just make it about the character, don’t make something that’s too heavy on the eyes like a full blown war scene.

Next I decided to add the Dominance war logo, obviously because it was a wallpaper for that event, so I merely copied it into the image and clean up some edges so it went well with the background. I kept the same overall colour scheme of the character and made it heavily blue by simply shifting the hue and adjusting some levels, we don’t really want any foreign colours to hugely stand out and we also want it to fit the style. (In this case, the character looks like he’s got some sort of weird mana fusion thing going on all over his body).

Positioning the text is pretty much the same procedure as with the character, but take into account its size and opacity, is the text more important than the character, should it be bigger or should it appear weak, and is it ‘that’ important? That is why I made my personal details (name and website address) very small and placed underneath the title of ‘Dominance War’.

I ended up placing the main title at the top of the wallpaper, head height with the character. I find this an important aspect as you want to be able to present the image properly after the text, for instance, it is better to have the face presented after the text rather than the feet.

This is the point where all that is required has been finished, your characters in there, the text and details are there, you technically don’t need anything, but if your like me and you have the text at the top instead of the middle and the character all the way on the left instead of a dramatic pose in the middle, you are going to have a large open space.

Now you can go with whatever you feel like should this happen to you, I simply added a different posed shot of my character with the opacity toned down and also slightly scaled down not to obscure the main shot, this ended being a pretty cool space-filler and shows diversity to the character, that he is dynamic and in more than one position. This said, don’t forget to leave some blank space as it also a good thing not to over complicate it.

Depending on how you actually rendered your image and its size, some of the character may not fit into the canvas, giving a feel that everything is ‘squeezed’ in or too compact, for instance when I made mine, I got some feedback that because the feet don’t entirely show in the wallpaper, it gives a sense that the viewer must scroll down to view the rest of the character, and it just ends in a sort of ‘uncomfortable’ look.

So instead of forcing the main feature to be smaller and extracting detail, we can do the reverse and add detail to cover it up.

I simply created a cloud layer by blending some colours in Photoshop with filters and erased a lot of the centre and used this layer to cover up where the feet meet the border, this adds to the image rather than taking away, and boosts the theme of the scene.


As for sizing, you should have developed this in the highest resolution that you wanted, so it is just a matter of going to image > image size and typing a lower resolution, when scaled down, you’ll find that any sharp details will be blurred and anti-aliased to an extent that doesn’t really look all too brilliant, so just apply a ‘sharpen’ filter afterwards which should make every pixel count once again.

And that’s pretty much it, as I said im not the most brilliant of artists but then again, a lot of good wallpapers aren’t exactly brilliant art, simplicity is successful, don’t over do it and just make something that is cool to look at, not a challenge.

Well I hope this helped a bit with some basic design aspects, thanks for reading!

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