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DIY Title Bar

A Tutorial for GameBanana

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  • - In hopes of further helping you understand the entire process of creating this title bar, I have added a download link to the PSD at the end of this tutorial.
So to preface everything you are about to read, the colors and layer attributes used are for the most part arbitrary. Your end product will obviously differ from mine, but that is okay :)

This means that you are expected to experiment and figure out on your own what works best for your project. Just think of this tutorial as more of a guideline to help you on your way to creating your own unique art. /Bob Ross

For this tutorial I will be using the Photoshop program, and a handful of textures along with some c4d's. I will try to include the photoshop keyboard shortcuts throughout the tutorial and display them like this: ("CTRL+SHIFT+N")

Step 1: Determine the size of your piece. You can set this to what ever suites your needs. I choose to work with a 945x450 canvas using a transparent background.

Step 2: Create or find a render. This is going to be your main focal point for your title bar so either find a nice render from a site like deviantart.com or planetrenders.net. Alternatively you can just find an image online and render it out yourself. I suggest checking out my Render Tutorial if you need to.

Once you have your render open it in photoshop and drag n drop it onto your work canvas. Position the render to your liking.



Step 3: Create a new layer by either clicking the "create new layer" icon at the bottom of the layers pallet or by using the shortcut "CTRL+SHIFT+N". Make sure the new layer is selected and fill this layer in with a simple liner gradient for the time being using your desired colors. If it is not already position this layer underneath your render. You can select the gradient tool by clicking on the button over in your tools pallet or by using the shortcut "G" on your keyboard. The only thing you need to keep in mind for your color selection is weither or not you want them to be warm (i.e. orange, yellow) or cold (i.e. blue, purple) colors. 



Step 4: Next step is to start adding in some background shapes and giving them a bit of texture. 

Create a new layer ("CTRL+SHIFT+N")

From here you have a few options of adding shapes by either using the Custom Shape Tool ("U") with a preset shape, Using the Brush Tool ("B"), or you could do what I did and use the Marquee tool ("M") to create some elongated rectangles/lines. When using the Marquee tool it is important to know that this tool only makes a selection as indicated by the dotted lines/moving ants visable once you release the mouse button for your selection. Once you have made a selection you will need to fill it in with a color of your choice. You can do this by using the Paint bucket tool ("SHIFT+G" or "Right click the gradient tool in the tools pallet and click on the paint bucket tool") and clicking inside of your slection to fill it in. Remember to try and coridinate your color selection with your render and background to the best of your abilities. You can always change the color later if you are not happy with it anyways.

Using free transform ("CTRL+T") manuver your shape into the potition you wish for it to be in.



Step 4.1 (OPTIONAL): I decided to add a texture to my shape to give it some interesting features. To do this find a texture either by searching for something like "Wood/Metal/Paint/Rust Texture" on google or deviantart.com. Once you have a texutre you like, open it in Photoshop and drag n drop the texture into your work canvas.

Here is where you're going to have to experiement a little with the blend mode and opacity settings to get a desired effect. First make sure that your texture layer is above your shape layer.



Then right-click your texture layer and from the pop-out menu click on "create clipping mask". This option makes sure that your texture will only appear on the layer that has your shape in it. At this point you can start messing around with the blending option and opacity of the texture layer. I ended up using the "divide" blending option at 55% opacity.



Once you have achieved the desired effect select both the shape and texture layer by holding down the "SHIFT" key and clicking both shape and texture layers. Once they are both selected duplicate the layers ("CTRL+J") a few times. Then free transform ("CTRL+T") each duplicated shape layer to position them where you want them.



Using the same technique I created a couple wider rectangles using different colors and the same texture. The blending option and opacity for the texture remained the same for these new lines, but feel free to experiment with yours.



Step 5: Once you have your shapes sorted out, create a new layer ("CTRL+SHIFT+N") and select the gradient tool ("G" or "SHIFT+G" if you haven't changed back from the paint bucket tool yet) and select the radial gradient pattern near the top of the application under the tool bar. We are going to try and add a hint of shading/vignetting to the background. 



Select/create your desired gradient colors and with the new layer selected click and drag outward from somewhere near the middle of the canvas, or near your render to create something like this:



Set the layers blending option to Soft Light and the opacity somewhere around 50%.



Step 6: Using google or planetrenders.net search for an interesting c4d that you can work into your title bar. Try to keep them simple and if possible use one that has either a transparent background or fully black background. Drag n drop the c4d into your canvas



If you are using one with a black background you will have to mess around with the blending option and opacity to get rid of the black. I set my layer blending option to "Liner Dodge" and lowered the opacity to 67% to achieve this effect.



Step 7: From here on out we are going to be working above the render, so every new layer from here on out in this tutorial will be above my render.

Select your render layer and create a new layer ("CTRL+SHIFT+N") above it then right-click the new layer and select create clipping mask. On this layer you are going to select the brush tool ("B") and choose a soft edge brush either through the brush select menus or by using the shortcut ("SHIFT+[ or ]") while the brush tool is selected. You can also adjust the size of your brush by pressing the bracket keys [ or ].

Paint some complementing colors into the edges of your render to give off a glow effect as if light from the background/foreground is hitting your character(s).



 Once you've added your highlights and shadows blur the layer a bit by going to layer>Blur>Gaussian Blur and select a value of your choosing. Try to get a nice spread, but keep away from letting the colors cover the entire render. Hit ok and your colors are now more spread out.

 Lower the opacity and change the blending option to your liking. I went with 39% opacity and the "color" blending option.



After that select your render layer and make a duplicate ("CTRL+J") then drag the duplicate above your render and the color clipping mask. Set this layers blending option to "hard light" and lower the opacity to around 25%. This will sharpen up your render a little.



Lastly, make another copy of the top render layer then go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and do a light blur. I set my blur around the 7.0 mark, click ok. Next hold down the CTRL button and click the thumbnail of your original render layer to select it. You should see the dancing dotted lines around your render indicating it is selected. Making sure that the blurred render layer is selected press the delete button on your keyboard to clear the selection. This should leave you with a bit of a blurred edge around your render.

Step 8: Now we are going to try to create something like a light source. There are a multitude of ways to do this and mine probably isn't the best, so please experiment on this step.

Create a new layer ("CTRL+SHIFT+N") and using the Marquee tool ("M") create some solid white rectangles. I created four in total and free transformed ("CTRL+T") them into position.



With the layer selected go to Filter>Blur>Motion Blur and experiment until you get something you like.



Hit okay then with the layer still selected go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and try to dilute/soften the edges a bit more.



If you have any visibly hard edges on your lighting use the eraser tool ("E") with a soft brush and erase them away along with any lighting on your render that you do not want. I erased some of the light that was on top of the bass guitar and her hand to try and make it seem like the source is just a bit behind her.



Step 9: Drag n drop another c4d into your canvas. I found another bubble like c4d that emitted a red aura around them. Erase the parts you do not want to keep.



Set the blending mode to Liner Dodge and lower the opacity to your liking.



Repeat this process with the same c4d a time or two making sure to position it around with free transform ("CTRL+T") and erasing unwanted parts of the c4d.



Step 9.1: (OPTIONAL): I decided to add some splatter brush effects before moving on with the end process of adjusting the colors. This is a custom brush set I downloaded from deviantart so if you want to follow this step to a T, go download a set or two of high quality splatter brushes. Otherwise feel free to use whatever else you want. You can completely skip this step as your title bar should be pretty much done at this point.

Using the same technique as we used in steps 4 + 4.1 create a new layer with a texture clipping mask and add some brush marks. Erase anything that covers your render and then continue on with the tutorial.

Step 10: Drag n drop a new texture onto your canvas and make sure it covers the entirety of your title bar.



Set the layer opacity to somewhere around 20% and the blending mode to overlay or soft light. This step provides some textural uniformity to the overall image.



Intermission: Now we are pretty much done with building our title bar, so now comes the color adjustment phase. This is where you will really be able to shift around the tone of your final product through a whole bunch of adjustment layers. 

Step 11: At the bottom of your layers pallet you should see a handful of clickable buttons. Select the "Create a New Fill or Adjustment Layer" button that kind of looks like a yin yang symbol. A menu should appear with a list of various adjustment layers. Click on the "Gradient Map" option. A default black/white gradient map layer should automatically be added to your layers pallet. Change the blend mode of this map to Soft Light.

Next double click the thumbnail of the gradient map layer to bring up it's properties menu. Click on the color bar to bring up the Gradient editor. For the sake of this tutorial I will list all the numerical values of the colors I use from left to right, however, you should mess around with these settings to fit your overall theme. The only thing you'll really need to follow for these adjustment layers are the blend modes and opacity values that I will be listing for each adjustment layer.



^
Colors: #34307e, #585a8e, #cbc1a0

Remember, as stated previously, set this adjustment layers blending mode to soft light and leave the opacity at 100%.


^
Create a new gradient map

Colors: #290a59, #ff7c00

Set this gradient maps blend mode to "Hue" and lower the opacity to around 25-30%


^
Create a new gradient map

Colors: #272f36, #3734048, #47515a, #566069, #666f78, #788088

Set this gradient maps blend mode to "Lighten" and the opacity to around 25-30%


^
Create a new gradient map

Colors: #000000, #ffffff

Set this gradient maps blend mode to "Luminosity" and the opacity to around 45-55%

Click on the yin yang symbol again and instead of selecting gradient map from the menu select "Curves"

You are just going to have to mess around with this option until you get something you like. I used this curves layer to darken the shadows of image just a tad. Leave the blend layer on "Normal" and the opacity set to 100%, and only adjust the RGB spectrum without messing around with the individual colors themselves.



Click the yin yang symbol again and add a "Brightness/Contrast" layer. Leave the blend mode of this layer to normal and lower the opacity to somewhere around the 50% mark. I used this adjustment to slightly darken the overall image.



Step 12: IMPORTANT!: Create a new layer ("CTRL+SHIFT+N") and go to the top of the application tool bar. Select Image>Apply Image, a window should appear which we will leave everything as default except for the blending option. be sure to set that to normal!

You should now have a completed image of what you have created up to this point on one single layer. This new applied layer selected go to Filter>Other>High Pass and adjust the radius to something low. We are going to be using this layer to sharpen the image so all you really want to highlight is the edges of our subjects.



Hit ok then with the layer still selected change the blending mode to hard light and lower the opacity somewhere below 50%. You do not want everything to be too sharp just lightly more highlighted.

Step 13: Create a new layer ("CTRL+SHIFT+N") and fill this layer with black. We are going to create a light vignette effect to darken up the edges. Leave the blend mode of this layer to normal and lower the opacity to around 10-35%. Erase most of the middle leaving a little bit of edge around the outside.





Step 14: Click the yin yang symbol and click on Gradient Map. Set the blending mode to "Lighten" and the opacity to 15-20%.


^
Colors: #192713, #395f48, #e1eab1

Step 15: Click the yin yang symbol and click on Black and White. Set the blend mode to "Soft Light" and the opacity to 20%. There are a bunch of sliders here that you will have to mess around with. Just slide them until you end up with something you like.



Step 16: We are in the final stretch! Create a new layer then go to Image>Apply Image and hit ok, but make sure the blend mode for the applied image layer is still set to Normal. Leave the blend mode of this layer on normal and the opacity at 100%. Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Set the radius to 1.0 and hit okay.



Erase most of the middle section leaving the edges blurred.



Repeat this process by creating a new layer and applying the image to it. Leave the blend mode normal and opacity at 100% then go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and set the radius to 0.7 and hit ok. Erase the middle out of this layer leaving in slightly more edge then last time.



Step 17: Click on the yin yang symbol and add a gradient map layer. Set the blending mode to "Lighten" and the opacity to around 10-20%.


^
Colors: #481d63, #513d6a, #976b71

Step 18: Create a new layer and go to Image>Apply Image then hit ok. Set this layers blend mode to "Soft Light" and leave the opacity at 100%. With this applied layer selected go to Filter>Other>High Pass and set the radius to 0.5. Hit okay. This sharpens the image just a little bit more.



Step 19: Click the yin yang symbol and select Black and White. Adjust the sliders to your liking.



Step 20: click the yin yang symbol for the last time and select the Levels option. Here you will adjust how bright the highlights, mid-tones, and shadow appear. Mess around with each slider until the desired effect is achieved.



here is a quick comparison of before and after the adjustment layers.

Before:



After:



And just like that you're done. Hope you enjoyed the tutorial, remember to rate and comment if you have any questions or suggestions.

You can also download the raw Photoshop PSD file from the link below.

>>Download PSD<<

This is for educational purposes only, do not steal this file and try to claim it as your own, do not try to sell this item, do not use this item for anything other than educating yourself on the processes used in this tutorial!

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  • spacepirate avatar
    spacepirate Joined 6y ago
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    Wow, the final result looks really cool, I never thought there was so much steps to get something as polished as it is.

    And very well detailed tutorial, good job !!
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    Great tut, very detailed! :)

    Uptil now all I have ever done it take an image, blend in some texture, desaturate the colors, and use some vector brushes to add some wild strokes.

    Never done color adjustment or anything like that. I've always wondered why all those cool tBars had that 'tone' of color and I see now that adjusting colors is the key.
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    TL:DR:

    Take a base .png image/background removed image and selectively mash images and effects according to the theme into the project.
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    Nice tutorial, I wanna try it according to my ability.
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    good tutorial, I will use it in the future, though, i will use paint.net (evil laugh)
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