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Designed by You (Part 4): Broadening Your Skills

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Article by: Jana Bangerter
Tina Rawlins
July 16, 2015

More design resources

We hope that our self-teaching walkthrough helped you get started down the right path. If you get the design bug, hopefully you’ll keep looking for and watching the many tutorials out there on the near infinite number of things you can do with photo editors. But, in case you want to get started on one of those other paths, we’ve put together a list of a few good tutorials on just a few of those things.

Photo retouching

Retouching photos is a time consuming process, but it’s not as technically difficult as you might think. If you take some photos you want to post to social media or your website, but want to give them that professional touch first, check out the videos linked below. Note that each of these videos goes over slightly different techniques so it’s not a bad idea to watch or skim through those about software other than your own. Some of the techniques might be applicable to more than editing system.

Portrait retouching in GIMP. This video goes over cleaning up stray strands of hair, removing wrinkles and imperfections, correcting color and shading problems, and creating highlight and contrast. The producer is very clear and detailed in her explanation of her techniques, and the video has a “Part 2” if you want to get a little fancier with your retouching.
Frequency separation, skin retouching in Photoshop. This video goes over a technique that splits the color and texture of a photo into two layers. This allows you to isolate and work on color problems and texture problems individually.
Photo enhancement in Pixlr. Unlike the videos above, this one is not for a portrait, but instead for a wider photo of two people standing together in a backyard. The techniques are less about correcting imperfections and more about enhancing colors, shading, and sharpness.

Logo Creation

Logos may or may not be worth your time depending on your business. You might want to develop one if you have a strong online presence or are trying to cultivate one. Consider developing two versions of your logo—one in the colors of your personal brand which you can add to your website and one that’s crisp and monochromatic to add as a watermark to photos and videos. Adding watermarks to your photos is simple. Just make sure you leave the background blank, save it as a PNG, and then bring it into your photo as a new layer. YouTube makes it easy to put a watermark on all of your uploads. To learn how, check out this video.

When it comes to creating logos/brand identity, the options are pretty broad, so no one tutorial will give you clear cut directions on how to do this. If you want to create a logo, the best thing you can do is watch several tutorials on the process. No two will be alike, and each will teach you valuable skills to apply to your own process. Here are a few videos to get you started:

Design a Hipster Logo in Photoshop. This design tutorial teaches you how to manipulate text into a simple but attractive monochromatic text-only logo. This is an ideal project for the beginner, because the skills involved are minimal but they produce a nice effect.
Create a Logo in Photoshop. Like the tutorial above, this video works with only text to create an attractive logo, but it goes into some of the more advanced tools in Photoshop. The producer plays with colors in a unique way and really emphasizes the nature of digital design as fun and playful.
GIMP Tutorial: Clean Cut Logo. This tutorial brings in shapes, gradients, and a few advanced tools to create more of a traditional sort of logo. Note that some of the techniques employed in this video require the installation of a (free) GIMP plug-in.
Create a Logo with GIMP This tutorial also guides you through a more traditional logo creation process, but does so without the use of any plug-ins.

Effects

There are thousands of incredible things you can do in photo editors, so we’re not even going to try to cover all of them, but here are two videos teaching text manipulation techniques (both of which can be applied to any shape, not just text) that we found particularly lovely, interesting, and easy.

GIMP – How to Put Images Inside Text.
GIMP Tutorial: Glass Text Effect.

Conclusion

We hope that you’ve found this series illuminating. Designing your own materials can be profoundly rewarding both in the pleasure of self-improvement and in the monetary impact of beautifully branded materials. Design might not be for you, but if it is—if you’re bursting with ideas, and excited about the possibilities—we encourage you to not only try it but keep at it. Over time your skills and knowledge will grow, and in a few years time you might find yourself launching stunning campaigns by the sweat of your brow rather than by the paper in your wallet.

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Jana Bangerter

Jana Bangerter | Associate Editor

Born in Detroit, Jana spent her childhood in Michigan, Mexico, and Southern California developing an...

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Tina Rawlins

Tina Rawlins | Social Media and Internet Marketing Consultant 

Tina Rawlins is a highly respected and experienced eMarketing strategist....

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