Wallpaper Guide (step by step)

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Valuna

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Valuna

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THE WALL GUIDE

INTRODUCTION
Most of you might wonder how we make most wallpapers, while others wonder why their wallpaper isn’t good enough. So, I decided to make an informative guide to help you make amazing wallpapers step by step! In this guide, I will tell you everything you need to know how to make a good wallpaper and how you can improve. It takes a lot of time creating simple tutorials by myself, you'll have to be a bit creative that I don't insist on wiping your butt, so look for things when you can't get it done! There are already many useful tutorials linked below in Tsunoh's thread so I ain't going through the trouble linking them all here

This guide exists out of quite a few steps to make quality wallpapers. It requires some time reading through, but I’m sure it causes to be helpful in guiding people to make something nice. In order to make a wallpaper, I suggest you play around with certain things to master them. I can not explain it very well and it is mainly development for yourself, which can only be improved by trying things or following tutorials on different sites.

What's so good about this guide anyway?
Good question! It's just a beginner guide or for anyone wanting to widen their knowledge to create, ultimately an acceptable wallpaper to Minitokyo! Many people seem to not know where to start! Well, just start by reading this guide. It's simple, easy and it'll guide you for everything you need to creating wallpapers and even helps you follow Minitokyo's rules.

Thank you all the amazing artists that once gave me simple tips, tricks and ways to improve myself. I’m sharing a piece of knowledge with you people so you aren’t aimlessly wanting this or that wallpaper to be done…instead, you can do it yourself! It does get all the easier if you know your software a bit.

BEFORE GETTING STARTED
- There will be a couple extra tips, tricks and hints when reading through this guide. They’re in the place where it is related to. So no need to worry you might have missed something.
- There is no need to read up on what is what. The first thing on every subject is the explanation/definition of it.
- Be sure to save your file regulary. You do not want to lose your progress. This is one thing you have to keep repeating,
- Layers are very important when it comes to using image-manipulation software. You are better off having more than enough layers than just a few. You can always merge or group them, but it can be difficult seperating them,
- Troughout the entire guide, you will find tips or tricks to help you develop easier as an artist. They will have a different colour.
- This guide requires you to know your way around the programs, so be sure to look for tutorials to get around with your softwares.

USEFUL LINKS FROM YOURS TRULY (suggested to use these links while using this guide)
Anime Wallpaper creation- a basic guide (lots of useful terms pros, cons and tutorial links)
THE SANDBOX (for when you are stuck, need help, inspiration or are uncertain)
Photoshop Tutorial sites
Drawing Tips

CONTENT [ctrl + f to skip directly to them]
- SOFTWARE GUIDE
--------------- BATTLE PREPARATIONS
- RENDER GUIDE
--------------- EXTRACTING THE IMAGE
- VECTOR GUIDE
--------------- VECTORING THE IMAGE
--------------- BASIC VECTORING
--------------- ADVANCED VECTORING
- BACKGROUND GUIDE
--------------- PLAYING WITH MAGIC
- LIGHTING GUIDE
---------------THE FINAL CHALLENGE
- QUALITY CHECKLIST
--------------- PROOF OF QUALITY (Deletion Risks)
--------------- SUBMITTING ON MINITOKYO

----BEGIN SOFTWARE GUIDE----

BATTLE PREPARATIONS:
The very first step you need to make is to have image-manipulating software. There are several types of software you can use. The most commonly used software for effects and little vectoring is Photoshop and GIMP. Perhaps you can also use Paint Pro or any anything similair. For vectoring, people use Illustrator and/or Inkscape and for painting it is usually Photoshop or SAI.

In order to paint properly, people use a Wacom tablet. Bamboo type is enough to do all the things you need with it.

Once you have your basic equipment ready, it’s time to get an idea and an image source. It can be a screenshot, picture or an original drawn image (I don’t suggest drawing yourself unless you have quite some experience in drawing). Think what you want to do and what you want to see as a result. The next part of the guide exists out of 2 different paths; image extraction and image vectoring.

To avoid conflict when using an original image, try using only your own or one of which you have premission of the original artist when not officially published in magazine or book. Minitokyo does not allow images taken from Pixiv unless they were in an artbook or you have premission from the actual artist.

It might come in handy to get a high quality picture. It could become rather pixeled or poor of quality when the image normally isn’t large enough.

Your idea doesn’t have to be very clear, just be sure you know where you’re going and that you aren’t wasting your time on nothing!

----BEGIN RENDER GUIDE----

EXTRACTING THE IMAGE
Image extraction or well known as “rendering” means to get rid of all the elements in an image until you are left with only the thing you want.
Extracting an image is quite easy. I use Photoshop myself for extracting images. You use either the Pen Tool or the Polygonal Lasso Tool. You can find some tutorials on how to use these tools on the internet. They’re basic to use when using these programs. So be sure to master them! The key is not to leave anything of the background in the picture, image you are trying to extract. The extracted image is called a Render.

When using the Polygonal Lasso Tool, you may want to use Image Masking to avoid making huge errors. You can always restore anything of the image with it.

Go to save for web and save the Render in .png file to somewhere on your computer. This way, you will keep your Render as it will be easier to use for your wallpaper later on.

If you’re lazy, feel free to take off a Render from a Render image site, but don’t forget to credit the person who rendered the image or that it is pixiv/fanart.

----BEGIN VECTOR GUIDE----

VECTORING THE IMAGE (advanced)
In order to Vector, you must first understand what a vector is. To put it simply, a vector is an image where each Point/Anchor is made by a mathemathical input. For this sole reason, vector images are independant of pixels (except the pixels on your screen). Because it is independant of pixels, you may enlarge it without losing any data which would normally cause the image to look very blocky/pixeled.

Now you know you know what a vector is, we can move to actual vectoring.

To start off with vectoring, you should practice on making lines with the Pen Tool. Many lines until you have mastered the lines to become the line you want it to be. I used to have a few classes considering Illustrator. I thought this [click here] practice would do you good in mastering the Pen Tool in illustrator, just try to copy what you see with the pen tool. Controlling the pen tool is the key to master vectoring.

Be aware that the Pen Tool has a slightly different way of controlling them in each program. I prefer the one of Illustrator myself. It is easy to use and you have many, many options.

BASIC VECTORING
Once you can control the pen tool well, I suggest you take an easy image like a chibi picture or a screenshot for starters (an actual image is possible). Insert the image in your Vector program, make a new layer and lock the layer with the image you will be vectoring.

For some they might find it better to work with when the base image’s occupacity is lessened.

You could have a better overview with what you are doing to name your layers or groups with with their purpose. It makes it much easier to change certain things or delete them. I usually have mine in this order: [OUTLINE] [HAIR] [CLOTHES] [FACE] [SKIN] and as of lately, I’m not even making layers for shading/lighting anymore.

Lineart
Next up is making the Lineart. The lineart are the outlines of an image. Beginners tend to use stroke outlines. They’re nice, quick and easy to do. In order to get the best result. You will have to make fill outlines. These are more time-draining, but they pay off in the result. It is up to you what you will choose. Eventually, you will have touse fill to get the best results. You can still use stroke lines for machines like guns. It works pretty nicely and would be a horror doing it in fill.

To avoid jaggies (pixeled lines) in the end result, you might want to use a different color other than black for your lineart. Something close to it will do aswell.

Be sure to save every now and then when vectoring. You don’t want to risk losing all your progress!

Colouring
When you are done making the lineart, you can start colouring the image. There are several ways to colour your vector. I usually use the Eyedropper Tool on the original image (it picks a colour of the place you use it on) and maybe adjust it a little, while others try to make their own color entirely. Go figure what you prefer to get the right color. It is all up to your personal preference.

Start making a vector shape by following the outlines of some part (hair, eyes, face, clothing part, whichever you want to do first). You will notice the color will fill nicely as you proceed in filling the outlines with a shape. Be sure that with the first colouring set, it IS the base color of every shape and try to make a new layer for each step such as image, lineart, base color, shadows, highlights, eyes and skin.

You don’t have to make every part that you color in one shape, feel free to use as many as you want to make it easier. You can group the vector shapes or mend them with the Pathfinder.

Saving the Vector
Your vector should be about done once you followed through all these steps. Save your .ai file and save your file for web as .png, .jpg .eps(I always do for web so I basically have a “Render” image that I can use anywhere, use eps when you know what it is). To upload your vector on Minitokyo, put the credits on the image and save it as .jpg.

Vectoring is time-draining. Don’t feel weird that a vector might take you ten hours or more to finish.

ADVANCED VECTORING
Gradients
One of the most and overly abused thing to make something stand out so much more than usual is the use of gradients. Gradients enable you to create more depth and a better or more realistic flow. It gives the “WOW” factor to your vector. It does costs quite some practice to get the coloring right. It is easy to derive from the original color and highlighting/shading it with gradients so it might be a little difficult.

Shading & Highlighting with multiple shapes
There is the possibility of shading or highlighting things with multiple shapes. In some wallpapers, you see someone that used many, many shapes to get to the shadows or very light part. I usually do it with a certain occupacity set and make many vector shapes to get the result.

Mesh Tool
Some artists use the Mesh Tool. It is not frequently used but some still use it for their vectors. I do not like using it myself because of several reasons. The mesh tool can not be used when the vector shape has too many anchor points. So you need rather simple shapes to use it. It creates a raster-like thing on your shape and you are able to apply different colours to all the anchor points. You are capable of moving them around aswell..It may also cause rather blurry lines which may be off if you don’t use it properly.

Vector & Painting combined (other advanced technique)
When combining these two techniques, one makes vector outlines because they are smooth and crisp compared to paint lines. The coloring however, is done with paint technique. Our lovely Nysha made a tutorial The Ultimate Vectoring Guide for her Hakuouki wallpaper. There has been a few using her tutorial, so putting it in here would only be proper.

------BEGIN BACKGROUND GUIDE-----

PLAYING WITH MAGIC
The first half is done, which is providing yourself an image to work with. Now comes playing with magic and finishing your piece.

Before the next step, you will have to decide on the size of your wallpaper. The most commonly used these days is 1080p (1920x1080). If you plan on using this, use a higher ratio of 16:9 (2560x1440).
Everyone wants people to be able to use it. That is why 16:9 is rather unfitting unless you think this size is what you need for your wallpaper. As a standard size, I suggest using the 16:10 ratio (1920x1200 for standard, suggesting 2560x1600). You can always cut part of the top or the bottom to fit in the 16:9 ratio. Pick whatever you like, make a new file in your image-manipulating software (Photoshop, etc). This will be your “clean” wallpaper with nothing in it so far.

The first thing you do is importing your vector or render into your wallpaper. Place & crop it how you want it to be, how it is fit and such then save your .psd file.

Next up is making the background. There are several ways to make your background. It can always be a combination of various techniques.

Abstract
For starters, making an abstract background is the easiest to get around with. I would even say it is the best option. You play around with brushes, colors, filters, gradients, etc. It is the perfect background for starters as you get to control all necessary elements without complexities. You can find a lot of brushes via certain sites like deviantArt. They come in all shapes and sizes (so no need to worry that you have to make everything yourself). They work miracles on giving you a fitting background. Play with it and see how it turns out to be. It takes some practice before you get something fitting and to your own liking.

Don’t just smack every type of color on it, do it with some sense! You should be having an idea how you want it to look like. Try working towards it.

Stock Photo (Scenic)
It is possible that there is an existing image or photo which you consider to match the style as your background for your wallpaper. Find one in Google, Minitokyo or whatever. It doesn’t need to have the exact right colours, it just needs to match in the composition. You may use several images in one piece, but you will need to “blend” everything nicely so it looks like one piece. Matching different color types of images may cause trouble. You will have to change the colours with blend modes and such. Maybe you want to change the image with a filter. It has some nice effects depending on the style. People normally create blend modes with their images. I find it easier to just make a new layer, fill it with color and use a blend mode (I’m quite weird doing it like this). Start off using one image for your whole wallpaper to avoid complexities. If you want, you can add one more for a certain part for ex. Clouds while you have a grass image on the bottom.

Using Layer masking could be of use when using multiple images along with soft brushes. It enables blending two or more images nicely together.

Original background (Abstract)
This is basically almost the same as the normal abstract background. The main difference is that you you aren’t as reliant on what other people have/had made in advance for others to use and create most or all things yourself.

Original background (Scenic)
The most difficult thing is making an original background. You have to know about horizons and dissapearing points. It is very complex. You can paint or vector it. Depends on preference for the piece or person. I won’t say much about this because you will learn it with time while mastering other techniques.

One last word on backgrounds, it can ALWAYS be a mix of multiple styles/types together. Creativity never stops and even water & oil work together if you do it right. Once the background is finished, we move to the final step.

-----BEGIN LIGTHTING GUIDE-----

THE FINAL CHALLENGE
This is truly my favourite part when making wallpapers. It makes me feel like I’m drifting on water somehow. Guess what? It’s all about Lighting & Blending. Not every piece uses it, because sometimes it does not fit with the style. It does play magic on your wallpaper, even if you slightly apply it.

To lighten properly, you would want to change to overal focus to one part or maybe two. This usually happens by smacking a gradient over it with black & white and changing it’s blend mode. Always try lighting parts up while making other parts darker. This changes the focal point and brings more depth (Occupacity percentages can even be 2-8% to make a big difference). In other words, you get more of a “WOW” factor doing this. It can be that that your background and vector/render does not blend properly and seems off. You can usually fix this by putting a color filter on it or saturating (suggested i fit is a wild color fest!) one part or both. This usually does the job in making it all even and one fitting piece.

-----END LIGHTING GUIDE-----

SUBMITTING ON MINITOKYO
Your wallpaper should be done by now, but you miss one more important thing.Put on your name and perhaps some credits of the original artist/series on your wallpaper. Preferably in the bottom. It would be nice to put “minitokyo” on it aswell. Save your piece and save it for web as jpg.

Now you are ready for submission! Not certain yet? See the SUBMISSION CHECKLIST underneath

Go to Minitokyo and find “submit wallpaper”. Pick your freshly made wallpaper, tag it with the main tag and give it other tags. The thing people tend to risk deletion is with their description. Write a story short or long on your experience and troubles in making this piece. It is also suggested to credit your sources by linking them too. Once finished, press the submit button! You will see your wallpaper pop up on the main page of the site.

-----QUALITY CHECKLIST----

PROOF OF QUALITY

Hi! This is the final part of the guide. You can look for this anytime you aren’t certain about the legitimacy or quality of your wallpaper/indy-art. This is entirely based on Minitokyo’s submission guidelines, but it also serves as proof of quality work. For the sole reason that this site has certain factors that are a MUST in your artwork or you will risk DELETION, sometimes definite deletion aswell. Not to forget that every reason why your wallpaper or wallpapers were/might be deleted are stated here.

Image Ripping
As mentioned before in the guide, your image source has to be legitimate. Thus, no pixiv art/fanart (pixiv only from pixiv artbook scans) unless you have premission from the artist. Scans are perfectly fine, official art too. Neither does it work to rip wallpapers, vectors from people. Always be sure you are crediting people properly! If you do not, you will risk deletion of your wallpaper, regardless of how amazing it might have been.

Render/Extracted Image
Quality renders don’t show white extraction outlines or jagged outlines. What exactly are jaggies? Well, they are these chunky outlines you tend to see. You can fix it easily by rendering PROPERLY. Yes, don’t be lazy, just be a good person and clean your plate instead of throwing the biggest chunk out, leaving the dirt on the plate. Punishment level on Minitokyo considering renders is HIGH. Your wallpaper will be deleted for poor extraction. Try to make things a bit more with love and you’ll get there.

Vectored Image
With vectors, always check if ALL your outlines add up to one another. If you are using coloured, be sure to keep the outlines at the front in the front and not something in the back passing over it. For colouring, try to check if you have any bleeds that slightly go outside the part(s) it should be in. A common mistake in vectored images are vectored headshots. Make sure the headshot is very detailed and so much better than a screenshot! Otherwise you have a fairly high chance of your wallpaper to be moved to the Indy-Art section, or even deleted.

Overfiltering
Something beginners tend to make mistakes is with overfiltering. If you use too many filters on an image, the colors might become a bit distorted and things will start looking jagged.

Legitimacy
In order to make sure you made it, it is suggested to write a proper description when submitting your artwork

Credit(less)
A common mistake with people that just started uploading their work. You MUST put your credits on your image! Not to forget to link your sources in the description

If you have an OK to all of these, your submission ought to be a Proof of Quality. No risk for deletions! Cheers!

----END THE WALL GUIDE----

Comments/Questions all up for interrogation.
Missed something? Feel free to shoot me.

P.S of course I'll marry myself :3

These beautiful, fragile days are reborn, unfaded
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pandemonium91

Retired Moderator, Tagger

pandemonium91

Lazy af

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Yes! Great guide, and I applaud the initiative :) It's nice to have these things written out so everyone knows the ropes. Unfortunately, while there are numerous tutorials out there, walling is still a very individual and personal process - you can't have someone dictate your style, you have to discover it yourself. And so many of the tips you listed are immensely useful when starting out, since you don't have to go through the time-consuming trial-and-error process if you already know about them.

Quote: Be sure to save your file regulary. You do not want to lose your progress. This is one thing you have to keep repeating.

Amen to that, you never know what might happen (damn you, power outages!)

Quote: If you’re lazy, feel free to take off a Render from a Render image site, but don’t forget to credit the person who rendered the image or that it is pixiv/fanart.

I'd like to add that many people who upload to image render sites don't credit the source of the images they use to create said renders (mainly PNGs). One more reason to learn to extract yourself: it's not difficult (but it can be tedious, depending on the detail and dimensions of the image), and you won't risk having your awesome wallpaper deleted for such a silly reason (accidentally using stuff you're not allowed to). To be absolutely sure your wallpaper isn't deleted, see the list below and check them off as you go:

1. your wallpaper has a signature (ideally, your MT username; if it's not the one you use on MT, you must specify it in your description);

2. your wallpaper has a good description. A description is considered good if it includes (but is not limited to) the following: why you made this, what difficulties you encountered, what you learned, what your most/least favorite parts were etc. A walkthrough would be great to have, because why not? It's your work, show it off proudly!

3. your wallpaper's description lists the good sources for everything (brushes, textures, images etc.) you used. Sources are considered good if they point directly to the item in question (so just linking to DeviantArt doesn't cut, it, sorry, you need to link to the specific brush pack or at least the creator);

4. your wallpaper meets the quality standards of MT: no jagged edges or burn marks, no pixelation, cohesion between the elements of your wallpaper etc.

Quote: Before the next step, you will have to decide on the size of your wallpaper.

I recommend cutting your wallpaper to match the more important aspect ratios (which you can find here). The more variety in resolutions, the more people will be able to use it.

Quote: Don’t just smack every type of color on [the brushes you use in your wallpaper], do it with some sense! You should be having an idea how you want it to look like. Try working towards it.

Yes! Brushwhoring (slapping every brush known to man on a wallpaper) is dangerously easy territory to slip into. And when you use a pile of brushes, they'll just end up looking like a big blob of uncertain shape. No one will tell/care that you used those pretty butterfly brushes if you drowned them under a few big grunge ones.

And I'll be piggybacking to link to a few of my own guides on the matter (hope it's OK; if not, I'll remove them):
13 tips on vectoring (using Photoshop)
How to Design a Wallpaper - Tips and Guidelines (mostly what you mentioned here, just presented differently)
How to Extract Images (Pen Tool Method) (using Photoshop)

Nysha's tutorial is quite possibly the best vectoring tutorial out there, so I highly suggest you go read it.

Want to help out with tagging? (Of course you do!) See these: Tag admin thread | Guidelines | Tag-licious

happytail73

happytail73

TRUE BLOOD FUDANSHI!

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Very nice indeed!
The presentation was simple and straightforward that any beginner could easily get things started with this. I like how you highlight some notes and reminders. The links that were provided were very informative and at the same time very substantial. Everything was covered from the basics to some advance steps with some tips on the side. Every walling process was discussed properly, arranged systematically and logically.Creativity is the only thing that will limit things in their end.


*whispers* Actually I'm thinking of marrying you...but...

Live a little! Cry and Laugh a lot! And don't forget to always Love!

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