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Photoshop: An instrument background from scratch (Read 2935 times)
12th Aug, 2009 at 1:05am

Vitus   Offline
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Spaghetti-code producer
Auckland, New Zealand

Gender: male
Posts: 64
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In this tutorial we will draw the instrument background for a round, needle-type manifold pressure. Everything is done in Photoshop and you don't need any additional tools or plugins! All can be done in less then half an hour if you are a bit experienced with Photoshop.

Start with a blank image with the size of 300x300, select a circle that fills the whole image and set a dark grey as foreground color.
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Fill the circle on the background layer and copy the whole layer by draging & dropping it on the "new layer" button in the layer list.
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Select the top layer and use the most important tool: the noise filter. Add 10% of monochromatic, Gaussian noise to the layer.
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Select the second most important tool: the "Gaussian Blur" filter. Apply this filter to the layer, using about 3 to 5 pixels for the radius.
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Merge the top layer with the background layer by pressing "Ctrl+E". The reason for this is, that the Gaussian blur filter will also blur the edge of the circle. By merging the layers this effect is removed.
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Add the "Noise Filter" a second time, but use only 1% of noise this time.
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Select the "Burn" tool in the tool palette. Set the Radius to 100 and decrease the Exposure level to around 30%.
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Add some shadows to the instrument. Especially darken the edge of the image.
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Pick a light grey color for the scale and numbers.
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Select the "Ellipse" tool. Make sure you selected the "Path" option for this tool.
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Draw a perfect circle. The easiest method is to move the cursor to the middle (150,150) of the image, click and drag the cursor while holding down the "Alt" key (first click defines center, instead of border) and the "Ctrl" key (round!).
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Select the "Font" tool and click on the circle. Pay attention to the cursor symbol!
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That way your text will be written around the path. Type some "i's".
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By holding down the "Ctrl" key you can move the text around. That way you can put it inside or outside the path. With the "Ctrl" key you can control two text cursors: one for the beginning- and one for the end of the text. Play around a little bit to adjust the Scale to your need.
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Use the different options in the font palette to adjust the gap between the dashes and the strength and length of it. You can also change the color for specific lines.
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Add the numbers for the scale.
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Select the background layer and blur the noise a little bit, using the "Blur" tool.
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It is wise to put all the vector graphics (-> the text layers!) in a separate folder. Create a new folder on top of the background layer and move all font layers in it. Yes: this could have been done before.  Roll Eyes
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Don't forget some description for the gauge.
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Copy the whole font folder...
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...and press "Ctrl+E". Doing that, the whole folder is rasterized and combined to one raster layer. Hide the original font layer. You can also delete it, as you don't need it anymore. But on the other hand you can keep it hidden in case you want to change something later.
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Apply the noise filter to the rasterized font layer. Find out a good amount of noise for that.
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Select the "Eraser" tool, set the size to about 100 and decrease the flow to something around 20%. Randomly erase some parts of the font layer to simulate some wear out.
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Almost done!
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Add a new layer to the stack. Select "Color dodge" as blending mode.
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Select white or a light grey as foreground color and select the "Brush" tool. Look for a brush that is not regular, or make your own brush (you can find some good tutorials on that in the web!). Draw some irregular lines on the surface. When done, change the opacity of the layer until it fits your needs.
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That is it! The result looks like this:
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Conclusion: I introduced methods to design the background image for a instrument gauge from the scratch without the use of any complex filters, tools or plugins. It is an easy way to start the gauge graphics, even though this tutorial leaves enough room for improvement.
I used the steps described above to create all the instruments in my project:
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I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.

Regards
Vitus
« Last Edit: 12th Aug, 2009 at 3:16am by Vitus »  
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Reply #1 - 12th Aug, 2009 at 7:43am

Felix/FFDS   Offline
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Excellent!

Thanks for the tutorial.

 

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Reply #2 - 13th Aug, 2009 at 10:25pm

MeTriX   Offline
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I Love FFDS!
Perth, Australia

Gender: male
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Thank you for the tutorial!  Smiley
 
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Reply #3 - 14th Aug, 2009 at 7:54am

Bambi   Offline
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I Love FFDS!
Germany - 06571 Roßleben

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Thanks A Lot.

Very well done. Smiley
 

Best Regards&&Sandra
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Reply #4 - 11th Nov, 2009 at 10:02am

Willem   Offline
LDV Engineer
Gmax... can't live with
it, can't live without
it.
Netherlands

Posts: 266
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Excellent tutorial!!
You made very high quality backgrounds by the looks of it Shocked

See if i can do the same....  Huh
Many Thanks.

grt
Willem
 

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Reply #5 - 16th Nov, 2009 at 7:19pm

joanvalley   Offline
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Mexicali, B. C., Mexico

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Bravo!

Jose.
 
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