Title: SIGTAG BASICS

Software: Corel PaintShop Pro X4 & Up

Author: Merlene Guldager

Home Page: Gold Acres Designs

Skill Level: Beginner

Materials Needed:

  • None
  • Description:
    All the ins and outs, dos and don'ts of making a Signature Tag. What's a Signature Tag? It's a graphic expression of you. Mostly it's your name and you use it to sign your posts on a board or in email. But it can be so much more than that depending on your taste and ability.

    For this tutorial we will make two tags. One on a background and one transparent.

    Preparation   &   Modes

    PaintShop Pro has three work modes. They are: Manage, Adjust and Edit.
    You will be using the Edit mode for this tutorial.

    How Sigtags Work in Online Forums

    Before you begin, let's take a moment to discuss "sig tags". As stated above, a signature tag can be used in an on-line forum (also called a board) or in email to sign your messages. They can also be used to express yourself. And they don't have to be your name, they could simply say "Thanks" or "Sorry".

    Because they are graphic in nature, they often take time to load and slow things down on forums or boards. Consequently most forums have rules governing their use. In most cases, it works this way. Add the height of your tag on one side to the width of your tag on one side. The total should not exceed 250 pixels. That may not sound like you have a lot of room to work with, but you do. And yes, each of the five in the examples above meet that criteria. Below is an example of just four sizes, each adding up to 250 pixels.

    In order to display your sigtag on a forum in your posts, you will need to upload it to space somewhere on the web. That can be your own webspace if you have it (often your ISP will provide you with a small amount). Otherwise, there are free sites that will host your images for you. The more popular ones are Photobucket, Picassa. Once your image has been uploaded, you will need to know the URL so you can paste it into the signature box on your profile for the forums where you plan to use it. This is called "hot-linking". More on that later.

    LET'S GET STARTED

    A Filled or Non-Transparent Sigtag

    1. Open a new white raster image, 175x75 pixels.

    2. Select the Flood Fill tool.

    3. Go to your Materials Palette and choose a nice soft gradient for the Foreground color. The style of the gradient is up to you.

    4. Fill your image.

    5. Select the Text Tool and choose a font. This can be fancy or plain, anything you like. Set up as follows:
      Size = 30 pixels or more.
      Stroke width = 1
      Alignment = Left
      Create as: = Vector
      Choose the darker color from your Gradient for the Foreground color, and the lighter one for the Background color. This will make your text outlined.

    6. Place your Cursor in the lower left corner area, click and type your name. Depending on the name you may need to change the font size and start over. Just click the Reset Icon next to the Apply icon , then change the size and try again.

    7. Click Apply.

    8. Go to Objects Align Center In Canvas.

    9. Right click on this layer in your Layers palette and convert to raster layer.

    10. Go To Effects 3D Effects Drop Shadow and apply a shadow like this:
      Vertical & Horizontal = 2
      Opacity = 75
      Blur = 2.00

    11. Go To Effects 3D Effects Buttonize as follows:
      Height = 5
      Width = 5
      Opacity = 75
      Edge = Solid
      For color choose the darker color of your Gradient. Click Ok.

    12. Go to File Export, select JPG Optimizer and save your image and then close it.

    A Transparent Sigtag

    This time you'll make a tag without a background. The color or image on your page, forum or email background will show through around the edges of the letters instead of a plain white box. Look at the side by side comparison below. Doesn't the one on the left look much nicer without that white box around it?

    1. Open a new transparent raster image, 500x200 pixels. This will give you room to experiment with different fonts and sizes. You will resize later to be sure your tag is an acceptable size.

    2. Activate your Text tool. This time choose a nice 'fat" or "chunky" font. Fancy is alright too.
      Size = 48
      Stroke width = 0.0
      Font Style = Bold
      Choose your favorite Color or Gradient for your Background color. Make the Foreground color Transparent.

    3. Type your name and click apply. Then right click on the Layer and convert to Raster.

    4. Now go to Effects 3D Effects Inner Bevel and set up as shown in the image below:

    5. Then apply the same Drop Shadow as you did in the previous tag. (The settings are all still there, just click Ok.)

    6. Go to Edit Copy.

    7. Go to Edit Paste as New Image. This will give you a new image without all that extra space.

    8. Now you need to check the size of your tag. Look at the bottom right hand corner of your Workspace. You will see something like this.

    9. This tag is 204x47pixels. It's just slightly oversized. Depending on the font or name you used yours may also need to be resized. Remember you add the Width + Height and it can't be over 250 pixels.

    10. Go to Image Resize or press CTRL + S to open the Image Resize control window.

    11. Set your Pixel Dimensions to Pixels, not Percent. Also be sure that Lock Aspect Ratio is checked. You may need to click the Advanced settings box to see this control.

    12. Start by reducing the Width of your tag. The Height will automatically adjust. Check to see if adds up to under 250. You may need to do this several times until you get your tag to an acceptable size. Click Ok when you do.

    13. Because resizing can cause blurring you might want to go to Adjust and Sharpen one time. If you don't like it you can always undo it.

    14. Go to File Export, select PNG Optimizer and save your tag with Transparency.

    Making it work on the PSP Beginners Workshop Forum

    1. If you have webspace, upload your tag there, then follow along.

    2. Go to your Web gallery or album (Photobucket or Picassa).

    3. Upload your sigtag.

    4. Click on your tag and then go up to your Browser's Address line and copy it.

    5. Go to the BW Board and click on Profile on the Menu tabs.

    6. Now looking at the left side click on "Forum Profile Information" and click that.

    7. Now look down the page to Signature: There's a nice large box there for text. You need to enter some code here.

    8. Type exactly as follows:
      [img] [/img]

    9. Right click between the two tags and choose Paste. The URL you copied from your Browser's Address line will be pasted in.

    10. At the bottom of the page click the Change Profile button.

    11. Now on the left side click the word Summary and scroll down the page to see your Sigtag.

    12. If you don't see your tag, go back to your Photobucket or Picassa album and try again. Remember to click on the image and then go to the address line of your browser and copy it.

    13. Other Boards and Forums should work in a similar way. You should check the Help files there if you experience problems or ask a Moderator for help.




    If you are looking for a great place to learn more about PaintShop Pro, please visit The Beginner's Workshop. We offer a different approach to learning. Upon acceptance you will be assigned a mentor to work with. She will be there to answer all your questions and help you get the most of each tutorial. And the best part is that it's completely FREE!

    Copyright © Merlene Guldager

         This document and the images contained therein may not be translated, duplicated, redistributed or otherwise appropriated.