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If you’re a gamer, you know how much ungodly amounts of time is spent in developing a single character. It’s only right that you’d want to show your character off in your favorite gaming forum, and it’s only fair that your gaming signature should look unique. We’ve all seen the same sig over and over, and want something different, right?
This is a pretty easy gaming forum signature created purely in Photoshop, but it does take several steps to make. Take your time with it – we won’t be using any pre-defined styles, so each step is laid out and fully customizable by you. You’ll need a copy of Photoshop version 7 or higher (or a copy of another graphics editor like GIMP that can handle layers); this tutorial is written using CS3 Extended, so some of the tools discussed might be located in different places if you’re using another version, but they’re all there..

Let’s jump right in.

Gaming Forum Sig

1. New Canvas 

Before you create a canvas (File, New), make sure to check the rules of the forum you visit and see if anything has been stated about signature size. Some forums really don’t care what size your signature is, as long as you host it yourself. Other forums want a specifically sized signature with no deviations up or down. Starting out with the right size canvas will save you a ton of time and frustration.

In my case, I can use any size I want (yay for kind forum admins!) so I’ll be creating a canvas that’s sized 400×150 in RGB mode with a white background.

2. Background Image 

Everything in this signature is going to work off the “interface” look of the background image. So let’s create that first. Make a new layer (Layer, New, Layer) and then select your polygonal lasso tool. Then, set your foreground color to #e8e8e8 and your background color to #d1d1d1.

Now, use your polygonal lasso tool to draw a shape like the one in Illustration 01. It should nearly fill your canvas, but not completely (you need room for the little “extras” we’re going to make). Fill the selection with your foreground color.

Next, we’re going to make this look more like metal. Go into your layer styles (Layer, Styles) and choose “Stroke”. Set the color to #5a5a5a and the size to 1 pixel. Then, locate the “Gradient Overlay” tab in the layer styles window. Click it, and set the gradient to your foreground/background color, the style to reflected, and the scale to 105. Finally, click the “Inner Glow” tab. In here, set the color to white and the size to 3 pixels. Click OK.

The last step in creating our background image is to create a few “dividers” that define where the elements of our signature will end up. Set your foreground color to #5a5a5a and add in the dividers as shown in Illustration 01 (use your single row and single column marquee tools to create them). Then, duplicate all your lines, move them 1 pixel down or to the right (use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move 1 pixel at a time) and go back to your layer styles, applying a white color overlay to each of the duplicated lines.

3. Gel Bar 

This is a really quick step, but ends up making the whole thing look so much nicer. First, create a new layer that’s behind everything except your white background. Then, make a rectangle that stretches along behind and below the interface, as shown in Illustration 02. I’ve also clipped off a corner of the bar using my polygonal lasso tool just because I liked it better that way.

Now, you’ll need to decide what color you want your bar to be. A bright color is best – bright blue, bright red, hot pink, etc. Then, set your foreground color to a light version of that, and your background color to a darker version of it. If you have the shot of your character that you want to use all ready to go, try choosing colors already present in that shot.

Next, go into your layer styles and place a Gradient Overlay. Change the gradient to your foreground/background colors, but leave all the other settings alone. Then, click on the Inner Shadow tab. Set the size to about 21 pixels and leave the rest of the settings untouched. Finally, go into the “Satin” tab and set the color to white. Click OK.

Your gaming signature should now look, more or less, like mine in Illustration 02.

4. Last Touches 

All that’s left is to type your text and add a shot of your gaming character to the signature. If your forum has a background that isn’t white, you might want to consider changing the background of your signature to match it – it just looks better. Other than that, save it for the web and you’re set to go! Just make sure that you save a copy of your sig as a .psd so that you can make changes easily any time that you need to.