The Art Group » Discussions


Tutorial: Skyrimising Art (GIMP)

  • Member
    July 18, 2014

    Oddball's Skyrimisation Guide

    Hi, Oddball here with a tutorial that is guaranteed to increase the quality of your builds with a bit of practice. GIMP is a free piece of software and it only takes a few hours to get the basics, download it here. This tutorial will focus on getting your build images to look like they belong in Skyrim by taking objects from the game and making those objects fit the style of your chosen art. I'm going to start by pointing out two things, first I'm on mac so some things may be slightly different for windows. Second I'm not the best at this so sometimes I may not do it the best way, however it does still work this way and any issues will probably be pointed out by someone more skilled than I.

    Step 1

    Choose an awesome background image that fits the build and save the image to your computer:Here my 'Build' is and Orc Barbarian… with a few mates. I think he'd look good with the Helm of Yngol and an nice big ass battle-axe so I'll find some pics of them and save them too.

    Lets start with the helm of Yngol, open a new GIMP image, copy the picture of the Helm and paste it as a new layer.

    (There's something odd about the tips of those horns…)

    Big problem here is the black background, though this is easily removed, go to:

    Tools - Selection Tools - Free Select

    and use that to drag around the outline of the helmet, it helps if you do it in smaller sections. Then just cut it through:

    Edit - Cut

    or just use the shortcut (Cmd X on mac)
    Do this all the way around the image so there is just a white background. Top tip, for the last bit around the face hole you can just use fuzzy select, also a selection tool.

    It should hopeful look like this.Next step is to use the fuzzy select again to select all the white surroundings. Then go to:

    Colours - Colour to Alpha

    This makes all the white see through, however you don't notice that here as the background is white too, so don't get angry if it doesn't look like it worked. 

    Now simply open a new GIMP file of the main image (The orc in this case) and copy the and paste the helm into it, should look something like this.Now scale and rotate it into the desired position. These commands are both found under:

    Tools - Transform Tools

    Now its in the right position but obviously doesn't look great now. We still need to make it fit the style of the art and remove the butt-ugly face behind it.

    To remove the butt-ugly face just use the free select tool to select the face area (it's easier if you zoom in) and then darken your selection by going to:

    Colours - Brightness-Contrast 
    and then lowering the brightness and increasing contrast.Do this all around the face to blacken it out.

    Sorting the style of the helmet is slightly more complex but still not too hard: 

    First go to Filters - Artistic - Oilify to match the image style. Then darken it using the same method as before for darkening the face, only not so much, just enough so that the lighting looks right. Finally go to Colours - Colour balance and fiddle with the sliders. Here the image is a sort of yellowy browny colour at its brightest so I increased the yellow and red sliders slightly. At this point you can mess around with the other filters a bit until you find one that fits your image. 

    After doing all this it should look like this.Looks much better now, and looks much more Skyrimy however, adding an axe to anything always guarantees more awesomeness. 

    Essentially just repeat the earlier steps. Open a new GIMP file, paste the axe in as a new layer, crop the handle off and set the white to alpha as before. Then simply paste it into the main image.Scale and rotate it so it looks right, then move it off into another corner so we can deal with that scythe. To get rid of it is a bit difficult and there are a few ways of doing it. I did it by using the darkening technique we used on the face to darken first the scythe (which then stood out because it was much darker than the surroundings) and then the whole surrounding area so it didn't stand out as much. You can then go to Filters - Blur - Motion Blur to make it flow a bit better. It isn't perfect but I'm reasonably happy with the result. Now move the axe back and apply the Olilify filter, then darken it and add a bit of contrast.If you found those steps hard to follow just look back over the steps for the helm, its pretty much the same.

    And thats it, you could fiddle around with the colours on the axe a bit to make it a bit more brown or yellow. The same technique can be altered a bit depending on circumstances. I hope you've learned a bit here and that everyones build art will look much more like it belongs in Skyrim!

    Oddball out.

  • Member
    July 18, 2014

    Fantastic tutorial, Oddball. GIMP, folks, it's free and awesome!

  • Member
    July 18, 2014

    Thanks mate! Photoshop really isn't necessary for stuff at this level

  • Member
    July 18, 2014

    Really helpful article Oddball, thank you

  • Member
    July 18, 2014

    Glad you found it helpful!

  • July 18, 2014

    Excellent. Glad to have another talented artist willing to share what he knows

  • Member
    July 18, 2014

    Thanks! The tutorial section is looking a bit sparse at the moment.

  • Member
    July 22, 2014

    Nice tutorial Oddball! I'm gonna have to try this!

  • Member
    July 22, 2014
    Hope you do!
  • Member
    July 22, 2014

    Wouldn't it be easier to just add an alpha channel to the original helmet, then using the fuzzy select to select all the black and delete it? Nice tutorial anyway.