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It looks flat on the sides. Try using the stock circle with this as a colour overlay on the semi-transparent parts.
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Kaffedrake wrote:
It looks flat on the sides. Try using the stock circle with this as a colour overlay on the semi-transparent parts.

You're right, they're a little flat because they're right up against the edges. I'll work on it some more.

I run into this issue often when cropping in tightly on large circles. Usually, it's improved by simply not cropping in quite so close; however, that seems to produce less detail overall or skewed proportions.

Thanks for the feedback!
 
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To get better circularity when resizing, it often helps to first blow up, then shrink down. E.g. resize a 70x70 image to 512x512, then to 16x16.
 
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Kaffedrake wrote:
To get better circularity when resizing, it often helps to first blow up, then shrink down. E.g. resize a 70x70 image to 512x512, then to 16x16.

Interesting. I assume that you're adjusting the image while it's at the larger size? Or does just increasing the size without further adjustments somehow affect the image?

I'll be sure to give it a try.

Kaffedrake wrote:
It looks flat on the sides. Try using the stock circle with this as a colour overlay on the semi-transparent parts.

(v2)
> (v3)


Any improvement? Unfortunately, I didn't understand the specific technique that you recommended earlier, so I just manually reduced the transparency of the edges to more closely match the stock circle. I'll be happy to work on it some more, but unfortunately, it just won't be today. Thanks again for your help.
 
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Are you using Photoshop?
 
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edbolme wrote:
Are you using Photoshop?

Paint.net shake
 
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mightyoak wrote:
Interesting. I assume that you're adjusting the image while it's at the larger size? Or does just increasing the size without further adjustments somehow affect the image?


Sometimes I cut away backgrounds at the higher resolution, but mostly it's that (at least some) resizing algorithms do a much better job sampling from a bigger image. (Any work on shapes, outlines and details has to be done at 16x16 anyway.)

mightyoak wrote:
Any improvement? Unfortunately, I didn't understand the specific technique that you recommended earlier, so I just manually reduced the transparency of the edges to more closely match the stock circle.


Basically I meant splitting your working image into two layers: one part which goes over the opaque parts of the stock circle and can be copied over directly, and one part which goes over the semi-transparent edge pixels. With the second part, in GIMP you'd probably paint the stock circle white, set a colour blending mode for your layer, then merge. This would preserve the alpha channel of the stock circle.

I don't know about Photoshop, but in GIMP there are limited tools to edit the alpha channel directly, so you either eyeball it with the eraser tool or cheat with layers and stuff.
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Thanks for the tips! I'm getting a lot more comfortable with layering; although, I've never quite tried the technique you're describing. Unfortunately, I can't work on it any longer today, but I'll be sure to give it a try soon.

I hope to eventually transition over to GIMP since it's so much more popular among microbadgers.
 
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Kaffedrake wrote:
mightyoak wrote:
Interesting. I assume that you're adjusting the image while it's at the larger size? Or does just increasing the size without further adjustments somehow affect the image?


Sometimes I cut away backgrounds at the higher resolution, but mostly it's that (at least some) resizing algorithms do a much better job sampling from a bigger image. (Any work on shapes, outlines and details has to be done at 16x16 anyway.)

mightyoak wrote:
Any improvement? Unfortunately, I didn't understand the specific technique that you recommended earlier, so I just manually reduced the transparency of the edges to more closely match the stock circle.


Basically I meant splitting your working image into two layers: one part which goes over the opaque parts of the stock circle and can be copied over directly, and one part which goes over the semi-transparent edge pixels. With the second part, in GIMP you'd probably paint the stock circle white, set a colour blending mode for your layer, then merge. This would preserve the alpha channel of the stock circle.

I don't know about Photoshop, but in GIMP there are limited tools to edit the alpha channel directly, so you either eyeball it with the eraser tool or cheat with layers and stuff.

This definitely exists, but my personal workflow in Photoshop is to just use layer masks and paint opacity there. You know, for anyone else who might happen upon this and benefit form the idea. ;P
 
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You can create a mask in GIMP from a layer's alpha channel and edit it, but it's cumbersome in some ways. As far as I know you can't view both the mask and the image simultaneously, so you're kind of working in the dark unless you just want to copy some part over to some other part and it's obvious what's where.

I did notice the eyedropper tool gives you a pixel's alpha value, but if you find a pixel is at 37% and your OCD wants it at 40%, you still need to go through multiple steps to change it. (And the eyedropper tool window will helpfully close itself when you switch to the eraser tool...)
 
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So unfortunately, I still struggled to understand and/or implement your specific instructions. I'll have to do some research into how to apply masks and alter alpha-channels. For the moment, here's what I have:

(v2)
> (v3)
> (v5)


Not sure if anything helped, but here's my process: I split the color wheel into 2 layers; reducing the outer layer's overall size and transparency. Then placed the border of the stock circle in its own top layer and dropped its overall opacity down quite a bit.

I also slightly increased the overall saturation of the color wheel, and the overall brightness of the white-ish center circle.

At 5x zoom...


[EDIT: Changed v4 to v5]
-----

[SIDE NOTE] I'm pretty sure that if any experienced microbadge designers ever watched how I create a microbadge, they would be horrified at how inefficient and rudimentary my "techniques" are surprise
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V3 and v4 both look pretty good. It may be that it's mostly the different colours making it look like they're not super round everywhere.

After messing about with overlays for a bit it turns out I may not know what I'm talking about when I'm talking about colour blend options. I got the best results when I simply extended your colours outwards with no transparency, then added a layer mask and copied the stock circle to that for transparency. This got rid of the "dark aura" from the original that's still present to some degree in your latest versions (the outermost transparent pixels are black, as if they were inherited from a black stock circle rather than your design). You could try locking transparency on v3 and painting the outer limits with the appropriate colours just to see what difference it makes.

I may have found a different between GIMP and PSP: if you lock layer transparency in GIMP, this isn't respected if you paste something into that layer. PSP however preserves the original transparency exactly.
 
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Thank you for your continued feedback and support. I am committed to putting out the best MB that I can; however, I also recognize the undue burden this is probably putting onto you and others. Hopefully, I'll be able to learn from these lessons and not continue to make the same mistakes.

Kaffedrake wrote:
I got the best results when I simply extended your colours outwards with no transparency, then added a layer mask and copied the stock circle to that for transparency.

Unfortunately, these are the kind of instructions that I need to do more research into in order to understand what you mean.

Kaffedrake wrote:
This got rid of the "dark aura" from the original that's still present to some degree in your latest versions (the outermost transparent pixels are black, as if they were inherited from a black stock circle rather than your design). You could try locking transparency on v3 and painting the outer limits with the appropriate colours just to see what difference it makes.

You're right about the "dark aura" (or outline); it's been present to some extent from the beginning. I'm intentionally included the darker outline to help give the overall image more structure. Without the outline, it felt like the color wheel awkwardly faded away (as opposed to popping out, which is what I want).

Initially, for the outline, I just added a subtle drop shadow around the color wheel. Unfortunately, the wheel was already cropped to the edges of the frame, so the DS just added to the image looking pressed up against the edges. Through subsequent versions, I kept remove more and more DS until it was hardly present any more.

For v4/v5, I decreased the overall image size and then, instead of adding DS, I overlay-ed a subtle (40%-opacity) "dark aura" (outline).

(no outline)
vs (v5)


Above is a version without any outline added; I only resized the border from the source image and increased saturation and lightness to match the inner color from v5.

 
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mightyoak wrote:
edbolme wrote:
Just extract the bird itself. Skip the background.

The background is meant to resemble the app icon.

Poll:
vs


This is just to give a rough visual comparison. If people prefer it without background, then I can clean it up a bit better.

So the preference for 'without background' was strong enough to pursue that direction. Here it is after transcribing a 1:1 pixel ration with the source image:



I had to steal a pixel column from the right side, so it's not an exact transcription.
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mightyoak wrote:
Unfortunately, these are the kind of instructions that I need to do more research into in order to understand what you mean.


I could provide a (very) brief explanation of transparency masking, but the technical bits would be GIMP-specific. Maybe if you plan to migrate to GIMP you should do it as soon as possible after you finish your current batch of badges. (Note: I have no idea how Paint.net performs relative to GIMP, and I found GIMP horribly unintuitive when I first encountered it.)

mightyoak wrote:
For v4/v5, I decreased the overall image size and then, instead of adding DS, I overlay-ed a subtle (40%-opacity) "dark aura" (outline).

(no outline)
vs (v5)


Above is a version without any outline added; I only resized the border from the source image and increased saturation and lightness to match the inner color from v5.


After you're satisfied with the circle, we can move on to the internal detail. Will the face read better if you drop the smile one pixel? Would it be better with dinosaurs?
 
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Kaffedrake wrote:
I could provide a (very) brief explanation of transparency masking, but the technical bits would be GIMP-specific. Maybe if you plan to migrate to GIMP you should do it as soon as possible after you finish your current batch of badges. (Note: I have no idea how Paint.net performs relative to GIMP, and I found GIMP horribly unintuitive when I first encountered it.)

I really appreciate the offer, Kaffedrake, but I think you've done more than enough. I just need to sit down and research some of the more advanced techniques that keep getting referenced. Then hopefully, I'll be able to follow instructions better.

Also, I agree about switching soon. I need to just dive right in.

Kaffedrake wrote:
After you're satisfied with the circle, we can move on to the internal detail. Will the face read better if you drop the smile one pixel? Would it be better with dinosaurs?

I'm not sure if these suggestions were jokes, but just in case, here you go... whistle

and


My reason for keeping the mouth awkwardly high is because that's how it is in the source material. As for the dino, well, I have no excuse for not including a dinosaur earlier. My apologizes.

...

Source:


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Microbadge for Oxenfree

Name: Oxenfree fan
Group: Video Games > O
Group Description: Oxenfree fan
Mouseover: Is. Leave. Possible.

The mouseover is an iconic phrase "transmitted" by the game antagonist to the main character early on in the game.



Source:


Thoughts?
 
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postm wrote:
Microbadge for Oxenfree

Name: Oxenfree fan
Group: Video Games > O
Group Description: Oxenfree fan
Mouseover: Is. Leave. Possible.

The mouseover is an iconic phrase "transmitted" by the game antagonist to the main character early on in the game.



Source:


Thoughts?

More yellow glow around the central image?
 
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postm wrote:
Microbadge for Oxenfree



Source:

I suggest slightly exaggerating a few of the features (such as the person) to help the viewer recognize what they're seeing.

In addition to making the person a little larger: maybe distinguish the yellow portion inside the green a bit more, and brighten the subtle red line around the outside. Just a thought.
 
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Thanks for the feedback guys! I find it difficult to accommodate you both. The red border gets lost if I increase the glow.

Also, I have stared myself blind and can only see a blur. So here's a bunch of different new versions:

< Original
< v2
< v3
< v4
< v5
< v6
 
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mightyoak wrote:
For v4/v5, I decreased the overall image size and then, instead of adding DS, I overlay-ed a subtle (40%-opacity) "dark aura" (outline).

(no outline)
vs (v5)


Above is a version without any outline added; I only resized the border from the source image and increased saturation and lightness to match the inner color from v5.


After viewing these on an LCD monitor with no hardware scaling I have 2 opinions:

1. The face resolves better than it did on the hi-res scaling monitor, and

2. I prefer no outline; the outline serves to make the whole badge a little darker and less vibrant.

I think you could subtly curve the smile away from the eyes so it connects less strongly to the eye pixels and still be true to the source.
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postm wrote:
Thanks for the feedback guys! I find it difficult to accommodate you both. The red border gets lost if I increase the glow.

Also, I have stared myself blind and can only see a blur. So here's a bunch of different new versions:

< Original
< v2
< v3
< v4
< v5
< v6

I know the feeling, but PLEASE don't stare yourself blind on account of my silly suggestions. I do appreciate you trying out a bunch of stuff though.

I think v4
and v6
are my preferred choices. That said, I don't know the reference well enough to know which ones that fans of the game would prefer.
 
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mightyoak wrote:
postm wrote:
Thanks for the feedback guys! I find it difficult to accommodate you both. The red border gets lost if I increase the glow.

Also, I have stared myself blind and can only see a blur. So here's a bunch of different new versions:

< Original
< v2
< v3
< v4
< v5
< v6

I know the feeling, but PLEASE don't stare yourself blind on account of my silly suggestions. I do appreciate you trying out a bunch of stuff though.

I think v4
and v6
are my preferred choices. That said, I don't know the reference well enough to know which ones that fans of the game would prefer.


I like trying stuff. It's how we improve

Ok, different approach based on the developer's merch for the game and general inconography with the triangles.


Better? Or shall I stick with the first idea of using the cover?






 
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postm wrote:
Ok, different approach based on the developer's merch for the game and general inconography with the triangles.


Better? Or shall I stick with the first idea of using the cover?

Hmmm... I think it would depend on the fans of the game: would fans be more familiar with or fond of the abstracted version?

Speaking objectively (and not familiar with the reference material), both versions seem pretty abstract to me:

(v4)
and


The cover art version seems like it would be most recognizable to the typical viewer, but the typical owner of the MB may prefer the more obscure reference found in the abstracted version. I don't know.

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mightyoak wrote:
postm wrote:
Ok, different approach based on the developer's merch for the game and general inconography with the triangles.


Better? Or shall I stick with the first idea of using the cover?

Hmmm... I think it would depend on the fans of the game: would fans be more familiar with or fond of the abstracted version?

Speaking objectively (and not familiar with the reference material), both versions seem pretty abstract to me:

(v4)
and


The cover art version seems like it would be most recognizable to the typical viewer, but the typical owner of the MB may prefer the more obscure reference found in the abstracted version. I don't know.



I THINK fans would recognize both. I'm a big fan of the game, but I can't say for certain which one I would prefer.

The 2nd approach was the one I thought of first, but didn't think it would be so recognizable. Especially the red corners. That's why I started with the box cover.
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