It was inevitable: a Halloween-themed skin is a MUST for a mangakas’ forum !
Yes, this is indeed a new “category”., for “web designing”. (:
Actually, in the screen shot, the credits were cut off but here they are: the original image can be found here, on Itto Maru’s blog. It’s actually an album cover, but I cut the title part off -didn’t want to go through all the trouble of removing it. I actually didn’t even modify the original pic. You know, the “lines” you’re seing on the image ? Well, they too were already there (I took a scanned “version” because it was bigger – HIGH QUALITY FTW). The album is by Nayuta, which, if I’m correct, is a Nico Nico Douga singer (Nico Nico Douga is the equivalent of YouTube but in Japan. It is more Anime and Vocaloid orientated, though). The name of the album is Gothika. You can find a small amount of info’ on the album here (click on The Story). This looks like a RolePlay forum but… honestly, I don’t even know what the hell it’s supposed to be ! Here‘s the official webpage (in Japanese) and there’s also a Facebook page. From what I’ve understood, the video that came with all this (illustrating the Child’s Play song) is only a promotional one.
That’s it for the big story. Let’s get back to talking about the making of this design (actually, I would REALLY appreciate if someone found the exact word to name this thing, because I’m obviously having some trouble here). For the banner, I only had to make a layer (I used Photoshop CS5), cut the borders of it to create the illusion that there wasn’t any “linear”, rectangular, border and create a clipping mask. And add the text with some other clipping masks. God I love clipping masks, they save me some much time. I can’t even imagine how hard it would be not having them. Just a last note about the banner: the “Happy Halloween” text was supposed to have a candy-like coloring, but maybe I reduced the opacity of it too much… We couldn’t read the text otherwise.
The menu icons (the little pink heart just below the banner, that are actually bouncing) were found on another forum. I’m not really a pixel art fan, but I know how to appreciate -some parts- of it.
For the “Who Is Online ?” (Qui Est en Ligne, at the bottom), I simply took another drawing from Itto Maru’s blog, added the ♦ texture, changed the colors a little bit for the two characters (the Red Cape and the Wolf) and threw a border around the thing. Simple and rather fitting with the rest.
I entirely made the overall background, only with the ♦, first in text format and then converted to a layer for less RAM problems. Then I threw a load of gradients and clipping masks together to produce… THIS. I think that the colors for this design are a little strange and some don’t fit very well together but… at least it’s not a bloody as the forum skin for last year’s Halloween.
As a little ‘plus’, I simply wanted to add that the “Productions” box contains the actual projects that are done on HJMK (which, if you haven’t figured it out already, is the ‘acronym’ for Harajuku Mangaka)… though a rather big part of them are being made in, let’s say, slow motion (if not completely abandoned). Then you have the recently active threads, a jump to our “partners” (basically, we just put a link to their forum and they do the same) and the Top-Sites box. Top-Sites are a cool way to draw attention to your forum because if people are on other forums, they may be voting for them and the will see our forum pop up in the list (I’m a terrible explainer, I know – better to go see for yourself). The more you vote for your forum, the higher it will be in the list and the more (well that’s theory but whatever) views you’ll get. The strange thing about HJMK, is that usually you’ll see 3 to 5 “invités” (people who’re not registered on the forum and that are simply visiting the thing) but only one or two people that are logged in… It may be that because our forum isn’t very active (and that in the “visiting people’s” view of the forum, you only see the latest active threads in the public forums), people are simply staying around, looking at stuff like the tutorials (actually, I’m not sure if unregistered people can access that part…) or else… To be honest, I think that if we had an english counterpart to our forum (or if we became a bilingual forum), we would be a more active community, but I don’t think that the people of HJMK would really be OK with that. I mean, most people from Quebec (as in “québécois de pure souche”) are rather pro-French and pro-independent-Quebec-ists. But… Urrgh, I shouldn’t be talking about this on my artistic blog ! >_<
The full design was made in approximatively an hour and a half. The colors took approximatively fifteen minutes to adjust.
Some, um, yes, that will be all. ‘ v ‘
PS: Wow this post is so… d***… long.