Create a Basic Image Signature using Photoshop

Image signatures are fun and trendy to use as a signature with emails, or, on a forum. You can choose from a variety of images that suits your taste, with the text ranging from your name, to your PC configuration to even the games you play. Here, we will show you how to make a basic image signature using Photoshop that you can add to our very own email.

A few basics concepts on flow, color and lighting, before you start. It’s not about adding images and jumbling everything, but rather focusing on creating your signature in a single flowing direction. This should also match your render image. Always keep the colors simple. We’ve created more of a monotone signature as you will see. Lighting is a crucial part in the process as it enhances your overall signature and also gives it some depth. It is one of the most basic as well as one of the toughest and critical parts to add to a signature.

A basic overview of Photoshop and the tools needed for creating the signature

Go to and search for abstract brushes or abstract grunge brushes and download them. You will also need to choose an image render which you can easily acquire from sites like www.planetrenders. net.

Step 1: Create a new PS image with the dimensions 350x120 pixels with a transparent background. You can vary the dimensions according to your choice, but make sure it’s not too big as most forums have size restrictions.

Creating your Photoshop document

Step 2: Make sure your colors are set to default. If they are not just click D. Now go to Filter > Render > Clouds. This will give you a basic background to your signature.

Step 3: Create six layers (see #6 in the main image). If your layers window is not open, go to Windows > Layers from the menu bar. Now select the brush tool (see #1 in the main image), and change the brush set to the abstract brushes you have downloaded. To do this, click the small arrow (#7 facing down in main image) next to the brush size once, and then the arrow facing the right. This gives you a dropdown menu from which you select the abstract brushes.

Step 4: Now select one of the brushes from the abstract set and stroke the first layer with black. Now hit X. This switches between the colors on the palette (#4 in main image), and gives the next layer a stroke with white. Do this for all the six layers. You can also create a new set of layers and choose another brush and repeat the same procedure for a more variant background.

Abstract brush strokes on six different layers

Step 5: Create a new layer and apply the image. To do this, go to Image > Apply Image on the menu bar. Now click the dropdown from the layers window which says Normal and select Soft Light.

Step 6: Again apply the image on a new layer and then go to Filter > Distort > Ripple. Keep the setting at 55% and size set at Small for a nice subtle ripple texture.

The ripple effect settings

Step 7: Now to add a render. A render is the cutout of an image. This could be a celebrity, game person, etc. Select the eraser tool (#2 in main image) and set the opacity to 50% and erase a bit of the render outline. This helps to merge the image with the background. After doing this, click [Ctrl] + [J] which makes a duplicate layer. Now you have to click [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [U] which desaturates the color from the selected layer. Reduce the opacity of this layer to 60%.

Blending the render with the signature

Step 8: Lighting is an optional step if you are one of those who opt for renders in their signatures. Select the brush tool, and choose the basic brushes in the same way you did with Step 3. Now choose a soft brush and set the size between 100 and 120. On a new layer, just click once near the render, where you need the lighting to be placed. Adjust the opacity of that layer and you can even change the filters to match your signature. We set the opacity to 70% and used the Overlay filter for our lighting layer.

Step 9: Now comes the finishing touches. Click the Layer adjustment tool (half black-half white circular button at the bottom of the layers window — #5 in main image) and select Curves. You can mess with this, or just click on Auto to correct your image. Repeat the same thing, only with Levels this time. Finally, you can apply a Photo Filter, which you can find with the same set of options. We used a Cooling Filter (82) at 25% density with Preserve Luminosity selected.

Step 10: Now to add a border. Apply the image on a new layer and go to Edit > Stroke and use 2 pixels as the settings with centered selected. This step is optional, but adds a good effect to the signature. Some signatures look good without a border, while others don’t. Also, the background color of the forums you are planning on using the signature on, also matters. If the forums have a dark background, you should use a white border so that your signature can stand out and vice-versa.

Step 11: You are free to even add your computer specs to your signature. Just use the Text tool (#3 in main image) and adjust the font and font size and fill in your details.

Lastly, just save the image you created, as a JPG or PNG file. Some forums allow you to upload images from your PC directly, while others need you to enter it with a BB code. Don’t worry about this either, just upload your created signature to or and you’re all set as they provide you with the required links to your signature.

The final outcome should look like this

There’re many variations to the steps we’ve given you. For example, instead of a single color, you can actually add a gradient layer using the same layer adjustment tool before your photo filters. You can also add your text before you start with the finishing touches, if you want it to blend in more. However, at the same time, keep it as simple as possible.

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