Welcome to the first portrait tutorial!

This tutorial should be fairly easy to use, and you will be introduced to some of the basal and essential tools for making portraits. Keep in mind that you should only make portraits if you feel like it. If you start making them, when you dont really feel like it, they are going to get messed up. Some of the easiest portraits to make, are those where your starting image is pretty much finished. If you find a picture of a woman in medieval clothing for example, you dont have to do much about her clothing, which can consume much time otherwise. This portrait tutorial starts with an image, where we dont have to focus on the clothing. Right click on the image next to this text and choose save as, save it somewhere and open it in photoshop. This tutorial uses photoshop 7.0 .

Other things to remember before you choose an image to work with!
Remember that Neverwinter Nights is a medieval game. You dont want to make a portrait that looks too modern, keep it realistic. If you find an image of a character you think looks like another race than human, check the race guidelines. Dont start working on too dark or too bright images if you are not familiar with photoshop, it can sometimes be very difficult to get the shadows right on such photos. Its best to begin with a large image, dont use pictures that are smaller than 200*350 in size. While its ok to use famous people once in awhile, dont use people thateveryone knows, like Madonna, Elijah Wood or Will Smith. I know, I have used Elijah Wood myself, and other celebrities but if you really must use them, disguise them the best you can. People dont like using portraits if they discover their character is actually Celine Dion in disguise.

Race guidelines!
Elves: Elves have fine features, pointy ears and green or blue eyes. They have "rotated" eyes, and wears beautiful clothing. There are many kind of elves. If you like Tolkiens elves, from Lord of the Rings, their ears doesnt have to be that pointy, but they still have fine features. The elves from D & D, those in Neverwinter Nights, have large ears, not like those in Lord of the Rings. Typical skin shades for elves is golden(sun), silvery(moon), brown or very dark purple, almost black for drow.
Dwarves: Dwarves are as broad as they are tall. Dwarven women are no exception. They have square shaped heads, and long beards. Dwarves usually have big noses and large eyebrows. Gimli from Lord of the Rings is a good example of dwarves. Female dwarves can also have beards.
Halflings: Haflings are very small. They look fresh, almost childish, and is not very fond of beards.
Gnomes: Gnomes have big eyes and pointy ears, like Tolkiens elves. Like halflings, they are very small, but they can have beards. Think of santas helpers as a guideline. Their noses tend to be pointy.
Half-Orcs: Half orcs is a mixture between human and orc. They can have any features from these two races, but tends toward the orc appearance. Their skin is green or dull brown, and they often look stupid (sorry half orc fans).

Step 1

Some people like working on pictures that are very large, and resize later. I dont. I like to work with the right size to begin with, so the first step in this tutorial is to resize your image. Do this by cropping, or using image size in the image menu. We work on the huge portrait first of course, so your picture should be 256*400 pixels in size. Be careful not to stretch the image, it can really ruin the whole thing if you do. Make sure constrain propertions are on. You can use the rectangle marquee tool to make sure your portrait is of proper size; Set style to fixed size instead of normal, and click anywhere on your portrait. Use ctrl-c to copy, when you think you have the right "capture", and then select new, from the file menu. Make sure the proportions are right (256*400). Use ctrl-v to paste into your new file, and there's your portrait. Now, in your layers "box" click the arrow beneath the cross that closes the box, and select flatten image. Now your portrait is ready to begin working on.

Great Shortcuts:
ctrl-v : Paste
ctrl-c : copy selected
ctrl-a : select all (good before ctrl-c)
Step 2

In this step, we will make sure the overall light in the picture looks good. You dont need to work much on this lady, it's already looking fine. But, we could make it better. Since she is outside, the light can come from anywhere, so we will just use the sources that are already made for us. Go to the image menu, and select adjustments/brightness contrast. Play around with this tool until you find something you like. +5, +30 worked for me. If you want, you should check some of the other tools and see what they do. Try one of these; Hue/Saturation, Levels, Auto Levels, Auto Contrast, Auto color and color balance. Hue saturation can be great to control the colors you want your portraits to have. I gave my portrait -5 in hue to give her a better skin color. When you think the contrast and colors in your portrait work, you can move on.
Step 3

In this step, you will be introduced to the most important tools of making portraits; The smudge tool. You can't make portraits without this tool. If you cant find the smudge tool, move your cursor above either the blur tool (a raindrop) or the sharpen tool (a triangle), click one of these tools (if the smudge tool isnt there, which is a hand), and keep the button down until you can select other tools. Choose the hand with the pointy finger. If you havent used the tool before, it will propably have a high strength. Thats no good. Make sure strength is lowered to 20-30%, no more! The smudge tool make your picture look more painted. Smudge every single place of the picture, except the eyes, nose and mouth. These areas are a little touchy, and you can quickly ruin your portrait is they are smudged to heavily. Use a smaller brush on these areas, and a lower strength. The eyes are the one of the most important part of a portrait. If your eyes are blurry, you lack personality. When you have smudged every area of the portrait (including the eyes, nose and mouth, with less strong smudging), you are ready to move on. Your portrait should look somewhat like mine. If its to blurry already, do it over. Be careful around the cheek too! When you do the hair, follow the lines of the hair, dont go against them. Patience.
Step 4

Now she is all smudged up, and looks very pretty. But not very painted yet. Thats fine, we will get her to look more painted by doing a couple of things to her. First, we will use the burn and dodge tool to control the light and dark spots on her. These tools are located next to the smudge tool. Start with the burn tool. When you use these tools, it is important that you use the midtones to burn or dodge to begin with. When you are familiar with that, try using highlights (light areas) or shadows (dark areas). But first, lets burn the proper areas. Like smudge, your strentgh shouldnt be higher than 30%. Try and burn the areas around her eyes, her cheeks and her neck. Use my portrait as a guide. Remember, she is outside, so she shouldnt be too dark. Smudge the areas you darken just a little. Darkened something you shouldnt have? Use the history tool to delete the actions you have done recently. When you think she have been burned enough, begin to dodge her. Just like burning, but doing the opposite. Her cheekbones, forehead and chin should be dodged a little. Use my portrait as guide. Be careful she doesnt begin looking like a skeleton! Thats for the pale masters to deal with. Smudge around a little when you have dodged. If you want to, you could dodge her teeths as well. When it looks somewhat like mine, you can move on.

Getting too powerful colors when burning? Use the sponge tool, and set it to desaturate. The sponge tool is together with the dodge and burn tools. You could make more powerful colors if you choose saturate instead of desaturate as well.

Step 5

Just a couple of tips before we do anything more; Her hair looks a little flat. Why not make some of her hair fall onto her face? Does it sound difficult? It isnt. But before that, why not give her another haircolor? You dont have to do this, but sometimes it can make the character more interesting (and harder to regognise if you use celebrities). Lets start by making her red haired. Select the brush tool, and find a red color by clicking the color boxes below the zoom tool. In mode, in your brush tool, select either overlay or hue. Try different options to get it rigth. I used overlay and turned opacity down to 50%. Use dodge and burn to make the hair more living, take a look at my portrait for guidance. Using highlight instead of midtones is a good idea here. Now that you have coloured her hair, lets make some of the hair fall down onto her face. You have to color her hair before doing that! Select the smudge tool, brush size should not be higher than 2 or 3, strength is above 85%. Now, calmly, draw a fine, curly line from the top of her head to where you want it to stop. Dont make it fall into her eyes, it hurts, and doesnt look good. Didnt like your line? Undo (ctrl-z) and try again. Mastering this technique can really impress people on the vault ;) Important! Remember to burn or smudge the areas you use this technique on afterwards! It can quickly look artificial, use the smudge tool with a very low strength. Or even better; use the blur tool. You dont have to do this, just skip this step if you want to move on. Use what you have learned; just like you coloured her hair, you could color her eyes or her clothes.

Step 6

Remember, details is what make a good portrait. Use the technique you used in the hair, to make her eyebrows seem more realistic, a brush aroun 2 or 3 in size, and strength around 50%. make some short smudging strokes in her eyebrows. Lighten up the lower part of her iris in her eyes, darken the upper part. Makes the eyes more living and less flat. Maybe make her eyelashes a little darker- not too much though, lets keep the unnatural looks for the sorcerors ;) Make another highlight in her eye, use the brush tool with an opacity around 70%, white color. You could also make her lips more red, if thats what you want. This time, you can try to use the brightness contrast tool again and see how it works. Dont be afraid to burn and dodge either. Play around a little at this stage.

Step 7

She is okay now? Sure? Really? Thats good, because if she is not you are going to regret it. We are going to use a couple of filters now, to finish her. Well, you are already finished with her, lets get going. First, use the watercolor filter, you can find this in the filter menu, under artistic. Brush detail should be as high as it can get. Shadow intensity and texture as low as they can get. Looks great when you click ok, doesnt it? No, dont worry. When you use filters, you have to fade them. Otherwise, they are too strong. Go to the edit menu, and choose fade watercolor. try 22%. Be careful not to go higher- you will loose detail if you do. Now, when you are done with watercolor, use the filter named paint daubs. Also, under artistic. Brush size should be 1, Sharpness 2 or 3. You can fade this filter as well (actually, you can fade almost anything in photoshop), but i would advise you to use blur where it seems like its too sharp. Hair can become too sharp easily. Paint Daubs removes the blurryness of your portrait, making it less dizzy to look at. In this case, with this easy portrait, you dont have to do anything else. Your portrait is finished! This lovely woman will be a great rogue or ranger perhabs! ;) Well done.

Now, to get the portrait to work in Neverwinter Nigths, there is a couple of things you must do. First, save this image. Next, take a look at your layer box. Right click on your layer (you should have only one), and duplicate it. Erase the old layer. Now, go to the image menu, and choose canvas size. Make sure photoshop uses pixels instead of cms. Height should be 512 pixels. Dont do anything to width.

Choose the move tool, and move your portrait to the top of the image. Then, choose the paint bucket tool, select a black color, and use the bucket on the lower part of the image (not the portrait!!!!). Thats all you have to do for now. if you want to, you could use the text tool and give her a name, but you wont see the black area in game (if you choose to use text now, flatten the image when you are done with the text!). Go to the file menu, choose save as (not just save!), and save in this format: po_f_xxxxxxx_H (where po means portrait, f means female and xxxxxxx can be anything you desire, H means huge of course). Its important you remember to save in Targa files. Nothing else will work in the game, and may cause it to crash. This is the huge portrait, it will be used on the select portrait menu in neverwinter nigths. Make sure you save the portrait files in the portrait map in NWN.

In Neverwinter Nights, there are 5 different versions of the portrait, each one smaller than the last one. You already made the huge portrait. Now, you must resize the portrait, and save the smaller images as well. Remember to save as, when you save, otherwise you will end up having only the tiny version of the portrait, and thats not very fun ;) Below are the different versions of the portrait, how big they should be, and what you should name them. Remember to save as every time you resize, so you will end up with 5 different targa files-
The huge portrait (used in "choose portrait" in-game, when you start a new character): 256*512 pixels, save as po_f_xxxxxxx_H

The large portrait (used in character sheet): 128*256 pixels, save as po_f_xxxxxxx_L

The medium size portrait (used in game): 64*128 pixels, save as po_f_xxxxxxx_M

The small portrait (can't remember where this is used, but it's in there somewhere): 32*64 pixels, save as po_f_xxxxxxx_S

The tiny portrait (used in the scrollbar in-game): 16*32 pixels, save as po_f_xxxxxxx_T

Check your portraits folder. If you have 5 different targa files, it should work. Start the game, and check out your portrait! If it's really good you could share it on the vault. If you used this lovely woman right here, don't share her, she's already out there. Good luck on your future portraits! If you have any questions, email me at Apricane@yahoo.dk