SigTutorials > Photoshop Signature Tutorials > Abstract Signature Tutorials > Abstract Smudging

Abstract Smudging

Posted on May 5th, 2009. Written by JaspervD.

In this tutorial you will learn to create an abstract signature like the one you see below, the only thing you will need are some C4D renders and basic photoshop knowledge.

Where to get C4D's

You will need to have some C4D renders to follow this tutorial, C4D renders are abstract looking renders made out of shapes and they are used often when creating signatures

You have many different forms of renders, like effect renders, wireframe render, normal renders and lightning renders. For this tutorial we will just use normal C4D renders. You can download a package of over 200 C4D renders from our forums here, you can also do a google search on C4D renders or try out, this site has an huge amount free C4D render packs, like this great one for example.

Lets get started

Open up photoshop and create a new document of 380px by 120px, select the Paint Bucket Tool (G) and fill the first layer with black.

Now create a new layer. On the layer add a C4D with a dark color (dark blue/red/green). I used the following render:

When you have added it to your signature go to edit > transform > scale and scale the render down a bit, then move a nice part onto your canvas, so it fill ups the canvas for about 30-50%.

Time to start smudging

Now we have added our C4D render we are going to smudge it, take out your Smudge Tool (R), and on the top of your screen select the Hard Round 13px brush (if you cant find it click on the reset brushes, this will not delete any of your download brushes but will simply show you the default brushes):

Now load your brushes window by pressing F5 or going to Window > brushes and use the following settings:

Now you can smudge the C4D you added by using the smudge tool (click > drag a bit > let go etc.).

Creating flow

Try to develop a nice flow with your smudging, this will make your signature 10 times better! This an example of how you shouldnt smudge:

and this is how your signature should look like::

Now create a new layer (ctrl+shift+N) and add another C4D render in it, this time I used a lighter C4D render (green).

Place it on top of your previous render and again smudge it like you did it the last step, again smudge in the same direction (although you can change the direction a little bit like I did). Then set the blending mode on screen

Again repeat the same process with a different C4D, I picked a red one this time and I set the blending mode on Lighten

Final Adjustments

Now we are done creating the background, but of course we do a lot to improve this, like adding a light source and by changing the colors around using various adjustment layers.

First create a new layer on top of all other layers and go to image > apply image and press on ok. With this layer selected go to Filter > Blur > Smart blur and use the following settings: radius: 3.0, Threshold: 25.0, Quality: low, Mode: normal.

The signature looks a bit flat now so we are going to add a light source in the signature. Create a new layer and select the brush tool (B), then select the soft round brush 200px and click once or twice where you want your light to come from, I picked the top of my signature. Then set the blending mode of the layer to Overlay.

My left side was a bit to dark in my opinion so I also added some light on the left, you can lower the opacity of the light if you think its to strong.

Coloring your signature

In the next few steps I will show you how I adjusted the colors in the signature I made, you can see what I did here and use the things you want to use, but the most important thing is to try things out yourself.

Your signature will probably look different than mine at this moment, so you will need to find out which adjustment layers work well for your own signature!

Looking much better already, but I the colors are a bit dull in my opinion, so I stared by adding a gradient map by going to Layer > New adjustment Layer > Gradient Map and I picked the following gradient:

Adding some interesting parts in your signature

The technique in this tip is something I use often in any of my signatures, its a great and easy way to get some cool effects in your signature!

Create a new layer, go to Image > Apply image and press ok. Then go to Filter > Disort > Displace and press ok, now you will need to select one of your own previous signatures (it really doesn't matter what you select) and use it as the displacement map. Now take out our Eraser Tool (E) and delete the parts which you dont like. This step will add some nice and interesting parts in your signature.

The sides of the part on the signature which I smudged are a bit jagged and I don't really like them, thats why I decided to make the look smoother by smudging them a bit with the same smudge settings as we used in the first few steps. First create a new layer and apply image again. Then you can smudge the sides just a bit like I did:

Now I added a few minor adjustment layers, to get to my final result. Now you can add some simple text as I did on my signature:

Thank you for reading this tutorial, I hope you have learned something. When you get stuck somewhere or want to show the signature you made with this tutorial feel free to make a post on our forums!

53 Responses »

  1. 1st time I’ve touched PS in years. thanks for the tutorial!

  2. comment? Idk if i did well or not

  3. Very pleased with mine!

  4. here’s my try ^^

  5. Thanks for this tut ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. New :

  7. Great tutorial, here’s my try.

  8. my outcome

  9. My final result. This tutorial is great! I plan on using it more in the future. Thanks a bunch!

  10. !! COOL THANKS!

  11. My End Result ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Amazing Work. Here’s my try at it:

  13. A good tutorial indeed ^^
    Here’s my output.

  14. Cane you make a Video Tutorial?
    pls. : D

  15. good tutorial though my final outcome from it wasnt great so i had to add some more c4ds,lighting and adjustment layers etc but over all the tut is great

  16. Very nice tutorial!! Big thx.

  17. Nice tut
    here is my sig:

  18. This is my attempt.
    I think it turned out pretty amazing.
    Thank you so much!

  19. Nice tutorial, it was quick and easy to follow.

  20. FUCK jesus christ can you make it more simple and please make a video of this tutorial cause i cant do it i tried like 100 times .

  21. Here is mine:

  22. Like the tut , and here s my outcome ๐Ÿ˜€

  23. weeeeee. nice tut.

  24. Here’s mine. I don’t think it turned out too well… I need to practise smudging a lot!

  25. This Is My First C4D Attempt

  26. Mucho gracias!

  27. Nice tutorial ! Here is my sig, im noob.

  28. My outcome:

  29. My outcome:

  30. My outcome, my first signature.

  31. thx bro that smuding is really good to colour backgrounds ๐Ÿ˜€ here is mine ๐Ÿ˜‰

  32. sorry but im a beginner how to add the C4D to the layer ๐Ÿ˜€ ?

  33. Oops. there it is, ^^

  34. my result ๐Ÿ˜€ it doesnt look the best but im new to smudging an now i can use it with ease

  35. heres my result

  36. this is one perfect and clean tutorials, thanks for sharing

  37. Very awesome tutorial!!

    Here’s the outcome i got. I added some effects when i was done though. I’m 14 and find these tutorials very helpful for my Computer Studies Class. Were starting art soon, so thank you very much for this.

  38. Wow, thanks. You really helped me with this whole ‘smudging’ thing. I added a render, some text and a border after the tut ended. Here’s my result

  39. -.-‘
    For me, I liked better the one
    w/o flow, I mean, not all images
    or tags, signature, needs

  40. What does “one it add a C4D with a dark color” mean?

    • It basically means first add a C4D with a dark color. There must be some kind of language barrier the person did not get over..

      • sorry, that was my horrible English, fixed it

  41. Last one didnยดt work!

  42. Here is mine ; )

  43. Here is mine:

    • wat does “add a C4D with a dark color (dark blue/red/green)” mean?
      btw, ur artworks r really nice >.<

  44. I wana know what you did after th last step ”Now I added a few minor adjustment layers, to get to my final result. Now you can add some simple text as I did on my signature” if you could post those it willbe really help ful

    • Image > Adjustment Layers.

      I have no idea which ones I used on this signature, just try the different adjustment layers out yourself.

      It really depends on the signature what looks good and what doesn’t, so the settings I used are useless for a different signature.

  45. for text ita just veranda. just create two seperate text boxes, type the words in, put them close together and lower opacity on the bottom word.

  46. How did you add that text?

    • the text is really easy to do and there is not much to explain. Its just a basic font (arial or verdana I think) in colors that match the background.

      First add your main text (abstract) and after that add your subtext (sigtutorials) with a smaller font size and move it behind your main text.

      Remember to place your text near your most important part of your signature, so don’t hide it in the corners!


  1. My first smudge... - Show Off

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