i'm just gonna' talk about some basic principles of design as well as some of the stages and thoughts that go into a piece. ATTN: this isnt about making sigs or anything. this is purely design. and by design i mean really creating a work of art that comes out as an extension of your feelings, emotions, thoughts and also your own personality. CONCEPTION STAGE this is the stage before your parents were even thinkin' of gettin' busy to conceive you. this is like, when they were sitting at KFC, discussing what it'd be like to have kids. this is probably one of the most important stages of design. you can be as technically savvy with 3DSTUDIOMAX and photoshop as you want. you could have programmed the programs and know it like the back of your hand but there's a difference between being a technician and a designer. i'll be the first to admit that i dont know everything about photoshop and i've grown up with the thing. i started out using photoshop 5.5 and i still use that to this day, regardless of whatever new versions come out and whatnot. having said that, i still dont feel i use the program to it's fullest potential. but dont let this make you think you cant create a solid piece of art just because you dont know everything there is to know about photoshop. back to my point, you could know photoshop and 3DMAX like your own shit but it doesnt make a difference in the world if you dont have a vision and a direction you want to take your art. what starts out in your head has to have structure. even in the early stages, you have to know what you want, where you want it, and how you want it to look before you even click the mouse. personally, i get a lot of my inspiration from my emotions but also from the music i listen to. they tell me the colors i want to use, the shapes, what colors i want to use in contrast to my primary choices, what kind of tech- niques i want to you use to create the desired effect and even sometimes i think about some new things i could try. i dont know how to do everything i come up with in my head, but i try to find different solutions to my many problems. a successful design is like a good business. in one hand you'll have what you want in the end and in the other you'll have all the current resources you have, which may or may not be what you need to create what you want. you have to be creative and you have to find solutions to your problems, taking your shortcomings into consideration. if you've come up with a design and you're not exactly sure how you're going to get one particular thing to sit perfectly with another, you have to first stick with what you know. go with what you've done in the past and that you know works and try to evolve those things into your desired product. again, it all starts in your head and if what you have in your head isnt clear and focused, your design will reflect that. more coming soon PS can someone sticky this?