The Cyber bard (cyber_bard_) wrote in _teh_steph_,
The Cyber bard
cyber_bard_
_teh_steph_

Icon tutorial

Go from to in 15 steps.

Made for PSCS2, maybe earlier versions can support it.



Usually, looking at this would suffice. In this case, it doesn't.

1) Make a base. With which I mean, crop up a picture. But how do I prep a base? Don't worry, I'll go through all the trouble of telling you how I do it. I have used Byron Sully here, from the TV show Dr Quinn Medicine woman. Original caps were made by dj43.

Have you ever seen the "style" option? It has the following options : normal, fixed aspect ratio and fixed size. I usually use the fixed aspect ratio, set on 1x1. What is left to do once you've selected and cropped out the base, is usually to resize it back to 100x100, since that's usually the standard icon size for LJ.

2) I always sharpen a base immediately after I've resized it. Yes. Immediately afterwards. The unsharp mask option in the filters is a great thing. So, filters > sharpen > unsharp mask. I hit it only once. The image is sharp enough for my liking. Icons who have been sharpened far too much = bad. Ugly, even. And no blur tool as well; I did not want Sully to look like a sharpened Barbie doll.

3)I duplicated the background/base. It's just something I do. If I fuck up, I can restart without problems. No filter setting, no opacity change. Just the base duplicated again.

4) Duplicate the background again. Set the layer to "screen".

Now, the image should look like this : .
Simple enough, isn't it?

5) Now select the base, and go to edit > copy merged and paste that on top of the other layers. Again, if you fuck up ... you at least have that. See it as "saving" it temporarily. And for those reasons, I duplicated it again. Yes, again. I'm a control freak.

6) I'm a big fan of the dodge and burn tools, located in the tool palette. This icon does not need to be sharpened any more. If you want your icon to look like a pixelized piece, go ahead. But I sure don't.

Here, I used the dodge tool, set at exposure 26% and set to highlight.. Do not overuse it. Don't. If you do, it will turn into a mass of colored pixelised shit. Be careful with. Treat the icon like a lady. I used it to enhance the places on Sully, where the lights falls upon his face. Do not overuse.

You may select the base and do the copy merged option again, if you wish. See it as an easy way of "saving" your progress.

Burn tool, next. Settings : 50%, midtones. I want over this lightly over everything that wasn't Sully's face. This time you don't treat the base like a lady, but like a baby. Be gentle. Don't overuse it, again.

The result so far : .

7) Dude, do I love copying my layers! Copy merge the whole image and put it above the rest. At this point, your layer palette might look full; don't worry! Do you see the small file pictogram on the bottom? Click that, you'll love it. Shove all the files, apart from the one you just pasted, into there. I labelled it "beginnings.", closed the file and made it invisible. You don't need to look at it again, unless ... you fuck up your icon in the further progress.

8) Remember that layer you copy merged into your palette? Duplicate it, my lovies. And now, time to get started on the real work!

Go to Image > adjustments > desaturate (or shift+crtl+U). There, a black and white pic version of your base! Set the layer to "color" , "opacity" to 50%.

9) Not done just yet. Select, copy merge, paste. (Told you I loved to do that!)

Go to Adjustments > photo filter. I have no idea if this option exists in earlier versions of PS, but don't worry, we're only trying to achieve a sepia effect here. So, click "sepia". I set the density to 72%. This is solely up to you, really. If you really want it to look like a real sepia pic, go ahead.


10 ) Select, merge copy, paste. Click on the very first layer you duplicated after making the file to organise your layer palette. Duplicate that, and make sure that it is on top of your sepia-ish layer. Settings : color , 25%. Once more, the opacity is to your liking.

12) That is basically the base retouched. The major problem with this cap was that it was so brown.

Progress :

13) Now to turn it into an icon. Since "Dr Quinn Medicine woman is a "Western" and therefore of a "classical" theme. I wanted an old look, which is the reason why I've prepped my base that way.

I took the following image from the following website : Absolute trouble and put it on top of the last layer (thus, the top one, the one you just finished). I deleted the black parts with the wand tool and hit delete. Simple, isn't it?

14) However, I am still not happy with the icon. So, I make a new layer, fill it in with white. Just plain white. Don't go "omg, noes, blank canvas"! Set that layer to "soft light".

15) And that's it, really.

Finished icon : ">

Other icons made with more or less the same principle (yeah, you can mix'n'match the order) :



For this icon, I did pretty much as described above, but only I repeated the Photo filter option on top of all the layers.

If taking an icon, please credit cyber_bard_. Hope this was helpful. If you have any questions, ask. I'll be happy to answer them.
Tags: joe lando, tutorial
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  • 29 comments

  • Quick layer mask tutorial

    I'm not sure this is the way to do it - but it IS the one and only way I know, thaught to me in school. I've used it, for example, for the icon I'm…

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    Teasers : 22 bases; more are coming.