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keep in mind that these icons were made following this tutorial by fragilecat and this one by r4d_n1nj4. there may be some variations here and there but the basis is from them. all the love to you, guys! thanks for all the help =3
okay, so here's how you make that icon, in PS7 (but i'm pretty sure this is translatable...).
WARNING: this tutorial is heavy-- not necessarily in images, but in words. i tend to speak too much ^^;;; enter at your own risk.
first, i started out with this image of kaworu from the newtype magazine scans of eva rebuild, which i'm sure has us all ZOMGsoexcited! xD i don't know where my sudden love for kaworu came from, i've hated the guy for as long as i can remember but i really love his design for eva rebuild-- i couldn't help but make icons out of it.
ANYWAY!, i cropped the pic in a way that i thought would be interesting-- i think it's rather neat to leave only one eye in the icon, it gives it an air of mystery and that's just exactly what kaworu is supposed to be, ya know? and then i resized it to 100x100 px. i sharpened and used the auto tools as needed (image> adjustments> auto contrast & image> adjustments> auto color) which led me to this:
now i did what i always do to most of my icons, so i'll just quote myself as i did in my last tutorial:
"i wanted to change the lighting a bit, so i did what i always do to my bases when i want to create some contrast: duplicate the base layer (the duplicate will be called "contrast"), raise the brightness by about 40 (image> adjustments> brightness/contrast) and then applying a gaussian blur with a radius of about 8.0 (filter> blur> gaussian blur)." note that in this case, when i raised the brightness i also raised the contrast to about 20. this was because kaworu's features are so light that i didn't want him to disappear into the background.
"now you'll see that our contrast layer is all blurred up, like this:"
"and then set that layer to soft light. what the soft light blending mode does is that the dark parts get darker and the light parts end up lighter. in this case, since the layer you're setting to soft light is all blurred, it will create a sort of soft look on the icon, affecting the original lighting and leaving a more... how do i say this... sort of "ethereal" look on the icon. i'm sure you've seen this effect before, only i always use it at the beginning and most people leave it as a last step for their icons." (~from my "carry your burden" tutorial).
we end up with this:
then, i started on the coloring. i knew i wanted a blueish/exclusion theme, without losing the striking red of his eyes, so i started simple. i used a color layer in #00C1EB (a light blue) and set it to soft light, 100% opacity. the whole thing started looking blue already:
one negative effect of soft light layers in light colors is that a lot of the contrast is lost, and i didn't want that. as i said above, poor kaworu had to be albino and i do not want him to fade into the background, so the contrast had to be upped. i did it by adding another color layer, this time in #F18563, a peach kinda color, and setting it to color burn, 30% opacity. the color burn setting is really good if you want to darken the dark colors without darkening the light ones, as opposed to using multiply or linear burn which just darken everything. this only works if the color you use is on the light side of the spectrum (dark colors just make everything dark). i had to be careful with the opacity because at 100%, the blue was lost completely...
...but at 30% it's good enough. see the lovely darkening on the ends of his hair? gorgeous.
but seeing as i love blue so much, i still wanted more blue! so i made a new layer, this time in #006EB1, and set it to soft light. yes, again. this time the contrast wasn't washed out completely because the blue this time is darker than the one i used last time.
that's blue alright! but now his face looks kind of... blotchy (well, i see blotches. maybe it's just me #_#). that might be because of the scan quality, and when i added the blue layer it just popped out more to the eye. but we want to do something about that anyway. i wanted to lighten his face, i guess. i couldn't do that with a color layer, because they tend to affect the whole icon, i was way too lazy to look up an appropriate texture ^^;;; i could've used a selective color layer, but increasing or decreasing the blues/cyans wouldn't have worked because decreasing the blue tones on his face would've decreased the blue tones in his hair and the background as well. so i went with something i don't normally use, a curves layer (click on the little yin-yang-like icon in your layers palette):
the settings were as follows (for each channel-- input 1, output 1; input 2, output 2, etc...):
red: 64, 70; 118, 132; 175, 203
green: 38, 49; 137, 102; 194, 181
blue: 59, 49; 188, 188
curves are not something i use often because i think they're not very reproducible. that is to say, the same numbers probably won't work if you're using a different base. however from time to time it's nice to just randomly click on the little graph thingie and see what you can get. this one worked pretty well for me, so i left it in and here's the result:
no more blotches and no blue lost! yay! xD after this i added something i use in 80% of my icons, and i'm sure you've heard of this one-- the dark blue exclusion layer. it fades the colors, giving the icon an "aged" kind of look. any really dark blue works. for this case i used #000636 on a new layer ("blue exclusion") and set it on exclusion:
then... i started experimenting. i liked how it looked, but i wanted to keep adding stuff (greedy little thing that i am xD lol). so i added a new layer in #DBAE8D, a tan/peach color, and set it to soft light:
...it took me half a second to figure out that adding that layer wasn't a real good idea. again, the light color/soft light combination washed out my image. but i was stubborn and convinced that i could fix it, so i didn't delete the layer, and instead adding another layer, this time a dark red layer in #710302. i remember i tried a lot of different settings with this one, until i finally settled for color burn, as fragilecat recommended in her tutorial. at 100%, the result was a freakshow:
i know what you're thinking: "EEK! ALIEN! HELP!" ('course, he is kind of not human-- you know if you've seen eva-- but still... ^^;;; haha). i thought the same. so i started lowering the opacity until i got something more normal. i settled on 20%.
BUT I WANTED MY BLUE BACK! (you see the recurring theme, don't you?) so i added a new layer, in #AEE1FE, a very light blue, and set it on color burn. this had the desired effect-- hair and background became more darker blue while his face wasn't overly shadowed, because the color i used was very light. isn't color burn useful?
now, it was time to add some texture. i used this one, from the trex-tures website (the link i have doesn't work anymore-- anyone got a new one?), and set it to overlay, 100% ("texture 1").
and oh, doesn't that make the background look amazing? i didn't like the fact that it made kaworu's face blotchy, and the line that passed through his hair, so i used the smudge tool to, well, smudge out the texture covering his face and hair (it's the one that looks like a hand pointing down). the result was this:
then i tried something to make the background pop out a little more, make the texture more contrast-y. i used another texture from trex-tures ("texture 2") and set it on, what else?, color burn.
now, this does wonders for the background, yes, but kaworu ends up looking... well, to be blunt, he ends up looking like a mutant. kinda reminds me of toad from x-men, lol ^^;;; i could've just deleted the part of the texture that i didn't want, but that would've made the coloring seem two different between the background and him, and i didn't want that. he couldn't be blue while the background was reddish/yellowish. so instead, i picked a cream color from the image, #FCE9C0, and with a circular brush with fading edges, i painted over the texture where kaworu would be. it doesn't have to be exact-- in fact, i rather liked that i couldn't color inside the lines because when the blend mode was set, it gave him an "aura", like he was glowing. anyway, i set this one to color burn, yet again.
that looked wonderful to me. but if you know me, you know that i like funky coloring, so i had to add a little extra. and for funky coloring, there are two things that give immediate results-- exclusion & difference layers. i took a blue gradient (by fragilecat), and set it on exclusion at 100%.
as soon as i saw that gradient, i knew it would work wonders for my icon. why? because it's darker towards the side kaworu is in-- which meant the exclusion setting wouldn't shoot to heck all the coloring on kaworu that i'd worked so hard on-- and it's lighter towards the left side-- which opened up very funkadelic possibilities for my background. i could rest assured that kaworu wouldn't become a blue alien with neon-bright skin and plain-colored eyes, but my background would still pop out. and i was definitely ecstatic that it became less red and more blue ^-^
i didn't want the icon to be so washed out, though, so i duplicated my base, moved it to the top and set it to soft light. with this, i ended up with my finished icon:
here you have the layers palette, just in case you got lost somewhere in the midst of my ramblings:
now, for the variations: i noticed that i really liked how many of the intermediate steps looked like, so i decided to try making some layers invisible and see how that looked. every time i found a layer combination that i liked, i saved. i don't remember at the moment which combination goes with which, but this is a very nice way to get new, innovative icons. like, for example, when i made invisible the light blue, peach and blue layers, as well as the top base duplicate, i ended up with this:
which is icon #15 from the batch. you get the idea.
i hope this tutorial was useful and that i didn't bore you to death with my yapping about nothing. please comment in any case, i'd love to see your results! and if you like my icons and/or want to know how i made them, step by wakizashi_!
plugging: so not zen!, the mighty podcast.