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fleur_de_mort in equestrian_icon

Icon Tutorial!!

Okay, so I said I'd put up a tutorial. Now, I don't have an equestrian icon on the table at this point, muses aren't kickin' it for me, so we'll use one of my Black Hawk Down ones. Hopefully, sometime soon, I'll be able to spam like a mofo with Teh Horsies. :D Okay. So, this is my firstest tutorial EVAR, so bear with me, guys. Now, on to Le Tutorial:



Now, I use Adobe Photoshop 7.0, but this tutorial should work for Paint Shop Pro as well. I'm not terribly familiar with the program, as I prefer Photoshop, but those of you who do work in PSP should be able to get my drift. :D

Okay, to start with, you need an image. Duh. Preferably a good-sized, good resolution image. For this tutorial, we're going to use this photo:



This is Gary Gordon. He is hot, and makes a very tasty subject for iconing. So, this will be our example photo.

Now, the first order of business is to figure out where you want to crop the image. I recommend setting your marquee tool to the "Fixed Aspect Ratio" setting, with it set to 100 by 100. This helps maintain accurate proportions for resizing, which is very important. Now, you could crop it like this:



but I wouldn't recommend it. It's not a very interesting crop, drool-worthy as the subject may be. You want to have a unique icon, yes? You need to crop it so that it's interesting, even when you size it down to 100x100. Let's try rotating the image clockwise a few degrees, shall we?



There. Much, much more interesting for cropping. Okay, so crop the image and then resize it to 100x100 pixels. After resizing, we get this:



Now, since we've resized, the colors are slightly darker. It's not that they've actually gotten darker, but we've made the image smaller, so it appears darker. Unless you're shooting for a dark icon, we need to brighten it a bit. You could do a few things: You could Auto-Adjust the Levels, Color, or Contrast. That'll net you these results:

Auto-Levels Adjust.
Auto-Colors Adjust.
Auto-Contrast Adjust.

All good, but not what we're looking for. Looks like we'll have to adjust it another way. Now, here's what I do if the auto adjusts don't provide quite the results I'm looking for. First, duplicate the layer. Now, set its blending mode to "Multiply." Now, duplicate the NEW layer, and change it to "Screen." That'll get us this:
Compare to our original 100x100: See the difference?

Now, to add some effects to the icon. Now, Black Hawk Down is a fairly gritty movie, so continuing with that theme, let's make this icon look a little...battle-weary. First, create a new layer and fill it with the color #FFDC9B. Now, go to your Filters and select Noise, then Add Noise. Anyhere between 5.5 and 7.0% will work, just tweak it to your liking. Now, lower the opacity of your noise level to 20%. That'll give us this:
.

Still a little shy of what I'd like, I add another layer, this one filled with #002364. Set the blend mode to Screen and drop the opacity to 60%.


Last color-filter layer, I promise. Create a new layer, fill it with the first color, the #FFDC9B. Set it to Color Burn and drop the opacity to 30%. Final results before we begin playing with the brushes:


Now, onto the really fun stuff. All of the brushes I use can be found in my Resources post for reference. That links to the brushmakers. There are comms here, but I'll not bother to list them. They can be found in my userinfo. For the first brush, I use #DDE9BF as my color and set the layer to a blend mode of Color Dodge.


I use another brush, new layer, same blend mode, same color, and then erase the area just on his face, because that is the focus of the icon. It just adds a little interest to the background, not enough to distract from the face, but enough that the icon isn't bland:


Last brush before we embellish with text: Same color, but I changed the layer mode to Linear Burn, then, using the Hue/Saturation adjustment window, I dropped the lightness to -50. Nice contrast to the sunshine-like effect we've added.


I finally settle on a text brush that I like, and using the contrasting color to our first brush color, #221640, I put it on a new layer and drop the opacity to about 65%. Then, I flatten the image and save it. I always, always save final icons as .png files, because it compresses better than .jpgs. Now, our final icon:




Hope this makes any sense, at all! Let me know!! :D And, I promise, equestrian icons are on the way. ^_^

Comments

ooo... *drools... a lot*

Uhm. Now how shall we make sexy icons armed only with, oh, MS Paint? Or is it truly hopeless?
Hm, you present a challenge. I dunno about Paint, cos Photoshop has nifty brushes. Got an icon you want made?? I'm always up for iconing.

Oh, and if you think the icon is sexy, check this out. >D *EG*
Equestrian Icons

February 2009

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