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06 March 2005 @ 12:34 am
Too much ice cream is bad for the tummieee.  
I know a lot of icon-makers already are well aware of how to improve an image/cap, but for those who don't, I'd like to share a few of my personal steps. These are the steps that I ALWAYS apply on each and every one of my icons even before I add textures/brushes/gradients/etc. Here you will learn how to take a really bad cap and turn it into something [I think] probably ten times better.

This tutorial is for Photoshop 8. There are a few things on here I'm not sure will translate to other programs, as PS is the only program I've ever had. [ edit ] Thanks to julia_thorne13 for informing me that it can be translated to PSP, thanks![ //end edit ]

Take this cap. It has only been cropped --> Image hosted by Photobucket.com

And we'll learn how to make it into this --> Image hosted by Photobucket.com




As you can see, the first image is really ugly. It's not sharp, and dark, among other things.


01 Start with this.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
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02 Sharpen it by going to Image > Sharpen > Sharpen.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com --> Image hosted by Photobucket.com
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03 Take the smudge tool (under the eraser tool indicated by a hand with a pointing index finger) mode: normal, strength: 10%. Zoom in to about 500%, using a round, soft edged brush about 4-9 px in diameter, smudge the cheeks, foreheads, necks, noses, clothes, etc, of Olivia & Elliot. Only avoid the eyes and lips. Try to smudge the background more than the people. That will make the background more blurred, which makes the people stand out.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com --> Image hosted by Photobucket.com
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04 Then sharpen the image again. Sometimes sharpening it again is too much. If that is the case, go to Edit > Fade Sharpen and adjust the percentage to your liking. If you are using a program that does not have a fade sharpen, then you can duplicate the layer and then sharpen the duplicated layer. Afterwards, you can adjust the opacity of your sharpened layer (duplicated layer) to your liking.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com --> Image hosted by Photobucket.com
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05 Now here is the part where I'm not sure if other programs will have it or not. I learned this nifty nifty trick in my advanced Photoshop class. Go to Image > Adjustments > Shadow/Highlight. The default setting should be shadow: 50%, highlight: 0%. I left it at the default setting and clicked OK. You can adjust the shadow* to your liking, but I wouldn't mess with the highlight.
*This tool removes the shadows in a picture. It's really useful for taking away the shadow on a person's face, as well as brightening the picture.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com --> Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Note: This only works for PS CS. For lower PS, go to Image > Adjustments > Variations and choose lighter once or twice, or thrice. That will brighten the image. The colors will be flatter than if you use shadow/highlight. But don't worry, cause you can crank up the contrast in step 6 to give it more color.

Here is the result if you use shadow/highlight. Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Here is the result if you use variations. Image hosted by Photobucket.com
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06 Nifty eh?? But *yawns* the colors are dull, boring, flat, bleh. Hmph. We'll fix that. Now, add a new adjustment layer by going to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Brightness/Contrast . . . Crank up the contrast to about 30, or whatever suits your icon.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com --> Image hosted by Photobucket.com
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07 I thought the faces were too yellowish (because of the high contrast). So add another adjustment layer Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation. First, in the edit box, choose reds and decrease the saturation to -10. Second, choose yellows in the edit box, saturation: -10. And lastly, choose magentas in the edit box and also decrease the saturation to -10.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com --> Image hosted by Photobucket.com
______________________________________

08 Now for the last step. Add another adjustment layer Layer > New Adjustments Layer > Selective Color. In the colors box, choose blacks, then go down to the slider for black and increase that to 10%.
*This darkens only the blacks in an image. It's great for darkening hair and eyebrows to make them stand out more. It's like applying make up, only not really. ^__________^

Image hosted by Photobucket.com --> Image hosted by Photobucket.com




And you're done! Now you have a really nice base for you icons. Add gradients, brushes, creativity, and you've got yourself an awesome icon! <3


Before: Image hosted by Photobucket.com After: Image hosted by Photobucket.com
 
 
 
my dreams will match up with my payterra_katta on March 6th, 2005 09:19 am (UTC)
:o Amazing! Simply amazing! Thank you so very much. XD

It's going in my memories. Go SVU! XD
Meeps!: veronica marsdark_soul_lost on March 6th, 2005 09:34 am (UTC)
You're very welcome. =]


SVU rocks my socks. >_________
Julia Thornejulia_thorne13 on March 6th, 2005 09:21 am (UTC)
I was planning on doing on of these (with the sharpen and smudge tools) but you got it covered so I'm checking that off my list! Thanks so much and awesome tut. Really clear. And, just like to add, it's basically translatable into PSP, which is good!
Meeps!dark_soul_lost on March 6th, 2005 09:24 am (UTC)
Oh really?? That's awesome!! I wasn't sure about PSP cause I've never had it. I'll edit my post and tell ppl that, so they'll know! Thanks so much!
(no subject) - julia_thorne13 on March 6th, 2005 10:33 am (UTC) (Expand)
A sexy, fun bitch who just bought you a piñata!: my life is now completeloverly on March 6th, 2005 10:09 am (UTC)
great one :D
Japejapewierd on March 6th, 2005 12:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks for that.
doctoreveldoctorevel on March 6th, 2005 12:46 pm (UTC)
This is so fantastic -- and it's great info to use with non-icon pictures as well.
And: Blue eyes - lil_buttonmotorcitysky on March 6th, 2005 01:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing this. I knew how to do most of it but not all and the part I didn't know really makes a difference.
Andmotorcitysky on March 6th, 2005 05:06 pm (UTC)
I was just trying it out. The only part I'm having trouble with is Step 5. Image>Adjustment>Shadow/Highlight. I don't have the Shadow/Highlight option. I'm using PS7 too. Any ideas, please?
(no subject) - dark_soul_lost on March 6th, 2005 11:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - motorcitysky on March 7th, 2005 06:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Artemisluna_dea_82 on March 6th, 2005 02:02 pm (UTC)
This is great. I didn't know how to do it as much (most of the time I never thought about it, and just reading a few steps help me carry out my own way of doing it. <3 ya for it :D
Lubaba, Lu[lu], Babalu, Lubabs, Lubarubixcubashunemo711 on March 6th, 2005 03:06 pm (UTC)
Learned a couple things as I went along, of course. Simply divine tut!
Annie: SHIA!! <3 || by meburningbeacon on March 6th, 2005 03:59 pm (UTC)
I ♥ you. Adding to memories. =D
zandra_x on March 6th, 2005 04:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks. Excellent basics, adding to memories.
Nudel: scannerbakednudel on March 6th, 2005 04:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks, this is great, also adding to memories...

except I use Elements and it doesn't have the Image>adjustments>shadow/highlight.. :(

unless it's hidden somewhere else in Elements? anybody?
Meeps!: mirandadark_soul_lost on March 6th, 2005 11:05 pm (UTC)
Eee. I posted this for someone up on top, but here it is, to make sure you see it.
I forgot to mention that I use PS 8. But don't worry!!! I know another way to do it!! Go to Image > Adjustments > Variations and choose lighter once or twice. That will brighten the image. The colors will be flatter than if you use shadow/highlight. But don't worry, cause you can crank up the contrast in step 6 to give it more color.

Here is the result if you use shadow/highlight. Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Here is the result if you use variations/b>. Image hosted by Photobucket.com
(no subject) - bakednudel on March 7th, 2005 02:58 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dark_soul_lost on March 7th, 2005 03:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
Angieangeline_dark on March 6th, 2005 05:41 pm (UTC)
Amazing tutorial! I'll denfinitely add it to my memories.
la Contessalacontessa11 on March 6th, 2005 06:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you, that was very helpful!
Wendyamizada on March 6th, 2005 06:12 pm (UTC)
This is great!! But I gotta ask, what version of PS are you using? I can't for the life of me find the Image>Adjustments>Shadow/Highlight. I don't have that in my list.
Meeps!: jack - fly high and prouddark_soul_lost on March 6th, 2005 11:03 pm (UTC)
(I posted the same thing for the person up on top, but just to make sure you see it too =])
Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot to mention that I use PS 8. But don't worry!!! I know another way to do it!! Go to Image > Adjustments > Variations and choose lighter once or twice. That will brighten the image. The colors will be flatter than if you use shadow/highlight. But don't worry, cause you can crank up the contrast in step 6 to give it more color.

Here is the result if you use shadow/highlight. Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Here is the result if you use variations. Image hosted by Photobucket.com
(no subject) - amizada on March 6th, 2005 11:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
sara c: STABLERmiss_sarac on March 6th, 2005 06:59 pm (UTC)
I'm assuming you have Photoshop CS?!?

I've added to my memories-THANKS!
Meeps!: eric szmanda - fallingdark_soul_lost on March 7th, 2005 01:46 am (UTC)
Ahh, yes I do. I forgot all about that. When I was writing the tutorial, I just thought to mention that I have PS, but not which version. Then it became apparent when it came to the shadow/highlight thing. Blah! But if you are using PS7, then just go to Image > Adjustments > Variations and click on lighter two or three times. It will make the image brighter, but the colors will be very flat. Then in step 6, you can up the contrast and that will intensify the colors again.

*g* There are always different ways to do one thing. =]