Tutorial #1: Nita Krebs
current mood: artistic
current song: Bratmobile ~ "Chicken or the Egg"
Hey kiddos. I never thought I'd do this, but I've made my first tutorial.
Transform to in eleven kind-of-easy steps!
Fairly simple, though it does use Curves. Made in PSP6 (ANCIENT), but I can translate most tutorials for other programs, so I assume the reverse is true. Image heavy, I guess, but they're all small.
1. Crop & resize your base. Mine needed a lot of sharpening, but I didn't go too crazy on the base; you're going to be duplicating several times on different blend modes, so try sharpening those instead & see what you get. You can also smooth the skin on the base if you want.
2. Duplicate the base & set this new layer to Screen. Again, sharpen if you need to.
3. Duplicate once more & set to Overlay or Soft Light, whichever looks better. This is where we apply that blurry, ethereal effect. Using your Freehand Selection tool (lasso) with Antialias unchecked, select all the negative space using whatever selection type you prefer (I use Point to Point). You can make this easier by selecting the positive space (i.e. just trace around the subject) & then inverting the selection. (On mine this is Selections >> Invert.) Before I inverted I also held down the Ctrl key & used my lasso to select that space under her arm. You're going to want to zoom when you're selecting, but don't worry about being too exact. I didn't select that dark spot in the lower left corner because that's actually her knee.
4. Make sure the Overlay/Soft Light layer is your active layer. Then, go to Motion Blur (for me, Image >> Blur >> Motion Blur...). My Intensity was 10 Pixels, & my Angle was set to about 315°. You do what works best for you. If this isn't bright & glowy enough for you, you might try applying it to the Screen layer instead (or as well).
5. You can Select None now. Here's the result of all our effort so far:
6. Here's where we choose our light angle. Create a new raster layer & select your Flood Fill tool (bucket). Under Fill style, choose Linear Gradient. Then click the Flood Fill Options tab (that stripey thing). For me there's a Gradient drop-down menu; I selected Black-White & set the Angle to 45°.
I get the impression that making gradients in other programs is just as simple. Anyway, make sure your blank raster layer is active & then Flood Fill that. If I'm over-complicating things & you're totally lost on this then just take mine. If you want the light going a different way just flip/mirror it.
7. Put this layer right above your base & set it to Overlay. You should now have four layers: your base set at Normal, your gradient set at Overlay, your duplicate set at Screen, & your blurred duplicate set at Overlay.
8. Create a new raster layer above all the rest & Flood Fill it with dark blue (mine was #00144C). Make sure your Fill Style is set back to Solid Color or else you'll be filling with that gradient again & you'll have to Undo; I always forget to do that. Set this layer to Color & lower the Opacity; mine was 50%.
9. Say it with me now: CURRRRRRRRRRRRRVES! Turn on Curves, leaving the Blend Mode at Normal. For me it's Layers >> New Adjustment Layer >> Curves... . Do most programs not have this or something? I just discovered it a few days ago & find it incredibly easy & helpful to use... fun too! Anyway. I can't really tell you how to do this part. You just have to fiddle with it & find what looks good. Here are the settings I used for this particular icon (with each Input/Output representing a dot on the pre-existing line):
Channel RGB : Input 52 Output 77; Input 157 Output 207.
Channel Red : Input 37 Output 107; Input 188 Output 203.
Channel Green : Input 43 Output 45; Input 120 Output 133.
Channel Blue : Input 177 Output 142.
10. Yeesh, too bright! I created yet another adjustment layer set at Normal, only this time I chose Brightness/Contrast. I set the Brightness to -19 & the Contrast to 25.
11. You're pretty much done now; just gotta add brushes or a border or text or whatever else you want. You can also try adding an Exclusion layer of your dark blue above all the others; this will give you even more of a sepia-toned, opening-scenes-of-The-Wizard-of-Oz-sorta look. The only hint I'll give you is that I used this texture by colorfilter, desaturated & cut up into pieces.
Most of the pieces were set to Darken & placed between the blurred Overlay duplicate & the Screen duplicate, with low to medium opacity (20-35). That's the only tip I can give you on that, as my use of this texture was very jerry-rigged.
Other examples (exact same Curves, slightly lower Brightness, additional Exclusion layer):
Please tell me if anything's unclear, & also show me your results!
Cross-posted to icon_tutorial.
Oh, by the way, I've been winning hella awards, you should check that out.