[Tutorial] One way to make an icon

Discussion in 'Fan Design - Sites and Graphics' started by Mekairinek, Sep 5, 2009.

Moderators: Grimby
  1. Mekairinek Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2009
    star 1
    Welcome! Here's my icon tutorial. =]

    DISCLAIMER: This assumes you have Photoshop CS4 or lower. I have no clue how this can be translated into Paint Shop Pro or Gimp. Sorry!

    STEP ONE
    [image=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v283/mekairinek/tutorial/s1_1.jpg]
    First, start up a new image. For this tutorial, we're going to do a 90x30 icon.

    [image=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v283/mekairinek/tutorial/s1_2.jpg]
    Then, pick out the image you want to use. For this tutorial, we'll use this one. (Surprise, surprise...)


    STEP TWO
    [image=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v283/mekairinek/tutorial/s2_1.jpg] [image=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v283/mekairinek/tutorial/s2_2.jpg]
    Depending on the dimensions and the original image's dimensions, you may need to resize it. Before you do so, go to 'Filter > Sharpen'. Just do it once. The sharpening step is optional, but I do it out of habit.

    Then, crop the image to only the necessary parts. Here, we just want Bane's upper torso and not the hand holding the holocron.... or the whole logo for that matter. :p

    STEP THREE
    [image=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v283/mekairinek/tutorial/s3_1.jpg] [image=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v283/mekairinek/tutorial/s3_2.jpg]
    Now, it's time to resize the image you want to use. In this case, I want it to have a vertical size of 90 pixels, so it'll fit snugly into the image I want to use. If you're doing this for a 30x90, you make the image's width 90 pixels and a clean 50 for either height or width for a 50x50 one.

    Now -and here's where it gets tricky- select the image, press 'Ctrl + C' to copy the image and then Ctrl + V to paste it into the 90x30 blank image we created at the beginning. Don't worry about moving it around just yet.

    STEP FOUR
    [image=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v283/mekairinek/tutorial/s4_1.jpg] [image=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v283/mekairinek/tutorial/s4_2.jpg]
    Now, adjust it so that it looks right in your set dimensions. This will vary, depending on your own personal aesthetic, but a general rule of thumb is to get all the important parts of the character into the icon, or at least, you see enough of them to know who they are.

    DETOUR: Uh-oh. It looks like Bane doesn't *quite* fit, width-wise. In this case, use 'Edit > Free Transform' to adjust the image's dimensions. But don't go overboard, just enough so that his face will fit a little better in the icon itself. You'll see the

    Now, go to 'Layers > Duplicate Layer' and you'll have a new, duplicate layer of... your current layer. (It's like my wardrobe manifesto these days: layer, layer, layer!)

    .. Oddly enough, my layer's palatte isn't open. This is only because I've years of PS experience to know my way around the program and my layers too. But you'll need your layers palatte in just a moment for step five.

    STEP FIVE
    [image=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v283/mekairinek/tutorial/s5_1.jpg] [image=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v283/mekairinek/tutorial/s5_2.jpg]
    With your layer duplicated, make sure your layers palatte is visible, if it's not already. Go to 'Blend Modes' and then in the drop-down menu, select 'Screen'. This, in layman's terms, jacks up the contrast/brightness of the image. As the image says, it's extremely helpful for 'dark' characters like Cad Bane (who are almost always in very dark/desaturated images).

    DETOUR: If necessary, wash, rinse, repeat as many times with layer duplication and 'screen'ing if necessary. I would only use maybe 1-2 screened layers max, set at varying Opacity levels (which controls the 'transparency' of an image. I won't get into that here, however. it's too long and complicated). Using 'Screen' -and it's brethen Linear Dodge and Color Dodge'- wash out an image's colors and eventually makes it very
  2. Tyi-Maet_Nefer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 17, 2005
    star 6
    =D=

    Great stuff, Mek. I've always been interested in icon-making, but never delved into it deeply enough. This tutorial makes it seem easy!
  3. Skiara ~• Manager WNU •~ ~• RSA FFC •~

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2002
    star 10
    Although I don't know, if I ever make an icon myself, I started reading this tutorial and didn't stop until the end!

    It's really good to read (and funny) and it seems to be easy to do.

    Very well done! =D=
  4. Mekairinek Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2009
    star 1
    Thanks alot! Admittedly, I'm not very good at tutorials in general (I've had people beg me to make tutorials for how I do my artwork, but I'm so bad at explaining anything) so this was a challenge in of itself for me.

    And just a couple footnotes that I'd forgotten to mention:

    - Where it says 'You'll see the', it was supposed to say 'You'll see the difference in the images above'.

    - I probably should have omitted the 'Don't worry about moving it around just yet' line, since obviously I hadn't thought it all the way through in the text at that point. Derrrr.

    - You may need to do some additional sharpening, as evidenced by the 30x90 icon.

    Other than that, it may seem highly egotistical, but I'm pleased with how this turned out.

    Thanks again!
  5. Grimby Technical Consultant

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Apr 22, 2000
    star 7
    Wow! Outstanding tutorial Mek! =D=

    This should come in handy for a lot of folks. Thank you for taking the time to post this!
  6. Brandon Rhea Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 26, 2004
    star 5
    Very informative and well put together. I may be able to actually make an icon now. [face_laugh]
  7. Ludo_Kressh Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 30, 2005
    star 5
    Awesome tutorial, Mek!:D I have GIMP 2, but I think I might be able to do this with similiar tools...I hope so. And btw, great icons![face_peace]
  8. Mekairinek Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2009
    star 1
    Wow! Thanks alot!

    I really tried to make this as easy to follow as possible, so I hope it helps people. =]
  9. Salty Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 24, 1998
    star 5
    That's a solid tutorial. Great job!
  10. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    Yay, thank you so much!! [:D]
  11. Salty Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 24, 1998
    star 5
    The cool thing about Save for Web is that you can use the Matte feature to get rid of jagged edges around images. If you notice on some of the JC stars and some of the JC icons, they have a white jagged edge around them. One way to get rid of that is by making the Matte color match the page background. By doing this you create a halo around the image that's the same color as the background so when you merge layers the halo blends in and gives your image nice smooth edges.
  12. Grimby Technical Consultant

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Apr 22, 2000
    star 7
    Of course, when making icons for the JC, you don't know what the background color is going to be because it's different in every forum. I always choose no matte color in those cases.
  13. Salty Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 24, 1998
    star 5
    Yep, in those cases you'll probably have to anti-alias the image and remove the white halo by hand. That's a real pain in the neck.
  14. Qui-Gon_Reborn Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 11, 2008
    star 6
    Wow, fantastic tutorial! =D= I could've used this so many times in the past...And I certainly will be using it in the future!
  15. Humble_Jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2004
    star 4
    Nice one dude. =]

    Maybe it's just me, but I only use 'Sharpen' after resizing the image to a smaller size.
    Helps bring out the details.
  16. Salty Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 24, 1998
    star 5
    I do the same thing. I never sharpen until the end.
  17. Grimby Technical Consultant

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Apr 22, 2000
    star 7
    I usually try both methods and see which one turns out better. Depending on which resize method you choose (bicubic, bicubic sharper, nearest neighbor, etc.) the resulting image will be different. Sometimes the algorithm is more effective when the original image is a little bit sharper to start off with, which is why sharpening before the resize might look better. Sometimes doing it both before and after is a good idea.
  18. Salty Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 24, 1998
    star 5
    Seems like mine always comes out over saturated if I sharpen at the beginning and the end.
Moderators: Grimby