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Tutorial: Icon with Inset Picture, ps cs1 [Nov. 24th, 2005|08:13 pm]
Hufflepuff Graphic Studio


[mood |creativecreative]
[music |Chicago - Sean Watkins]


Simple instructions:
1. Choose a background image that matches the inset picture.
2. Crop and/or resize picture chosen for inset and past on top of background. Position as desired.
3. Add a brush in a complementary color for outlining or highlighting the inset picture.

Detailed instructions:

1. Find the picture that you want to use in the icon. Because I was doing a set of mascot icons, I chose a lion.

2. Crop and resize the picture so it is more or less the size of an icon. You will be making it smaller later, but the point is to know what you will need to match the background to. I focused on the lion's face.

3. Open a transparent 100x100pixel canvas. You will paste everything onto here using layers.

4. Choose your background. You can use just about anything that complements the inset picture. I recommend choosing fairly simple bases in complementary colors so that the inset stands out. In my case, I played with a lot of different textures before settling on these two from dearest:

I liked the design of the first base and I liked the sandy, aged look of the second one. I layered the second over the top using "pin light" in my layers palette. Like I said, I tried a lot of different textures and also a lot of different blend modes before settling on this one. Experimentation is always good! I usually hate the pin light blend mode, but because of the similarities in colors, it worked well with these two bases. The result is below:

5. Paste your inset picture onto the background and resize it using Transform (edit -> transform -> free transform) so that it is about 60% of the canvas. You can make it smaller if you want more of the background to show, or you can make it larger if there is a lot of detail. I chose this size because I wanted room for text along the top and/or side.

I also duplicated the image and set the duplicate to the blend mode "overlay." This sharpened the contrast while brightening the lights and adding saturation to the lighter colors. You can see the little image here (ignore the border - I forgot to save without it!):

6. To add a border brush that is larger than the inset picture, right click on the eyedropper tool and then choose the measuring tape. You can click and drag it to discover how many pixels wide your inset is. If it is a square, then you can resize any square border brush to that size. For this one, I made the lion 64px square, so I went to the brush palette, then clicked on "brush tip settings" and typed in 64px as the tip size, rather than the original 100px.

I chose a brush by xinsomniacx, but I also considered drawing a simple line around each side with a 1px square brush, or using the shadow settings on the layer.

7. Merge the border and inset picture layers if they are separate, then move them until you find a good spot. Because the top of my base is yellowy but the bottom is red, I decided to put the lion over the bottom half because it's also yellowy and the colors look best. I chose to make it off-center because the vertical lines in the base are already off-center and more on the left, so putting the lion on the right adds balance. You can see the final result below:

8. If you want to, you can add decoration or text to the image. Choose complementary colors by using the eyedrop color-picker. For the icons I'm making in my shop, I decided to use a deep brownish red like in the border for text, which I placed over the yellowy part. I put it there because it's a fairly empty space and the text shows up clearly, but it doesn't overwhelm the icon.

If you have any questions abot why I did something (I tried to explain it all! I hate when tutorials don't explain things), feel free to ask in the comments. I'd also be glad to see how you used this technique, or offer advice on your attempts, like for placement of the inset picture or whatever.

<3 Keri

[User Picture]From: keristars
2005-11-27 11:15 pm (UTC)
There are LOADS of places to get textures and things. My favorites are dearest, petticoatrow, iconistas and..a few more. 100x100_brushes has a memories section where you can get lots of brushes, and they're sorted by type (border, decoration, and so on). There are also communities specifically for textures and gradients and bases - basicbases has lots and lots of pre-cropped images you can use.

I had no idea about all this until recently, myself! I always drew freehand, and I like brushes and textures and whatnot so much, because it helps me focus my ideas.

And I like the background for that icon! It looks like water. But I'd make it go across the whole thing, instead of halving the icon, and because there's so much detail in the inset picture, I would make it bigger to see it better. Or, you could use color settings to make the background greenish, so that the blue wings of the fairy stand out more.

And keep trying! I'm still not very good at some styles, but with practice, I've improved technique and figured out what I like best.
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