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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: hazy_crazy
2006-04-27 02:11 am (UTC)
Ok.. I made this... I dunno if I like it much, but it's something!

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[User Picture]From: keristars
2006-04-27 02:56 am (UTC)
The biggest thing that could improve it is by making the colors of the background and photo more similar. As it is, the background is really bright and saturated, while the photo is dim and without much contrast. Also, it's a little blurry. Do you use photoshop? You could try to mess with the unsharp mask (it can do some really cool things with contrast/sharpness!) and replace color (it also does cool stuff with color and brightness), or you could try a different background.

Without doing any of that, I think moving the photo more to center (move it diagonally to the top right) might help some.

I love what you've done with the background and brushes! This style, I've found, is easy to go overboard with, or not do quite right. I'm always getting frustrated because I can't find a base I'm happy with. :P
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[User Picture]From: hazy_crazy
2006-04-27 03:18 am (UTC)
Thanks very much for the tips! =)

Yes - I have Photoshop CS.

The original photo, when I sharpened it, became a bit pixellated, so I blurred it a little. I could always use a different pic, though... I have more than enough of Cedric !

And thanks - the brush is by tista4u2nv =)
Icons take me ages to make because I'm never happy with what I've done! But I usually get there in the end. hehe
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