Hello all. I decided to make an icon tutorial since a lot of people ask me questions about how I go about making my icons. So, I'll show you some techniques.
Tutorial for Paint Shop Pro Users - I'm sure it can be translated for PS, but I use PSP.
This is an image of me. I suggest using images of real people, it tends to turn out better in my opinion. I just had this one lying around so I used it. The image must be big enough to resize and retain it's quality.
To make the image's lines more intense, I sharpened it. To do this go to Effects > Sharpen. This makes the lines nice and crisp.
I went to Colors > Adjust > Brightness/Contrast. I fiddled around with the settings until I liked it. There is no setting that will garuntee to work for every image, you have to use your judgement and change it on your own. This step isn't necessary, but it usually evens out the levels of light and contrast in the image.
This is the gradient I decided I was going to use. You can get gradients from many places, and you can make them with the paint-fill tool on PSP. I like having set gradients around for quick use (someone else made this gradient).
I set the above gradient to blend mode Screen. But because the image was a little too hard to distinguish I DUPLICATED my FIRST LAYER (image of myself) to Soft Light and set it over the GRADIENT LAYER.
This is my texture image. I did not make this image.
This is my texture layer, set to Screen. This allows only the whites in the image to stand out.
This is where the Eraser tool comes in. I erased areas from the texture layer around my face so my facial features were distinguishable. This is the part where you can use to your discretion. I could have erased more but I liked the spotted feeling of the image.
Remember that FIRST LAYER that I set blend mode to Soft Light and DUPILCATED? Well, DUPLICATE IT AGAIN! Keep the blend mode to Soft Light. Keep this right above the first duplicated layer (under your texture layer and on top of first soft light layer). This can get confusing, but if you fiddle around with it you'll get what I mean).
This is where I set my text. I used Georgia font size 16, italicized, color #D43E53. I turned rotated it 90 degrees to the left and set the blend mode to Hard Light at 50%. I added more text to the same layer in the same font, same color at size 3. Did the same rotation.
I added a ONE PIXEL border (my image size was 98x98 px) and Ta~da.
Hope you liked this tutorial. This is NOT MEANT for you to copy my style directly. This is meant for you to get a better hang of blend modes and gradients, composition, etc. We all borrow from eachother, but if I see people making icons with the same gradients and same texture I'm going to be a little peeved. Use your imagination!