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Doctor Who tutorial

I was asked to do a tutorial on how I made this icon (the one I'm posting with). :)


Program: Photoshop Elements 2
Difficulty: Medium
Translatable: Yes
Steps: 29


Okay, so, I didn't save the .psd so this will be from memory. The coloring is pretty much the same, though, it's just the textures/brush work that are different.
I used this screencap from killcolor. You probably need a screencap with colored lightening on it to get the full effect I do in this tutorial. Science fiction shows (like Doctor Who, in this case) use that type of lightening a lot.
The textures I use here were all made by me and posted here ("Do dinosaurs dream of primeval sheep?"), because I was playing around with some textures I had just created, when I made this icon. :)
Oh, and my PSE is in Swedish, so it's possible I've translated some things wrong. But it should be correct, I checked.


STEP ONE: SCREEN LAYERS
Picture
I copied the layer three times and set each layer to screen. The first two at full opacity, the last at half that. The purpose of this is to make the image brighter, so it isn't as dark.


STEP TWO: SATURATION
Picture
I added a saturation layer (layers -> new adjustment layer -> hue/saturation) and increased the saturation. I set this saturation layer to the blend mode "color", because if you leave it on normal mode saturation layers can create jpeg artifacts.


STEP THREE: SOFT LIGHT
Picture
I copied the image once again, dragged the copy to the top and set it to soft light. This added contrast to the picture.


STEP FOUR: OVERLAY
Picture
I copied the top layer and set the copy to overlay at 50% opacity. Overlay adds contrast and color.


STEP FIVE: RED FILL LAYER
Picture
I added a dark red fill layer (layer --> new fill layer -> monochrome) on blend mode screen. The purpose for this is to make the shadows brighter and red instead of blue. I wanted to enhance the red in the picture, as it was being overpowered by all the blue color.


STEP SIX: RED FILL LAYER
Picture
The previous step made the picture way too bright. I moved the fill layer down two layers, so that it ended up beneath the soft light and overlay layers. This way, the red fill layer no longer removed the contrast added by the soft light & overlay layers. So I got the red coloring without losing so much contrast in the process.


STEP SEVEN: MINOR ADJUSTMENT
Picture
I switched places on the soft light and overlay layers, because this created a better contrast (in my opinion). It's just a minor change, though.


STEP EIGHT: LEVELS (ON SOFT LIGHT)
Picture one & picture two.
I added a levels layer where I played around with brightness and color. I changed the coloring (by moving around the different arrows) until I liked the result I got.
I set this layers on soft light, which adds contrast.


BONUS EXAMPLE
I did the first eight steps on another Doctor Who screencap (also from killcolor) to try it out.



The background was already bright in this screencap, that's why the background looks brighter here. Since we're gonna erase the background anyway, that doesn't matter. :)


STEP NINE: SATURATION
Picture
I wanted the icon to be slightly more colorful, so I increased the saturation slightly. I set the layer on blend mode "color", for the same reason I explained earlier.


STEP TEN: REMOVE BACKGROUND
Picture one, picture two and picture three.
I removed the background. I added a fill layer in a contrasting color below it, to make it easier to see what I was doing. I erased the background using a soft brush. Then I smudged the hair using the smudge tool at a low opacity effect, in order to make the hair look more natural.


STEP ELEVEN: CROPPING
Picture
I cropped the picture to 100x100 pixels, using the crop tool.


STEP TWELVE: BACKGROUND
(Picture of how I did this)
I added a texture to the background. I then copied the texture and dragged it to the top and set this top texture to "soft light". This made the icon's coloring look more cohesive.


STEP THIRTEEN: BACKGROUND
(Picture of how I did this)
I wasn't satisfied with the background, so I added another texture to the background on the blend mode multiply.


STEP FOURTEEN: COLORING ON JENNY
(Picture of how I did this)
I added a teal fill layer on soft light that I grouped with the Jenny layer (Layers -> Group with). By grouping it with the Jenny layer the fill layer only affected Jenny and left the background unchanged.
I added this teal fill layer because I thought the coloring could use some more blue.


STEP FIFTEEN: BACKGROUND
(Picture of how I did this)
I still weren't happy with the background, so I added another texture, this time on soft light mode.


STEP SIXTEEN: BACKGROUND
(Picture of how I did this)
The background was now too blue, so I added a brown fill layer set on soft light (as a new layer right beneath the cut out of Jenny). This made the background look less blue and slightly more red/orange.


STEP SEVENTEEN: BACKGROUND
→ (Picture of how I did this)
As I still wasn't happy with the background, I added yet another texture to the background on the blend mode multiply.


STEP EIGHTEEN: BRUSHWORK
(Picture of how I did this)
I created a new empty layer on top and used some grunge:y looking brushes (made by blimey_icons, posted here) to paint on it in black.


STEP NINETEEN: BRUSHWORK
(Picture of how I did this)
I changed the blend mode to soft light. :)
Black color on soft light (or overlay) creates shadows.


STEP TWENTY: BRUSHWORK
(Picture of how I did this)
Repeat the previous two steps, but with white color this time!


STEP TWENTY-ONE: BRUSHWORK
(Picture of how I did this)
Change the blend mode to something that looks good. I chose overlay at 70%.
White color on overlay (or soft light) creates highlights.

Comparison before/after the brushes:



STEP TWENTY-TWO: COMPOSITION
(Picture of this)
This is where I decided that the icon I had made so far was way too boring. I decided to change the composition, since I was mostly happy with everything else. I changed the size of the icon to 60x60 pixels.
I defined this as a pattern (Edit -> Define pattern).


STEP TWENTY-THREE: COMPOSITION
(Picture of how I did this)
I created a new, blank 100x100 canvas. I added my new "pattern" to this canvas (Layers -> New fill layer -> Pattern). I moved it around until I had the original icon roughly in the middle of the new one.


STEP TWENTY-FOUR: SATURATION
(Picture of how I did this)
I lowered the saturation of the background, since it was a bit too high. I masked away the parts covering Jenny, though, since I was happy with the saturation on her.
I used the blend mode "color", which I always do when I change the saturation.


STEP TWENTY-FIVE: COLORING
(Picture of how I did this)
The coloring was starting to bore me with its sameness, so I changed it using a hue/saturation layer.


STEP TWENTY-SIX: COLORING
(Picture of how I did this)
I masked away the parts covering Jenny (by painting over her with a black brush while having the hue/sat layer selected) and then I masked away part of the background as well.


STEP TWENTY-SEVEN: COLORING
(Picture of how I did this)
I repeated the previous two steps several times, to change the color on the rest of the background.


STEP TWENTY-EIGHT: OVERLAY
(Picture of how I did this)
I merged all layers. I copied my one layer and set it to overlay at 30% opacity. This added contrast and color to the background.


STEP TWENTY-NINE: SHARPENING

(Picture one, picture two, picture three)
I merged all layers, copied my one layer, and used the high pass filter on the top layer (Filter -> Other -> High pass...) at 0.3 radius.
I then used a 5px soft brush to erase the parts covering the "edges" in the icon, since I didn't want them any sharper.
Then I changed the blend mode to overlay and the opacity to 70%.

And we're done! :D

Ask if something is unclear/confusing/wrong, and if you have something to add let me know.
Originally posted here. :)

Comments

( 34 ideas — Have an idea? )
lalonde
Mar. 9th, 2011 01:53 am (UTC)
this was really helpful, thank you.
lessrest
Mar. 9th, 2011 10:12 am (UTC)
You're welcome :D
fire_sister
Mar. 9th, 2011 04:02 am (UTC)
This is awesome!
Thank you, I've made one icon useing most of your steps (some weren't needed due to the coloring and such). Love it.
lessrest
Mar. 9th, 2011 10:13 am (UTC)
Awesome, I'm glad! :D
catsdownunder
Mar. 9th, 2011 04:10 am (UTC)
Thank you for introducing me to Filter > Other > High Pass.

This one step makes such a delightful difference. (I have PSE6)
lessrest
Mar. 9th, 2011 10:17 am (UTC)
Oh, you're welcome! It is brilliant, isn't it? :D

Some more on that: if you have an icon with a closer, less negative space:y crop, you can use 0.4 or 0.5 radius instead.
And if the icon is already pretty sharp, you can use soft light mode instead. High pass on soft light gives a more subtle sharpening. :)
catsdownunder
Mar. 9th, 2011 08:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Lots to play with and so much to learn.
justlook3
Mar. 9th, 2011 04:26 am (UTC)
Ooh, I'm gonna take a good look at this, that icon is so pretty. And I'm now going to go over and look at your textures as well. The lighting on Doctor Who can be such a pain to work with, they love their blues and reds and the Tardis interior is a nightmare.

lessrest
Mar. 9th, 2011 10:18 am (UTC)
Thanks!
lol I like the weird Doctor Who lighting. It's so much fun to play with. :D
spittingfish
Mar. 9th, 2011 08:46 am (UTC)
Holy shit, this is a completely fantastic tutorial and I am in love.
lessrest
Mar. 9th, 2011 10:19 am (UTC)
Excellent. XD
I'm glad you like it!
kathyh
Mar. 9th, 2011 10:13 am (UTC)
This looks amazing. Great to see a tutorial for PSE.
lessrest
Mar. 9th, 2011 10:23 am (UTC)
Yay, awesome! :)
Yeah, don't exactly see a lot of those around, right?
bombottosa
Mar. 9th, 2011 11:49 am (UTC)
wow, this is really amazing, the final icon is wonderful! Great job!
lessrest
Mar. 9th, 2011 11:58 am (UTC)
Thank you! :D
stickerbox
Mar. 9th, 2011 06:04 pm (UTC)
I absolutely love this. Thank you for sharing!
lessrest
Mar. 9th, 2011 06:09 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! :D
sumrndmgrl
Mar. 9th, 2011 07:13 pm (UTC)
What was really helpful was your sharpening technique. I have yet to do well with sharpening as a process overall and still don't understand the difference between the different ways to do it.

Also, it was clever that you used "set as pattern". I would've done it the long tedious way of duplicating and aligning :)

Thank you for taking the time to do this!
lessrest
Mar. 9th, 2011 07:32 pm (UTC)
I used to do the duplicate-and-move thing for ages before I realized defining it as a pattern would be easier! XD

You're welcome. :D
shardaunei
Mar. 10th, 2011 01:17 am (UTC)
Ooh.. never knew there was such a thing as high pass. Is that only in PSE or in all PS?
lessrest
Mar. 10th, 2011 01:21 am (UTC)
All PS! :D
starshone_storm
Mar. 10th, 2011 09:08 am (UTC)
I loved that icon when you originally posted it, so thank you for doing this tutorial. I would have never thought of setting hue/saturation layers to color, and high pass is an interesting way of sharpening it. Thanks for giving me some new techniques to think about!
lessrest
Mar. 10th, 2011 12:05 pm (UTC)
I'm glad I could be helpful. :)
vamplover85
Mar. 20th, 2011 01:44 am (UTC)
this is awesome and I learned a new trick for four squares! Thank you!
lessrest
Mar. 20th, 2011 09:10 pm (UTC)
Yay, I'm happy you learned something new. :D
You're welcome!
little_fox88
Apr. 16th, 2011 02:27 am (UTC)
May I trans this tut to Vietnamese ? Plz
I'll credit you, i promise I will :D
lessrest
Apr. 16th, 2011 09:49 am (UTC)
Yes, sure! :)
yesalmen
May. 6th, 2011 07:42 am (UTC)
This is my first try. I need more practice.
Thanks for the tutorial.
lessrest
May. 11th, 2011 12:53 am (UTC)
You're welcome! :)
aerith1992
Jun. 16th, 2012 09:52 pm (UTC)
I just love the icon you made and I want to make it one too... But I cannot see the images! D:
lessrest
Jun. 17th, 2012 11:17 am (UTC)
The images should show up for you. Check and see if tinypic is blocked on the computer you're using. :)
aerith1992
Jun. 17th, 2012 01:55 pm (UTC)
Ok, thanks a lot!
emmyxogast
Jul. 26th, 2012 01:53 pm (UTC)
ahh this was so helpful. thank you so much. once i've finished the batch i'm working on now, i'll be sure to link you so you can see what you helped me with :'3


once again, thanks~
diek09
Jun. 11th, 2013 03:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for this tutorial. I once read it but hadn't had the chance to experiment on my own. I made a very cool icon I'd like to show you but that will be a little bit later ;)
( 34 ideas — Have an idea? )

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