The concept behind this icon was to create a page from an old photo album or scrapbook of photos. I would need the two images to match each other, in color, the proportion of the faces, and in placement. Once that is achieved the background would be created in shades of brown.
Original post here@miihen
Let's start with our two images.
Shuyin and Lenne
There they are, but they need some color adjustment first before we put them together.
Shuyin only needs some minor adjustments to increase saturation and contrast. I used Levels and Hue/Saturation. I can't remember the exact inputs.
Lenne has needs more serious normalization, so in Variations, click More Green once. Much better.
Something is off about Lenne though. If you rotate the picture 90° you'll see her face is too long! So, I fixed it by Free Transforming the whole picture, shortening it until the length of her face seemed normal.
Now we want them both on one document. There are many ways to do this, but I did it in the following way:
I'll crop on Shuyin. I'll drag him onto this texture by shoqolad, and then drag Lenne on top.
Get Lenne into position underneath Shuyin. Obviously Lenne does not have the same crop as Shuyin, so we'll make a Layer Mask that creates a "frame" the same size as Shuyin's crop.
Make sure Shuyin's layer is selected. Using the Magic Wand Tool, select the area outside Shuyin's image, the unoccupied pixels.
Now invert this with Select>Inverse. Now only the occupied pixels will be selected. With this selection, click Lenne's layer, and hit the Layer Mask button.
You can move Lenne around without affecting the "frame" we just created by unlinking the layer and the Layer Mask. Click the little chain between the picture of the layer and picture of the mask. Now move her around until you are satisfied with her position. Feel free to use Free Transform to resize her.
Now we can crop the workspace to a square and resize to 100x100. Yay!
But I want the background to be brown/beige, so I inverted the black texture, and put a layer in #D2BCA5 (that tan/beige color) in Multiply over it.
I want to make rounded corners for the pictures, and I want the border to fade out a bit. Therefore create an Inner Glow for both Shuyin and Lenne layers. Mode: Normal, Color: #D2BCA5 (same color as Multiply layer)
Lenne's skin seems too bright at this point, so let's make a Curves layer just for her.
Now create a clipping mask so that the Curves layer only affects Lenne's layer. Make sure the Curves layer is directly above Lenne's layer. Hover your cursor right between the layers in the Layers window, and click.
A couple more subtle adjustments for Shuyin are needed too.
Create a new layer in #4D2F0C ( dark brown), set to Pin Light at 9%. Create a Clipping Mask for this layer too.
Create another color fill layer on top of the previous in #D3BA84 (tan) set to Pin Light at 19%. Make a Clipping Mask for this also, by holding Alt between this and the previous color fill layer.
This is what it should look like now.
Now let's brighten the whole icon up a bit. I placed a Color Balance layer between Shuyin's layer and related clipping masks, and Lenne's layer and related clipping mask. I did this because Lenne was already bright enough, and therefore could be excluded from brightening. Make sure Preserve Luminosity is checked.
Shadows: 0 0 -16
Midtones: 0 0 -18
Highlights: 0 0 -18
This makes the whole icon yellower, but the color yellow also has a brightening aspect, if Preserve Luminosity is checked.
The home stretch! Make a Selective Coloring layer above everything. Method: Relative
Neutrals: -15 +3 +24
This makes everything yellower, and includes Lenne this time.
Take this texture by ? and smudge/paint over the arrows on the left side.
Rotate it 90° clockwise and put it over everything. Set it to Multiply.
Take this texture by dearest and move it underneath the Shuyin and Lenne layers. Set it to Multiply.
Notice that the top corners of the Shuyin image stand out drastically against the flower. To eliminate this, merge the Shuyin layer with a new blank layer. You'll have to reapply the Clipping Masks. This applies the Inner Glow, so we can erase it without the Inner Glow moving. Now just erase around the top and corners.
I wanted to be able to see the fold of the texture more.
Therefore I took the Clone Stamp tool and cloned it a tiny bit to the right.
And we're done! Finally!