using brightness/contrast with unsharpen mask
Using this image of Koda Kumi ♥ This coloring looks best with high quality images and for plain icons. ☀ For this coloring, I'm using Photoshop CS2. Any versions higher than that, I'm not really sure on what sharpening tool makes the same result as the unsharpen mask.
So what you'll do is just make your icon, whatever you want with it. This fabulous coloring is from wecrash @ mattchbox. I'm done with my icon, but I still want to add something.
Time to use a Brightness/Contrast Layer. I usually use this to calm the coloring if its too overwhelming. On the top, go to Layer to New Adjustment Layer down to Brightness/Contrast. Took a screencap.
Now the popup will show. This is where you can play around with the values. The number I enter in brightness is always even and the number in contrast is always negative. I usually set it to B:15 C:-15. But in this case, since the icon is a bit dark, I set it as B:30 C:-30. Now the icon looks like this:
This is how you achieve the "faded" effect. But sometimes you have to be careful, you don't want it to too washed out. To you it may look to light, but it fits my taste, so I'll leave it like that lol. Now, I think it looks a bit too soft. So next, I'm going to use the Unsharpen Mask. Don't use any of the other sharpen options because they'll come out weird 8| For this icon, I put the value all the way to 100. Of course, it'll vary from how your icon looks like. But with that, it gives me the final result:
Table layout by snowflake_icons
Not really sure what to tag this as 8|
If you need any help, feel free to ask :)