First, think about what you really need to find out. Are you having trouble finding a font? Applying brushes to an image? Is there something about blending modes you don't understand? Refine your problem as much as you can. Think of keywords you can use to search. For example, if you're having trouble using patterns in Paint Shop Pro, consider the key term "pattern." Or if you want to colorize black and white icons, try "greyscale," "black and white," or "colorize." If you're brand new at something, try the keyword "beginner." As in all searches, the more keywords you can think of, the more likely you are to get results.
2.) Choose a Category.
Memories can be put in as many as five keyword categories. I try to put posts everywhere sensible, so for example a post on keeping mini-movie icons under 40k will be under Animation, Movie (Mini-Movie) Icons, Saving Icons, and then either Animation Shop and/or Image Ready, as appropriate.
3.) Always start with the FAQ.
One of the recurring themes of icon_tutorial, much like life, is that many people think they are the only ones to experience a problem when, in fact, it's merely a common phase that everyone has had to pass through at one time or another. Unless you are certain that your problem is unique, at least give the Frequently Asked Questions a browse. In addition, if you are new to icon-making, the Beginners category should be helpful to you.
4.) Always sort by Description.
The Memories are optimized for an alphabetical sort, to make them easier to read with some kind of sequence or reason. Whenever you view a category of the memories, you should make it look like this:
5.) Use your browser's search function.
Any web browser has a command that will let you search a given page for a keyword. The Memories have been archived with as many different keywords in each description as possible; English has a nearly infinite number of near-synonyms, so if the word in your head doesn't yield results, try thinking of another.
On a Windows computer, the search function is CTRL+F (not just in Internet Explorer); on a Mac it's Apple+F.
6.) Once you have found a post, make sure you read its comments!
Probably 75% of the time, the entire useful content of the post is in the comments, not the original question. Sometimes the topic of the question isn't even the same as all the useful answers in the comments (in which case, the post is archived by the topic of the comments). Archived posts have long conversational threads deleted in order to make the useful information easier to find.
7.) Be creative, and please use your brain!
The mods and members of icon_tutorial are happy to help you if you are confused, or lost, or really new to all of this. We are not, however, happy to help you if you are lazy. If a member answers you with, "Google [x term]," try it yourself. If we direct you to a category of the memories, actually read the posts that are in it, instead of skimming titles, or doing nothing at all, and saying you "can't find it" so that someone else will do it for you. The Memories are, essentially, a specialized research library. We can lead you to the bookshelf, but you still have to open the books and read them yourself, you know?
And a note about icon-making in general...
Making icons (or any other graphic) is a skill like any other: you come to be good at it through practice and experimentation. If you've come here looking for the Holy Grail of tutorials to make you a famous icon-maker, give up now, because you're not going to find it. There is no such thing. The best way to learn is through being hands-on and trying new things to see what happens. Tutorials should be guidelines to give you fresh ideas or introduce you to tools you didn't know how to use before, not rote paths to results. None of the icon-makers whose names you know were suddenly good at it overnight. Months and years of experience go into it. Making mistakes and discovering unintended consequences are two of the best ways to learn.
If you find something in the memories that has been deleted, edited, or cannot be accessed, or that you think is miscategorized or invalid due to broken images/links, please let us know by e-mailing icon.tutorial [AT] gmail.com with a link and a brief description of the problem. The archive is too big and complicated to be given a weeding more than once every six or eight months; we need the other 20,000 of you to be our eyes. Thanks.
Last Edited 06 May 2007