Courtney Kim (hollow13) wrote in icon_tutorial,
Courtney Kim

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Tutorial for a Header (Desktop Background)

Behind the cut, I warn you, image heavy but well worth it.

To make this:
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Open a blank file 900x600, but keep it on 50% to see the whole file thing.

You will need roughly eight photos, but we’ll deal with the rest later.

Your first picture is very important; this picture will set the tone for your whole background. It will tell you your color scheme so listen very closely to this picture. The picture you choose will probably look best as a background picture. Scenery shot from a movie or TV program, a picture of drums or guitar if your theme is someone musical. You don’t have to listen to me but it will turn out better if it’s not a picture of the cast or person themselves. The picture I used is from the opening credits to Without a Trace. The first thing I did was to duplicate twice first to screen and second to soft light. This is optional, but yeah the first thing to do is prime your base (like sharpen or whatever). You then crop this picture to a height of 428 pixels and a width of 579. My crop tool doesn’t let me go past 414 pixels so just add a decimal point i.e. 42.8 and 57.9. Drag it on to your blank file.

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Now go back to that picture and crop out a bit of it to 341 widths and 91 heights. You will need to create a new layer and fill with a grey and set to soft light to make it darker, flatten those two layers and drag to your not-so blank file and place it just below your first picture.

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Now use your eyedropper tool and pick out one of the darker colors from your first picture, make sure it is one of the main colors. In my first picture the main colors were a blue kind of color. Click on your select tool and select a square shape roughly 96 width and 91 heights to the right of your second picture. On a new layer fill this square with the color you got using the eyedropper tool.

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This is when we use our first person picture, mine is of Jack Malone (Anthony Lapaglia), from Without a Trace. Crop your person picture to the size of 71 widths, 91 heights. Desaturate the picture and then do what you usually do with screen layers, soft light layers, sharpening etc. Drag the person picture to our not-so blank file and move it so it’s next to the colored square.

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Use your eyedropper tool again but pick out one of the lighter colors from your first picture, again one of the main colors. Select a smaller square to the right of your person picture roughly 54 widths and 91 heights. On a new layer fill the square with that color, and align the square so that it’s in line with your first picture.

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Merge this layer with the previous three layers which excludes the white background and the first picture.

You will now need a picture similar to your first, a background sort of picture with the same sort of coloring, if not just add that color in a new layer and set to soft light or some sort of blend mode. It’s called improvisation, kiddies. With this picture crop it to a width of 580 pixels and a height of 55. Drag it to just below your other pictures.

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Four more person pictures are needed now (Danny, Viv, Sam and Marty for the Tracers). Desaturate all and then what’s your poison? (Screening, soft lighting? Etc.) Crop ‘em babies to 111 widths and 167 heights. Drag each to your not-so blank nearly background file and organize them so that they are in a vertical row. Of course, you will not be able to see each picture fully but merge those picture person layers and move them to where it suits you. Oh my god, oh my god, don’t freak out we are nearly finished.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture for those person pictures or the next step but you can skip ahead to see what they look like.

Our final picture, yay! This picture is also a background type of picture, but once again you don’t have to listen to me. Crop this baby to 163 widths and 600 heights. Drag it and slam it to the right side. Merge all the layers together if you are completely happy with them, if not, mess around, and see what comes out in the wash (I’m feeling strange today, ignore me.) Now, get out your eraser tool, make it a nice a big square shape possibly at 24 pixels? And erase the edges to make a nice sexy border.

Finally type something on your first picture, my text is Edwardian script. And add your username to the top, if you want, purely optional.

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Made with the same tutorial: Image hosted by

Comments please and crediting if you are going to use the headers used in this tutorial. Hope you enjoyed :).
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