The muted color effects, with the blues and apricots standing out, in this icon by snoopypez:
Is some of the best color work I've seen around LJ lately. Anyone got an idea how to nudge those sorts of colors out of a base image? Mine *always* look too muddy and not crisp or contrasty enough when I try, and then if I up the contrast they just get overexposed-looking.
Generally I'll desaturate a couple of layers and insert color fills in different shades, and then erase parts of the image to let the colors I want show through. But the problem I have is that the profligation of color layers always muddies up my image if I set them on "screen" or "overlay" filters -- "overlay" in particular makes it too translucent and not...milky enough -- but if I don't, I can't strike the appropriate balance without cranking the opacities way down.