Icons made in PS CS3 (on a Mac). The first is completely translatable, the second includes Curves. No Selective Coloring.
This was the crop I started with:
I painted over the brightly coloured bits using a green picked up from the background, and created a new layer of Merged Visible to make a new base:
and then duplicated this and set to Soft Light.
Next, a Levels adjustment layer, to increase the contrast between the darkest and lightest parts, and to brighten up the bird. (I have a faintly guilty feeling that I did the next layer first, and created this Levels layer above the Exclusion layer, which would explain the gaps between lines.)
Then I masked off everything but the bird (fairly roughly, no need to be obsessive about this part), so that it would definitely stand out. (Quickest way to add a mask to the layer, I find, is to click on the little camera-like icon at the bottom of the Layers palette.)
After this, back to the classics with a colour fill layer of 062460, a dark blue, set to Exclusion, which blues everything up considerably. I did another New Layer, Merge Visible to make an amalgamation of everything so far, and set this amalgamated layer to Soft Light just to sharpen things up a bit. I find that I almost never use a Sharpen filter these days because a Soft Light layer does the job nicely.
Time for some fun with textures. I added this starry texture by thor_i_lover, set to Lighten (because Screen was just a little bit too light),
then this one by haudvafra, again set to Lighten,
and lastly this one by angela_pev, set to Soft Light.
And that's it. Tout simple. I was really pleased with how this came out.
Here's the Layers palette:
The starting crop:
First thing was to try brightening the colours of the bird in contrast to its background. Just for a change I went for a Curves layer (RGB).
The first point is Output 50, Input 61, the second is Output 166, Input 148, but it's not at all scientific, I just clicked around until I liked the effect. As you'll see from the Layers palette, I masked off some of the brighter spots below the bird in order to keep the bird as the focus.
I must admit I thought I remembered doing the second Curves layer in one channel only, but apparently it is also RGB. This one is a different shape, thus:
Essentially I picked a spot more or less in the middle and pulled it down. I like to poke at things and see what happens, and I loved the way the wings turned pinker, so this is what I went with.
Then, an 'amalgamation of below' layer. I don't like to merge layers (it makes it *much* easier to write tutorials if all the info is saved on the Layers palette, and as this was created for a severalplums challenge, I knew I might need to do a tutorial) so I created a new layer and did a Cmd+Alt+Shft+E to create an amalgam of what existed, and copied this layer again. Leaving one copy alone, I did a Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur on the other, with the GB set to 6.0, and set this to Screen, and again, masked off the brightest bits of the picture that weren't bird.
Duplicated this layer and mask, and set the duplicate to Screen at 50%, just to brighten it that bit more. (Sorry, just to confuse you the layers are labelled as Soft Light on the Layers Palette, but they are both Screen layers.)
Then, set the unblurred version to Soft Light and put it above the Screen layers.
I was happy with how the picture looked, but just to emphasize the bird further, added a new layer with the corners covered, using a soft brush in 0f0a04 (picked up from the icon).
The text is in Didot 10 point, AV set to 50 in c0738a (picked up from the wings). I made a new layer, and with a soft brush using d890b6 (also picked up from the wings) put a couple of splodges over the letters to add texture, set this layer to Screen at 65%, and set it to cover only what was on the layer below (place cursor on the line between layers and press Alt). For some reason I had the Text layer below the Soft Light layer, and it seemed happy there.
So, Save for Web and Devices as .png24, and there we are.