(requested by liesmiths)
We start off with our base:
I was trying to stay away from center crops when I made this so he’s a bit off center, which I like. Otherwise the crop is pretty standard.
First, I duplicated the base a couple times. I set the topmost layer to soft light, the one below it to screen. Since that still ended up pretty dark, I duplicated the screen layer. They are all on 100% opacity.
Next up, I replace the base with a texture. In this case, I used a texture I’ve altered to better work as a base for icons, by iheart_kyujong.
As you can see, there is a definite lighter patch close to the center but slightly to the right. I rotated the texture so that the light patch lined up with Cap’s face. Anyway, as I said above, I move this texture below the soft light and screen layers so that it is now the icon’s base.
This isn’t very nice, obviously, so I duplicate the soft light layer twice.
I knew I wanted the image to be slightly crisp, so I used the Adjust Sharpness tool on the topmost soft light layer, setting it to (around) a 1.2 radius and 149% amount.
Now I moved into coloring. First I used another texture, this time by pinxess.
I didn’t want it to make the image too grainy so I blurred it up until it looked like this:
I set this texture right above the other one (under the screen layers) on soft light. This warms up the image while also providing a bit of lighting variation.
Next I start coloring individually. I like to color skin/hair in two different layers, one pink and one yellow. That way I can boost or lower each layer’s opacity as I go if my other alterations end up making the skin slide too far one way or the other.
I used the brush tool to paint over all the skin and hair of Cap’s (even the parts mostly hidden in shadow). I use a bright cheery pink and a bright yellow, in this particular chase fa0651 and fabf06. I set them both on Soft Light, 30% opacity.
Next I wanted to darken the background all around him so that he is the sole focus. I picked out a semi-dark blue color (1204c9) and colored in everything around his face and hair, including his uniform.
I set this layer on soft light, 68% opacity.
I felt now that his hair was a bit too green, so I picked out a nice darker yellow that was close to gold (937503) and used that to brush over all his hair. I set that to, you guessed it, soft light and lowered the opacity to 79%.
Now most of the coloring is done. On to lighting! Since I draw on lightblobs and blur, I don’t have the pre-blur layer to show you, but here is a close recreation.
Using the brush tool and concentrating on the subject only, I draw on black where I want shadows. In this case, I put black over his neck, along the ling of his jaw/chin, below his nose and over his lips, up along the side of his face on the brighter side, dipping in below his cheek bone and then following his hair line, back along the entire area of his face in shadows, and then a quick brush over from his eyelids to eyebrows. The I use white to add a few sparing highlings, in this case on on each side of his hair’s part, on his forehead and his cheek bone. On normal, it looks like this:
Then I set the layer to soft light.
And now I use the Gaussian Blur tool to soften up those shadows. In this case, I used around a 4.0 radius.
With this recreation of the original shadow placement, it looks like this:
The originals looked like this post-blur:
Next I shade the image as a whole. Since I wanted it to be almost all dark, this was pretty easy. Using a larger setting on the brush tool, I painted a stripe of black down the right side and along the bottom of the icon, then added a white highlight over his face that carried on to the upper left. Again, I don’t have the pre-blurred version, but it would look close to this when on normal:
This I also set to soft light and blur. For this Gaussian Blur, though, I use a much higher radius so that the shadows and highlights aren’t overpowering. Somewhere above 20 usually does it. I also lower the opacity on this layer to about 58%
Now, I take a copy merge of the whole thing and duplicate it, setting the top layer to soft light.
Time for more textures! In this case a gradient by innocent_lexys. I could create a gradient myself but this one just work on every icon pretty much so I’m lazy and use it a lot.
I set that below our new soft light layer and set it to soft light itself.
This is kind of overly cold so I take that innocent-lexy’s texture, duplicate it and invert it, then play with the hue/saturation tool until I have it looking pale and pink.
I put the duplication right above the original texture and set it on multiply, moving the opacity down until things start looking more human.
Next I go back to the copy merge soft light layer and duplicate it.
Time to blur it up! I use the Guassian Blur tool on roughly 2.3 radius on this new soft light layer.
Getting close to the end! I copy merge again and do some fixes directly on this layer. I use the blur tool on 10% strength around his ear and the brush tool to get rid of the brightest parts of his medals that now just distract attention.
At this point I got some concrit that said that his skin was too pink so I picked out a yellow (fdd429) and used a new layer to paint over his skin.
Set it to soft light, move the opacity down to 40 and he looks much less pink. If I had caught this earlier I could have fixed it in the earlier pink and yellow layers but I didn’t so! I just did it here.
Finally, I wanted the shadows to have some color and since he was now yellow, I wanted the shadows to oppose that by being blue/purple. So, I picked out a color in that range (1a0567) and filled an entire new layer with it and set it to screen.
Move the opacity down until it looks nice at around 34% and we are finally done!
(requested by lalonde)
So, I used this screencap. I got rid of the original background on a large canvas, but I’m not going to go into how here because there are a lot of good tutorials on how to cut subjects out of backgrounds. Basically, though, I picked a pale color from the wall behind them and brushed over everything else in the background to get rid of it. This really isn’t the best method of getting rid of backgrounds, but I do it a lot.
Anyway, now that the background is gone, I cropped down to a 100x100 canvas.
I duplicated the base twice, setting one to soft light and one to screen. Usually I have the soft light layer above the screen layer but this time I have the screen layer on top. I don’t remember why, I may have just switched them by accident.
Next I used an altered version of a texture by iheart_kyujong that I use on almost every icon. I start off with it looking like this:
and blur it, rotate, paint on it until it looks like this:
I set that below the soft/light screen layers but above the base, making it the new base of the image.
Next, I duplicate the soft light layer twice (moving them back over top the screen layer so the order goes original base -> texture -> soft light base -> screen base -> soft light base -> soft light base)
Next I take two textures by pinxess:
I put them above the base texture and set them both to soft light, the second one at 53% opacity.
The background has become boring and white, so next up I decided to fix that. I picked out a blue color (a2c8f9) and painted over the background in a new layer. This layer goes above everything but the last two soft light layers of the base. The most important thing is that it is above the screen layer.
As you can see I also want over a lot of his jacket as well, just to make sure the shadows all looked about the same. I set this layer to multiply at 50% opacity. It is important that this is above the screen layer because otherwise the pale background on screen would still blow out the color even on multiply, but by putting it above it, it still looks good.
Importantly, though, now all my coloring layers have to go above the multiply layer or the colors often start looking weird.
I like to color in hair and skin with both pink and yellow so I can adjust them more easily as I go. the main colors in skintones and natural hair tones and reds and yellows so by having them both but in separate layers, I can adjust their opacities and such as I go along and issues crop up.
Anyway, I first paint over with the pink shade ( f5054e) all over the hair and faces of the characters.
The yellows will go in the same place. I set both the pink and yellow layers on soft light. In this case, they both ended up at 27% opacity.
I wanted Olivia’s hair to really pop so I chose a medium-dark shade of orange (852e02)and painted over just her hair.
I set that layer on Color mode and lower the opacity to 52%. This gives her hair some brightness and vibrancy while keeping the color rich.
His hair had ended up kind of pale as well, so I just brushed over his hair with black and set it on soft light, lowering the opacity to 68%.
Next I created a layer filled with an blue-purple tone (280246) and set it on screen at 58% opacity, just to give the shadows a bit more depth to them.
Now I move into lighting. In one layer, I brush on black where I want shadows on the subjects and white where I want highlights. I don’t have the original placement of the shadows, but here is my recreation of roughly where they’d go:
Roughly, I want to follow the shadows/highlights already present, just beefing them up. The highlight curve on Olivia’s hair is something I picked up from manga coloring tutorials, it just adds a nice highlight to hair to follow the curve of the head around like that. I didn’t go too in depth with shadows on their faces here since that is such a small part of the image but focused mainly on hair and jackets.
I then put this layer on soft light and use Gaussian Blur on around a 4.0 radius.
Next I will light the background. Again, I don’t have the original placements but this is roughly what I did:
I wanted to have a rise in the light so that it was brightest up top and got darker down below, so I created that shape around them. I set it on Soft Light and go to Gaussian Blur. Usually for background lighting the radius for the blur will be really high, around 20, but in this case because there were such narrow areas I instead set it lower (around 8.0) so that those narrow areas of background wouldn’t get lost, and then used the blur tool on 10% strength to blur anything by hand that needed more work.
I felt that the lowest parts of the background still needed a slight bit more shadow, so I painted on with black and then used the eraser tool and the blur tool to get it nice and soft. Then, soft light.
I decided here that the background still needed more saturation, though not by a lot, so I picked out a rich but bright blue (3fb9db) and brushed over all the background, then set it to soft light.
Now I take a copy merge of everything and treat that as the new base. I duplicate it and set the duplicate on soft light.
Time for fun textures! These all go in between the copy merge and the copy merge soft light duplicate.
First I start with this texture by innocent_lexys
I drag it so that the darkest parts aren’t quite as visible.
That goes below the new soft light layer, set on soft light itself.
Next I take this texture, also by innocent_lexys.
This one goes on multiply to give the colors some depth and add warmth back to the skin.
Finally, I take this texture by iheart_kyujong.
I usually use this texture on screen and this time will be no different, but I wanted the icon to be mainly purple-blue so the red won’t work. I use the Hue/Saturation tool to alter the hue to a nice blue, then rotate it so the lightest part is at the bottom of the image (where it will have the most effect when on screen)
Now, I take that copy merge soft light layer (the one at the tippity top) and duplicate it again, then use Gaussian Blur at around a 7.0 radius, just until it gives a nice glowy effect.
Then I picked out a nice purple (480549) and created a new layer filled with that color on screen.
Finally, I copy merge it all again and use the blur tool on 10% strength just to soften any sharp or ragged edges.
And we’re done!
I hope these were helpful and made sense! This was the first time I wrote tutorials for individual icons. These both are along my general process so they were very quick icons to make.