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MY FIRST TUTORIAL - so the finished product is much rougher than I would have done now. But the basic idea is still there, so you may still find it useful. :)

Look, a tutorial from an icon-making beginner! Of course, I know everyone started somewhere, and it's fun to share the tiny little things I have learned so far. All the advanced icon-makers on my friends' list will just want to skip this, unless you promise not to point and laugh... :D I showed almost every step with screenshots, so forgive me if it's TOO detailed.

I used GIMP 2.4 on Windows XP, so hopefully all will translate.

Anyway, Rae asked me how to go from this:

Using this texture by cdg:

To this:

The edges around the hair are rougher than I'd want, but I'm happy enough with it for the sake of this tutorial. :) Maybe I'll fix it more later. Moving on...

I started out by getting rid of the ginormous annoying CW logo. I used the Clone Tool, and set the brush to Sand Dunes. By cloning the lighter and darker parts of the blouse and one of her hair curls, I made the logo go away. Not perfect, but once the image is sized down, it's hardly noticeable.

Next I cropped the image down to just Lois:

Using the fuzzy select tool, I selected the areas around Lois, then pressed delete to clear everything bit by bit. Make sure your background color is set to white, or the delete will change it to another color.

Once I got enough deleted with the fuzzy select tool, I moved to a large eraser. Using both back and forth helped me erase around her hair more easily.

Then I blew it up to 400% to make the finer erasing easier to do, and used a fuzzy brush.

Next step was to scale the image down. I decided to make the height 80, since the texture would probably look nice with the golden rays shooting over her head. :D

Then I increased the canvas size to 100x100, and moved Lois down to the bottom right corner of the canvas.

Now I needed to make all of the background behind Lois transparent. I'm sure I could have done this somehow before, but I have no idea, so now's as good a time as any. I used fuzzy select to select the white area to Lois's right, then went through the steps to Color to Alpha.

After clicking OK, I did the other side as well.

Next I opened the texture as a Layer:

And then dragged it below the Background Layer.

I could see then that there was still quite a bit of white around Lois's hair. So I zoomed out:

And then finely erased, using Circle (01) - which seems to catch one pixel at a time:

Now it looks like this:

It seemed a bit dark to me, so I copied the background layer, moved it up to the top and set it to Screen.

This gives me the final version:

Hopefully this helped you, Rae, and anyone else who might wonder... :)



( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 11th, 2009 01:18 am (UTC)
Oh cool, nice one! I need to get over and review your icon post! =D

Love seeing tutorials from my friends. Can I make a concrit suggestion though? (I never know when to offer advice and when to let people learn for themselves, LOL. *facepalm*)
Feb. 11th, 2009 01:33 am (UTC)
I think I'm thinking what you're thinking. ;) (or well... anyway, I'm thinking 'lasso' - what were you thinking? I'm curious!)

@Barbara - nice job! The icon turned out pretty nice, and your tutorial is well made, too. :)
Feb. 11th, 2009 01:40 am (UTC)
I see the lasso thingy on my toolbar but I have no idea how to use it yet... LOL.

Thanks! Even though it's not perfect, I was trying to show her how I did a similar icon using her pics and textures. Hopefully this isn't totally wacked out. :D
Feb. 11th, 2009 01:49 am (UTC)
Lasso --> http://docs.gimp.org/en/gimp-tool-free-select.html

Instead of using the magic wand (fuzzy select) and deleting. It takes less time and is a little more precise than the other - for instance, if you had had something of the same brown as her hair, you might have selected it along with the rest and deleted part of her hair with the magic wand. With the lasso, that wouldn't happen. ;)

/is a Photoshop geek... In another life, I was a graphic designer. *shrugs*
Feb. 11th, 2009 01:51 am (UTC)
When I just tried to use the lasso it did nothing like that. It just drew a selection that followed my mouse path. And my hand is not steady enough to get all the edges...
Feb. 11th, 2009 01:58 am (UTC)
I honestly have no idea how to use GIMP, but the doc seemed well done enough... With Photoshop there's a way that you can draw out a shape with this tool, segment by segment.

I'd explain in ways that make more sense, but my eyes hurt, my brain is confused with seeing everything slanted, and I'm all lost in stupid French translations of things. (*cries*)

I'm sorry... I'm totally not helping at all. Just ignore me, it would be best at the moment, I'm sure.
Feb. 11th, 2009 02:03 am (UTC)
Oh, um, okay. :D Don't worry about it. It doesn't look like this tool can do a segment by segment selection in GIMP. Of course I could be wrong and just don't know what to do!

Thanks for trying. *hugs* Go rest your eyes.
Feb. 11th, 2009 01:38 am (UTC)
Yes, please! I am such a newbie, and as long as you aren't pointing and laughing...
Feb. 11th, 2009 05:00 pm (UTC)
:O Of course I'm not pointing and laughing! Just ask Christy; she called me her Photoshop Yoda. =D

My suggestion is not lasso, but making either the background a bit lighter or Lois a bit darker (set a duplicate layer on Soft Light?). That way the two will look more like they belong together.

As for the hair, I would use a fuzzy eraser set on a small size. Just erase gently around her hair, and if she looks like she belongs with the background (see previous paragraph), nobody will notice if you screw up. I do this a lot. =D
Feb. 11th, 2009 05:24 pm (UTC)
:) Definitely a good suggestion! (and thanks for pointing me to it)
Feb. 11th, 2009 06:48 pm (UTC)
I knew you weren't, but I had to cover my bases!

I will try using fuzzy on a small size next time I do hair! And I will also try playing with the background intensity to help as well. :)
Feb. 11th, 2009 01:18 am (UTC)
I've been looking for software other than Photoshop, preferably something free and easy! I like this. Is this free?! Or cheap, at least??
Feb. 11th, 2009 01:39 am (UTC)
It is free!
Feb. 11th, 2009 01:41 am (UTC)
And downloadable here!
Feb. 11th, 2009 02:00 am (UTC)
Thank you!!! Downloading......
Feb. 11th, 2009 01:40 am (UTC)
Thanks B! That's very helpful. I didn't even know there was a fuzzy select tool!
Feb. 11th, 2009 01:42 am (UTC)
So glad it helped! And you should track the thread, because januaried is going to give concrit... maybe other more advanced people have advice as well.

Edited at 2009-02-11 01:43 am (UTC)
Feb. 11th, 2009 01:48 am (UTC)

Oooo, that should be good. That way we can ask questions. :D I read some of the tutorials and I think "I don't understand any of this." But I feel to silly to ask.
Feb. 11th, 2009 01:50 am (UTC)
Was there anything here you didn't understand? Definitely ask me, because I know what that's like!
Feb. 11th, 2009 02:24 am (UTC)
*Curses computer!*

Been trying to reply for half an hour. RAWR.

Anywho, this is brilliant. It's showed me where I was going wrong with my alpha channelling skillz. :P

Do you use the smudge tool at all?
Feb. 11th, 2009 02:27 am (UTC)
Not yet! I'm sort of learning one tiny thing at a time... :D What do you use it for? (Regarding icons and techniques)
Feb. 11th, 2009 02:37 am (UTC)
Well my best use of it so far would be here Photobucket

I smudged background so that the texture could come through from underneath and not be blocked. It makes Lois look like she glows. :D

I did the same here Photobucket so that only some of the original colour from the cap came through.

And I used it here Photobucket to blend a texture into the icon.
Feb. 11th, 2009 02:40 am (UTC)
Oo, neat! Will have to play with it, definitely, definitely. :)
Feb. 11th, 2009 05:02 pm (UTC)
*thumbs up* :D
Feb. 11th, 2009 05:04 pm (UTC)
Nothing silly about not understanding a tutorial! Everybody has to start somewhere, right?

And if you guys have questions about a tutorial anything, please feel free to ask me. You know I love talking about this stuff :D
Feb. 11th, 2009 04:31 am (UTC)
Ooh, I love tutorials! And you've reminded me of the use of setting a layer to screen. I need to try that.

Also early in it you mention the fuzzy select tool, is that the same as the magic wand? I use Gimpshop but it looks like the same use.
Feb. 11th, 2009 10:32 am (UTC)
Setting to screen is one of the first things I learned, so I use it a lot! :D

Yes, fuzzy select is the magic wand.
Feb. 11th, 2009 01:36 pm (UTC)
You seriously impress me with your mad icon skillz! This is simple enough that even I kind of understand it. Thanks!
Feb. 11th, 2009 02:56 pm (UTC)
Oo, really? :D Thanks! I definitely still want to play with it, but I love the simplicity of icons like this - just the main figure with a plain or patterned background. :)
( 30 comments — Leave a comment )

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