In this tutorial, we'll be going from this: to this:
[look at all this blather!!!]I should start off by saying that in the original, I was working on a 200x200 canvas and then one of the very last things I did (before adding the text) was to resize it to 100x100 so the line between Derek's panel and Stiles' would appear slightly blurred. Here, I'll be working on a 100x100 canvas all the way through (because that's the way I saved it and I don't feel like trying to hunt up those caps again) but if you're going to use two or more panels in your icon, you should start on a bigger canvas and then resize so the line separating them won't appear as sharp.
Now we'll be playing about with the Derek cap.
Original: Duplicate, Screen 87%: and then Stamp Visible. Then comes all the adjustments! Brightness/Contrast = +18/+15, Levels = 8, 1.21, 229, Curves = first point Output 80/Input 69, second point Output 150/Input 120, third point Output 226/Input 178, Vibrance = +76/0 Saturation, Hue/Saturation = Hue 0, Saturation +6, Lightness +10, Color Balance = (Midtones) +21, +11, -9, (Shadows) +11, +8, +5, (Highlights) +9, -17, +11. After all that, we end up with:
It's looking a little sharp to me, so I chose Gaussian Blur from the Filters and set it at 11.5, then set that layer to Soft Light, 41% to get:
Now for our Gradient. I made this Gradient:
and set it to Hard Light, 100%.
So here we are:
Here, we'll Stamp Visible and then move on to our adjustments to sharpen and clean up the shadows and whatnot. Hover over each image to see what I've done.
(I get all my Topaz Clean settings from endearest's Tips & Tricks Guide and then adjust if needed.) For the High Pass Layer (found in Filter under Other) you would Stamp Visible then duplicate that layer and use High Pass set to .3 and then set the layer to Overlay, 100%. Stamp Visible. Then smudge out anything that's too sharp with a 23% strength small-point, round brush Smudge tool. That's usually the only sharpening I use (High Pass) but this one needed big guns brought in. *g*
Stamp Visible again and then we're going to use a Black & White gradient with the settings: Linear, -63.43 degrees, and Scale 100% and set it to Soft Light, 100%. The right side of Derek's face is all washed out from our original gradient, so here I used a black brush on a new layer to color over that side, Gaussian blurred it at a lower setting, and set it to Soft Light and fiddled with the opacity until it looked right. And we are done fucking with Derek! \o/ Final image:
Now we move on to our Stiles panel, hooray! This is really a lot of the same but here we go:
Original: Duplicate, Screen 81%:
Stamp Visible and adjustments! Brightness/Contrast = +12/+11, Levels =11, 1.12, 226, Curves = first point Output 75/Input 69, second point Output 140/Input 118, third point Output 224/Input 195, Vibrance = +77/+3 Saturation, Hue/Saturation = Hue 0, Saturation +3, Lightness +9, Color Balance = (Midtones) +9, -8, -8, (Shadows) +1, -11, +7, (Highlights) -5, -2, -9. I also used a White to Transparent gradient fill layer (Linear, -153.43 degrees, Scale 100%) set to Soft Light, 26% to lighten it up further. After all that, we end up with:
I then Gaussian Blurred the image again and set it to Soft Light, 41% to get:
I didn't save the exact gradient I used, because I am dumb but I'm fairly certain they were preset colors and it was something like this:
set to Hard Light, 59%.
Which gives us:
Now for adjustments! Hover to see what I've done.
And we're done fucking with Stiles! Put it all together and we come out with:
I used a Black & White gradient fill layer (Linear, 21.8 degrees, Scale 100%) and set it to Soft Light, 40%.
Stamped Visible and Gaussian blurred at 11.5 and set it to Soft Light, 13%.
Now for my text! I used Archive at 8pt with a 6pt spacing between lines. Then I rasterized my text and took the same blue gradient that I used on Derek and clipped it to my text layer at Normal, 100% so the text color would also fade from light to dark.
Then I added a Vibrance layer at 100+/0 Saturation and blurred my text using the Blur tool at 10% strength.
And, voila, we're finished! \o/
Standard disclaimer applies of: I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about and I'm sure there are better ways to do everything I've done here but this was my way of muddling through. If anything's unclear, please don't hesitate to ask for clarification. I hope I didn't forget any steps. If I didn't write it down though (and why wouldn't I have?!) then it's lost somewhere in my brain never to be found again.