I seem to be on a roll this week. I've got yet another tutorial. Sheez, I'd better take it easy before I sprain something. Anyway. Another tutorial for 2-D/anime subjects ... because that's pretty much all the icons I make. Stick with what ya know, that's my policy. Anyway, today's icon features the four-color badass bio-organic machine from Neon Genesis Evangelion - yes, I'm talking about that 'bot piloted by the King of Nervous Wrecks himself, Ikari Shinji.
It's a far cry from being complicated, and the tutorial is for Adobe Photoshop 7.0, so translation into other programs should be a breeze. Tutorial is pretty image-heavy (although they're small), those with slow connections beware.
When I need an image from a certain series, I head to the Anime Project Alliance gallery - Nuriko posts LARGE high-resolution scans from magazine sources from boatloads of different anime. And her section on NGE pictures was no different. I used an image of Unit 01 from a Newtype Magazine cover (I think it was a special they ran on NGE). And the source image is so freakin' gi-normous I'm not even gonna post it here. It'll single-handedly maul my Photobucket account into itty-bitty twitching pieces. All you need to know is that I Marquee'd a good portion of the head, getting this -
Luckily for us, it doesn't have any background elements, so removing the white BG will be a cinch. Get out your Magic Wand tool (That'd be the W key for you keyboard-shortcut afficianados), and set the Tolerance to 25. The Tolerance pretty much means how much of a color the selection will, infact, tolerate. Technically, because it's pure white, we could set it to 100 and pick up all the white on the image - but the Eva's teeth are showing, and it'd select them too. Anyway, in one fashion or another, get rid of the white background. Use the Magic Wand, the Eraser, the Lasso, mask it out, it don't bother me none. When you're done, Sharpen this layer. DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING ELSE - now go to Edit>Fade (or Ctrl-F). Fade the Sharpen to about 48-50%. If PSP/GIMP doesn't have this option, DON'T sharpen the image, leave it alone.
When I was making this icon, I kinda jumped around a lot, so I'm gonna try to do this in some semblance of order, so I don't confuse anyone or myself. So here goes.
BELOW the base layer, I used yet another texture from projectdisorder:
Leave this as-is. Above it, so it's sandwiched between the base and the texture layer, do a flood-fill of black, set to Color, 93%. (that's an odd percentage value, methinks) This is what it'll look like:
ABOVE the layer with the Evangelion on it, I put yet another texture by projectdisorder:
Set this to OVERLAY, 100% Opacity, and rotate it so that the spatters are on the right side, not the left. Now, for the sake of order, do this while you're on this layer - get out your Burn brush, it's in the right column of your Tools pallet, about halfway down. Looks like a hand making a circle with their thumb and fingers. My brush was set at whatever settings I used it last on - ranged in the Midtones, at 80%. (I often use the Dodge and Burn tools to shade drawings in Photoshop.) Now, beware. The Burn tool can be a very finicky tool. Basically what it does is 'burns', or darkens the color you're using it on. (Just as the Dodge tool lightens a color.) If you do it too much, you'll wind up with a crispy-lookin' mess.
Using a soft-edged brush, fairly big, maybe 27px or so, darken the bottom left edge of the texture. Nothing too dark, just transition it from that soft beige to a more orangy color, like so:
Yeah, that's kinda random, you'll see why in a second. The colors on this are starting to get kinda nutzoid, time to even them out a bit. Using a plain old linear gradient, I pick out two darkish colors, a dark purple (grabbed from the Eva), #733F63, and a random dark red, #6E272D. Make the gradient on a diagonal, from the top lefthand corner to the bottom lefthand corner. Or, for you lazies, save this gradient and just pop it over your layers:
Set this to COLOR DODGE, 100% Opacity. ...and then pick your eyes up off the desk. That's rather ... incandescent, ain't it? Just a weeeee bit brighter than it should be, eh? Before we turn that sucker down, do me a favor. Take your original base layer, just the plain Eva, and duplicate it, then drag it to the top of everything. Set this to HARD LIGHT, 100% Opacity.
Yeah, I know, now it looks worse rather than better. Hold yer damned horses. Here's our progress so far:
Jeez. You could practically read a book by the glow that's comin' off that sucker. It's a neat effect, but not what we're looking for. Here's where it could get kinda complicated for those newer to Photoshop. I'll try to explain it in the easiest Photoshop terms, then give similar instructions to those who use PSP or GIMP - I don't know if those programs have this feature. What we're about to do is make a Layer Clipping.
First, duplicate the red-purple gradient, put it at the top of your layers. Set this to HUE, 100% Opacity. Select the Move tool (simply because you'll be stuck in the Blend Mode box and it won't work, picking another tool usually solves that problem). Now hit, on your keyboard, Ctrl-G. Or, to go through the menu, it's Layer>Group With Previous. What this does is automatically clips the layer out, to fit what's in the layer beneath it. Here, it erased the bits of gradient that didn't fall on the head of Unit 01. That way the gradient didn't effect the whole icon, just the Evangelion itself.
PSP/GIMP USERS (and those who didn't get what I said above):
I'm not familiar with those two programs, so I don't know if they have a Layer Clipping feature. An easy way to get this effect is to make a selection around the head of the Eva, selecting the blank canvas ONLY - don't include the head in your selection. When you do this, switch to your gradient layer, and ... um ... hit delete (or whatever the command is to delete a selection). You'll get the same effect as a Layer Clipping, meaning there's no gradient around the Eva, just ON the Eva.
Now that everyone is on the same page, let's continue. The gradient we just clipped isn't a big dramatic effect, but it'll help things later on. Now we can darken this sucker up. On a new layer ABOVE everything, add a black floodfill, set to COLOR, 73% Opacity. Now it's nice and dark. We're halfway done now.
Once more, duplicate your ORIGINAL BASE, and drag this to the top. Leave the Blend Mode alone, just set it to 66% Opacity. Three more layers left to go, and we're finished. They're both light textures by floorshow.
This texture goes first, set to SCREEN, 31% Opacity.
Above this, add another floorshow texture, set to SCREEN, 49% Opacity.
Now, for the text, and the reason why we darkened that section of the spatter-texture. 'BEAST' is done in the font Georgia (if you don't have it, Times New Roman will work fine). It's set to 24px, 300px Kerning, using the ALLCAPS feature (not Smallcaps), with the anti-aliasing set to Smooth, in black. When this is done, set the layer to Overlay. What this Blend Mode does is lets colors lighter than black show through to some extent. If we'd left that projectdisorder spatter texture its original color, it would have been too light, and the first half of BEAST would have been unreadable. I lined up the text with the bottom of the icon, as you can clearly see. Now if you want, you can add a border of your choosing, but I opted out of a border this time around. Now, at long last, our icon is done, so flatten 'er up and save it.
That wasn't so bad, now was it? Just remember to give credit where credit is due, for the textures. If you help yourself to this icon (which you are welcome to do so), credit isn't really necessary for me (given that there's a space limitation in the keywords/comments section for icons). I'd much rather you credit the texture-makers, given that without those particular textures, we wouldn't have much of an icon.
Questions, comments, and such are most welcome - either in my icon journal peeping_doom, my regular journal metalsyko, or at my email, email@example.com. Now, if you'll pardon me, City of Heroes is beckoning for me to play it, and I am most happy to oblige.