Log in

11 August 2012 @ 08:36 pm
ask the maker 3.0  

Ask the Maker 3.0

**I've never done a guide before so bear with with me because I am super horrible at explaining this stuff.**

Okay so scoobyatemysnax asked:

"may i ask for a guide for your lighting and/or your darker colouring? because i love the effect like in these icons"

This is actually pretty simple but I've been using it a lot lately. It is something that I started doing by accident after trying a similar effect but JUST TO BE CLEAR this is not my idea, many have done it before I tweaked it here and there for my style. Also, I imagine it would work with most coloring.

Step One: (Let's call them steps)
Prepare your image. I'm using a screencap that will go on my tumblr for this but I usually make my icons on a 100 x 100 canvas or they are cropped down versions of larger graphics. Crop it, do your usual steps and some basic coloring(I have a curves layer for brightness, selective color, photo filter and vibrance on this one). It doesn't need to be perfect or fancy, in fact you could probably just brighten up the cap and do the rest and still get good results. Anyways, here's what I had...

Step 2: (this is more like half a step)
Now you want to add anew gradient layer on top of all the other layers. This layer ends up being more of a guide in the end but I've skipped it before and it just doesn't come out as well. I chose the black and white gradient then go in change the black from true black to a dark grey. Any dark grey works. You should now have something like this...

Step 3:
Now you decide what you want to pop out. In this cap I want her hair and her lips to stand out so make a new fill layer, a yellow in this case for her hair. Now depending on what I think works best I'll set it to either soft light, darken or overlay. In this case it was darken so we have this...

Looks dumb but now we use LAYER MASKS! This is why the gradient layers is important(imo) because you can really see specifically where the color needs to be and where it doesn't. So now you simply mask everything you don't want to be yellow. I also lowered the opacity a bit so now I have this...

Now I do the same thing for her lips...

and finally the background which I always set to darken because you kind of want the opposite effect as you do with the hair and lips. The pops of color on the subject stand out in the end but making the entire "background" one color dulls it and makes the subject really stand out. Anyways, here is the background...

Before I continue I should add that you don't have to be PERFECT when you mask these bits because they are just enhancements. Plus if you missed a bit you can just go in and fix it quick so don't worry.

Step 4:
So now you just do a lot of adjusting. Go to your gradient layer and lower the opacity. I personally like to have it around 20 - 30% but you can delete it entirely or keep it higher. It's all up to you. Then go your layer mask layers and adjust the opacity until you like the effect. When I was all done with the opacity I had this...

Step 5:
This is where you can go in and add your own tweaks. I added a soft light layer in a lighter teal(I also changed the background layer mask color to a reddish brown and lowered the opacity a bit more because I wasn't thrilled with how it was looking). The soft light layer sort of unifies the whole thing. It can look very disjointed without one color sort of over everything. Obviously this is a personal preference though. I have this...

Step 6:
Now you add your textures, text or whatever else. I used a black and white gradient layer on soft light and a grainy texture on screen. Nothing really fancy.


It's pretty basic really, most of the lighting comes from the layer masks you add. What I love about this style though is that you can add color to as many different parts as you like. Obviously on this I only added color to her hair and lips but on this I have 7 or 8 or this where I keep the gradient layer at 100%. It's kind of like a coloring book.

Okay, I'm so sorry if this is awful but I tend to just play around so going step by step is sort of opposite of how I do things. If you have any questions or something didn't make sense just ask and I'll do my best to answer :)
nia ✰ see: chatterbox: wizard → whimsylikealight on August 12th, 2012 03:16 am (UTC)


This is super cool actually! Idk what you're talking about people not learning anything, I def did. It's funny because I used to do colorizations~ back the day~ which is just taking a b/w picture and coloring it and that's essentially what you're doing here but it never really occured to me to incorporate into icon making aside from like using color blobs here and there haha.

I love Darken <3

Thank you for posting!
Y'all already know that: tv | 23 | the b----hauntes on August 14th, 2012 12:41 am (UTC)
DARKEN HAS BECOME MY BEST FRIEND. I never used it then a few months ago I finally figured out how to use it and now we're in love. It is to me now what soft light was 2 years ago.

Anyways, I'm glad it was helpful in some way. By no means, it this my idea, I just changed bits and pieces to work for my iconning.
Nathalie: got | sing little birdimaginary_lives on August 12th, 2012 08:48 am (UTC)
Ahhh this is cool! I've always wondered this too!
I think everything was perfectly explained! I loved reading through it :D
Y'all already know that: tv | 23 | the b----hauntes on August 14th, 2012 12:42 am (UTC)
Thanks hun! Glad it was helpful. I should go through and link to the tuts that taught me originally because I feel like I owe this to them :P
bepsi queen (◡‿◡✿): ashley ღ my dreams pass before my eyesscoobyatemysnax on August 12th, 2012 09:25 am (UTC)

wow, thank you so much for writing this!!! it is really helpful and it explains everything so well omg.

will try this out as soon as i open photoshop later C:

again, thank you so much ♥ you are a star!
Y'all already know that: tv | 23 | the b----hauntes on August 14th, 2012 12:43 am (UTC)
Yay! I'm sorry it took so long. I honestly just didn't know if I was making sense. I hope it works out for you. Just keep fiddling around, that's all I did.
Nastya: Ian Somerhalder II Vampire teethnastyakireeva on August 12th, 2012 11:06 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for this little guide. I'll try it! =)
Y'all already know that: tv | 23 | the b----hauntes on August 14th, 2012 12:43 am (UTC)
Glad you liked!
the_silverdoe on August 12th, 2012 07:04 pm (UTC)
Genius, I'll definitely try it! Thank you for sharing it! :)
Y'all already know that: tv | 23 | the b----hauntes on August 14th, 2012 12:43 am (UTC)
You're very welcome!
GPAGES ❝ CAPSLOCKER: kristen s ☆wildpages on August 13th, 2012 12:25 am (UTC)
Y'all already know that: tv | 23 | the b----hauntes on August 14th, 2012 12:44 am (UTC)
GPAGES ❝ CAPSLOCKER: teen wolf ♊ stiles - attractivewildpages on August 14th, 2012 11:08 am (UTC)
What I find is pleasing and I'm feeling fine: keelbeel-whimperkarinette001 on August 13th, 2012 02:41 pm (UTC)
niiiiiiiiice thanks, very helpful
Y'all already know that: tv | 23 | the b----hauntes on August 14th, 2012 12:44 am (UTC)
Jupiter: TV | H50 | Steve/Lorikateheightmeyer on August 13th, 2012 03:41 pm (UTC)
WOW! This is great! ♥
I'll try this out! :)

Thank you so much for sharing :) .
Y'all already know that: tv | 23 | the b----hauntes on August 14th, 2012 12:44 am (UTC)
You're very welcome! Hope it helps :)
Sarah: your vampire mirrors face to face;oviedo on August 14th, 2012 03:39 pm (UTC)
wow this is so neat, going to try it out NOW. ♥
Y'all already know that: tv | 23 | the b----hauntes on August 14th, 2012 06:49 pm (UTC)
spg_spn_girls: the lovespg_spn_girls on August 22nd, 2012 01:28 pm (UTC)

I made it while following some of your steps. is it any good? What would you change? :)

Edited at 2012-08-22 01:30 pm (UTC)
Y'all already know that: tv | 23 | the b----hauntes on August 22nd, 2012 11:38 pm (UTC)
That's so pretty!!! I like it. It's still your style but a bit different!
eudoxis: doctor who [amy blue]eudoxis on September 1st, 2012 11:55 am (UTC)
This is really awesome, thank you so much! :)
Y'all already know that: tv | 23 | the b----hauntes on September 1st, 2012 05:23 pm (UTC)
You're very welcome :)