Hi y'all! This is my first tutorial, requested by brasaremean. And if anything is unclear, please let me know.
Start with this image from here.
Then select a square portion of it and resize it to 100x100. (Image > Image Size)
Then sharpen the image (Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen)
Since you don't won't it too sharp, I usually reduce the sharpness depending on the icon. (Edit > Fade Sharpen > 70%)
Now you're ready to add color and make it more interesting. When it comes to color and gradients, I always try to enhance the original image. And most of it is up to personal tastes.
Create a new layer and fill it with a dark blue color, (I used #0D294D) and set it to exclusion 100%.
Now for gradients. I have no idea who made each individual gradient, but they are credited in my resources. I recommend crumblingwalls and oxoniensis.
On a new layer use set on Soft Light at 100%.
Then this, also set on Soft Light, 100%.
And this, set on Multiply, 70%.
And, at Lighten, 100%.
And finally, at Soft Light, 100%.
Now, the icon looks a little funny and washed out.
So, to fix this, we duplicate the base image image three times and set the layers at
-Soft Light 100%
-Soft Light 100%
-Soft Light 20% (This layer should be on top)
To add more contrast to the image, we have to add a new adjustment layer.
(Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Brightness/Contrast)
Slide the contrast bar to +30.
Only two more parts left!
I chose to add text to the image to add a little more interest. I happened to be listening to Better Than Ezra's "At the Stars," and chose the text 'anywhere but here.' But text is really up to the individual.
Font: Courier New
Size: 8 pt
Color: #A83337 I recommend choosing a color already present in the image.
Here's what your layer palette should look like
And finally the last step is to add rounded edges, which is entirely optional. I just like the way it looks.
There are probably other ways of doing this, but I think this is easiest.
First you want to flatten the image. (Layer > Flatten Image) And copy it into a new document with a transparent background. Make sure it's transparent, as this is very important.
With the marquee tool, (the one with the dashed lines) select a square just inside of the icon. Make sure the whole icon isn't selected, or the next step won't work.
Go to Select > Modify > Smooth> Sample Radius: 5 pixels.
Then without removing the selection go to Select > Inverse, and then delete the selection.
This creates the rounded corners.
And you're finished!
Remember that these are just guidelines, and the fun really lies in experimentation!