Here's the pretty we'll be attempting to recreate today.
Before scrolling further, though, you should be warned that I have a Power Rangers obsession. Well, I don't think it is one, but everyone else insists, so... Anyway, this is the grown-up version of Mighty Morphin's own Tommy Oliver, back for round... what... four now?... of Rangerhood. He's our very own special Rainbow Ranger.
So what do I do? I take the rainbow out of the equation, of course.
Here's the screenshot, also from the Dig Site. If that site were still around, I'd be beyond happy, but hey... I just have to put up with what I managed to save, apparently.
Moving on, let's crop so that his head just barely misses the top and right sides of the square. Erase the background, then sharpen a few times, resize, and sharpen again.
Unfortunately, I can't help but grab some of the ABC Family logo in the corner of the cap, but we'll fix that annoying little problem later.
Remember, the quality of these photos isn't as good as your icon will be. They're here mostly for examples.
The next step is something that I'm not totally sure all of you will have, but its a neat little filter that I love. Duplicate your base.
Look under the Filter menu, go to Stylize, and select Diffuse. On my program, there's a handy little bubble that's labeled "anisotropic". This will totally blur out all of your edges everywhere, but preserve the basic colors and tones. Set this layer to Linear Dodge. It gives him a much more... youthful, "you can't hurt me" vibe.
Sadly, the previous move seems to have totally leeched the base of any and all shadow. Time to pull out the Adjustment Layers!
Using a Levels layer, move the far left cursor (the totally black one) over to the right. However far you think it needs to go, really. I also moved the grey cursor a bit closer to the white one; more off-center, I mean. It actually puts in a lot of shadow, a lot of shadow I'll bet you didn't know was missing.
The green color of the base is rather... revolting, actually. So we'll pull out a Gradient Map, white to black, and totally lower the saturation. It doesn't look so bad now, but it isn't... as stark as I want it to be.
So we're pulling out another Adjustment Layer, a Brightness/Contrast one this time, and raise the Contrast by 60. Make sure that the contrast is in between the levels and the gradient!
Again, doing all these things seems to have lost me my shadows. So, select your original base, then, on a new layer above everything else, fill the selection in with black. Change this layer to Soft Light.
Now, since the surrounding shirt seems to be totally black, we can finally get rid of that festering logo. On a new layer, just make a small square selection and fill it with black. There. All better.
Poor Tommy's looking lonely without a background, so let's give him one. GettyImages is the heaven of stock images. I love that place.
Make a 100x100 selection somewhere; I chose a place where the two sets of diagonals meshed, only the "center" goes down the left a bit. I figured it would make for an interesting counter-balance to the, so far, unbalanced icon.
Copy and paste this selection underneath everything, and sharpen a few times if you want to.
The diagonals, though, look a bit boorish all on their lonesome, though, so I selected one of my random texture brushes, this one from Set 24 at Tioem.com. I can't tell you exactly which brush it was, but I know its from that set.
Create a layer above the background, and lay part of the brush over it in black. Select a different brush from that same set (I chose one that had more action), and on a new layer (above everything else, not just the background) place it in black. Set this layer to Soft Light.
Ugh. Tommy's bleeding into the background and it's not attractive. So Ctrl+select the original base, and on a new layer below that, "grow" the selection by... I dunno, four or five pixels, and then fill that selection with black. This is very similar to adding a black stroke, but I don't like stroke, so I use other methods. You can do whatever you want.
I don't know whose border brush this is, but judging by the random splotches, I didn't make it myself. If its yours, I'm sorry, and I love you.
Put it in black over everything else you've done so far.
Almost done. Now, These words are in black, so... you might have to turn off the visibility of a lot of layers to see them, at first.
"black" and "slimy" are written in Decker, "and" and "inside" are written in a font called Acidic. Arrange them how you like, wherever you like (personally, I think his shirt is boring... Which is why I covered it up).
Then, using the Polygonal Lasso Tool, on a new layer below the words (which are above everything, including the border), make random selections. These are meant to make the words visible, and to provide more interesting things to look at. Fill this selection with white, and you're done!