I'm so sorry the images on this tuts are HUGE, but I was trying a new way to work on caps and this is the path I took. I wanted to work on a bigger canvas to have more way with colors (conclusion of my experiment: I have to size down every few steps)
First, my base was this one (selfcapped because I wouldn't impose this movie to anyone, such a shitty thing.)
Anyway, I'm pretty sure I did nothing to the base, probably, but I can be sure, though I don't think it's relevant, just prepare your base the way you're comfortable with and yeah. You have a base!
Now, what I wanted was to have some complementary lights on that caps because, yeah, she was horrible in that movie, but she has a pretty face so, complementary. I picked green and red out of nowhere, they could be any other colour, so you pick!
The first thing I did though was giving her hair a bit more movement (blonds are not really my area), so I picked a brownish/darkish yellow colour (#f6d573) and I brushed it over her hair
Setting then the layer on soft light (because nobody likes those heavy globs), but then the colour was too washed out so I duplicated the layer and used the colour burn blending mode (lowering the opacity a bit around 60-65%) to achieve a good golden blond.
I then decided to fix the lights a bit with some curves, I'm not going to give you points or whatever, because I think these things changes from image to image; anyway what I did was to make the blacks a bit more deep and the light on her face pop a bit. Ah, the curve layer was on screen (light stuff is always nice).
At this point comes the ~coloring, I've used the photo filter tool to warm the image up a bit, I've used the "Deep Yellow" one, raising the density to my likes (46), as usual tho, look at your cap, you don't really want some weird alien (this time!)
Duplicate your "photo filter" layer and set it on soft light if you want to give some depth to the color, the opacity is up to you, mine was around 50, because I didn't really want a pasty texture on her face.
Next I've used a gradient map layer with these colours (left - right) #c7b4c6 & #e5e1eb on soft light with a very low opacity (30%), because I wanted her lips to have a pinkish hue and also because the skin on the cheeks was turning a bit too dark for my tastes
A colour balance layer helped me to give some basic green shade especially to that (awful) background around her head. Not sure what your base will be like, but if you want to get a very light green shade and you have some sort of washed red, you have to play with cyan and yellow (not green, because playing with green adds too much green).
If you're curious my values were:
midtones: -26 / -9 / -20
NOW MY FAVOURITE PART BEGINS!
For this part I've used a basic soft round brush, you can use anything you want really, one of the brushes I use the most (that will pop up again soon in another tuts) is this one. I love it so much because it has a slight texure in it that works well in icons. Anyway, create some dynamic with your chosen colours, as I said, I picked green and red, this is what it looks like before setting it on overlay
Set the layer on overlay (or softlight if you prefer softer color, not hard light because with these two colours really has a weird effect, but you can try that one too) anyway, once you've done that, duplicate it and set it on screen, now you have to lower the opacity the way you like it more, I wanted to have that glassy effect going on, so my opacity was pretty high, but you should chose your own
I like the glassy effect but it was definitely too light for me, so I created a brightness/contrast layer, not moving the arrows, but setting it on multiply on a mid-low opacity. As usual, it depends on your image, this is what it looks like
And because I'm miss obvious, let's deepen our light and shadows, I can't tell you all the values because they won't apply to your image, but take a look at this and you'll get what I did
Last few steps are about deepening the colour on those bulbs, I start with the red, I use the brush tool, and I recolor the same part, using the hard color blending mode this time because I want some intensity now. Then I duplicate the layer and set it on screen, for both layers the opacity is around 50%, but you know, set it for your base!
And then the greens! This time though, one green layer goes on "linear burn" (keep in mind it's a very light green I'm using) and the copy of the layer goes on hard light, bot opacities at 100%. A thing I forgot to mention, on these two green layers, I've blended a bit of white with my green base, just to have a bit of light, so you can do the same, if you pick a dark colour, just brush over it with a white brush (if you don't have the pen pressure option, just lower your brush opacity while doing so, it helps!)
and this os the colouring done.
Last thing I did was probably copy all the layers (ctrl+shit+alt+c) and past them in a new 100*100 canvas and used the smart sharpen filter on a copy (ctrl+j) of the layer.
My setting for the contrast tool is the same for everything:
BASIC - Amount 300% - Radius 0,3 - Remove: gaussian blur - More Accurate.
Then I lower the opacity of this layer until I'm happy with the contrast. Or, for a more accurate contrast setting, I mask away what bothers the smoothness of the icon.
And that's it!
You can still ask me things here!
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