Miss Val (tinebrella) wrote in psychedelicats,
Miss Val

Tutorial: Castiel from Supernatural

From to vs original
Requested by naginis

The icon I recreated is not exactly the same as the original one, because I used Variations for the coloring and I can't remember what I did, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get the same result. Close enough, I hope?

Step #1: sharpening the base
I duplicated my base and I sharpened it with the Paint Daubs filter (Brush type: Simple, Size: 1, Sharpness: 1). The sharpened layer is set to Normal, 100% opacity, no masking involved.

Step #2: brightening the base
To brighten the base, I created a Curves layer and set it to Screen, at 100% opacity.
As I've said in other tutorials, you can use any adjustment layer to do this. You're not going to change the settings, so it doesn't matter if it's a Selective Color layer or a Hue/Saturation layer. It's like creating a copy-merged layer and setting that to whichever blending mode, but this way you can replace the base whenever you want without having to replace all the copy-merged layers accordingly.

Step #3: using Variations like whoa
Ah, and here comes the tricky part because I created a copy-merged layer and then I used Variations on it. The issue with Variations is that you apply it directly on the image, you can't add it as an adjustment layer like you would with Curves, or Selective Color. So there's no easy way to go back later on and see what you did.
However, I love using Variations because it's like all the other adjustment layers combined in one:
- you can brighten or darken the shadows, midtones and lights separately
- you can add more red, yellow, magenta, green, cyan or blue to the shadows, midtones and lights separately
- you can make the image more or less saturated
And you can do it by incremental steps!
And you get to decide the strenght of each incremental step!
And you can see the result you're going to get by applying the step!
And it also shows you the original image next to the result, so you don't have hide the layer to see where you're going, like you would with a regular adjustment layer!

You have less control on what you're doing because of the discrete nature of the steps, but it's way more intuitive and... let's be honest, do you really need to know if you're adding +5 or +6 reds to the midtones? DO YOU?
... but yeah, it makes recreating an icon really hard. I'll give you that.

Anyway here are my Variations settings:
Fine ||||||x Coarse - Shadows: More Cyan x1, More Blue x2
Fine ||||||x Coarse - Midtones: More Yellow x1
Fine ||||||x Coarse - Lights: More Yellow x1
Fine ||||||x Coarse - Saturation: More Saturation x1

Original: Recreated:
So, you can easily spot the differences: the shadows in the original one are darker (look at his hair on the top left corner) and the midtones are less yellow/green.
But I still wasn't able to recreate the original result, no matter how hard I tried. I remember going for the coarsest step because I wanted the coloring to be extreme, but maybe I did some minor tweaking after the first bold steps? Who knows?

In the original icon I also duplicated this layer and blurred some oversharpened areas with the Blur tool (you can see it especially in the bottom left area, where the cyan beard clashed a bit with the yellow/orange cheek and the bit of visible ear was really pixelated):
I didn't do the same for the recreated icon because I'm lazy I felt it wasn't the focus of this tutorial so I could let some oversharpening slide.

Step #4: painting things like I know what I'm doing
After the extreme coloring, and despite a bit of blurring, the image was a bit too sharp in places, even for my taste. So I decide to do a little painting to make things look a tad smoother and also to draw attention away from the pixelated areas and point it to the interesting details like his jaw, cheekbone, frowning eyebrows and so on.
I picked colors from the image so that they would blend in more easily.
Here's how the painted bits look on a white, black and grey background. Most of the layers are set to Normal 100% opacity, except for the one on his lips (Screen 52% opacity) and the one on the blood (Soft Light 100% opacity).

Step #5: texture time!
I was pretty happy with the icon by this point I guess, because I only added one texture!
Original one by scoobyatemysnax Rotated and blurred:
I set it to Screen, 100% opacity.

Step #5: text time!
>>> >>> >>>
I made this icon knowing I would be adding this quote at some point.
There are three text layers:
1. Normal 100% opacity, Helvetica Neue 75 Bold, f4f4f4, Anti-aliasing: Strong
WHEN CASTIEL 9 pt, letter-spacing 200
FIRST LAID A HAND 7 pt, letter-spacing 200
ON YOU IN HELL 10 pt, letter-spacing 60
2. Normal 100% opacity, Helvetica Neue 75 Bold, ffffff, Anti-aliasing: Strong
HE WAS LOST 14 pt, letter-spacing -40
3. Multiply 100% opacity, Helvetica Neue 75 Bold, fb47a4, Anti-aliasing: Strong
HE WAS LOST 14 pt, letter-spacing -40
I moved the third layer a bit up and to the right.

And that's all!

You can also download the .PSD here.

ETA: I put the # in front of the hexadecimal codes and LJ automatically turned the colors into tags and added them to the post??? Are we on twitter now???
Tags: !maker: tinebrella, *tutorial

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