Using Photoshop CS4
All steps in this tutorial use adjustment layers unless otherwise mentioned.
|01. Brighten your image. Be that through a curve layer, duplicate/screen your base, etc.
I use a curve layer usually. (cap)
Keep it dark enough that your image still retains some color and contrast, but bright enough that the image is... brighter...
|02. Put a bit of contrast in the reds. I use selective coloring because I am lazy (cap)|
|03. The next step is a bit subtle. Depending on what mood I'm in, I'll up or lower the yellows. In this case, I put just a bit of punch in the yellows. (cap)|
|04. This next step really just brings more color and contrast into the image. Playing with the neutral section of SC is dangerous (cap)|
|05. I almost always use a gradient map to start the black and white process. They're really easy to use and they'll also add a bit of contrast. Be careful of that if you've already got a really high contrasted image. (cap)|
|06. These next two steps are my favorite things to do when making a black and white icon. Merge your layers (I actually have no idea where this is in the menu, but the shortcut is shift+option+alt+e [or ctrl instead of alt, for PCs]). Set the new image to color burn at ~10%-20%. This will bring a bit more contrast into the shadows. Careful!|
|07. Duplicate your merged layers layer again and set it to soft light at ~50%-60%. This layer increases the whole icon's brightness/contrast.|
|08. Create a new fill layer and fill it with grey (#ccc is what I chose). Set the layer to multiply at 20%-30%. Just brings down the really bright whites that sometimes appear after the previous two layers.|
|Hints & Other Stuff
• If the starting image is too bright, I tend to duplicate the base and set it at multiply to bring in some more color.
• Turning off the gradient map layer after you're finished can also lead to interesting results.
• Increasing either of the last duplicate layers will increase the contrast. The soft light layer is more subtle and will brighten the dark and light areas, while the color burn layer really brings out the darker areas. Be really careful with the opacity of the color burn as the higher the opacity the less differences there are between the blacks, in other words everything will start running together.
•• Screencap of Layers