Alright, because I've been asked, this tutorial is sort of a collaboration of the techniques I've been using lately for my icons - and I probably will keep using in the forseeable future. I was asked for specifics, but because I don't save the .psd's, (read: big mistake) it's near impossible to use guesswork to make individual tutorials. So, using this tutorial alone, you should be able to make many like icons.
But don't worry - if I use a specfic major texture or technique, I'll address it. :]
1. I use plenty of textures.
2. I almost always set these textures to Lighten or Darken.
Lighten for dark textures and Darken for light textures. This creates a very soft, texturized effect and really blends everything together well. These two specifically, because Screen lightens too much and Multiply darkens too much.
Another rule I follow, maybe not so religiously, is that I make much use of Selective Color and Hue Saturation. Sometimes, if the pic is good quality, I just use Hue/Saturation.
Now that the general idea is out there, I'm going to move on and talk about the icons I was asked about directly.
This icon is very cut and dry for the most part, save for one technique I'll explain in detail in a little bit.
I first made my coloring edits with the original picture (found on ign.com under "The Dark Knight"). This included a Selective Coloring layer and Hue/Saturation layer. My last tutorial shows which numbers I used, and for those without SC, the Hue/Saturation would do fine.
Then I get into the texture mess. As you can see, mainly in the upper right-hand corner, warm textures were used. I would check out the textures of innocent_lexysor rubber_dick for an icon like this one. But creativity is key here - alot of replacing and mistakes went into the experimentation. Much of what I make is by chance. And if anything covers the focus of the icon poorly, don't be afraid to erase - use a small brush, 0px in hardness, for a neat effect. You can see where I did so around Batman's face.
But there is one thing I do here that stands out from my other icons - that is the paper texture to the left side. Rather than set the blending to anything, I actually keep it at normal, and add a Layer Mask gradient to delete what covers Batman and the Joker neatly. Heres how:
1. Open up a texture of choice, and paste it onto your icon. I used a paper texture by llilly_tu .
2. In the toolbar, go to Layer+Layer Mask+Reveal All.
3. Set the foreground and background colors in the lower left-hand side of the screen to white (foreground) and black (background). This might be already done for you. Then select the gradient tool, and pick the standard gradient pattern (horizontal).
4. Picking a point over where your focus point falls, draw the gradient leading away, almost to the end of your icon. If done correctly, the mask will hide that portion, making it look like the texture bleeds right into your icon. If just the black and white gradient appears, you didn't set up the mask properly.
5. Experiment with the gradient itself! In the history section, if you don't like what you see, go back a step and try again! After you like what you see, go to Layer+Layer Mask+Apply. Or delete, if you change your mind and don't want one, haha.
After I did this with my icon, I added a light texture on the right from a set by neke .
This , if you look at how covered in texture Link's tunic is, is Lightened-textured to death. I would look into soft textures, maybe ones not so big in the color area - I recommend kiho_chanor ullaaa. By the red hues in his face and the way the blue sticks out around his profile, a Hue/Saturation layer was also used. But not much of that is important, so much as the distraction to the right of Link - the dark cloud texture. This was something I actually didn't think looked good at all, but I kept it and eventually grew to like how it forms to his shape a little. If the following texture is potent enough, you really only need to use it alone. But that's no fun. ;]
For the black effect (something that's been a staple in many, many icon posts that I've made) is done by first choosing a grungy icon. I used one from the Dark Sky set by a poster from rainharbour . I found one that formed around Link, so that was by luck. Hopefully you're just as lucky.
I set it to Darken, and not Multiply because the grey surrounding the black would have been to dark for Link, and covered most of him up. I believe I needed to erase the texture from his face anyway, however. Really, it's a matter of preference whether you use Darken or Multiply. Try switching it up.
The text thing is something else I do - it's a white Violation font, set to Strong at size pt. 8. You can download it free from Dafont.com. Whenever I want text, but am kind of at a loss for what font to use, this is my fallback. Alot.
This is a good opportunity to talk about a Polaroid technique I used here, because I've talked textures to death. Essentially, anyone listed in my profile is a good bet for these icons. And I'm running out of time over here, haha.
I found a good polaroid texture batch by </a></font></b></a>about two weeks before posting my last batch, and felt like trying it out on an icon. I found one that had two polaroids, to encompass both Link and Ilia. Bonus, right? Sometimes you'll need to move around the picture you're using for the desired effect.
I set this one to Lighten, and as a result you can see that some of the picture beneath the polaroid showed through in the bottom half of the icon, just underneath the brown squares of the texture. Most people don't want this to happen, but I ran with it. If you want your image to show up in the polaroid blanks alone, try cropping out or erasing just the brown/black space, depending on your texure.
Easy-peasy. And over the polaroid texture (I used that first), I put a couple of grainy textures for an aged effect. The text brush at the top of the icon is a quick accent that I fell in love with, especially if you're looking to fill space. It's from a loopy handwritten brush set by a poster at lifeisdolce. Any of those brushes work.
I have to commend taurehere - she asked about the above four, and those were perfect choices because each one is different in the best ways possible. Gives me alot of things to talk about, and kind of covers my creative range.
This one uses the least about of textures out of any icon I've made with these techniques - the only two you really need are:
and one of the light textures in the most recent light set by innocent_lexys.
I found a screencap from ign.com (it's Ocarina of Time), and rather than erasing around the figures right away after cropping, I edited the color of the whole picture, and just pasted the texture right over it. Then, adjusting the opacity of the texture temporarily so that I could see what I was doing, I used a small 0px-hardness brush and erased the texture where it fell on Zelda, Link and Navi.
To blend the pictures more, feel free to use the same texture again, setting it to Darken or something (or any texture you please). Then slap on the light texture and some text - I used a lyric brush by red_sam(I believe).
This concludes the tutorial - yay! Before I check out, I want to recommend some sites that I keep on my Favorites for fast access always, and some great resources.
First, ign.com (or gamestop, if you prefer) is a search engine that can find you just about any video game or movie, and caps for those movies for your icon making.
Also, for my Twilight Princess screens, I use this site, that boasts the largest collection of screens on the web for that game - all 620 of them!
The community that I have friended, that I browse regularly for textures and their makers, is resourcelove.
I apologize in advance if the mass tut is too hard to follow. I can never be sure. :o