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Old Friends - by ingrid_m

Can somebody make these icons not ghetto?

Now that the vote tallies are up, I can finally post my entries for the BSG challenge at notshoppedicons - and ask for somebody to make them look better while maintaining the general concepts/captions/etc. *g*

The icons in question:


Anybody out there kind enough to oblige?
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I can't tonight, I really MUST sleep. But I'll try tomorrow?

I used Photoshop with these. But if you're confined to paint, try these tips.

1. Crop well. Don't put the subject blam in the middle, try to have the eye flow. Use negative space to offset the busy space.

2. Text. Try to vary the text. Different font and size. I see you've started on that already. Also, don't be afraid to have text extending past the border. See how 'INSTINCT' is only half there and yet still legible. And don't be afraid to crowd the text together, having little space between. Line it up with the side of the icon. Or rotate the text.

Any more questions, feel free to ask.
Thank you for the icons and the tips. I'm going to try to enter the challenges at notshoppedicons on a weekly basis to practice. (In time, I may also enter the contests at babylon5contest, but I want to noodle around a bit first.)
I made a screencap of the layers I used in the secrets icon

Also, I adjusted the saturation.
O M G!! I just saw that I MISPELLED SECRETS!!!


Sorry, I'll fix that.


It's not Exactly the same as I'd neglected to save the .psd file but close, as close as I could get it.
Wonderful advice, thank you, both this and what follows.

Text is my bete-noire (it always comes out so messily pixel-ish if I try to use anything interesting, like "Blackadder" or "Vivaldi"), but I'm going to try your lighting tricks.

It seems a natural corollary, by the way, that when using dark text against a mixed backround, one should give it a bit of a "light" shadow. Yes?
are you using Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro?

If so, check that anti-alias is turned on for your text.

yes, light shadow. It's usually called outer glow.
I'm using Paint Shop Pro, and yes, I did check the anti-alias thinggumy (the helpful help box suggested it, actually :-)

"Outer glow" - got it, thanks!
hee! Help boxes that actually help? What a strange concept!


*coming from a girl who immediately turns off the tip boxes*
Couple of tips:

- I find that a 1px border (usually black) on an icon makes it look a lot sharper and "better". I don't know why, but it does :) Try it, and see what you think.

- text is always tricky. You have to be very careful of background. You've done pretty well on both of those, but "instinct" has a bit of white behind. What I tend to do is to put a drop shadow behind the text (there are various methods, depending on what program you use, etc) - black or white, at about 80% opacity, isn't usually noticeable when looking at the icon, but still improves text visibility.

- with caps, they are often quite dark. One good (simple!) way to brighten things up a little is to duplicate the layer and set the upper one to "screen".
At the moment, I'm limited to free-ware, so I'm not sure how many of these I will be able to do. But thank you for the tips!
If you want a freeware graphics package that will do pretty much anything Photoshop can, try The Gimp - http://www.gimp.org/ - there's a Windows version and it's very good.
Thanks, I'll take a look!