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Screenshot Icons Done Properly

Discussion in '2D Art Tutorials' started by loktar, May 21, 2018.

  1. loktar

    loktar

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    In this tutorial, I will show you my simple process in four easy steps for creating a screenshot icon that doesn't look (too much) like a screenshot icon.

    [​IMG]

    This tutorial uses and assumes basic knowledge of GIMP and Magos' Model Editor.
    Other tools will probably work just as well (just don't use MdlVis because it doesn't display particles).

    Step 1: The Screenshot
    1. Open the model in Magos' Model Editor. Leave the window at its default size. Use a portrait animation and the portrait camera, and adjust as desired.
      • The screenshot shouldn't be too big, that would only give us more work for no gain.
      • It's best if you hide the portrait background. The fastest way is to go through the material list until you find the right one and then set the texture to (None). Make sure you don't save the model afterwards.

    2. Crop the image to a square. Most WC3 icons are pretty zoomed in. Use the Fuzzy Select Tool to select and delete the grey background (if applicable).
      [​IMG]

    Step 2: Trace the image
    Simply trace the entire image with the Paintbrush Tool.
    • Set Opacity somewhere between 35 to 45.
    • Set Size to 2, 4, 6 and 8 depending on the level of detail.
    • Add some shading and other details here and there.
    • Try to already make straight edges and corners more round.
    It should look something like this in the end:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    Step 3: Go crazy with Smudge
    Use smudge to make the image smoother and more natural.

    If you've used a separate layer for the tracing, make sure to create a new layer with "New from Visible" so you're working on the combination of the screenshot and tracing. Also make sure the black background isn't visible in it if you've already added it.

    • Like in Step 2, use a Size of 2, 4, 6 and 8 depending on the level of detail.
    • Smudge the tracing from Step 2. Make it mesh better with the screenshot and make straight lines and edges rounder.
    • Also smudge away any seems, aliasing, straight lines and edges from the screenshot itself.
    • The lines added in Step 2 for shading should be almost indistinguishable.
    • Hair is a little more tricky. Smudge a little across the lines; also add small strands of hair by smudging away from the hair. Hopefully this explanation is somewhat clear.
    [​IMG]


    Step 4: Color correction
    Finally, play around with brightness/contrast and saturation/lightness until it looks more like a WC3 icon.
    • WC3 icons' colors are usually low in contrast, while shading/lighting is highly contrasted.
    • Compare your image to a similar icon from WC3 until the colors look somewhat the same
    • A small difference can go a long way
    • Or do whatever you like; it's your icon!
    [​IMG]

    Create your icon!
    Finally, turn it into an icon. Make sure you add a black background, resize to 64x64, export to .tga and use ButtonManager to generate icons!
    [​IMG]


    More examples (pastebin)


    • [​IMG]
      [​IMG]
      [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    • [​IMG]
      [​IMG]
      [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    • [​IMG]
      [​IMG]
      [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]



     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
  2. PurgeandFire

    PurgeandFire

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    Awesome guide, nice results.

    Definitely a great way to get accurate icons with a wc3 style to boot!
     
  3. loktar

    loktar

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    Thanks!
     
  4. Jaccouille

    Jaccouille

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    Nice tutorial, thanks!
     
  5. Kyrbi0

    Kyrbi0

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    This is pretty dang good & useful; I've always heard artists talk about screenshot-icons, but whenever I try to mess around with it, they never look that good.

    Just a few points of critique: I'd consider adding the "finished product" (i.e. the 64x64 Warcraft-ized version) of your three examples. Also, your Step 4 ("color correction") could use a bit more description (both generally & specifically (i.e. that example icon)). Finally, not necessary, but consider some non-human Examples.

    Thanks!
     
  6. loktar

    loktar

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    Thanks for your posts. I went a bit crazy and found all the screenshot icons and "WIP"s I still have and put them in the OP. I made gifs :p
     
  7. Kyrbi0

    Kyrbi0

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    Very cool!

    So you do this for Structures as well? Interesting... I was under the impression most people just used straight screenshots (i.e. unedited).
     
  8. loktar

    loktar

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    I think most people do, but IMO it looks a lot better if you give them some treatment.