Just a warning, this is heavy on the explaining. There are so few tutorials for the actual beginners and I wanted to this to be one of them.
I'll be making the following icon with PSP 9.
1. For the life of me I could not find the original cap, so we're using this one instead. Of course you have to crop the image and resize it.
[Beginngers: Hit this button on your left sided toolbar, and select the area like this. (You can see my measures up top. Always use the same number for height and width if you're making a regular icon, like 300x300 or 250x250.) To resize, go to Image >> Resize. Type in 100 and your screen should like this.]
2. Don't sharpen the icon yet. Duplicate the layer and sharpen that.
[Beginners: Layers >> Duplicate. Then go to this area and single click where it says 'Copy of Background.' Then go to Effects >> Effect Browser. When this window comes up click Sharpness in the menu like I did and then 'sharpen' under the little Fleur. When that's done, go back to 'Copy of Background' and this time double click. This window will come up. In the drop down menu where it says Normal click 'Soft Light' This makes the image a little too dark so where it says 'Opacity', lower that from 100 to 70 (this willy vary from icon to icon).]
3. Next, go ahead and merge all your layers.
[Layers >> Merge >> Merge All Flatten. Just in case, here's the menu.]
4. After that, go to Edit >>Copy. Then Edit >> Paste as New Image. You now should have two identical icons. Minimize one. Just put it out of the way.
5. With the one you have left, you're going to erase [background eraser tool on your left sidebar] whatever you want black and white, in this case all but Fleur's hat and robes. Try to get all the specks off but it does not have to be 100% perfect.
6. Now, as you can see. The blue's a little dull so we're going to brighten it up a bit. In your main menu, go to Adjust >> Color Balance >> Color Balance. (Here's the menu just in case.) When the window comes up, move around the little bars and play around until you find the color you want. I ended up with this.
7. Now it's time to minimize that layer and forget about it and remember the other one. Pull up your original Fleur and go to Effects >> Effect Browser . Click on the tab Hue and Saturation and then Greyscale. [ menu just in case ]
8. Now the icons a little dull so we're going to increase the contrast. Go to Adjust >> Brightness and Contrast >> Bright and Contrast [ menu ] and this window will pop up. I left Brightness at 0 because I think it'll look better dark but I upped the Contrast to 30. Now it's a bit clearer.
9. Now its time to remember the forgotten. Pull up that erased layer and go to Edit >> Copy. Then select the black and white icon and go to Edit >> Paste >> Paste as New Layer [ window ]. Now all you have to do it line it up just right and erase any leftover dots that you see (I have some around the brim of Fleur's hat that I would normally erase). This is what my final icon looks like:
10. All that's left is adding any extra stuff you want. I didn't use any gradients or textures (though if you do, I suggest merging layers again to make it easier to work with), but I did add text. This is my final icon:
-- I know someone in particular who was confused on how to add text, so at the risk of sounding redundant, I am going in to that real quick.
a. Of course you click on the little text A button on the left.
b. This toolbar is where you change the type of text and size. I used a popular font called "Death Struggle" and size 18.
c. It was a little tall so I squished it a bit with the arrows. [ just in case ]
One more beginning tip: Save it .PNG format. .JPG might be easy but it produces some real crappy quality.
That was my first ever tutorial so hopefully I wasn't too confusing and it helped somebody. I know I went into a lot of detail but like I said, this is for the extreme beginner.
If you have any questions what so ever, don't hesitate to ask. I'm always around and will always help however I can :)