../ If there is an effect you would like to learn how to do, let me know and I will do my best to explain it to you.
../ First six behind the cut.
Soft Light & Overlay Layers
Color Burn & Burn Layers
Using this picture of MK&A, I'll show you how to get different effects and whatnot.
I'm using Photoshop 7.0, but it should be easily translated into other programmes.
Alrightie. This is the starting image, I've done nothing to it.
When you start an icon, you sharpen it.
Sharpening is pretty easy. You go up the top to "Filter", select "sharpen" from the drop down menu, and "sharpen" again from the next menu.
See how it looks sharper, and it makes the original image look quite blurred in comparison.
You don't want to go overboard with sharpening, I only do it once, sometimes twice if the orignial image is very blurred.
This one was sharpened three times, really bad looking:
Black and white based icons look awesome, and to get a colored image turned into B&W is simple.
Up the top, select "Image", click on "Adjustments" from the drop down menu, and then "Desaturate" in the next menu.
An easier way to do it is just to press CTRL+Shift+U. That gives the same effect.
../ SOFT LIGHT/OVERLAY
One of the most popular effects used on icons, it's simple yet very effective.
All you need to do it duplicate the base, and set the duplicate to soft light, or overlay.
There isn't a huge difference between the two, but overlay gives a more intense look. Both enhance the colors, make the lights lighter, and the darks darker.
One of the most popular ways of coloring icons, exclusion layers are dark colors, mostly shades of blue.
( #000132 - #002C32 - #0C5D68 )
These are only examples of course, you can use any shade you like, not just these ones.
You don't want to use bright colors like this, because it just looks bad:
../ COLOR BURN/BURN
I think color burn translates to "burn" in Paint Shop Pro. Same effect, just a different name.
You can use any light color, the most common are light blue, and light grey.
( #CCCCCC - #90D1FF )
Again, these are only examples, you can experiment to see what suits your liking.
Don't use darker colors, because it looks bad.
../ COLORED BLOBS
These add a bit more to your icon, can be any color, and very simple and easy to make.
On a black canvas, make a colored blob to the size and color of your choice, I used a round brush 100, comes default with Photoshop. Place it somewhere on your icon, and set to lighten or screen.