One of the most basic (but rewarding) photoshop skills is the art of creating an avatar. Avatars can be used in forums, websites, blogs, and so much more. In this tutorial you can expect to learn how to create your very own avatar image. Please keep in mind that tutorials are created for people to learn how to make things, not just to save the image at the end and pass it on as your work. It's a lot more fulfilling if you make an image yourself, than if you take it from someone else! Hope you enjoy this tutorial and learn a lot from it!
When creating any avatar you must first select an image for your work to be based off of. Wether you draw this image yourself, or take it from an existing picture is entirely up to you. For the practicality of this tutorial I will be using an already existing image from the Anime series, Full Metal Alchemist. (Alfred Elric)
Step 1: Start by opening up the original image from the required files link above. As you can see the image is WAY to big to be an avatar. Let's start by cropping the part of the image we want, and then worrying about the size. In this tutorial I will be using the boy on the far left, Alfred Elric. Please crop the head and shoulders of the boy by using the crop tool.
Step 2: Ok, now that we have our avatar image, lets add some crazy cool effects to it! First, get out your burn tool. Set your Brush Size: 20 , Range: Midtones, Exposure: 50%. Burn the whole image lightly once, and then burn the edges extra.
Step 3: You might be saying, "That looks worse than before!". Just hold your horses, it will turn out all right! Now we want to set our image to greyscale. Go to Mode --> Greyscale. Your image should have turned black and white by doing this. Now to get back the option to add color, go to Mode --> RGB Color.
Step 4: Press Cntrl + B to bring up the Color Balance Tool. Set the colors to anything you want (Shadows, Midtones, Highlights), but I will be focusing on a red / orange effect. Here are my images from the Color Balance Tool. Remember to set all your settings in both Midtones, Highlights, and Shadows!
Step 5: After applying your Color Balances, get out your Burn tool again! Keep the same settings as earlier, and brush the edges of the image again so the edges seem to fade into Black. This is all user style, everyone will have different results
Step 6: Sometimes, you will need to use the Blur Tool to smooth out images and awkward brush strokes. Anywhere where two colors clash too violently and it looks strange, smooth it out with the wonderful blur tool. After you have used the blur tool, select the Pencil and set your foreground color to White. Magnify the image and create a 1px white border around the whole image.
Step 7: I prefer not to, but you can finish it off with adding sentimental text or you forum username to the image. If not, than the above image will be your final product. I hope you enjoyed and learned a lot from this tutorial! Feel free to post questions, comments, concerns or otherwise