Creating New Faction Symbols

By SrJamesTyrrel

So in my Judea Total War thread a number of people mentioned liking my faction icons, so I thought I'd share the secret of making them fast and easy with only a basic knowledge of Photoshop.

(Note that this article does not cover which files must be edited in order to change every instance of a faction symbol. That can be found here).

Step One - Getting The Badge.

You can use one that you've drawn, which I recommend, or attempt to take one from the internet. If you draw one yourself, you can skip these steps and just draw it with black on white, no aa or soft brushes (just two pure colors like MS Paint style).

I used, for the sake of saving time, an image from the internet. This is good for people who have a whole world of work to do or simply cannot draw well.

Step Two - Create A New Image

Create an image in photoshop that is pretty big - at least 256x256. I like to set it around 480x480. Copy your previous image and paste it in there. Go to the Menu, click on EDIT->TRANSFORM->SCALE and size it so that it fits (drawers - save yourself this step by drawing the size you want). Do not merge down to background, as we'll want to get rid of the background later.

Step Three - Clean The Image

First, from the Menu click on FILTER->PIXELATE->FACET to clear up the image into dark and light regions.

Then you will go to IMAGE->ADJUSTMENTS->POSTERIZE the image with two levels so that it is pure black and white.

Then, you'll want to go to invert the image using CTRL+I, so that the negative is shown.

Select the negative and CLEAR it out.

Invert the image again so that you see black on white, but now the layer is only the positive shape.

When you disable the background layer, you should see something like this:

Step Four - Outlining And Accenting The Shape.

You'll need to double-click on the layer with the shape to pull up it's blending options. Altogether I like to have a stroke, or outline,

a color overlay containing the color that the shape should be,

an inner glow which is lighter than the badge color, usually yellow but whatever will make the edge more "alive",

and an outer glow set with black on normal to soften the outline a bit and create a shadow on the color base.

Step Five - Setting Up The Base.

First, select a circle around your badge on a new layer underneath it.

Fill this shape with a medium gray.

Burn it fairly dark from the dead center,

then dodge it fairly light again from a point just up and right of center.

After this, you may want to go to IMAGE->ADJUST->LEVELS to get better contrast.

Step Six - Coloring The Base

Now make a layer above the base and fill it with your desired hue, setting the layer to "color".

Because the types of grays you used or the color you picked might have different values or intensity than you would like, you may want to adjust the hue/saturation and levels at this point, using ADJUSTMENT LAYERS.

If you haven't already done so, center the badge and perform your last touch ups.

Step Seven - You're Not God, So You Don't Get To Rest Quite Yet

Open another existing faction icon that is properly formatted for gameplay.

Scale the image you made to fit over the existing one, making sure that you turned off the background when you copied it so that it's a perfect circle without a white box.

Select the area of the badge and in a new layer by going to FILTER->RENDER->CLOUDS.

Then go to FILTER->BLUR->RADIAL and apply a BLUR to these clouds. Set to zoom, 100, centered, and then duplicate and merger the layer with itself a few times so that the opacity is full all around.

Now go to SELECT->MODIFY->CONTRACT by 4 pixels and clear.

Deselect and set this layer to color dodge, playing with the levels if you need to so that there's not too much glow, not too much empty edge.

Congratulations, you're done!!

Other places that require this image exist, but there's already a tutorial on that subject, and this framed version and your original unframed version are all you'll need to complete those charts (rescaling).