Dressing Up A Dingbat With Photoshop
Dingbats and other symbol fonts are a great source of clipart.
In this tutorial we will use Photoshop to add some pizzazz to a dingbat.
The font used is Zapf Dingbats. It's one of the Base 14 fonts that comes
with the Adobe® Acrobat® Reader (download free here).
1. Start by making a new 290 x 200 pixel RGB image with a transparent
background. Using the default foreground and background colors, click
on the image with the Type Tool. In the dialog, choose 300 point Zapf
Dingbats with Smooth anti-aliasing. Click the mouse in the typing box
then press the minus sign on the keyboard. That's the hand and pencil
2. Select the Magic Wand Tool
and with a tolerance of zero and with anti-aliasing enabled, click anywhere
in the transparent background. Click Select > Inverse, then Select
> Save Selection and save the selection to a new channel. Next copy
the layer by dragging it onto the new layer icon at the bottom of the
Layers palette. This will make an exact duplicate of the layer so the
pixels will line up perfectly.
3. Double-click the new layer to put you back into the Type Tool dialog
as in the previous step. Using the Shift key, highlight the text in the
typing box then click once on the color swatch to access the Color Picker.
In the RGB boxes enter 181 for red, 86 for green and 6 for blue. Click
"OK" twice. We need this dark sienna color when we use the frosted
glass distortion filter. After applying the new color click Layer
> Type > Render Layer. Next, click the magic Wand inside
any one of the hollow areas of the hand. In the example below, the forefinger
is selected. Click Select > Save Selection and save the selection to
a new channel.
4. Click the Radial Gradient Tool
then click the "Edit" button in the Options palette. In the
Gradient Editor dialog (below), click the "New" button. Give
it a name (e.g. "Yellow, Orange"). Double-click the starting
color stop (circled - on the left) and set the RGB values to 255, 255,
0 respectively. Next double-click the ending color stop (circled - on
the right) and set the RGB values to 255, 128, 0 respectively. Use the
default locations for the starting color stop, the midpoint and the ending
color stop (0%, 50% and 100% respectively). Click "OK" when
5. Drag from the center of the selection outwards then release the mouse
to apply the gradient to the hollow area of the forefinger. The strategy
here is to make separate selections for each of the hollow areas, save
them each as new selection channels then fill them with this yellow, orange
6. After selecting and filling each of the hollow areas, load each of
the selections created from the hollow areas using the "Add to Selection"
option in the "Load Selection" dialog. You can then save this
composite selection as a new channel. The reason we filled each area separately
is to add depth. If all the areas were selected then filled as a unit,
the image would tend to look flat.
7. Next click Filter > Distort > Glass... and in
the dialog enter the following values:
The effect should look similar to the example below. If we had not used
the dark sienna color for the hand dingbat, there would have been a black
reflection on the ridges of the simulated glass.
8. Click Edit > Copy then select the black layer and
click Layer > Type > Render Layer then Edit
> Paste Into. This will copy the selection
and paste it into the black version of the hand. If everything looks okay
select "Merge Down" from the layer options menu to merge the
selection into the layer.
9. The Layers palette should look something like the example below. Click
layer 1 to activate it then hide the other layers (click the eye icons
to toggle visibility).
10. Next we'll add a shadow to the image. Click Select > Load Selection
and load the original selection saved in step 2. Next click Select >
Feather... and feather the selection 5 pixels.
11. Click Edit > Fill, and fill the selection with
100% Black, Normal mode. Then adjust the opacity slider on the layer down
to about 70%. We want some contrast between the black outline of the hand
and its shadow so we need to lighten it.
12. If the image will be displayed over a background, open the background
tile image and click Select > All, then Edit
> Define Pattern (click here for why this is done).
13. Add a new layer under all the other layers then activate it. Next
click Edit > Fill, then choose "Pattern"
for the "Contents" with an opacity of 100%, Normal mode.