I'm going to attempt to explain. I'm not too sure this will be of much help but here we go anyway.
Made in CS3 but should be translatable. There's one instance of Selective Coloring that really doesn't do too much.
LOVE this image, but it's so...purple/blue! But before I go to town on this, I brighten it up a little. (I don't really remember why....so let's just go with it.)
Something like this
Light blue fill layer #d4eeff - Set to soft light @ 14%
Duplicate base layer - set to soft light @ 100%
Duplicate base layer - set to screen @ 27%
Now, to fix the coloring to something more natural
1) Color balance to decrease the blues/magentas/yellows
2) Hue/Saturation layer, increase saturation +22 for extra oomph
3) Curves to brighten a little and tone down the reds
4) Selective coloring to up the blues in the sky a smidge (IDK this practically does nothing lol. I think I had it cranked up before and changed my mind?)
Result. I like it! But that background could be way more ...blue. and bright.
Curves layer to really brighten and increase the blues/cyans. I use the mask to erase the part on top of Bjork.
At this point I copy merged / stamp the image into a new layer. (ctrl+a, ctrl+shift+c, ctrl+v. Hotkeys FTW!) and I think at this point I resize the image and expand the canvas so that it is 200x200 px. (I'm blind, 100x100 is small!)
Okay, I'm too attached to the background to erase it. I love the dress, there's no way I'm cropping it out! So I duplicate the stamped image and resize it smaller. I keep a copy of the original colored base because the pack-rat in me says "but what if I want a large copy later and I don't have it?!"
After trying a bunch of crops, and trying out a bunch of repeated images, and going through a bunch of textures, I decided on this texture by hgx for the background.
Move and resize stuff so Bjork fits in a nice frame. I also erased the edges because she had a black border.
The background doesn't really mesh so I change the color up with a color balance. (Settings) I move this under the Bjork layer, but above the background (it was too strong for the whole image). I erase parts so the red corner and yellow strip shows through.
Next, select all, copy merged and paste above all other layers. Gaussian blur this layer at about 20. Set to Soft Light at 100%. This just ups the oomph a little bit and softens the edges between the image and the background.
Then, I started playing with brushes. I ended up with this one by hgx (SO glad she's back btw!). Since it's sooo ginormous and the icon sooo small, I just went clicking around until I liked it. This layer is actually *below* the gaussion blurred layer from the previous step.
Then I erase parts of the brush that cover up Bjork, and I add a gradient overlay on the brush layer. Gradient goes from orange at the bottom to green up top. No real rhyme or reason here, other than I seem to LOVE this kind of color combo. I just cycle through a bunch of color combinations and then end up at these colors again haha.
At this point, I'm relatively happy with the way it looks, but want to add more brightness/color/something. So I use a gradient + some brushwork set to Soft Light. I think I started with a black to blue gradient to try and bring out the blues on the right hand side. But that affected the greens on the left side, so I went in with a soft brush to color over anything that I didn't like.
Then, another tiny curves layer to brighten it up and increase saturation by 20. I erase the curves layer on the bottom left, just to keep it darker in that area. (Settings)
Oh and at some point, I did decide I wanted something more in the background. I took a copy of the original colored image that I had saved. (yay, I got to use it!) I dragged it above the background (and the color balance layer) but below everything else. Set to soft light @ 100%. (It looks something like this underneath, if you're curious)
DONE. Resize to 100x100 and save.
In case I lost you (if I haven't..kudos to you!) the layers. Everything is 100% unless otherwise stated.
I hope there's a little something useful. Feel free to ask me questions!!