Sony Computer Entertainment (in-house)
One of my tasks as the UI Artist on PlayStation Home was to introduce a range of icons which could enable a user to see what another player was up to at a glance, and also to set their own moods. Above the head of every player avatar, the name is displayed, along with any contextual information (such as '... is playing a game') but there was a need for some visual iconography to cement this information.
This was a straightforward but nevertheless enjoyable design challenge, and required a simple workflow. The icons were first created in Illustrator - with special care taken to ensure that the visuals would be readable even on low-resolution CRT TVs - and then brought into Photoshop, where a universal drop shadow was then applied. These were overlaid on screenshots taken from the game world to ensure that the finer details in the icon wouldn't be lost in the live environment. Finally the icons were then exported out as proprietary .dds files for the game designers to incorporate them in the engine.
There were proposals for the mood icons to be colour-coded so that a user could identify them better at range, but this conflicted with the user's ability to set their own name colour, and was scrapped in favour of keeping the user-generated content.