I added another text-remix icon to my icon gallery post
. Getting the text to come out clear at icon size was especially tricky for this one (I had to fiddle quite a bit with the layer sandwich I use).
The general technique I use is a stack of four transparent raster layers, containing:
1. The text, merged onto the transparent raster layer after composing it, tweaking the kerning, etc. Sometimes, it takes a bit of bitmap tweaking for things like keeping the center bar of the "e" from blurring into the top and bottom.
2. A copy of (1), slightly Gaussian-blurred (0.5-1 pixel radius) to create a smoother edge.
3. An outline. This is created by making a copy of (1), filling it with a good contrast color (usually black for light text or white for dark text), Gaussian-blurring it over a bigger radius (1.5-2 pixels) than used in step (2), and then floodfilling the result (using "Select All Opaque" at about 25% opacity).
4. A "cloud" background. This is created by making a copy of (3) and Gaussian-blurring it over a moderately large radius (2-4 pixels).
Layer 1 is 100% opaque; layers 2-4 are typically 40% to 70% (try different values and see what the result looks like).
I generally use Paint Shop Pro, but there are corresponding tools in the GIMP and IIRC in Paint.NET and Photoshop.
Anyhoo, the final result (100x100 icon; clickable thumbnail leading to 117x117 version). Probably a bit on the salacious side to use on this site, though....