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Deke's Techniques is a collection of short Photoshop and Illustrator projects and creative effects that can be completed in ten minutes or less. The series is taught by computer graphics guru Deke McClelland, and presented in his signature step-by-step style. The intent is to reveal how various Photoshop and Illustrator features can be combined and leveraged in real-world examples so that they can be applied to creative projects right away.
Hey, gang., This is Deke McClelland. Welcome to Deke's Techniques. This week, we're going to take this portrait shot, and we're going to convert it into a work of pointillism. We're going to create this dot drawing effect right here. Now a real dot drawing, created using a pen and a piece of paper. Requires skill and talent and takes hours, of course. Whereas, this effect requires no talent whatsoever and just the use of a few smart filters. Here, let me show you exactly how it works. We're going to ultimately create this effect here.
But we're going to start inside this photograph. If only for the sake of dramatic impact. And both of these images come to us from the Fotolia Image Library. About which you can learn more at fotolia.com/deke. First thing we want to do is take this image and turn it into a smart object, so we can heap a bunch of smart filters onto it. So I'm going to double-click on the background item in the Layers panel. And I'll go ahead and call my new layer, Portrait. And then I'll click OK. And now, I'll right click inside the image with the rectangular marquis tool and I'll choose convert to smart object.
Next thing you want to do is emphasize the detail a little bit. Kind of sharpen the scene. And we do that by going up to the Filter menu, choosing Other, and then choosing High Pass. You'll want to play around with the radius value. But I found that for these couple of portraits here. That a radius of 25 pixels worked quite nicely. So having entered that value, we'll go ahead and click the OK button. And now you want to double-click on a little slider icon to the right of the words of the words high pass. And you want to change the mode to Overlay.
So that we end up with this heightened contrast effect here. Now click OK. We don't need this filter mass, so you might as well get ride of it by right-clicking on it and choosing Delete Filter Mask. Next, we want to burn in some of the dark details just a little bit. You want to make sure that you've got black and white as you're foreground and background colors. So just be absolutely sure, go ahead and tap the D key for default. And then go up to the Filter menu, and choose Filter Gallery. Then you want to twirl up in the Sketch folder right there, and you want to find a filter called Photocopy. You can press Ctrl+zero or Cmd+zero on a Mac, in order to see the entire image and get a sense of what's going to happen.
So, we're basically tracing around all the edges. Now go ahead and click OK in order to apply that effect. Obviously, this is not the final effect we're going for. So, double-click on the Slider icon for filter gallery right there, and change the mode from Normal to Multiply. Now, they're not necessarily entirely flattering, because they bring out the wrinkles, in even the least wrinkly person on earth, however, it's going to serve us well in the long run. So, go ahead and click OK. Now we want to begin work on the dots, and the first command for making the dots, is pointillize.
So go up to the Filter menu, choose Pixelate, and then choose Pointillize. You'll end up with this effect here, which of course is a dopey pseudo, you know, George Suratto effect. A cell size of five, is going to work out just great. So that's the default setting by the way. Go ahead and click OK. Now even though, this effect is pretty dopey, you see it a lot because it's just a filter, you just have to apply it. Combined with this other filter, called Graphic Pin, it looks really, really great.
So let's combine them by going up to the Filter menu, and once again choosing Filter Gallery. And this time you want to find Graphic Pen in that list right there, and let's scroll over so that we can see the woman's face. But I want to keep her on screen at a 100%. She's getting way to light, we don't want that, so go ahead and crank of the light dark balance value to it's absolute maximum of a 100. Now, we don't really want a bunch of lines like this. We want a bunch of dots, so you want to reduce the stroke length value. And I found that a value of two, worked out quite nicely, as we're seeing here.
This is going to require Light Portraits by the way, in order to get a good effect. And then you can change the stroke direction to anything you want, because we do have a little bit of direction going. I'm going to say left diagonal, just for fun here, and we get this effect, which looks pretty darn good. Click OK in order to accept that. The problem of course, is very evident if you zoom way the heck in. You can see that we're left with just black and white pixels. I want to soften the transitions a little bit. And the best command for this purpose that I found is Reduce Noise.
To get to it go up to the Filter menu, choose Noise and then choose Reduce Noise. And you'll end up with this effect here. I'm going to go ahead and zoom in inside the dialogue box. So I can see a little better. Notice that so far we're not really doing anything. These are the default values. I came up with these big noise values right here, which is to say a strength of ten Preserve Details. Notice that you have to have Preserve Details cranked way down. If you raise it to even like six, for example, notice that we're left with black and white pixels again. I found that you have to take this value down to one in order to get the effect we are looking for.
You can't take it as low as zero, if you wan't to and you will end up with this effect right there, totally up to you, we don't have any color noise, because we don't have any color. And sharpen details go ahead and leave it set to zero, and then click okay in order to apply that effect. And this is what we end up with. I'll go ahead and zoom out to 100%, and you can see it's quite striking. And it's even better with another portrait. I'll go ahead and zoom out here. I'm going to double click on the image thumbnail, for the Portrait layer, in order to open up that smart object.
If you get a warning, telling you how smart objects work, just go ahead and click OK. And, I'll go ahead and zoom in on this, and then I'll switch to this other shot that I have open. And I'll right click inside it with the Rectangular Marquee Tool once again, and I'll choose Duplicate Layer, and I'll just go ahead and call this new layer, Face. I'll put it inside the portrait.psb file. So I'll click OK. And now I'll switch to portrait.psb, and I'll go ahead and rename this layer Face, like so. And notice that I've scaled these images so that they're the same size, just to make things easier.
Now, I'll close this image. And I'll click the Yes button here in the PC, to save the image back into the other file. That's the Save button on the Mac, by the way. And then you want to go ahead and switch to that drawing that you're working on. In my case, womaninprofile.jpg. And you can see that the image converts automatically. So if I press Control z or Command z on the Mac. This is the way it looked before. If I press Ctrl or Cmd+Z again, this is the way it looks now. And if I want to switch between them, any time I like, I would just go ahead and double-click on the thumbnail for the Portrait layer, turn off this Face layer that I've just added, and save back my changes, then I'd have the woman back again.
So, in other words, this collection of five filters here is going to do the work on any light portrait shot, it's going to look great. So that's how you create a pointillism style dot drawing. Pixel for pixel here, inside Photoshop, using nothing but smart filters and, you know, a little bit of elbow grease. If you're a member of the lynda.com training library, and if you're not, why not check out lynda.com/deke and get yourself a free seven day trial? Then, head over to my follow-up movie in which I show you how to take our black and white dot drawing so far; and turn it into a full color dot drawing. If you're waiting for next week's free movie, we're going to go back into Illustrator and I'll show you how to draw an orthogonal cube. Using nothing but the Line tool.
Deke's Techniques, each and every week. Keep watching.
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