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Long before there were cameras, one of the ways that imagery was conveyed through reproduction was through Woodcuts and Woodcut is an age-old technique that implies the use of tools to gauge out wood and leave only the raised portions that you want to print. Then when ink is applied to those raised portions and impressed against paper, an image results. One of the charming qualities about Woodcut is that it reduces reality to a very graphic effect.
Generally, the line work in the image is in black and then additional blocks of wood are cut to add various colors in the different areas of the image that the artist wants that color to appear and it survives to this day and it's still a rich and thriving art form and Painter has a Woodcut tool that enables you to take an image and convert it into a Woodcut like appearance. So we are going to take a look at that and I am going to go over to my exercise files, here to chapter 12 and we are going to use the image old_and_new.
This image just happens to be when I shot, when I was doing some workshops in Australia. This is in Melbourne, and one of the things that struck me about this was the contrast of this older Victorian era architecture, which is very gingerbread like quality to it and then it's contrast again this is very modern, new, curtained wall style architecture which is all glass, and they have done a little bit of design in there. But just the two contrasting against one another was just very appealing to me, so I shot that and I am going to use that as the source for this image.
So to get into, turning this into a Woodcut, let's go the Effects menu and we are going to go to Surface Control and Woodcut and this brings up the Woodcut dialog and it just has a set of default settings that let's say OK, and just get a look of what it does on its own. Already that's very Woodcut, like you can see it's got the black that is being used to largely describe the lines in the image and then some color is being applied in the various areas.
One of the things that's notable about Woodcut is it tends to be a limited color medium, because you just can't keep making color upon color upon color. Although there is a technique called Reduction Woodcut, which I have seen where sometimes 40, 50, 60 colors will be used in it. So in the modern era, they have gotten a little more sophisticated about how many colors they may imply in a Woodcut. But it still always has this very graphic quality. Now I am going to use my Command or Ctrl+Z to undo and as we have been doing here, I am going to use the Ctrl or Command and the forward slash to invoke the last effect, which in this case is our Woodcut.
I will show you some of these controls that we can apply here. The first one we will look at is this Black Edge and you will see here that as I turn it down I am reducing the heaviness of the Black Edge. Now, you can get it all the way down where it will just pop to black, if it doesn't know what to do at the minimum level. So as soon as you start turning it up you will see, you can get more detail in it and the trick here is you don't want to make it so detailed that it belies it's a purely photographic origin.
So sometimes, I will put it somewhere in a less than full like this, where you are getting a lot of detail, I will just turn it down a little bit. Then Erosion Time, plays around with how quickly and you might see this a little bit more when we go out here. It starts to play around with how it simplifies all of these lines. You can see up here, it's not simplifying at all, whereas the more I take it here, it just tends to organically simplify all of the black detail.
The Erosion Edge also does the same thing, as you turn it up. It just grossly starts to simplify the image. I can tell you there are endless combinations in the slider, so you can play with them quite a bit and see many, many combinations that you may like and it is worthwhile. We move around the image to see what's happening as you go. Then finally you have the Heaviness slider, which as you turn it down, you will see, it just controls the overall heaviness of these other sliders combined.
So there is a lot of adjustability in here or what I call season to taste, you can season to taste all day long in this. Now, I am also going to show you this, because this is important up here too. You can output just the black, so see I can reduce this to a no color Woodcut, it's just the black. Sometimes it's helpful to turn this off and work with some of these controls, because you are seeing more clearly just what is actually happening in only the black level.
Then if we go the other way, you can turn off Black and see only what's happening in the color and while this is set for color only, I will show you here one of the things you can do is like you can do with the black. You can use this Color Edge and it simplifies the colors. You can see I can get it so simplified, it's not even recognizable anymore. But Woodcut art is not going to cut out every color plate so that it's mere photographic, they tend to simply things down.
So a bit of simplification is actually a good thing and then finally you can play around with the number of colors. You see as I turn this all the way up, it's almost going to appear like it's full color source photograph. I don't want to do that, I want to keep it down to somewhere in the range of the number of colors that say a reduction cut would do and 40 or so is probably around what's a believable number. So if you want to keep this within the believable range of Woodcut, don't crank these colors up to in hundreds, because no Woodcut has that many colors in it.
Let's turn back the Black back on and turn that on, and now there is my Woodcut image. So you can see here that there is again like many of the effects in Painter, there is a huge latitude in this season to taste capability and even this single image I can play with it for hours and create dozens of variations and end up with many, many different pleasing results. There is no one single result that is the best; it's the one that appeals to you.
So enjoy playing around with Woodcuts and you will see it's another little world in Painter that you can spend hours in having fun, turning your photographs or just even hand drawn artwork into Woodcuts.
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