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One of the filters in Photoshop seems to create contour maps, almost like terrain maps for an image, which might not sound like an option you're interested in, except maybe for a landscape photograph or perhaps an aerial photo. But it actually can produce a rather interesting graphical effect for a variety of different images. Let's take a look at a way we can work with this interesting filter called Trace Contour. I'll start off by creating a copy of my background image layer, by dragging the background layer down to the Create New Layer button. And then I will go to the Filter menu. And under Stylized, I'll choose Trace Contour.
You can see right away that this is indeed a very interesting effect for the image. We simply adjust the level and then the edge. We have the lower setting versus an upper setting, and that will adjust the overall appearance of the filter, but this is one of those that you really can't anticipate, I feel. And so you have to play around with the settings a little bit. When we adjust the level, it's like we're looking across a map and trying to find a different elevation throughout the map. That's not exactly what's happening, obviously. But you can see, we get very different interpretations of the photo, based on the particular level that we set. And of course, we can switch the edge between Upper and Lower if we'd like. In this case, I think I'll use the Lower option.
This is kind of an interesting and abstract shape. And I think I'm going to blend these images together into a final result. And so with this setting established, I'll go ahead and click OK. And then I'll go ahead and make another copy of the background image layer. And I'll temporarily turn off the original version that I applied the filter to. And then once again, I'll go to the Filter menu and choose Stylize followed by Trace Contour, and then I'll try to find a very different interpretation of the photo. It can be helpful to take a look at the thumbnails on the Layers panel as you're working, but this certainly looks to be a good and different interpretation.
In this case I'll use the Upper option and then click OK. And then, I'll go ahead and turn on the visibility on my background copy layer, the original copy that I made, and I'm going to change the blend mode for this layer to Multiply. And that will darken the underlying image using the colors in this background copy layer. So we're effectively blending everything together except the white. So I'll turn off the background copy layer, so that we can only see background copy two. And this is the second interpretation of the image that I created. And then I'll turn on the first background copy layer. So that we're mixing those two images together.
And I could continue this process, making additional background copy layers, and applying this filter with different settings and using the Multiply blend mode to blend those images together in order to create, what I think of as, an interesting sort of colored sketch effect.
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