Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video Converting an image to etched outlines, part of Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Mastery.
In this movie, I'll show you how to convert an image into a series of outlines using a whole bunch of filters including one called Note Paper. Once we're finished, we'll manage to transform this portrait shot into this kind of ink drawing, right here. Now, I've gone ahead and cleaned up the base composition a little bit. By getting rid of the stone layer and converting the portrait layer to a smart object in advance. If your working along with me, go ahead and tap the D key to make sure that black and white are your foreground and background colors respectively.
Then, go up to the Filter menu and chose Filter Gallery. And you want to make sure that the Sketch folder is twirled open, and then go ahead and click on the Note Paper thumbnail, in order the achieve this effect, right here. And these values are just fine, if you want to dial them in 25 for the Image Balance, which is the default, 8 for Graininess, and 10 for Relief. We'll end up coming back to those later, but for now, they're fine. So, just go ahead and click OK. And notice how that breaks up the details in the image.
It's basically a threshold, between the darkest colors and the brightest colors inside the portrait. What we want to do is make it trace the contours of the image. So, we're going to have to add a few filters here. Now, the filter that essentially extracts the outlines from an image is High Pass. So, go up to the Filter menu, choose Other, and then choose High Pass. And for this image, we want to dial in a radius value of two pixels, then click OK. Problem is, my filters are applied in the wrong order.
So, I'm going to get rid of this filter mask by right-clicking on it and choosing Delete Filter Mask. And then, I'll grab High Pass and drag it below Filter Gallery in order to produce this effect here. Now, that's way too much reticulation and as you can see. So, we need to smooth things out. Now, we're going to do so using a combination of three filters, and their purpose is going to make more sense after we apply them. So, for now, just work along with me. Go up to the Filter menu, choose Noise, and then choose Reduce Noise.
I'm going to increase the strength value to ten and take preserved details down to 0%. We don't have any color, so we don't need to worry about the color noise. And we don't want to sharpen the details either, so we'll take that down to 0% as well. You probably don't want to ruin your default settings. So, click on the little Save icon, right there and go ahead and call this guy Max noise reduction because this is about the most noise reduction you can apply. And then, click OK. And then, go ahead and choose that setting, so that you don't overwrite the defaults and click OK.
Now, that's a pretty interesting effect at this point, but we actually want the noise reduction to happen at the very beginning. So, we need to grab the Reduce Noise filter here in the Layers panel and drag it to the bottom of the stack to produce this effect, here. We still need to get rid of more of this garbage and we're going to do that using Gaussian Blur. So, return to the Filter menu, choose Blur, and then choose Gaussian Blur. And go ahead and set the Radius value to 1 pixel and click OK. Again, this is not the right placement for the filter, so drag it to between Reduce Noise and High Pass, and then drop it into place. And you'll end up getting rid of still more of the garbage inside the image. Now, we need to transform some of these random pixels here, into contours, so that they appear as outlines.
And we can do that using an oddball filter called Smart Blur. Go up to the Filter menu, choose Blur and choose Smart Blur. It's not a filter that you'll choose on a regular basis. What it does is it blurs inside of a threshold. And in my case I've set the threshold to 10. Meaning that two neighboring pixels have to be 10 luminous levels or less different from each other to get blurred. So, in other words, we're blurring the small stuff, but we're not blurring the big details inside the image.
And that's going to help shape the effect. I set the Radius value to 3 pixels. You definitely want Quality set to High. There's no reason to go Low or Medium. Except for the fact that high takes a lot longer. Then, go ahead and Click OK in order to apply that effect. And this is one of Photoshop's slowest filters, by the way. So, it might take a moment to apply. Then, grab Smart Blur and drag and drop it between High Pass and Gaussian Blur at this location here. And you'll notice that this gives the filtering effect some structure. So, just as a review, we'll turn off Reduce Noise, so you can see its impact on this effect.
So, you can see that it's very essential for getting rid of some of that low level noise, inside of the image. If you want to turn it back on, the quickest way to do it is to just press Ctrl+Z, or Cmd+Z on the Mac, in order to undo the turning off. Because if you turn the filter back on, then Photoshop has to recalculate it. Next, I'll turn off Gaussian Blur, so that you can see its impact and you'll see that we'll now have some more garbage that Gaussian Blur had gotten rid of. I'll press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on the Mac to reapply it. We just saw Smart Blur a second ago, so I won't show you that, but I will turn off High Pass, so you can see the enormous effect that it has on the image. Again, I'll press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on the Mac to undo that change, but the one that really makes the effect happen is this top one that's called Filter Gallery, but we know that it's snow paper.
If I were to turn it off, we have quite a different effect, and of course, not one that we'd ever want to achieve. So, again I'll press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on a Mac, to reestablish that filter. So, now that we have these edged outlines, we need to turn them into this sort of digital ink. And I'm going to show you how that works in the very next movie.
- Combining multiple Filter Gallery effects
- Converting an image into etched outlines
- Using the new Oil Paint filter
- Lighting a watermark texture map
- Manually straightening a GoPro photo
- Correcting a panorama with the Adaptive Wide Angle filter
- Applying Puppet Warp to editable text
- Converting layers into animated frames
- Adding transitions, text, and sound to videos
- Creating an authentic HDR portrait shot
- Working with advanced layers
- Creating a dynamically adjustable action