Creating a sketch effect

show more Creating a sketch effect provides you with in-depth training on Photography. Taught by Tim Grey as part of the Photoshop Creative Effects Workshop show less
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Creating a sketch effect

In this lesson, we're going to take a look at a method for creating the appearance of a sketched drawing from a photographic image. This effect depends in large part upon a single filter. But rather than applying that filter as a smart filter, I'm going to work on a copy of the background image layer, to provide more flexibility for the final technique. So, my first step is to create a copy of my background image layer. To do so, I'll drag the background image layer down to the Create New Layer button, the blank sheet of paper icon at the bottom of the Layers panel.

When I release the mouse, a background copy will be created. I can then apply a filter that will form the basis of this sketch technique. That filter is Find Edges, and it's found on the Filter menu under Stylize. When I choose Find Edges, you'll see that I get no options for modifying the behavior, it simply applies an effect to this image layer. And you can see that this resembles, to some degree, a sketch effect. Only the highest contrast areas of the image are actually revealed with this filter.

And I can actually incorporate this basic effect into my image, by changing the Blend mode to Luminosity. This will cause this layer to only affect the brightness values in the underlying image layer. And as you can see, it creates a rather nice, almost watercolor type of sketch effect in this particular case. In fact, I really like this effect for this particular image, so much so, that I want to preserve this, and I am going to work on a second copy of this overall image, for the rest of the technique I am going to show you. So, I will choose Image, Duplicate from the menu, make sure the duplicate merged layers only check box is not turned on, because I do not want to flatten the effect, and I will go ahead and click OK..

At this point, I can continue moving forward with the intended effect, and that is to create more of a true sketch appearance in the image. I'm going to change the Blend mode in this case to Multiply. This will cause only a darkening effect within the image. Any areas that are white, will simply not effect the underlying image at all. I also want to remove the color effect from this background copy layer, and so I'm going to add an adjustment layer, specifically a hue saturation adjustment layer, that will completely reduce saturation. But since I only want this hue saturation adjustment to affect the background copy, I will place it into a clipping group with the background copy.

I can do so by simply clicking the button to add my adjustment layer into a clipping mask with the underlying image. And I also want to exaggerate contrast for this layer a bit more. So I'll add a Levels Adjustment, and also add that into a clipping group with my background copy, and then I will exaggerate the overall contrast. Bringing the black and white points inward in order to produce a more dramatic result. That looks to be pretty good. I don't want to bring the white point in too much, because that will cause me to loose more of the detail in this catch effect.

So that's looking to be a pretty good effect at the moment. I can always come back to this level adjustment later though if I need to. I'd also like to fade back the colors in the underlying image just a little bit, partly to reveal the sketch effect a little more strongly. So I'm going to double-click my Background Image Layer, and then click OK in the new layer dialog, in order to convert my background image layer into a normal image layer. I want to add a white layer below this layer. So I'm going to hold the Cntl key on Windows or the Cmd key on Macintosh, and then click on the Create New Layer button at the bottom of the Layers panel.

Because I'm holding the Cntrl or Cmd key, that layer will be added below the currently active layer. Next, I'm going to choose Edit Fill from the menu. Set white as the use value, in other words, I want to fill using white. And I'll make sure the Blend mode is set to normal, and the opacity is at 100%. And I'll click OK to fill that layer with white. Then returning to my original background image layer, the layer 0 in this case, I can reduce the opacity in order to reveal some of that white, and effectively fade back the color just a little bit. I can also apply some adjustments that will effect this background image layer, in this case perhaps I would like to brighten up the effect. So, I'll add a curves adjustment to brighten things up a little bit. And I think I'll also reduce the saturation for this layer, so I'll add a hue saturation adjustment, and then reduce the saturation. At this point my sketch effect is looking to be a little bit too strong. So I'll choose my Background Copy Layer, and then reduce the opacity for that sketch effect as well.

And right around in there, I don't want to lose too much of the density there. That looks to be a pretty good effect. So there we have the final sketch effect with some faded colors. I can compare this to my original effect, the effect that I got along the way. Obviously, two very different interpretations of the image. This first version looking a little bit more like a watercolor type of effect, and this version looking like a little bit more of a genuine sketch effect. By utilizing the contrast already found within a photographic image, you can define the edges, and create the effect of sketched lines. You can then continue to apply further adjustments, to produce a very nice artistic interpretation of the image.

Creating a sketch effect
Video duration: 5m 20s 2h 19m Intermediate


Creating a sketch effect provides you with in-depth training on Photography. Taught by Tim Grey as part of the Photoshop Creative Effects Workshop

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