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Tutorial 04: .Bridge over River-Colored Pencil, Noise, Spatter, Smart Blur Edge Only

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Old 02-25-2003, 08:17 PM
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DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Tutorial 04: Bridge over River - Colored Pencil, Noise, Spatter, Smart Blur Edge Only

This tutorial will use the following filters:
* Noise > Add Noise
* Blur > Smart Blur
* Artistic > Colored Pencil
* Brush Strokes > Spatter

...and make use of a Levels adjustment layer.

The base image is attached. After seeing it you you might ask, "Why mess with this picture? Looks pretty good to me."

Can't say I'd argue. But it's got a lot of possibilities, so let's mess with it anyway!

ASSUMPTION: You're using Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.

~DannyR~
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File Type: jpg bridge-1.0-base.jpg (51.3 KB, 103 views)

Last edited by DannyRaphael; 03-11-2003 at 02:43 PM.
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Old 02-25-2003, 08:35 PM
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DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Normally at this point I would "prepare" an image before starting with photo-art steps, such as cloning out undesirable objects or people, lightening areas that are too dark, etc. Since the base image is in pretty good shape already and to keep this tutorial fairly simple, I"ll skip it this time.

Artistic > Colored Pencil
This filter is often among the first used by beginners to generate "photo-art." While it works well on some images, on others the results can be pretty bad. As a general rule, used just by itself the results look pretty lame.

Things to know:
* On high resolution images, e.g., 250 PPI and above, it is often difficult to see the results of this filter. It seems to work best in the 75-150 PPI range. (This is typical of many filters: Difficult to detect if the resolution is too high; the effects are more apparant at lower resolutions.)
* It has no effect on areas of an image that are very dark or very light.
* I've found that adding "noise" to an image BEFORE running the filter yields much better results.
* As a general rule I choose a value in the high 40's to 50 for the "paper brightness" parameter.

Next steps:
* Duplicate the Background layer. Rename it to: "A. BG+Noise"
* Run Noise > Add Noise (5, Gaussian, Monochrome)
* Duplicate layer A. Rename it to "B. A+CP(4,9,30)
* Run Artistic > Colored Pencil (4,9,30)

The results should look similar to the attachment.
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File Type: jpg bridge-2.0-noise+cp.jpg (50.5 KB, 82 views)

Last edited by DannyRaphael; 02-25-2003 at 09:18 PM.
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Old 02-25-2003, 08:48 PM
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DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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OK... With application of the colored pencil filter we've added some texture, but notice the loss of detail. It's one of those tradeoffs. What can I tell you?

Also notice that it appears that the pencil strokes all go in the same direction. That's because they do! To me that's kind of annoying and screams "FILTER!" Unfortunately there's no control over that characteristic among its controls.

Anyway, many rookies would stop right here, run into the livingroom and declare victory. Not us. Let's add some character.

NEXT STEPS
* Duplicate the Background and drag this layer to the top of the layer stack. Name it: "D. BG+Smart Blur (Darken,50%)" [I'll tell you why in a few minutes. Be patient.]
* Run Blur > Smart Blur (Radius, 6; Threshold, 35; Quality=Low; Mode = Edge Only). Result: White lines on a black background.
* Image > Adjustments > Invert (or CTRL + I). Result: Black lines on white background.
* Layers palette: Change blend mode from Normal to Darken. Result: Wow! More detail against the colored pencil layer, but a little on the dark side.
* Layers palette: Lower the opacity to ~ 50%. Better?
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File Type: jpg bridge-3.0-smart-blur-edge-.jpg (52.8 KB, 52 views)
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Old 02-25-2003, 08:54 PM
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DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Yeah, we're making progress, but the image (to me) at this point is still on the dark side. Let's lighten things up.

We're going to add a Levels adjustment layer.

NEXT STEP
* Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels

Settings:
* 12, 1.90, 215

This should brighten things up considerably.

Looks pretty arty, and if you like what you've got, stop now. If you're feeling adventurous, take the next step.
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File Type: jpg bridge-4.0-levels.jpg (74.3 KB, 47 views)
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Old 02-25-2003, 09:17 PM
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DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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NEXT STEPS
* Click the "B" layer (to select it)
* Drag this layer over the "new layer" icon at the bottom of the Layers palette, which will duplicate the layer.
* Rename it: "C. B+Spatter(5,6)
* Run Brush Strokes > Spatter (5,6). Result: Texture has been added to the colored pencil layer. Look better? Does to me.
* Optional: Edit > Fade Spatter. Adjust the slider in the dialog box to "tone down" the effect of the spatter filter.

OBSERVATIONS
* Photo-art is often times (perhaps usually) an "experimental" type of endeavor. As I was developing this image, the "C" (Spatter) layer was an afterthought, hence the "C" layer was created "out of sequence" rather than immediately after the "B" layer.
* If you try this same recipe on another image, I can assure you the results will be very different from this one and you probably won't like it. That's why it's important to experiment with filter settings as you go. What works on one image, will not on another.
* The reason I label layers as noted throughout is it makes it real easy, say six months from now, to see how an image was developed. If you don't record the steps as you go, believe me: you will NEVER remember them in the future. Also, referring to layers by "letter name" in tutorials like this is less confusing than other methods I've seen used.

FINAL LAYERS PALETTE
E. Levels (112, 1.90, 215)
D. [Inverted] Smart Blur/Edges Only (6,35,Low), [Darken, 50%]
C. B+Spatter (5,6)
B. A+Colored Pencil (4,9,30)
A. BG+Noise(5,Gaussian, monochrome)
Background

OK...

Your turn. Let's see how you do (and how well I explained this).
Post your comments, questions and results in THIS THREAD.

Feel free to experiment!


Good luck and have fun.

~DannyR~

Attached Images
File Type: jpg bridge-5.0-spatter-the-cp.jpg (79.2 KB, 74 views)

Last edited by DannyRaphael; 02-25-2003 at 09:28 PM.
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