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Colored Pencil filter: Stroke direction options

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  • Colored Pencil filter: Stroke direction options

    Have you ever wished the Photoshop Colored Pencil filter had an "angle option" similar to the Emboss or Motion blur filters? (If not, stop reading now! )

    If so here's a way around the fixed "top right to bottom left" stroke angle:
    Before applying the filter, select an option from IMAGE / ROTATE CANVAS, rotate the canvas, apply the filter, and rotate the canvas back to the original orientation.

    The good news: You've defeated the standard "top right to bottom left" stroke.

    The bad news:Regardless of stroke angle, application of the Colored Pencil filter can often look computer generated due to directional uniformity of the strokes.

    What to do?
    The following was inspired by a Kailadocope action written recently by Jeaniesa and an unrelated action I dissected from

    1. Duplicate the background layer 3-4 times. Label each something like, "Original orientation," "Vertical," "45 degrees", "horizontal" or something that will give you a clue to the stroke angle you're about to apply on to that layer.

    2. Activate the layer, rotate the canvas to the angle of your liking and apply the filter. At this point you can either rotate the canvas back to the original vertical orientation and continue on or just rotate it "some more" and continue. Your call. Whatever works for you.

    3. Repeat step 2 for each remaining layer, altering the angle of the canvas as necessary, changing brush size or pressure and/or adjusting the stroke length parameter of the filter as desired. Don't forget to apply the filter to a "non-rotated" layer. When finished, you'll have layers with different stroke angles and possibly different stroke lengths from which to choose.

    4. Except for the bottom layer in the stack, create a layer mask for each layer and invert it (so the layer mask tumbnail is black).

    5. Then go from layer to layer and airbrush "white" onto the layer mask where you want strokes "from that direction" to appear.

    6. If you used angles other than 90 degrees, you'll probaby have to crop your image at this point.


    Here's a before/after (on the right) of a simple example to illustrate the concept. Notice how the application of different angles breaks up the stroke uniformity.

    The three stroke angles used are:
    1. Original (top right to bottom left)
    2. Opposite (top left to bottm like)
    3. Vertical

    This is a pretty generic method and should be applicable to other filters as well. A couple that come to mind are Craquelure, Mosaic and Tiles.

    Is this a replacement for using real brushes and making real brush strokes? Absolutely not. It's a way for the artistically challenged, like myself, to go slightly beyond "vanilla."

    Keep having fun!

    Attached Files

  • #2
    Cool Danny! That really looks great! I'm glad my not-ready-for-prime-time action inspired you!



    • #3
      Looks like you're really getting into this. I love the strokes especially on the shirt and hair. Looks great Danny. A technique well worth taking note of.


      • #4
        That is very cool, Danny. I'm gonna put that on my list of things to try.

        You always have such neato tips like this. Have you ever considered turning them into actual tutorials?? <hint>


        • #5
          RE: Translating Photo-art 'how to' threads into tutorials?
          Definitely a possiblity. Gotta get me one of those that cool screen-grab apps!

          There's certainly no shortage of great examples on the RetouchPro tutorials page to use as models!


          • #6
            Okay, I really need to start packing, but I can't stop. This is a picture of my granddaughter. Photoshop 7 notes are great. That is the only way I can remember what I am doing. This is a combination of things. I hope you like it.

            1. Pencil Sketch by Lisa tutorial - flatten & save
            2. Open original color
            3. Select all on sketch copy and paste on color
            4. History Brush - normal, 8% opacity, 38% flow. Go over image lightly. Let just a hint of color come through.
            5. Use Virtual Painter color pencil and fade slightly.
            Attached Files


            • #7
              I thought I would post the original also.
              Attached Files


              • #8

                Another winner! You ought to post this in The Gallery. It's awesome... just awesome.



                • #9

                  Your wish is my command. I will post it now.



                  • #10
                    I thought she would be a likely candidate for the method I used that Jeanie seemed to have so much trouble with. Somehow, darker pictures seem to come out better. It needs more, but it turned out pretty much like I hoped it would, and a lot like the movie showed that it was supposed to look when that effect was done.

                    Hope. We all need a little hope in our lives...
                    Attached Files
                    Last edited by Blacknight; 06-11-2002, 01:25 AM.


                    • #11
                      Very nice Blackknight. I will have to try that technique.



                      • #12
                        This is my other granddaughter. I used the same steps as I did on Hope.
                        Attached Files


                        • #13
                          Oh Lynda - those are just BEAUTIFUL portraits! Thanks for sharing them with us!



                          • #14
                            Blacknight, I agree that the technique I was having difficulty with DOES need dark photos! I kept trying to find a dark photo and didn't have much luck at the time. But I do think that's key to a good result. (My blond-hair nephew just isn't a good candidate, I don't think. )


                            • #15
                              They are really a work of art. Amazing pencil drawn likeness.


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