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Tutorial 02: Line-art using Smart Blur / Edge Only

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  • Tutorial 02: Line-art using Smart Blur / Edge Only

    Hello and welcome to Photo-Art 101 - Tutorial 02

    In a thread elsewhere in this forum I blathered elloquently about I'd cleverly achieved a result using Smart Blur / Edge Only and a kind member gently asked me to "put it in English."

    This is my attempt to do that with apologies for drifting off (again) into techno-babble land.

    You'll see in a moment this is a very different approach at doing a tutorial, so we'll see how it goes. Be gentle!

    * To illustrate the use of the Smart Blur filter in creating "line art"
    * To demonstrate how initial results of this filter can be varied with filters and/or combined with other layers to achieve something other than the standard output.

    You're using Photoshop. Since this tutorial is Photoshop action based, that rules out a lot of applications.

    Rather than explaining in text how to build each layer, actions are provided to "do the layer building" for you.

    The actions consist of two parts::
    * Build the layer
    * Describe (via dialog boxes) interesting results

    The actions initially duplicate the original background layer and apply FILTER > BLUR > SMART BLUR (Edge only). The result (white lines on a black background) is then inverted via IMAGE > ADJUST > INVERT to yield black lines on a white background.

    This becomes the base layer, "A," which is then duplicated and modified several times.

    See "ADDITIONAL COMMENTS" below for commentary on layers G, G1, I and J. It was not possible to include sufficient explanation of these within the confines of text dialog.

    Nothing magical here. As I developed the action, I chose settings that generated results that illustrated different effects.

    Caution: There must be a Murphy's Law corollary that says something like, "If filter settings created something cool on the last image you worked on, you can almost bet they won't work on this one." That's the nature of "photo-art." What works on one image may or may not on another. Ya just have to experiment.

    Layers were named (within the 31 character limit) to hopefully provide a good idea of how they were created. For example, Cutout(1,2,3) means the Cutout filter was used and the settings used correspond to the options, TOP TO BOTTOM, in the dialog box.

    A layer name such as "A+Cutout(1,2,3)" indicates the Cutout filter was applied to a COPY of layer A.

    If something like "+ Fade" is included, it means that after running the filter, the FADE command was executed, to "backoff" the effect a bit.

    A2=[Overlay]... Indicates the blend mode for that layer was changed from "Normal" to "Overlay."

    If you're going to get serious about "photo-art" (or Photoshop, in general), this is something you'll need to eventually need to learn. Might as well be here.

    Click HERE for a very good basic tutorial, written by RetouchPRO member, David Kendall. Scroll down to the section that discusses "loading actions." If, after you read the tutorial, you're still stuck by all means post questions in this forum.

    * PS5.5 -and- PS7 compatible actions that build the demonstration layers
    * Base image (.jpg)

    * Click the attachment link (below)
    * Download the .zip file
    * Unzip it
    * Load the applicable action into your Photoshop actions palette
    * Open the "base image" with Photoshop
    * Run the action
    * Experiment, have fun... then ask questons and/or post your results

    ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Layers G, G1, I and J:
    For the life of me I can't tell you why I skipped layer "H" while I was building these actions; just noticed that. Don't get heartburn trying to figure it out for me!

    OK... back to the ranch. Traditonally Smart Blur / Edge Only returns white lines on a black background, which we now know can be reversed via CTRL + I.

    What if we want to retain the color from the original image? No problem.

    First... a layer filled with white ("White Background") was created so layers G, G1, I, and J could be more easily seen.

    Layers G, G1
    1. Hold down the ALT key and click the eyeball next to the "A" (base) layer; this should turn off all other layers.
    2. Click the Channels tab to show the Channels Palette
    3. CTRL + Click on the RGB composite channel name. This "loads the selection" (marching ants).
    4. SELECT > Inverse (to reverse the selection)
    5. Click the Layers tab.
    6. In the layers palette, click the eyeball OFF for the "A" layer.
    7. Click the Background (original layer) to make it the active layer.
    8. CTRL + J (create a layer from the current selection). Result: Colored lines on a separate layer!

    Ta da! That's how layer G was created.

    G1 is a duplicate of layer G. Once created, I selected the MOVE tool (click V), and clicked the RIGHT arrow twice and DOWN arrow twice, offsetting the G1 layer slightly from G, giving the lines a little more character.

    Alternative: Instead of offsetting layer G1 with the Move tool, set the blend mode to Multiply. This darkens the lines a bit.

    Layer I (very similar to the steps above)
    1. Hold down the ALT key and click the eyeball next to the "A" (base) layer; this should turn off all other layers.
    2. Click the Channels tab to show the Channels Palette
    3. CTRL + Click on the RGB composite channel name. This "loads the selection" (marching ants).
    4. [not needed]
    5. Click the Layers tab. "A" is still selected.
    6. [not needed]
    7. [not needed]
    8. CTRL + J (create a layer from the current selection). Result: Black lines only; no white.

    Layer J
    1. Duplicate layer I (black lines, no white).
    2. Click the Channels tab to show the Channels Palette
    3. CTRL + Click on the RGB composite channel name. This "loads the selection" (marching ants).
    4. SELECT > Inverse (to reverse the selection)
    5. Filter > Noise > Add Noise and crank the amount to about 500 or so. Note how it "breaks apart" the lines. Result: Black textured lines, based on the Noise filter.The Add Noise filter determines the degree of graininess.

    * You can get similar results by setting the blend mode of the layer to Dissolve, but not as much control.

    * Instead of Filter > Noise > Add Noise, other filters could be used to achieve different effects, including: Artistic > Film Grain or Texture > Grain.

    DISCUSS THIS TUTORIAL HERE - I'd like your feedback, please.
    Click HERE and let me know what you think, what you discovered, what you liked, didn't like, where it got confusing, etc.

    Good luck and have fun!

    ~ DannyR ~

    Attached Files
    Last edited by DannyRaphael; 03-03-2003, 08:26 PM.

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