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TRY IT 001: Portraits using Find Edges + Levels

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  • TRY IT 001: Portraits using Find Edges + Levels

    Photoshop 7.01, but this applies to any version.

    Since I have no traditional drawing skills, I've always liked the Filter > Stylize > Find Edges filter when it comes to converting portraits to photo-art.

    This method works better on close-ups than "far away shots."

    1. Duplicate the Background

    2. Filter > Stylize > Find Edges

    3. Image > Adustments > Desaturate. This isn't a "have to" step, but I think it looks better when you do.

    Some people like to stop at this point. I usually go on to fine tune the results.

    4. Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels.

    In this case it doesn't matter since this is a simple image, but normally I would choose the "Group with previous layer" option. Doing so confines the effect of the layer to the one (below) with which it is grouped.

    I messed with the sliders until I got the results I wanted, in this case, 154, 1.13 and 191. There's nothing magic about these settings. Use the ones that work for you.

    Alternative: Set the blend mode in the Levels adjustment layer to Darken for a little more oomph.

    5. Click the Background.

    6. Layer > New Layer (name it something like "White Background"

    7. Edit > Fill (white)

    8. Click the Find Edges layer to make it active

    9. Layer > Add Layer Mask > Reveal All

    10. Press the D key to set the foreground and background colors to their default (black, white).

    11. Select the brush tool. From the brushes palette choose a small, soft-edged brush.

    12. Paint anywhere you want to suppress any of the lines in the Find Edges layer. If you goof and "over erase," switch the color swatches (press X) and paint white to undo.

    13. As a last (optional) step add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer to the top of the layer stack. In this case I lowered the Brightness value to -45 to render a black lines on gray background look.

    - - - - - -

    Q: In steps 4 and 13, why adjustment layers vs. chosing the comparable commands from the Image > Adjustments menu?

    A: Functionally the menu commands work exactly the same as their Adjustment Layer counterparts with one major exception. Adjustment Layers let you tweak and "adjust" after the fact. The menu command versions do not.

    Personally, I like to try this setting and that setting, this blend mode, and that blend mode -- all easy to do with an adjustment layer, but impossible one an Image > Adjustment command is applied, unless you back up and start over.

    - - - - - -

    Attached in this post: Original image

    Next post: Find Edges only

    3rd post: Final image with the adjustment layers applied and Find Edges layer mask active.

    - - - - - -

    Okay. I'm about to violate a guideline already, which I will change as follows: "To help illustrate a concept, it's okay to post intermediate images."

    Attached Files
    Last edited by DannyRaphael; 07-01-2003, 01:46 PM.

  • #2
    Find Edges intermediate layer

    Find Edges filter applied.
    Attached Files


    • #3
      Final result

      Changes applied to the Find Edges layer mask.

      The Levels and Brightness/Contrast adjustment layers are on.

      = = = = = =


      Your turn to "try it."
      Attached Files


      • #4
        I'm having a little trouble with this on eyes and teeth. They just don't look right to me. I've tried painting the mask layer with reduced opacity and also played with dodge/burn. Is it part and parcel with this method or is there a trick to use? My attached file shows how I got around this.

        Side note (tip) Putting this on top of a colored image that's a little blurry can help bring definition back to the image. Use opacity around 33% and any of these blending modes (soft light, overlay, multiply, color burn, linear burn)
        Attached Files
        Last edited by Cheryl H; 07-01-2003, 06:20 PM.


        • #5
          This works well on pet portraits too.

          I'm still having trouble with the way the eyes look. I added a layer mask to paint the original eye back in with low opacity to get around it on this one.
          Attached Files


          • #6
            Hmmm. I can't tell you exactly what I did unfortunately - needless to say it was the result of a lot of experimentation.

            But I was inspired by what I saw in this thread so started to work reducing a portrait to basic lines...

            What I ended up with is quite different, but as I started with this thread - so shall it end.

            This one is called:

            Shiksa Whispers to Serena on Her Wedding Day.
            Attached Files


            • #7
              OK - one more - this time more to the specs layed out here.

              1. USM
              2. Buzz Simplier - slight
              3. Find Edges
              4. Stamp
              5. Water Paper 75% - hard light
              6. Gaussian Blur .5
              7. Cutout 4 4 2
              8. USM 30%

              ...produces a sketchly little portrait - maybe even a self portrait.
              Attached Files


              • #8
                ..and I'm rich and handsome.


                • #9
                  I was thinking that when I opend your sketch! LOL
                  Very nice Toad --- or a prince in hiding!


                  • #10

                    Let's run away together.



                    • #11
                      Be-Toad My Heart

                      Well Sketch style have always causd me trouble - but I thought I'd give this a try.

                      Danny stayed fairly true to the steps you listed but added Anisotropic to the lines and did the select color to pull just the lines I wanted. Then used the history brush light opacity to bring back more definision.

                      Toad - to you

                      Be-Toad my heart!
                      Attached Files


                      • #12
                        I printed this one and hung it on my wall...

                        Not so far that I cannot touch it, and not so close that it cannot breathe...



                        • #13
                          Very cool interps J & T.

                          It's perfectly OK to deviate/get creative on the "how to." Detail appreciated.

                          Well done.


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