Woodworm

've called this recipe "Woodworm" because that's what I was reminded of after I applied it to the image of the knight. The main ingredients are the Hard Mix and Pin Light blending modes and a couple of shots of Gaussian Blur. How much of each is up to you, but the two work closely together in this effect. On its own, Hard Mix reduces all pixels to one of eight colors, making a blocky image. But blurring the image creates larger areas of similarly colored pixels, which Hard Mix brutally shapes into lumps of pure color, like a gradient map or woodworm. The higher the blur radius value, the more obvious this effect becomes, although with really high values you'll lose all semblance of the original picture.

1 In the Layers palette, duplicate the original image by dragging the background layer onto the "Create a new layer" icon. Alternatively, just use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl/Cmd-J Name this layer "Hard Mix."

2 With the Hard Mix layer selected, choose Hard Mix from the blending mode pull-down menu

3 Invert the Hard Mix layer by selecting Image > Adjustments > Invert

4 Still with the Hard Mix layer selected, apply Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur, and set the radius value to 5.

5 Return to the Original layer, duplicate the background image again, and call it "Pin Light"

6 Drag the Pin Light layer to the top of the Layers palette and select Pin Light from the blending mode pull-down menu

7 Invert the Pin Light layer (Ctrl/Cmd-I), then go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and apply a radius value of 5

8 With the Pin Light layer selected, experiment by reducing the fill opacity until you get the desired result

Burnishing effect

Only a small amount of Gaussian Blur is needed for the woodworm effect to show—in this example, the Gaussian Blur radius was set to just 5 in the Hard Mix layer Areas of detail, such as the chain mail, contain lots of contrast and so remain less distorted But the out-of-focus trees gain a strong woodworm pattern

Monochrome contrasts

The reflections of a neighboring building in the panes of this building make high-contrast monochrome shapes, while the windows that don't reflect the neighboring building are more evenly toned This time I added a Gaussian Blur radius of ro, forcing the reflections into even stronger contrast mit

Too much blur loses the effect—here, an amount of 60 was used.

Blurring the Hard Mix layer with a Gaussian Blur radius of 60 retains enough shape in this picture.

Too much blur loses the effect—here, an amount of 60 was used.

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Blurring the Hard Mix layer with a Gaussian Blur radius of 60 retains enough shape in this picture.

Layers anneis Paths

C Hard Mix

Lock:

Pin Light + inverted + blur

Hard Mix + inverted + blur

] Background

Pin Light + inverted + blur

Hard Mix -I- inverted + blur

Background

Pin Light + blurred+ inverted

Hard Mix + blurred+ inverted

B 100

B 100

C 30 C 100

blurred+ inverted

Hard Mix + blurred+ inverted

B 100

B 100

C 30 C 100

Textured color

Unnatural light

Hard Mix sharpening

In this picture I used a low Gaussian Blur value, which is why the windows' shapes are clearly visible, but the more subtly toned reflections are colorized by the Hard Mix blending layer

Notice too how the blue sky is dotted with odd pixels of color This happens in areas of even tone where individual pixels differ slightly from their neighbors and where the Hard Mix algorithm forces them to assume a completely different color

Try varying a Hard Mix layer's opacity, because even small percentage changes have a big effect Here, you can see that the edges of the glass windows are white and so stand out strongly It's almost a sharpening effect, though the result is still deliberately unnatural But at a very low opacity, as low as 5-10%, Hard Mix can be used to deliberately sharpen a picture

With an image that contains lots of detail, such as the one shown here, this recipe won't produce the same dramatic woodworm effect that is obvious in the picture of the knight Instead, it will sharpen the image The picture remains natural-looking if the Hard Mix layer's opacity is set to a low percentage Here, percentages above 50% sharpen the image Notice the halos around the stones—you can also see this in some of the pictures of the buildings

Pin Light + inverted + blur

Hard Mix + inverted

Background

.ayers Ahanneli Paths

Hard Mix

Pin Light + inverted + blur

Hard Miw + inverted + blur

Background

blurred+ inverted

Hard Mix + blurred+ inverted

B 100

B 100

C 10 C 100

Pin Light + blurred+ inverted

Hard Mix + blurred+ inverted

B 100

B 100

C 92

Pin Light + blui ied+ inverted

Hard Mix + blurred+ inverted

B 100

B 100

C 30

C 85

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