Coloring A Digital

SKETCH

© 2002 Gregory Georges

32.2

© 2002 Gregory Georges

32.1

© 2002 Gregory Georges

32.2

© 2002 Gregory Georges

ABOUT THE IMAGE

Olive Oil Bottles Canon D30 digital camera, 28-70mm f/2.8, ISO 100, Extrafine RAW setting, f/16 @ 1/40; original 2160 x 1440 pixel image edited, cropped, and up-sampled 2x to a 2400 x 1920 pixel 8-bit, 13.8MB .tif

As a line drawing is generally the first of a progression of steps taken to create most artwork, it seems reasonable to spend a few pages of this book on several different techniques for creating line drawings. A line drawing created from a digital photograph can be used for many purposes. As most inkjet printers can print on fine art paper, it is possible to print a line drawing on fine art paper and use it to begin a traditional media painting. Digital photos turned into line drawings can also be used as the starting sketch for a digital painting. Line drawings can also be incorporated into other digital techniques, as shown in Technique 33, where a digital photograph is turned into a very elegant pen and ink sketch with a watercolor wash.

As the line drawing is so important for both traditional media and for digital art, we look at three different approaches to create line drawings. These three approaches not only help ensure that you can get a successful line drawing from most digital photos, but they also allow you to vary the style of the lines in your digital drawings.

While it is possible to make line drawings from a grayscale digital photo by applying a single filter, the five-step process outlined here may obtain far superior results. This process is the basis for the three line drawing techniques that follow — the only significant difference is that each of the three different techniques uses a different find edge filter — either the Find Edges, or Poster Edges, or Smart Blur filters.

1. Covert image into a grayscale image by choosing Image ^ Mode ^ Grayscale or by choosing Image ^ Adjustments ^ Desaturate (Shift+ Ctrl+U) and then setting Saturation to -100.

While these are the easy ways to convert a color image into a grayscale image, you can also perform this conversion by using Technique 14,15, or 38 to get more control over the shades of gray.

2. Pre-process the image to get optimal results from the filter that is to be applied to find edges. As most of the edge-finding filters work on contrast, you can often get much better effects by adjusting contrast either by choosing

Image ^ Adjustments ^ Brightness/Contrast, Image ^ Adjustments ^ Levels, or Image >-Adjustments ^ Curves. Some images will have so much texture that it is difficult to differentiate the texture edges from the important edges. In this case, you may be able to reduce some of the texture by experimenting with either the Gaussian Blur or Median filters. You may have to experiment with both filters and several different settings until you get the results that you want.

3. Apply an edge-finding filter that creates lines. While you have many filters to use to find edges, we use the Find Edges, Smart Blur, and Poster Edges filters. I generally get the best results with the little-known Edges Only feature in the Smart Blur filter. Having said that — you still ought to try the other two filters as they can produce good results and possibly exactly the effects that you want.

4. Adjust the resulting line drawing to improve contrast and remove undesirable effects. Depending on the image and the results of the prior three steps, you may have some work to do to clean up your line drawing. The results you want can help you decide what is needed. You may often use the Levels or Brightness/Contrast filters to increase the darkness of the lines and remove unwanted artifacts. The Eraser tool may be used to remove spots. Large areas containing spots may be selected by using one of the many selection tools and then deleted all at once. 5. Apply one or more filters to add character to the lines. After you have lines where you want them — and no additional spots, dots, or other unwanted artifacts — you can use one or more filters to add character to the lines. My favorite character-adding filters are the Poster Edges and Dark Stroke filters. There are other filters, but these can add lots of character to your lines — try them. If you don't get what you want after applying them once, apply them more than once or use a combination of them.

By now, unless you are like me and you appreciate a quality line drawing made with lines that have lots of character, you're probably thinking I'm a bit over the top on this one! Nevertheless, read on, as these line creation techniques can be exceedingly useful as they can be the basis for some outstanding work such as you see later in this chapter. We first use the Find Edges and Poster Edges filters. Then, we use the Smart Blur filter and digitally paint the resulting ink sketch.

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