Step 2: Apply Cutout Filter

If you just want a good clean graphic image, then the Cutout filter has to be one of the best. The Cutout filter has three settings and you can often get better results by preprocessing the image, that is, running another command or two on it first, so that the Cutout filter results in a better image.

If you increase the contrast of an image before applying the Cutout filter, you will have better control over the level of detail that you have in an image. For the purposes of this technique, assume that we want a sharp, high contrast image with strong colors.

■ To increase contrast, choose Image >-Adjustments ^ Curves (Ctrl +M) to get the Curves dialog box.

Lj 1 i+j

No. of Levels 8

Edge Simplicity 0

Edge Fidelity 3j

■ Click OK to apply the settings. The image now has much more contrast.

■ Choose Filter ^ Artistic ^ Cutout to get the Cutout dialog box shown in Figure 35.3. To meet our initial objectives, set No. of Levels to 8 to maximize the number of colors. Set Edge Simplicity to 0 as we want detail, not simplified edges. Set Edge Fidelity to 3 to maximize the edge detail. Click OK to apply the filter.

■ You can take a vast number of good postprocessing steps with this image. Try bumping up color saturation by choosing Image >-Adjustment ^ Hue/Saturation (Ctrl+U) dialog box. Set Hue to +15, Saturation to +40, and Lightness to 0. Click OK to apply the settings and to get an image such as the one shown in Figure 35.4.

■ Create a duplicate layer by choosing Layer >-Duplicate Layer.You now have two layers in the Layers palette and the top layer should be highlighted.

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