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Illustration Techniques

The Invisible Kid's drawing thingee

tik's kid

  1. Make a copy of the original image
  2. Paste it on a white background.
  3. Make a new layer, and fill it black--paste this behind the original image (you should now have 3 layers in this order: image--> black--> white.)
  4. Drop the opacity on the front image so you can see both the image and some of the black layer behind it.
  5. Select the black layer
  6. Use the polygonal lasso tool to select the basic shapes of the image, and then hit delete.
  7. Repeat about 1000 times until it's complete. Because you have the black layer selected you should be able to use the semi-transparent 'o' as a place marker.


Eman_Akcali [TotalFark]

  1. copy the layer that you want to make look sketched
  2. desaturate (or not, depending on whether you want the final result to be colored)
  3. make a copy of the desaturated layer
  4. invert the new layer
  5. set the layer to Color Dodge
  6. Gaussian Blur, just increase the amount of blur til you get the desired result.
  7. Merge with the 1st copy
  8. Behold your new sketch

The technique is covered in detail in this Worth1000 tutorial.

Take the picture you want to turn into a sketch, merge it all down to one layer. Duplicate that layer, run the "high pass" filter (filter/others) over it, with somewhere between 1 and 5px. Duplicate that filtered layer, adjustment/threshold it playing with the values.

Filters/find edges also gives good results. to preserve color, play with blending modes and opacity for all layers so you can get color either from the high pass or original image.

How to create the effect of an illustration from an image using Photoshop

2004-07-25 11:38:06 PM Eman_Akcali
This technique should be useful for helping make photos look like they are painted or illustrated. When I say illustrated I don't necessarily mean in the comic style. I just mean that it looks more like it was made by hand through some sort of media. The effect sometimes looks like paint, sometimes ink, and sometimes it looks air brushed. I've also gotten it to have a very nice watercolor look to it a few times. So here we go....

Step 1: Creating an Outline

This step borrows heavily from Redbull_UKs Worth1000 tutorial on creating sketches/paintings from an image so props to him for that excellent guide.

First open your image and be sure that the image or portions of an image that you wish to look illustrated are all on a single layer. Duplicate that layer. Now desaturate it (Ctrl Shift U). Next, duplicate the layer you just desaturated. Invert this new layer (Ctrl I). Set the now inverted layer to Color Dodge.

At this point you should be looking at an image that is basically all white or white with just a little bit of black. Thats okay, were about to fix that.

Go to Filters > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the radius somewhere between 3 and 4.5. For this image I used a radius of 3.7. Now merge this layer with the desaturated one.

Right now you should be working with two layers: the original and a layer on top of it that looks like a sketch/outline of the original.

Step 2: Color Base

Now duplicate the layer that looks like a sketch. Name the bottom of the two layers Color base and the top one Outline. Set the layer called Outline to Multiply and turn off the layers visibility.

Now click on the Color Base layer. We are going to attempt to get rid of most of the mess on this layer and leave ourselves with just a vague contour of the shapes. To do this we need to use Median to get rid of all the fine lines and noise (A Gaussian Blur might work too but I like the effect of median better for this). So now go to Filters>Noise>Median and select an appropriate radius to get rid of the detail. This may vary from picture to picture so Ill leave the exact amount up to you. For this image I used a radius of 8

Now set the layer to Luminosity. You should see some of the original image's color showing through along the edges.

Step 3: Filling with Color

Now we are going to fill in all that white space with some color. Go to Filters>Artistic>Smudge Stick. The intensity should be set to 0 and the highlight area can be set to any value. The stroke length is up to you but I would suggest that your first run through this tutorial you set it to a low value. After you become more familiar with the technique you can experiment with other values and see the different effects they have. Smaller values may lead to slightly splotchy colors but larger values tend to smudge things too much and you end up with a bit of a mess in some cases.

Now you have your colors filling the layer and you should see the colors from the original image leaking through. Don't worry about how washed out the colors appear. Well fix that later.

At the moment the colors have little white spaces between them and we want them to be a little more solid looking. Basically we want to blur the colors together without affecting the basic shapes too much. This is where Smart Blur comes in handy. Go to Filters > Blur > Smart Blur and plug in values that are sufficient to eliminate the white spaces and make the areas of color look as if they made up of one color. For this image I used a Radius of 5 and a Threshold of 23.

Step 4: Refining the Outline

At this point we have a very blurry mass of colors. But this is where the other layer we've made comes into play. Click on the Outlines layer and restore visibility. As long as you remembered to set this layer to Multiply, you should now have a set of lines covering your colors. But the lines could use just a bit of work to get them to look right.

((Side Note: Turn off the visibility of the Color Base layer, leaving you with just the original image and the outline. Toggle the visibility of the outline layer on and off and take notice of the affect this has on the original image. When the Outlines layer is visible it enhances all of the lines in your image and makes the whole image look sharper and more crisp. Pretty cool, huh?))

Right now there are probably some fine lines and marks that you just don't need in your image. So to get rid of them we're going to give a slight blur to the lines to help get rid of them. With the Outlines layer selected, go to Filters>Blur>Smart Blur. Give it just enough of a blur to get rid of some of the noise and small lines but not so much that it blurs the heavier lines or gets rid of the lines that we still need. This can be a very subtle distinction so just give it a try and if you don't like the results just take a step back in your history and try it again. For this image I used a radius of 3 and a threshold of 20.

You may notice that your lines look just a little too sharp in some areas so were going to do another blur on this layer. This time however it will be a Gaussian blur (Filters>Blur>Gaussian Blur) and it will be only a small radius. I used a radius of .5 pixels.

Depending on how your original image looks you may still have some areas that you'll want to clean up and now is a good time to do that. Darker areas in an image tend to produce some noise with this technique. If you have some noise on your outlines layer you can erase it or smudge it out. In this image the dark background produced a lot of noise that I erased from the Outlines layer.

Step 5: Fixing the Colors

Currently your colors probably look quite drab and unimpressive. Were about to fix that. The first step is to make a copy of the original and move it to the top of the layer stack. Set the layer to Color and name it Color Correction.

Now we need to group everything together. Group the Outlines layer to the Color Base layer and than group the new Color Correction layer too. To do this hold ALT and click the line that appears between the layers in the palette window. You should end up with two layers above the Color Base layer, each with an arrow pointing down to signify that its grouped to the bottom layer in the group.

Now we are going to increase the vibrancy of the colors and make them look more vivid. Make a copy of the original image and place it on top of the layer stack and name it Color Vibrancy. Group it to the Color Base like you just did with the other layers. Now you have a couple of options available to you. You can set this layer to Color Burn and lower the opacity until it looks right. Another way to go about this is to set the layer to Pin Light instead of Color Burn and than lower the opacity. Sometimes the combination of both a Color Burn layer and a Pin Light layer works well. Just try different options until it looks right to you.

The last thing to do is to get the image brightness to look right. To do this start a Levels or Curves (whichever you're more comfortable with) adjustment layer and group it to the Color Base layer. Using this adjustment layer, move the sliders/curves until the image has the right brightness and contrast. You may need to do some fine tuning to the opacity of the Color Vibrancy layer(s) after this in order to get the colors to look right again since the change in brightness may have an affect on how your colors look.

I'll give you a description of how my layers palette looked when I was through.

  • My topmost layer was a Curves Adjustment Layer
  • Underneath that was Color Vibrancy set to Pin Light with an opacity of 25%
  • Color Correction: set to Color
  • Outlines: set to Multiply
  • Color Base: All of the above layers are grouped to this one. Set to Luminosity.
  • Under all of that is the original image.

With some minor adjustments you can also get a slightly different affect. Try turning off the Color Correction layer and increasing the opacity of the Color Vibrancy layer. This should make it look more three dimensional but still maintain the appearance of being painted rather than photographed.

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