Sunday, September 7, 2008
Making Photos Look Like Sketches - 9/8/08
Simple secrets to a dynamite drawing effect
My favorite DIY sketch effect goes like this: first, desaturate the image you're working on. (As always you should first duplicate the file you want to work on in order to keep a pristine original, then desaturate the new image.) It helps if you've started with a contrasty shot, and if it's not contrasty enough, feel free to boost it with contrast or levels controls before you begin. Once you've got a bold, desaturated (grayscale) image, duplicate it onto a new layer. Next, invert the new layer and set the blending mode to Color Dodge. You'll see a mostly white layer with a few black smudges on it. These smudges are crucial; in the next and last step they'll become the lines of your sketch. To create those lines simply use the Gaussian Blur filter to enlarge the smudges. Adjust the radius, depending on the size of image you're working on, until the effect you see is exactly how you'd like it. When you're happy with the sketch look, flatten the layers and save the file.
For further tweaks you can also add grain to the image. I prefer to do it after blurring the top layer, but it can also be done before for a more subtle effect. Either way the additional texture helps make for a more interesting, sketch-like photograph. For an even different look, don't desaturate the layers before you begin. The end result will have a slightly wild, colored pencil effect.