Photoshop sketch effect – ‘natural’ technique. Part II.

There are several Photoshop filters that may help to create an outline:

  • find edges filter
  • glowing edges filter
  • smart blur filter in the ‘edge only’ mode
  • photocopy filter.

There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ filter; the result of using this or that technique depends on the image very much. We will experiment with these 4 filters to find one that suits our image best.

All keyboard shortcuts are for PC. I don’t have a Mac, but as far as I know the main difference is use of the COMMAND key and OPTION key on a Mac instead of the CTRL key and the ALT key on a PC.


‘Find Edges’.
Click to see the screenshot
Find Edges filter .Select the ‘Background’ layer and press CTRL-J to duplicate it. Double-click the new layer name and rename it to ‘Find edges’. Move the ‘Find Edges’ layer to the top of the layer stack (CTRL-SHIFT-]).Select Filter – Stylize – Find Edges. Desaturate the layer by pressing CTRL-SHIFT-U.

The result is very ‘dirty’. We can see a lot of unnecessary details. You may try to remove these details by using Brightness/Contrast adjustment.

Select Image – Adjustments – Brightness/Contrast and try to increase both brightness and contrast values. Some unnecessary details may disappear, but we will lose the wanted details also. In our case, Find Edges filter does not produce satisfactory result. Do not delete ‘Find Edges’ layer – we will use it for comparison later.

Set layer blending mode to ‘Multiply’. Turn off layer visibility.


‘Glowing Edges’.
Click to see the screenshot
Glowing Edges filter.Duplicate the ‘Background’ layer (CTRL-J). Rename the new layer to ‘Glowing Edges’. Press CTRL-SHIFT-] to move the ‘Glowing Edges’ layer to the top.Select Filter – Stylize – Glowing Edges. This filter allows to ‘play’ with settings to achieve better result. I used the following values: Edge Width – 2, Edge Brightness – 16, Edge Smoothness – 14. Pay attention to eyes, lips and nose areas when adjusting filter values.

Desturate ‘Glowing edges’ layer (CTRL-SHIFT-U), then invert it (CTRL-I). You may also use Brightness/Contrast to remove the unnecessary details. The result is much better than with Find Edges filter. Set layer blending mode to ‘Multiply’. Turn off layer visibility.


Click on the image to see the
screenshot
Smart Blur filter in the ‘Edge only’ mode.Select the ‘Background’ layer and press CTRL-J to duplicate it. Rename the new layer to ‘Smart Blur’. Move the ‘Smart Blur’ layer to the top of the layer stack.Select Filter – Blur – Smart Blur. Set quality to ‘High’ and mode to ‘Edge only’. Adjust the Radius and Treshold large values. Try to get as much details in important areas as possible, avoiding ‘dirty’ look. Invert ‘Smart Blur’ layer (CTRL-I).

If you zoom in, you will see that the filter creates too ‘digital’ look. You may want to use Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur with radius 1 or 2 to blur the layer a little.


Click on the image to see the
screenshot
Photocopy filter.Select the ‘Background’ layer and press CTRL-J to duplicate it. Rename the new layer to ‘Photocopy’. Move the ‘Photocopy’ layer to the top of the layer stack.Select Filter – Sketch – Photocopy. I used the values: Detail – 20 and Darkness – 5.

Invert the ‘Photocopy’ layer. Use Brightness/Contrast to remove unnecessary details (I used 22 for Brightness and 29 for Contrast).

Set layer blending mode to ‘Multiply’. Do not turn off layer visibility.

Create a new group, give it a name ‘Outline’ and move 4 layers created to that group. ‘Photocopy’ layer should be visible.

Now you can compare 4 ways to create an outline by turning on Visibility for each layer.The ‘Photocopy’ works best with our image. You may want to erase unnecessary outline details manually. The other way to improve outline appearence is using Eraser tool with 30% opacity to make some lines not so hard.

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