June 19, 2012
Categories: Tutorial Tuesday
Tutorial Tuesday: From Photo to Drawing
Welcome to Tutorial Tuesday! Sarah of Naptime Momtog and I will be bringing you a new challenge every week, to stretch your shooting and editing skills. This week, I once again waited until the very last minute (eh, 3 hours ago) to think about writing a tutorial. Luckily, I did have an idea…so it was only a matter of editing and writing. If you want to follow along, I encourage you to open THIS TUTORIAL in a new tab. There are plenty of other techniques to creating a drawing from a photo (including actions), but I felt like this was the simplest approach.

First and foremost, we’ve got to start with a fun and fully edited image. I decided to pull an image I took in Paris. I could have done more with this image, but I decided to stick with my clean Lightroom edit.
Parisian Bird Original RS
  1. Open your image in Photoshop. Duplicate the background layer. Then, go up to the Layer menu in the Menu Bar along the top of the screen, choose New, then choose Layer via Copy. Or, for a faster way to run the same command, press Ctrl+J (Win) / Command+J (Mac) on your keyboard.
  2. De-saturate your image. Go up to the Image menu at the top of the screen, choose Adjustments, then choose Desaturate.
  3. Duplicate the layer. Make a copy of our desaturated image. Go back up to the Layer menu, choose New, then choose Layer via Copy, or press Ctrl+J (Win) / Command+J (Mac) on your keyboard, just as we did in Step 1. Photoshop makes a copy of Layer 1, names it “Layer 1 copy”, and places it directly above Layer 1 in the Layers panel.
  4. Invert the Image. Go back up to the Image menu at the top of the screen, choose Adjustments, then choose Invert. This inverts the colors in the image (or rather, the brightness values, making light areas dark and dark areas light) leaving us with a photo negative effect.
  5. Change the blend mode to Color Dodge. At the top of the Layers panel, you’ll find the Blend Mode option. It doesn’t actually say “Blend Mode” anywhere but it’s the drop-down box that’s set to Normal by default. Click on the word Normal, which opens a list of layer blend modes, and choose Color Dodge from the list. The document will temporarily appear filled with white. Depending on your image, there may be some areas of black here and there, but for the most part it will be filled with white. 
  6. Apply the Gaussian Blur Filter. Go up to the Filter menu at the top of the screen, choose Blur, then choose Gaussian Blur. Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. This opens the Gaussian Blur filter’s dialog box. Begin dragging the Radius slider at the bottom of the dialog box towards the right to apply a slight amount of blurring. As you drag, you’ll see the sketch effect appearing in the document. The further you drag the slider, the more blurring will be applied and the more intense the sketch effect will become. If you drag the slider too far, though, too much of the original photo will show through and it won’t look like a sketch anymore. There’s no specific Radius value to enter since the amount of blurring you use will depend on what you think looks good for your image, so make sure you keep an eye on your document to judge the results as you drag the slider. If you’re not sure where to start, set your radius to something like 12. 
  7. Merge the layers onto a new layer. Hold down the Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) key on your keyboard and with the key still held down, go up to the Layer menu at the top of the screen and choose Merge Visible. This will merge your previous layers into a new layer without messing with the previous layers (I didn’t know how to do this before…yay for new skills). 
  8. Change the Blend Mode to Multiply and adjust the layer opacity. Go up to the Blend Mode option at the top of the Layers panel and change the blend mode for the merged layer from Normal to Multiply. This will darken the lines in the sketch effect. If you find the effect is now too dark, you can always lower your opacity. I tend to lower mine to something like 50%.
  9. Duplicate the background layer. If you’ve followed the above steps, you should now see a sketch. If you’re happy with it in black and white, you can stop here. If you want to add color to the sketch, continue on with these last few steps. Start by making a copy of your background layer.
  10. Move the background copy above all the other layers. To use this Background copy layer to colorize your sketch, move it above the other layers. You can drag and drop or jump it straight to the top of the layer stack by pressing the keyboard shortcut Shift+Ctrl+] (Win) / Shift+Command+] (Mac). The ] is the right bracket key. With the Background copy layer now at the top, the original image will once again appear in the layers panel.
  11. Change the Blend Mode to Color. To mix the colors of the original image in with the sketch effect, change the blend mode for the Background copy layer from Normal to Color. Depending on how much color you want, you can lower the opacity…or if you’re like me, you’ll duplicate that layer and change the blending mode to color burn (and lower that layer’s opacity). 
  12. From this point you can either experiment with your layers and fine-tune it to your liking…or call it a day. Either way, your image will look something like this:
Parisian Bird Drawing RS
I apologize for not posting screen shots this week (I’ve had a long day), but the original tutorial really does do a good job of explaining the steps through pictures. Either way, what do you think of this effect? Here’s a look at the original and the drawing side by side.
Parisian Bird Before and After
Ready to join in the fun? Here’s how to do it:
1. Read THIS TUTORIAL – no seriously…read it!
2. Choose your favorite creation (or more!) to share with us.
3. Don’t forget to grab the button for your post!
4. Link up between now and next Monday.

Tutorial Tuesday

But before you link up, I have one more question. Do you guys still enjoy Tutorial Tuesday? Sarah and I have noticed a decline in the number of Tutorial Tuesday participants. We either aren’t posting tutorials that resonate with you (which is completely possible) or you’re bored with the meme. Considering that I’m about to go on maternity leave, I want to know if you all are still interested in these types of tutorials. If YES, can you either 1) provide some tutorial ideas or 2) volunteer to write a guest tutorial while I’m away (I’ve already got one volunteer)? Please let us know in the comment section. That will really help us decide how to move forward. Thanks!