Apr 27 2009
Photoshop is supposed to be a creative outlet, right? But it has so many features and settings that sometimes weâ€™re so overwhelmed that we become afraid to just play with it. We might have an effect in mind and we search the internet for it. When we find it, sometimes itâ€™s not what we have in mind or often we donâ€™t find it at all and we just give up. â€œPhotoshop canâ€™t do that.â€? we tell ourselves.
We have to give ourselves the freedom to play and we have to give Photoshop the freedom to do things that it was never expected to do.
For instance, Photoshop has a Photocopy filter, right? Have you ever tried using it for something other than making an image look like it was photocopied? Give it a chance! Most of Photoshopâ€™s filters can be adjusted to the degree where the effect they produce looks nothing like what its label in the Filters menu would have you expect. What is important to note in those situations is not that the particular combination of settings doesnâ€™t look like a photocopied image, but what does it look like? What effect can you use this combination of settings to achieve?
Donâ€™t be held back by the labels on the menus!
This kind of thinking can (and should) be applied to Photoshop tutorials you find online and in books as well. Follow the tutorials as they were written and see how the effect materializes as it was intended by the tutorialâ€™s author. But then, after youâ€™re familiar with what it does, play around with the tutorial a bit and see what else comes out of it.
S.C.A.M.P.E.R. stands for:
Put to some other use
A brief Breakdown of the Comic Art Effect
This is an effect is based on a Tone layer and a Color layer to approximate the coloring of a vintage comic book illustration and 3 Ink layers to give the effect of â€œhand drawnâ€? outlines and shading. At the end of the tutorial he recommended adding another color layer to tweak skin tones that may have gone astray, a white layer to brighten teeth and eyes, and a dot screen layer to give the image that course dot pattern associated with old comic books.
Try Substituting different filters in tutorials. In the case of this tutorial, you might substitute the second and third Ink layers with one where you have copied the original image to a new layer above Ink 1. Set the new layer to â€œMultiplyâ€? with an opacity of 50% and then apply Filter>Sketch>Graphic Pen using the settings 15, 43, Left Diagonal. It gives a much softer illustrative effect.
If you have Adobe Photoshop CS3 as part of a Creative Suite bundle, you probably have Adobe Illustrator CS3 as well. Why not combine its abilities with Photoshop to create effects that could not be achieved using either application on their own? He had saved a copy of my finished Photoshop Comic Effect where I turned off all of the Ink layers and saved it as a flattened TIF. He then opened that TIF in Illustrator and used Live Trace to simplify the colors to look a bit like and Andy Warhol pop-art painting.
If you look on MacMerc.com, youâ€™ll find that this tutorial has been Adapted for use as a Photoshop Action. It has also been adapted for Adobe Elements. If you donâ€™t happen to own Adobe Photoshop, that shouldnâ€™t stop you from enjoying a free open-source creative outletâ€”namely, Gimpshop! I unfortunately havenâ€™t adapted this tutorial for use with Gimpshop but thatâ€™s only because I have Photoshop. I welcome and encourage any of you Gimpshop experts out there to take a crack at the Comic Art Effect and and let me know how it goes. Iâ€™d love to link to your tutorials!!
Photoshop has long offered non-destructive ways of modifying an image; affording safe experimentation where any mistakes or undesired results are entirely reversible. Once youâ€™ve finished a tutorial, donâ€™t be afraid to go over it again and change the filter settings. Use Smart Filters, if you can, and then you can go back again and again and try new effects and settings. Layer Masks and Adjustment Layers also allow for experimentation.
I have added an Adjustment Layer to my file to cycle the color of my image through the rainbow to create a psychedelic result.
Put it to some other use
Who says Photoshop has to just be for static images? Go to video! After all, video is just a string of still images strung together and displayed in quick succession. Look at what one person has done using the Comic Art Effect tutorial (click to view video above).
For â€œEliminate,â€? try turning off all but the Ink layers. For many photos Iâ€™ve tried this effect on, turning off everything but the Ink layers creates and pretty cool looking illustrative effect. This was the inspiration for my Frank Miller Sin City Effect.
While my experiments with rearranging or reversing the Layers and steps of this tutorial didnâ€™t return any pleasing results, the technique of Layer shuffling often does produce new and interesting effects that you can call your own.
So, bottom line, I hope youâ€™ll be encouraged to play a bit with Photoshop and apply the S.C.A.M.P.E.R. principle. The only way to feel comfortable using any software is to become familiar with it and an excellent way to do that is to explore and experiment.