Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Photoshop – Line Drawing Techniques for Maps

Learn how to create uneven lines that look hand drawn to use for cartography and other uses in Photoshop. Make use of Hue/Saturation adjustment to add vintage color, use brushes to create a pattern for the lines. Also, show how to render lines in black and white without any shades of grey and, lastly, how to distort them slightly. This video also shows how to add shadow around land mass and multiple lines of edging for a land mass.

Hello, I’m Helen Bradley. Welcome to this video tutorial. In this tutorial I’m going to show you some line drawing techniques for creating maps in Photoshop. In this video I’m going to show you how you can create the effect that we have here around the edge of this chart. We’re going to draw the edge. We’re going to add this shading and also create these lines so that we can see how this could be created. The pattern in the middle is just a very simple pattern fill. We won’t be covering that, but we’ll be covering everything else in this video tutorial.

So to get started I’m going to start with a new image. And I’m going to choose File and then New. And I’m going to create a very tall image. So it’s going to be 2,000 pixels tall, RGB color. Background contents of white is just fine, so I’ll just click Ok to create that image.

And what I want to do first of all is to create these lines. And we’re going to do that using a paintbrush. So I’m going to click on the paintbrush and let’s select a brush to use. And what I want is something relatively small so I’m going to start with something like this 4 pixel brush. And then I’m going to choose Window and then Brush to open this brushes panel here. And what I want to do is to set up the brush so it’s going to paint the lines for me. So first of all I’m going to adjust the spacing so that there’s increased spacing between the brush tips. And I’m going to leave the size at about 4 pixels. Then I’m going to shape dynamics because I want the size of the brush to vary.

So I’m going to increase this quite a bit so we start seeing that there’s some variety in the brush here. Minimum diameter I don’t want to change at all. And that’s pretty much all I need to do with the brush right now. And then I’m going to test it. So I’m going to make sure that I have black set as my background or foreground color, which it is here. And then I’m going to click with my brush here and I’m going to Shift click at the bottom because that will create a straight line of brush strokes. And let’s just have a look in here a bit closer at this.

You can see that we now have this sort of dotted line which is different varieties of line. Now if that’s not quite what I want I can just zoom out and we can start again. So I’m just going to undo the brush and perhaps we’ll go back and make the brush just a little bit bigger than it was. So let’s go to brush tip shape, increase the size just a little bit, and perhaps bring down the size jitter or up the minimum diameter so that we haven’t got quite so much variety in our brushes. I’m going to click here and then Shift click to finish my brush stroke.

Now what I want is a sampling of this. So I’m going to use this tool here which is the single column marquee tool, one of the few times you will ever find a need for this particular tool. I’m going to zoom in here so that I can see exactly what I’m selecting and I’m just going to click to select a single line through this image. Now that’s not the world’s best. So let’s just try again. My brush stroke is not completely vertical so that’s causing me some problems here. Let’s start this again. I’m going to click here, and again let’s Shift click to create a straight line. And let’s see if that’s a bit straighter. That will be when we click just to one side of it. So that’s going all the way through the dot.

So I’m just going to choose Edit and then Define Pattern because this is going to be a pattern. And it will be just this dashed line as our pattern so I’ll click Ok. I can now close this image because I don’t need it any longer. And let’s see how our pattern will work.

I’m going to create a new document, this time 2,000 by 2,000 pixels in size. And this time I’m going to fill it. So I’m going to choose Edit and then Fill. And I’m going to fill it with a pattern. So I’m going to select Pattern. And the very last pattern in this container here will be the pattern we’ve just created so I’ll click Ok. And there are our lines. And that’s a starter for our map.

Now with our lines we can make these bigger. So I’ve got a background layer here but I can click to make it into a regular layer. And we can just enlarge this. So if we want larger lines all we need to do is to just drag up and down on this to just make the lines a whole lot wider than they are. And because they’re lines we can just size everything like this.

If you want to make sure that that there are no gray areas to the lines, as you can see they’ve got slightly fuzzy sides here, just use Image and then Adjustments and then Threshold. And that just makes the lines black and white. They’re pure black and white now. And if you want a bit of variety, Edit, Transform and then Warp. And you can just adjust the lines with a little bit more of a curve or something through them so that they look a little less like they’re straight lines and perhaps a little bit more hand-drawn feel about them, Ok. Now let’s add our map part.

So I’m just going to grab the Lasso tool and for this exercise just draw a very wiggly sort of coastline that we’re going to use for our map. And white is my foreground color so I’m going to Alt Backspace, Option Delete on the Mac, to fill this with white. Now I want an edge around here so I’m going to choose Edit and then Stroke. And I’m going to stroke the edge with black. I’m just going to get all my tools over on this screen. So I’m going to select Black. And I’m going to make this a 6 pixel to begin with. And it’s going to be on the inside of this shape so I’ll just click Ok. And there’s our 6 pixel stroke.

Now I’m going to bring in this size. So I’m going to choose Select, Modify, Contract and I’m going to contract this by 10 pixels because I think that will be enough and then add another stroke. So again, Edit, Stroke. And this time I’m going to just use a 3 pixel stroke, but again on the inside. And then we’ll repeat that again, Select, Modify, Contract by 10 pixels and then repeat the stroke, Edit, Stroke and just click Ok. And then when I press Ctrl D you’ll see that we have the edges around here. But I’m actually just going to undo that Deselect right now because I have another piece to go in here.

What I want to do is to fill this shape with the grass so I have that as a pattern. So I’m going to choose Edit and then Fill, and again still pattern but here is my grass pattern here that I created earlier. And I’m just going to fill it with the grass pattern. Now we’re going to see how to create the shading around the edge. So I’m going to deselect the selection. I’m going to make sure I’m selected on the land, which is where the shading is to go, and I’m going to choose the Add Layer Style button here. And we’re going to choose an outer glow.

Now outer glow sounds like it should add some lightness around the edge but we can use it to add darkness. All we’re going to do is to select a dark color. Well we’ll stick with black right now. Now we can’t use screen as our blend mode. We’ll have to use something that will darken. So we’re going to choose multiply. And we’re going to set this if we want it to be full strength at 100 percent opacity. And we can adjust the size which is really the feathering around here. And the spread is how big it is. It would sound better to me if spread were really the feathering and size was the actual size. But that’s what you’re going to use.

So I’ll just click Ok. And now if we want to add this sort of sepia tone to the image, I’m going to make sure I have the image selected, and we’re going to do that with the hue/saturation adjustment layer, Layer, New Adjustment Layer, Hue/Saturation, click Ok. We’re going to select Colorized because we want to colorize this. And then we’re going to go and pick up our sort of brown color, increase the saturation and adjust the lightness. And you’re just looking for that sort of effect that is going to say vintage map to you. So I’m probably just going to select that for now.

And then I would finish off by cropping my image. We probably don’t need quite as much sea visible. In my image I have a one to one crop set here. That’s why it’s behaving a bit strangely. And there is our final result.

We’ve created lines using a brush in Photoshop. They’re all different size lines and we’ve created this sort of effect of an old-fashioned map. And actually if I just drag this adjustment layer up over the top of the fill we’ll really get that look of a vintage map.

I’m Helen Bradley. Thank you for joining me for this video tutorial. Look out for more of my Photoshop tutorials on this YouTube channel. Subscribe to the channel. If you enjoyed it please comment and like this video. You’ll find more videos, tips, tricks and tutorials at my website at

Helen Bradley

Saturday, March 17th, 2007

Soft Focus Portrait in Photoshop

Portraits typically look much more flattering when they have a soft focus look. This is a fix that will give even a so-so portrait a lift. The colors in the image will be more muted and softer and more flattering to the subject. And, when you’re done, crop the final result very tightly to get that professional look.

Start by duplicating the background layer on the photo – choose Window, Layers to view the Layers palette, right click the background layer and choose Duplicate Layer and then Ok. Click the top layer and choose Filter, Noise, Median to smooth the image on this layer – choose a value of around 5 for the radius. Now apply a slight aging effect to this top layer by choosing Image, Adjustments, Hue/Saturation and reduce the saturation and use the Hue slider to create a slightly aged yellowing of this layer I set Saturation to -50 and Hue to -10 and click OK. Now experiment with the layer opacity of this top layer to vary the result – you want something softer than the original.

To finish, make a elliptical selection around the subject, invert the selection using Select, Inverse and add a feather using Select, Feather and add a large feather to the selection. Blur the result to soften the area around the subject and then crop the photo to size to finish.

Helen Bradley

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

5 Hot ways to make grayscale images in Photoshop

There are lots of differnt ways to convert a photo into a grayscale image and each of them offers different benefits such as speed or the ability to customise the results.

Here are five great ways (and one cool extra tip) for making a grayscale image in Photoshop:

(Hot tip) Before you convert an image to black and white, adjust it to ensure there is a good tonal range in the image. Choose Image, Adjustments, Levels and make sure the markers are under the ends of the chart. Adjust the midtones slider (the middle one), until you have a good result. An image with good contrast and a pleasing tonal range will give better results in the steps that follow.

Grayscale – Version 1
The simplest method of converting to Grayscale is to choose Image, Mode, Grayscale. When you do this, you create a grayscale image and color cannot be added back into it unless you convert it back to a color mode. To do this, choose Image, Mode, RGB Color if you plan to do more work with the image. Convert to CMYK color mode only if you intend to send the image for commercial printing.

Grayscale – Version 2
A RGB color image is made up of three color channels Red, Green and Blue. These channels are grayscale images displaying the relative amount of that color in the image at any point. To see the channels, display the Channels palette and click on the channel to view, hiding the others. If you like the grayscale representation of a particular channel display it, hide the rest, and choose Image, Mode, Grayscale and you’ll be asked if you want to discard the remainder of the channels – this turns the current channel into the grayscale image. Answer Yes to do so. To work on the image again in color, choose Image, Mode, RGB Color.

Grayscale – Version 3
Another method of converting an image into grayscale image but which retains the RGB color mode is to choose Image, Adjustments, Hue/Saturation. If you select the Master channel and then drag the Saturation slider to the far left, you’ll remove the color from the image by desaturating it. However, because it is still RGB Color you can add color back without needing to alter the mode.

Grayscale – Version 4
The Channel mixer gives you the opportunity to tweak the final grayscale representation by using more or less of the colors from the image. Choose Image, Adjustments, Channel Mixer and click the Monochrome checkbox. Now adjust the Red, Green and Blue sliders until you get a result you like. Ideally, you should ensure that your percentages add up to 100% although this isn’t a hard and fast rule.

Grayscale – Version 5
One situation you may encounter is where you want to convert a single layer into grayscale but leave the other layers in the image in color. In this case, choose the layer to convert to black and white and choose Layer, New Adjustment Layer, Hue/Saturation and enable the Use previous layer to create clipping mask checkbox and click Ok. Move the Saturation slider to the far left and click Ok.

So, there you have it – more ways to convert an image to black and white than you ever thought possible?

Helen Bradley

Monday, February 12th, 2007

Create a winning smile in GIMP

Shiny white teeth look great but, let’s face it, not all of us have the benefit of expensive orthodontics. Luckily, armed with some graphics software you can give yourself or your best friend a professional whitening job in seconds.

To whiten teeth, in GIMP, click your favourite selection tool and make a selection around the teeth. Take care to select all the tooth area but avoid including any of the gum line or lips. You may find the “Select contiguous regions tool” is the best to use. Set a feather by choosing Select, Feather and set a feather value of 1 or 2 if the image is large.

Choose Tools, Color Tools, Hue-Saturation and click the option button for the Yellows so you’ll adjust only the yellow coloring in the selected area. Reduce the intensity of the yellow by dragging the Saturation slider a little to the left. Check the Green and Red channels to see if altering their saturation has an effect and repeat as needed. Click on the Master button and drag the Lightness slider to the right to lighten the entire selection.

Helen Bradley