How to Make Photos Look like Pencil Drawings

How to Make Photos Look like Pencil Drawings

If you’ve ever frequented a mall you have surely seen the photo booths that create pencil drawings from the picture it has just snapped of you. Although this may seem like some highly advanced technology you will see in this article that all it takes it about one minute in order to learn. Using a very simply greyscale image effect you can create a tonal pencil drawing. Even though there are many automated applications and software available you will always end up with an awkward looking photo. By properly utilizing Adobe Photoshop’s tools you will create a perfectly crafted pencil drawing from any of your photos.

The first part of this process is simply choosing the right photograph. Technically every photo you own can work for this process however selecting one that has good contrast and sharp details will give you a better looking end result. In order to give yourself the best quality drawn picture you should attempt to do this process on multiple images. This way you are able to compare and give yourself the absolute best image in the end.

To begin you will want to open your image(s) inside Photoshop. Once you have opened your desired image(s) you will want to create a copy of the background layer by right-clicking the layer that reads Background and selecting Duplicate Layer. Once you have done this make sure you have Background Copy highlighted before moving on. When you have the correct layer selected you will want to hit the shortcut Ctrl + Shift + U in order to desaturates the image in your layer turning it to black and white. After you have done this you will want to duplicate the black and white layer you have just crafted and set it to the blending mode Color Dodge. Rename it as Color Dodge for future steps.

Once you have set the blending mode your image will become very harsh and also will have lost detail. Press Ctrl + I in order to invert the Color Dodge layer. The next step can be completed in a few different ways and is best for you to experiment to figure out which is best. First you can blur the Color Dodge layer. This will create greyscale shadow tones which you are able to control with the sliders. Go to the Filters Menu > Blur > Gaussian Blur and then play with the sliders in the dialogue box until your picture is as you want it to be. Alternatively you can use Motion Blur instead of Gaussian. Motion Blur allows you to control the angle of the blurring which can allow you to create a very natural looking pencil stroke. Pick only one of these options as using two will more than likely ruin your image.

At this point you can call it quits if you feel it looks good. However we can go one step further by creating edge strokes with using Glowing Edges located in the Filters Menu > Stylize > Glowing Edges. Play around with the sliders until you have reached something you think looks natural. After you have completed this you will want to invert the colors of your image yet again by pressing Ctrl + I in order to bring your image that perfect pencil drawing look. There are other things you can add such as a Multiply Layer which can soften out your image. It is best for you to play around with the tools provided in Photoshop in order to make a great image.

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