TRANSLUCENT EMBROIDERY TUTORIAL
This tutorial was written for Paint Shop Pro 8 and X2SUPPLIES:
1. Open either "embroidery1.jpg" or "embroidery2.jpg". Add a 100 pixel border the same light blue color of the background around the fabric (Image > Add Borders).
Go to Layers > Promote Background Layer.
2. With the Magic Wand (Tolerance: 30, Feather: 2, Match Mode: RGB Value, Anti-alias
) select the blue background behind the embroidery and press the Delete key to remove it.
Clean up the edges of the fabric by zooming in and using the Freehand Selection tool (Point-to-Point, Feather: 2, Anti-alias
). It's helpful to add a black layer and move it behind the embroidery to make it easier to see the edges for cleanup.
When you're finished, delete that black layer. Crop off most of the excess empty background around the embroidery.
3. Open "translucent_mask3.png". Set the Foreground color swatch to Pattern and choose the mask image (Scale: 100, no rotation
4. Because the embroidered flowers shouldn't be translucent, they need to be protected from the translucency mask we're going to apply.
Use the Magic Wand to select the fabric around the flowers (Tolerance: 30-40, Feather: 2 - Use a lower tolerance for white or light-colored flowers and a higher tolerance for dark-colored flowers
). Make sure to get the larger areas in between the stems and leaves, pressing the Shift key along with the Magic Wand to add to the selection. Don't worry about smaller areas.
5. Keeping the selection, create a new layer above the flower layer. Flood Fill the selection on that layer with the gray translucency pattern. Select None.
Create another new layer in between the two layers and Flood Fill it with white. Merge the top two layers (Layers > Merge > Merge Down).
6. Now we will create a New Mask Layer from the gray and white layer. Go to Layers > New Mask Layer > From Image (Source Luminance, Invert mask data, no change in Source window
Go to Selections > From Mask. Make the embroidery layer active then press the Delete key. Select None and delete the mask layers.
Duplicate the embroidery layer then merge them both (Layers > Merge > Merge Down).
Adjust the Brightness > Contrast (Brightness: 0, Contrast: 20
). This will remove a little of the translucency but it gives the fabric more substance and clarity.
7. Now we're going to add a drop shadow behind the fabric (see my Notes below) but it will need some manual tweaking. Because the fabric is translucent, the shadow behind it will make it look too dark and drab. We will fix that.
Apply a Drop Shadow (Effects > 3D Effects > Drop Shadow) with these settings:
Opacity: about 70
Blur: about 10
Shadow on new layer: checked
8. Now go back to the layer with the fabric on it and make it active.
Use the Magic Wand to select the background around the outside of the embroidery (Tolerance: about 80-90, Feather: 1
Invert the selection (Selections > Invert)
Contract the selection (Selections > Modify > Contract) by about 4-6 pixels so that the selection marquee comes very close to the edge of the fabric but doesn't extend beyond the edge.
9. Switch to the shadow layer and press the Delete key. Select None. Merge the fabric and shadow layers.
10. Go to File > Save As. Choose "Portable Network Graphics (*png)". Go to Options then click "Run Optimizer" (ignore the other settings in that box). Under the Colors tab, check "16.7 Million Colors". Under the Transparency tab, check "Alpha Channel Transparency" and "Existing Layer Transparency". Click OK then name your file and choose the location for it.
Here is a larger example showing the effect (click the thumbnail to view a larger version):NOTES:
The lighter the mask pattern you use, the less translucent the image will become. A medium gray works best for most images but you may need to try lighter or darker masks to get the effect you like. The color of the image can make a difference in how dark the mask should be.
What the mask does is change every other pixel in the image to a lower opacity leaving the alternating pixels opaque. Because the pixels are so tiny, you can't detect the tiny checkerboard pattern this creates but it allows you to be able to see through the image.
If you think you might rotate the embroidery later when you use it in a collage, wait and add the drop shadow (using the steps above) at that time so that the shadow ends up at the correct angle.