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Tutorial: High contrast "shadow" effect

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Tutorial: High contrast "shadow" effect

Postby photodrawken » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:43 am

A recent question here asked how to achieve a high contrast shadow effect. The question was quickly answered with simple straightforward methods; but after experimenting with the effect, I thought it deserved a more in-depth examination.

Let's start with a difficult image -- one that does not have a lot of contrast, so we can explore several steps to achieve the effect (all these example images are at 75% of the original size):
Image
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The first method is to simply use Adjust...Brightness/Contrast...Threshold to do the conversion:
Image
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That's not a bad solution, and will probably suffice for most purposes; but it can be further stylized to smooth out the rough edges and get rid of the small specks. Here's how:

1. Use Adjust...Brighness/Contrast...Fill Light/Clarity with the Fill Light at "0" and the Clarity all the way up to "127":
Image
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2. Effects...Photo Effects...Black and White Film using the "BW Normal" preset:
Image
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3. Adjust...Blur...Gaussian Blur with a 1 pixel radius:
Image
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4. Adjust...Brightness/Contrast...Threshold. For this image, I used a value of "130":
Image
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5. Use the Magic Wand to select all the black areas, and then Selections...Modify...Smooth. De-select the "Preserve Corners" and the "Anti-alias" options, and use a "Smoothing amount" of 16:
Image
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6. The smoothed selection is still active, so use Selections...Modify...Remove Specks and Holes. Use the "Remove Specks" option for square areas smaller than "50 x 1" pixels.

7. Fill the smoothed and de-speckled selection with black.

8. Invert the selection and delete.

You'll be left with a more stylized and smoother effect:
Image
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Now you can use various PSP tools to get the black part of the image onto its own layer against a transparent background and create a new colour layer beneath it, or copy it onto another image, etc.

Enjoy!
Ken
Yes, I think it can be eeeeeasily done...
Just take everything out on Highway 61.
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Re: Tutorial: High contrast "shadow" effect

Postby carolynr61 » Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:56 pm

I enjoy your tutorials, hope you keep adding them here :D
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Re: Tutorial: High contrast "shadow" effect

Postby photodrawken » Sat Dec 22, 2012 7:39 pm

Thanks, Carolyn. I wind up going down some strange paths as I learn PSP, but now and then I'll hit on something useful to share. :wink:

For this effect, one good thing to experiment with is after the B&W conversion in step #2 one can boost the contrast and see how that affects the types of "shadows" created by the threshold in step #4.
Ken
Yes, I think it can be eeeeeasily done...
Just take everything out on Highway 61.
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