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June 22, 2004

The Woodcut Effect

Also: How to get that appetizing 70s cookbook look

With the death of Nocturna's grunge brush collection, I started digging around for instructions on how to make one's own grunge brushes for Photoshop. The key, according to every tutorial, is the Threshold adjustment.

While this adjustment will let you get a nice brush, it also allows you to fairly easily get something resembling a colored woodcut. In the case of food, you'll usually get something vaguely resembling those horrid 1970s Family Circle cookbooks.

And it's easy, to boot! Simply follow along.

Cheap "Art" a la Photoshop
1. Load your desired starter image.
2. Image > Adjustments > Threshold
3. Adjust the Threshold Level slider to your desired balance of detail and inky black. In most cases, the default will work.
4. Select All (Cmd-A/Ctrl-A).
5. Copy (Cmd-C/Ctrl-C).
6. Revert (F12).
7. Paste (Cmd-V/Ctrl-V).
8. Hit "V" to switch to the move tool.
9. Adjust the opacity of the new layer to achieve your desired effect. 40% or 50% usually works.

The tricky part of this is that the effect relies entirely on the source image. The forest example turned out a lot like a woodcut because it was high on contrast and dark areas, giving Threshold a lot to work with. The palm tree example, on the other hand, looks more like an example of an early color photography process. So unlike my haze removal trick, this one won't always get exactly what you're looking for.

Still fun though!

Posted by Colin at June 22, 2004 9:00 PM

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