This tutorial will explain the techniques used to create digital pencil portraits in Photoshop. I have been doing these for a few years now and have searched the web for some techniques of how to do this. I have tweaked what I learned to give this tutorial a more accurate rendering. There are some things that can be done in advance before the photograph is taken to help give a more pleasing result. For instance, having a white background helps to have a cleaner separation of the subject. Also, having the subject wear white or some other light color clothing is a big plus as it helps draw the viewer to the person's face. Though these tips are helpful, they are not absolutely required.
- Open the image in Photoshop.
- Create a copy of the background layer by pressing "Control-J" on your keyboard. Now invert the new layer by pressing... "Control-I".
- Convert image to "grayscale" by clicking (Image)
- Set layer mode to "color dodge"... this will make the layer look almost completely white.
- Now bring out some of the pencil strokes by applying a Gaussian Blur-Filter.
- Now is the time to to use the brush [B] on your keyboard and start painting the unwanted areas of your image white. Make sure you lower the opacity of your brush to around 20% or so, have white selected as your foreground color, and are using a soft edge brush.
- Now let's add some subtle shadows to the face, chest and clothing. To do so, make sure that your foreground color is black by pressing [D] on your keyboard. Select your brush and lower the opacity of your brush (not layer) to 15%. Now start painting over all the areas, that you feel needs a shadow. Particularly, the face. There are really no rules here. Just bring out some shadows that you feel is right. This might take a little practice.
- Let's add some highlights to the hair. Select white as your foreground color and make sure that the opacity of your brush is 15%. Start brushing over the lighter areas of the hair to bring out some highlights. Notice that the changes are very subtle. You don't want to over do it.
- Now it's time to merge the layers and crop the image. Image-Mode-RGB Color and select merge. Select [C] on your keyboard to bring up the crop tool to crop the image. You can also add a color tint if you like by pressing... ( Control-U ) on your keyboard to bring up the Hue/Saturation window. Select colorize from the lower right window and play around with the sliders to get the color you want.