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Rebecca [userpic]

how to make your friends think you have a scanner

June 7th, 2015 (01:09 am)

this is a quick & dirty tutorial for a quick & dirty way of editing phone photos to look like they were scanned. scandalous!

I use these same techniques on scanned work, though! they're proqual.

1. obtain shitty cell phone photo. something like this is about as good as you're going to get:

some things to keep in mind:

+evenly light the image--use at least two lights (one on either side)
+avoid foreshortening the picture plane too much (be careful leaning over the page though, this can cause a shadow)

but if you only have one light or your sketchbook gets skewed a little, that's ok.

2. in Photoshop, use the Perspective Crop Tool. (right click/hold the normal crop tool if you don't see it)

perspective crop is like regular crop except you can drag each of the corners to your wonky photographed page.

When you double click or hit the check in the top bar, photoshop crops/rotates/skews to force that area into a rectangle. Obviously some distortion will occur if there's a lot of foreshortening, but for subtle cases like this, it's not noticeable. You can readjust using the transform tool as needed. (I didn't here)


3. Rotate and greyscale (ctrl + shift + u)

4. Next you want to do your layer adjustments.

Use an adjustment layer from the icon in the layer menu (yellow), not image>adjust>levels. That applies the adjustment to one layer, one time. With an adjustment layer, you can tweak it later (and it supports masks, which we don't need here, but are super useful to have otherwise)

in the levels layer, move your top white slider to the left until you reach the first "peak." this sets all the highest values in your image to white.

you'll probably have to move your grey slider to accomodate. usually I leave the black slider alone. Just try to get the image so most of the paper is white but your lines are still visible (some "grain" around them is okay)

I also recommend duplicating the Background in case you do something stupid and need to start over. Do this by double-clicking the background layer and hitting enter to turn it into a normal, unlocked layer, then hold alt and drag it between Levels 1 and itself (Layer 0). From here on, only edit the copied layer.


5. Next we'll be getting rid of that "grain" to the right of the image. Make a tool preset (or change your brush settings) to the following:

And select pure white as your foreground color. (opacity can be anywhere under 10%, whatever your situation demands)

This brush has the magical ability to vaporize scanner shadows/grain left by inadequate lighting, but leave dark lines intact:

(the idea for this "dust buster" brush comes from Jason Brubaker. still a really awesome tool!)

the effect is subtle, but you want to go over slowly to make sure you don't destroy your drawing. And if you do destroy it, that's why we duplicated the original background layer--just make a new copy and try again!

At this step you want to make sure you get all that crud out.

"there's too much crud! I can't get it without lightening my lines too much!"
+try adjusting your levels to make your whites a bit whiter
+make a new layer, fill it with white, set it to Linear Dodge, and bring the fill down to <10%. this works on the same idea as the brush but covers the whole canvas at once. (or try a gradient fill if the problem area is only on one side, as often happens if you only have one light source when you take the photo)

"I got rid of the crud but now my lines are washed out!"
+use the burn tool

here's what my image looks like now:

6. Now we can get rid of any "solid line" errors, blatant ones in the drawing itself. You can either use a 100% hard white brush or lock the image layer and use a hard round eraser with white set as your bg color. I prefer the latter because that way I can easily switch back to my dust buster brush if I need to.

the obvious mistake I made was this line:

all better

7. final look-over. After all that dust busting, you might need to go back into that adjustment layer and darken the lines by moving the grey slider again:

8. add watermarks etc. Lie to people. :)

of course all this results in a 72dpi image which ain't gonna fly for printing. it's just a quick patch until you get a scanner. enjoy, hope that helps! :)