Line Engraving Effect in Adobe Photoshop | Evgeniya & Dominic Righini-Brand | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Introduction & Overview


    • 2.

      Image Considerations


    • 3.

      FIle Setup


    • 4.

      Setting up the Line Pattern


    • 5.

      Building the Wavy Lines Texture


    • 6.

      Adding the Image


    • 7.

      Setting up the Graphic Effect


    • 8.

      Applying the Effect to Other Images


    • 9.

      Customising the Effect


    • 10.

      Creating Alternative Effects


    • 11.



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About This Class

Imitate Line Engraving with a Non-Destructive Smart Effect in Adobe Photoshop.

This effect creates a sophisticated graphic look of line-work and shading similar to the style used in banknotes, postal stamps and etchings, and can be used to create stunning prints, posters or give the same feel to a collection of images. This technique can also be used to prepare your images for screen printing, letterpress or intaglio printing.

With this effect you can stylise images with a good tonal range, such as:

  • photographs (well-lit portraits work great);
  • found images,
  • paintings,
  • drawings,
  • digital art with shading.

Everything in this class deals with non-destructive smart filters and adjustments, so once you have built the effect, you can easily apply it to any other images with just a little bit of tweaking!

In this class you will learn:

  • how to build wavy line engraving effect in Adobe Photoshop;
  • how to quickly apply it to other images;
  • how to adjust and customise this effect;
  • how to build two alternative straight line effects.

I cannot wait to see what you create in this class, join in and share your work!

* This technique can be used in Adobe Photoshop CC versions. It should also work fine in previous versions, though it would require a work-around for smart adjustments.

Meet Your Teacher

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Evgeniya & Dominic Righini-Brand

Graphic Design & Photography

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1. Introduction & Overview: Hey guys, this is Evgeniya from Attitude Creative, and in this class, I will share a technique of creating a graphic effect which imitates line engraving using smart filters in Adobe Photoshop. This effect creates sophisticated graphic look of line work and shading similar to the style used in banknotes, postal stamps, and etchings, and can be applied to stylize photographs or any other images with a tonal range. With this effect, you create stunning prints, posters, or give the same filter collection of images. To begin with, we'll be creating an engraving effect using wavy lines. Then we'll also have a look to alternative effect which use straight lines instead. Everything in this class deals with non-destructive smart filters and adjustments in Photoshop. So once you have built this effect, you can easily apply to any other images with just a little bit of tweaking. I cannot wait to see what you create with this technique. Enroll now and let's make something awesome. 2. Image Considerations: In traditional line engravings, lines are applied in different thickness, density, and orientation to create a gradation of tone and shading in the image. So when you pick an image to apply this effect to, bear in mind that this effect works best with images which have a good tonal range or shading, such as photographs, paintings, drawings or digital art. Images with large areas of dark shadows and blacks are best avoided because they will have a visible more pattern. Our final image will be made out of overlapping lines which have a minimum thickness of one pixel. So the size of our image will determine how many lines our image will be able to contain, and hence, how detailed or how graphic our image will look. The effect will need to be adjusted to work well with a total range of the image you're using. So to start with and to build the initial effect, I suggest that you download the same image I am going to use for demonstration, so you can practice on it easily and see how the effect works. Then you can simply replace the image with your own and experiment further. Click in the settings where necessary. So follow the link in the notes here to download this image, and let's get started. 3. FIle Setup: So let's create a new document and get on with it. Since I want a more graphical look, and I want to use it on screen with all the lines being nicely visible, I am going to set up my file for that purpose. I suggest you follow along for now, and you can always play around with this more when you see how everything works. I'm going to set it up to be square 3000 pixels, so it makes placing different images easy, and if necessary, it will give me room for cropping. Set the resolution to 300 DPI and make sure you're using the RGB color mode. Name your file, and let's click Okay to create a new document. Now, go to the Layers panel. If it's not open, go to Menu window, Layers. Here, add a new blank layer, and then right-click on it and select Convert to Smart Object. Then do it once again. One of these smart objects is going to contain our line pattern, and the other one will contain our image, which we are going to be applying the effect to. Don't worry about renaming anything just yet, we'll deal with it later. Now, save this file, and then double-click on the layers thumbnail of the bottom Smart Object. This will open the contents of the Smart Object as a separate document, in which we're going to create our line Pattern. 4. Setting up the Line Pattern: Now we're in our Lines Pattern file. The first thing which we need to do is to increase its size. This is because we'll be rotating this pattern in the main document, and we need to be sure that the whole canvas is still covered. Go to Menu Image, Image Size, or click Command-Shift-I or Control-Shift-I in Windows, and in Image Size settings, double up the size. This will, for sure, cover the whole original file canvas, regardless of the angle the contents of this document will be turned on. Now we need to create a line pattern, which we'll use for the shading. On the Tools panel, select the pencil tool, and set the size to one pixel. Now zoom in close so that you can clearly see individual pixels. Make sure that your pixel grid is visible. If not, go to Menu View, Show, Pixel Grid. Set your foreground color to black with six zeroes in the hex color. Now draw one pixel, then select the rectangular marquee tool on the Tools panel, and vertically select six pixels, starting from your black pixel and going down to five transparent pixels. Altogether you should have six pixels selected like here. With the selection active, go to Menu Edit, Define Pattern, give it a name, and click Okay. Now you can clear the selection by pressing Delete and remove the selection by pressing Command-D or Control-D in Windows. So this is the beginning of our pattern down. You can always create more patterns like that with a different density of lines. Now go to the Layers panel, click on Create a New Fill or Adjustment Layer button, and select Pattern. In this dropdown, tick the pattern you've just created, make sure it is set to 100 percent, and click Okay. Lines on the type of engravings, which we'll be imitating, naturally follow the shape of the object and create a shading this way. With this effect to make the lines look more fluid, we're going to add a wave distortion to the line pattern. Of course, it is not going to be as considered as rendering lines by hand following the shape of the object, but still, this effect works really well. To apply a wave distortion to this pattern, firstly, we need to convert this fill layer into a Smart Object. Right-click on it and select Convert to Smart Object. Now go to Menu Filter, Distort, and select Wave. In this window, make sure that the Type is set to Sine, scale is 100 percent, and Undefined Areas are set to Wrap Around. With other variables, you can actually play around and see how they affect the look. Just make sure to have smooth waves which are uniform, otherwise, the effect might not look very good. For this, make sure that the difference between minimum and maximum Wavelength is only one, I'll stick to 249 and 250 for now. Try to keep the Amplitude small, I'll go for 9 and 10. The Number of Generators, I'll set to 5, and click Okay. You can see that the Wave Distortion was added as a Smart Filter, which means that I can adjust it anytime I want or turn it off if I want to disable it. This looks good, but if I want to modify the wave, I can always double-click on the effect here and change whatever I want. This is our wavy line pattern done. Save this file and close it. Now it's time to work out how we want to create shading using this pattern. 5. Building the Wavy Lines Texture: Now in our main document, we need to work on making a cross hatch and texture, which will create shading for our image. For this, we'll need to duplicate the smart object a number of times. To do this, select the layer with the line pattern smart object on the layers panel and press Command J or Control J in Windows. I want to have seven separate line pattern layers, so I'll copy it six times. You can also try out having less pattern layers if you want or add even more. But it's better to start with seven and then turn layers or to explore all other possibilities. Now, before I do anything else, I want to rename all my line patterns. Remember that the one of the layers is a smart object for the image so skip it for now. Start renaming putting layers from the top-down. The top one will be used to create highlights, then we'll have lights, then light mid-tones, then dark mid-tones, then light shadows, then dark shadows, and the last one will be blacks. To create a nice cross hatching texture, now we need to rotate some of the patterns. Let's start with the highlights. Select the layer on the layers panel, and then activate the free transform tool by pressing Command T or Control T in Windows. I will rotate this layer on a 45 degree angle counterclockwise. I will type minus 45 here and press Enter to apply changes. The light layer I will keep as it is, because this way, these two layers, they will create a nice cross hatch and texture in the light areas. Then I'll go to the light mid-tones layer, activate free transform again and rotate it 45 degrees by typing it here and pressing Enter to apply changes. The dark mid-tones I will rotate 90 degrees. The light shadows I will rotate 45 degrees, the same as a light mid-tones. The dark shadows, I'll rotate 90 degrees, the same as the dark mid-tones. The blacks I'll keep as it is. Now, the light mid-tones and the light shadows, as well as the dark mid-tones and the dark shadows, and the lights and the blacks have the same orientation. Because of that, I want to make the dark mid-tones pattern lines, the dark shadows lines, and the black lines a bit thicker. All of this pattern layers come from the same smart object. I don't want to modify it any way yet. I could do some global adjustments later, such as changing the wave distortion settings or changing the frequency of the lines in the pattern. To make this free pattern heavier, I am going to use effect in the blending modes. To do that, I need to select one of this button layers here, right-click on it and select Blending Options. In the layer style window, I need to go to the Stroke settings, set size to two pixels, position to center, and make sure that the color is set to black. Blending mode is set to normal and opacity to a 100 percent. Click Okay to apply the settings. Now I need to copy the same settings across to the other two patterns. Right-click on this layer with the effect and select Copy Layer Style. Then select the other two layers I need to apply this effect too. Right-click and select Paste Layer Style. Here we are. Now a little bit of thinking behind the process so that you know how you can develop it further if you want to. The lightest texture will be in the highlights and the lights, and the darkest in the blacks. These layers are stand-alone because they are visible either on their own in case of the highlights and the lights, while only visible together with other layers in case of the blacks. The other four layers go in perish to make each other stronger, which is apparent from our naming. This is why they are rotated on the same angle in part, and this why vary in Stroke. The effect is built in a top-down fashion. As each new layer is edit, you need to see how it works together with the layers above. For example, if you're using the dark mid-tones, the light mid-tones, the lights and the highlights are always going to be above. In terms of the angles I've used, this is just something I like. You can try out other angles too, for example, 60 degrees instead of 45. But keep the number of angles to a minimum to avoid creating too much more pattern. Make sure that your patterns work well together in a top-down sequence. Save this file. Now it's time to add our image. 6. Adding the Image: Now let's add our image. Double-click on the smart objects we have reserved for it to open its contents. Here is the image I want to use. Now, copy and paste the image into the smart object. Use Free Transform to resize it to the desired size and make sure to hold down Shift while resizing to constrain proportions. Don't worry about scaling up the original image. There won't be much left of it when the effect is applied. So this will do press "Enter" to apply changes, save this file, and close it for now. You can always go back to it to work with the original image or to put a different image in. In our main document, we need to have as many layers as the image as we have with the pattern. But before copying to make our life easier later on, let's add a couple of effects. Select the image layer and then a go to many filters, blur and select golden blur. Set it to about two pixels and click "Okay". You'll see what it does later. But now you need to hide this effect so click on this "I" button. Next, go to menu image, adjustments, and select Threshold. Set it to 215 for now and click "Okay". Leave this effect visible we'll need it in a moment. Now, right-click on the image layer and select Blended options. In the main blend and options set up, go to the blend if settings and move left logo on the top slider, one step to the right so that it says one here. This will make black color which is created by the threshold adjustment transparent in this picture which means that we'll be able to use this layer as an alternative to array a mask. The combination of threshold and blend it settings is basically what makes this effect work as a smart effect without the need to define masks for each specific image and allow to easily control every aspect of the effect at any time and you'll see all of this in action in a moment. Now we can copy this image layer six times. Again, the same as with the pattern layers, all these image layers are linked to one source file which makes it easy to edit or solve the images around. After we have all seven image layers, we need to rename them to the same names as our pattern layers so we can easily put them in pairs. After you have named the layers, move the layers with the same names next to each other and group them in pairs having the image layer above the correspondent pattern layer. Make sure that you go in order starting from the highlights on the top, followed by the light, light mid-tones, dark mid-ones, light shadows, dark shadows, and the blacks at the very bottom. The order of the layers is very important. So make sure to follow it correctly. This doesn't look the way it's supposed to just yet. So now it's time to finalize the fact and work out the areas for different shades. 7. Setting up the Graphic Effect: To make this effect work, now we need to define areas of different amounts of light and shading. To do this, we're going to go for the threshold settings for all of the image layers and adjust them accordingly. Let's start with the Highlights. Drawing the visibility of all the other groups off for now, so you can clearly see what's going on. Then double-click on the Threshold adjustments here. Apart from the white areas where there is no action, these will be the lightest areas in our image, and 215 to which we set it to originally works quite well here. But if you want, you can also color the entire image with this pattern and avoid having white at all. It's up to you, but I'll be sticking to 215 for now because I liked this contrast. Click Okay. Now, let's turn on the next group and go and edit the threshold settings first. Obviously, there should be some difference between the highlights and lights. So we need to adjust the threshold. One hundred and sixty works quite nicely here, but depending on the image, you might need to adjust it a little to work better with the color range. Now, let's quickly establish our blacks. Turn them back on and let's have a look at the settings. Darks are going to be the smallest darkest areas on the image. Well, here we have a dark background, so it's good to have a look at the graphic features on the actual phase to decide how much black we want. Somewhere around 75 is good. You may also start notes in more appearing in the large areas of the continuous tone, which might not be very nice. Images of this large areas of continuous dark tones are best avoided for this effect, or you'll have to either live with them more or play around with the pattern angles and a wave settings a lot to eliminate it or to make it less apparent. Let's turn the blacks off for now and move on to turning it back on the light mid-tones, and change the threshold settings for them. We need to go a little bit down from the 160 we set for the lights, so somewhere around 140 should be fine. Remember, we have three more areas to define, and the blacks are set to 75. So we need to start with the little steps and see how it goes. Bearing that in mind, let's turn on the dark mid-tones and set the threshold to 113. Then go to the light shadows and set them up. All our setting was 130, so something a bit less than that should work well, for example, 120. Now we have the last thing to set up, which is the dark shadows. Here we have arranged between 75 to which the blacks are set, and 120 for the light shadows. So 100 looks alright to me. Here we are. Threshold is the main adjustment which makes this effect work. At this point, you might start notes in some imperfections in the image, especially if you zoom out from 100 percent here. They appear due to the way Photoshop renders the preview of the effects. If you flatten this image and save it as a JPEG, PNG or singularity IF, everything will look and work just fine. So nothing to worry about, though it might look annoying. Before moving on, I am going to quickly colorize this, just to see how it works in other colors rather than black. I'll quickly add the gradient map adjustment layer on top of all these groups, in the gradient editor window, how big a gradient from my presets. This will do for now. You can play around with different colors for the gradient map if you want, and if you want just to have some color on a white background, make sure to set it to white here. You can also colorize your work like that using fill solid color layer, or a gradient. With this, you will need to place it above your groups and set it to screen. It will only colorize the visible black areas of all the layers below. Now let's check out how we can apply this effect to other images. 8. Applying the Effect to Other Images: To apply this effect to any other image, you simply need to double click on one of the image layers thumbnails, and go and place a different image inside of the smart object. When you save the smart object, all your image layers will update in your main document. Also, because we have masked out areas using Blend If and Threshold, the effect is now applied to this image. Now, if you need one too, you can go and adjust threshold settings for different shading areas. Just make sure that when you do that, the settings go in order, decreasing from top to bottom, from the highest threshold value in the highlights to the lowest in the blacks. Because even if you change the threshold value to something higher than the layer above, you won't be able to see it because there's still white background from the image over it. Except for adjusting the threshold settings here, you can also adjust the image inside of the smart object, if necessary. For this, you can use non-destructive adjustment layers, let's say levels. It did the tone and contrast of the image using it. Save the file and see the effect in the main document. Reduction of contrast with some images might create a nicer cross hatching effect. Play around with it. Since this is an adjustment layer, you can always turn it off or change it to whatever other settings you might want to try out. Now, let's have a look how we can customize this effect. 9. Customising the Effect: Except for adjusting the threshold settings, you can take this effect further with a few customization options. Firstly, bearing in mind that the thinnest line we can have is one pixel, increasing the overall image size can allow you to add more lines inside your image. You can play around with that, especially if you want to use this effect to prepare your work for solid color printing or don't want to have pronounced lines in your image. Remember, we have added a Gaussian Blur effect to our images. Let's have a look at what it allows us to achieve. To start with, turn it on on one of the layers. Now, you can see that the contours here became smoother and the little bits are now gone. If you like this effect, you can explore it further by trying out different blur values and seeing how the image is affected. Also, you can apply it to any number of the images we used as masks. So you can have a combination of smooth areas with the rougher ones if you want. You can also get inside of your line pattern smart object and work with it. You can experiment with setting up a different pattern with a different distance between the lines. For that, repeat what we have done in the patent setup video by creating a new pattern and then copy the smart filter across from your original pattern by dragging it whilst holding down the Alt key. Turn of your original pattern, but don't delete it so that you can always go back to it. Save the file. Now you can see the changes in the main document. Playing around with different patterns this way is an easy way to customize the density of lines. You can also explore turning off some of the patterns to have less lines or you can add even more of them if you want. When you change the density of lines or remove some of the patterns, you might want to adjust the stroke settings for the patterns in the main document. Adding stroke is an easy way of making darker areas more pronounced and to create more contrast. Here, I'll bring the stroke settings for the blacks up to four. Do the same for the dark shadows. If you want to roughen your lines a little bit so they look a bit more organic, you can apply a ripple effect to your pattern. Inside of the pattern smart object file, select your pattern and go to menu Filter, Distort and select Ripple. Select Small here, and set up the value to be somewhere about 25, 30 or even 50 percent. But you can always play around with it and see what works best in your case. At this point, I like to have two images side-by-side, so I can see when the effect is applied. You can also hide this effect for future experiments. This is what I will do for now. Here, you can also easily adjust the wave distortion settings to add more curve to a wave or to make it less pronounced. For the wave option, you can duplicate this effect by dragging and holding down the Alt key, turn the original one off, and adjust the new effect. This way, you can always roll back to the original effect without a need to remember the settings. To see the changes, save the file and check it out in the main document. You can also turn the wave distortion of if you want to go for a straight line cross-section effect. Let's have a look how we can quickly create it. 10. Creating Alternative Effects: For the straight line cross hatching effect, I am using the original pattern I created it with the five pixel gap between the lines. At this point, you might want to resave the main document under a different name, because in this sense, this is a different effect, so it's better to create it separately and keep the wavy effect intact. One of the ways you can create a cross hatching effect is by having straight lines with different thickness, crossing at different angles. Here, I have three different angles and four different stroke weights. The highlights and the light have the original one pixel width, both midtone patterns have an extra two pixels in stroke, both shadows have an extra four pixels in stroke, and the blacks have six pixels extra to eliminate the background totally. In terms of angles, the highlights, light mid tones, and light shadows, are kept horizontal. The light, dark mid tones, and dark shadows are turned 45 degrees counterclockwise, and the blacks are set at 90 degrees. This way, each pair creates a cross hatching effect and every darker pair adds more weight. With the blacks, just finishing it off though in this case, you can dispense with the blacks if you want, and your image will have a more bitmap effect. Another even more bitmap looking alternative, is to have a cross hatching created of patterns with a different density of lines. Again, have it as a separate file because the layers are rotated on different angles. Here, instead of creating a separate line pattern with a different density of lines, I have just moved this pattern down, so the lines are right in the middle of the original patterns' lines. Then I copied and rotated both these patterns' first 45 degrees counterclockwise, then copied the original ones again and rotate them 45 degrees clockwise, and then copied them once more and rotated them 90 degrees. The first two horizontal patterns, went to the highlights and lines respectively. The minus 45 degree patterns went to the midtones, the 45 degree patterns went to the shadows, and both of the 90 degree patterns went to the blacks, and here's how it looks. These are just couple of spin-offs from the original line and graven effect, which are more digital and bitmap looking. But all of them can come in handy at different times. 11. Conclusion: So here we are, playing around with applying this effect to different images and have fun. You can use this effect as a cool graphic treatment for photographs, paintings, drawings, or digital art with shading. Portraits, as you've noticed, look really good with this effect because there are tons of details in them which allow beautiful shading to come through. Also, you can create some awesome abstract images if you apply this effect to photographs with organic shapes, textures, and shadows, such as clouds in the sky, waves, sand, and anything else along the same lines. This technique will look great as a filter of visual development for the projects in our other classes, Source and Mix series in particular, because it allows to convert the original images into something new with a different graphic fill and potentially with a better quality and resolution. If you enjoy learning how to create different graphic effects in Photoshop, don't hesitate to check all of my class on creating a screen-printing grain effect, which also provides a great way of sterilizing images or preparing them for print. So that's it for this class. I hope you have enjoyed it and learned something new. If you like this class, please leave a review so more people could discover it. If you have any sort of questions, leave a comment on the community board for this class, and I will happily answer it and provide feedback. I cannot wait to see what you create using this technique and hear about your experience. Make sure to post your work in the project section for this class, and if you are going to show your work in Instagram, please tag #attitudeskills so that we can see there too. Also, don't hesitate to follow our page on Facebook to see what we're up to, get all the latest updates, send us private messages if you need to get in touch about something, and not to miss if you're featured in our student spotlight gallery. Thank you for enrolling in this class, and I hope to see you in our other classes.