PI6 Pastel Sketch Look

 Emphasize Edges + Emboss = Pastel Sketch Look

Although there are some beautiful artistic effects available in the EasyPalette's Painting Gallery, I'm always pleased to find new ways to dress up ordinary images. This tutorial shows you how to use two Effect commands (Emphasize Edges, Emboss) and the Overlay Merge method to create a soft, pastel sketch look. This technique can be used in any version of PI, but you will have to use another Merge method if you are not using PI6. If you have PI6 but you haven't downloaded the PI6 patch, you should get it because it adds 6 wonderful new Merge methods, including Overlay.

I started out with this photo of my sister's new toy, an antique MG. You can use my photo or choose one of your own. Almost any photo will work except for closeups of faces, which tend to get too many lines to look attractive with this method. Landscapes, pet photos, flowers and so on will yield the best results.

Open up the image you want to use. Hit Ctrl+D twice to make two copies of the image, then close out the original. This will prevent you from making unintended edits to your original image. Select Effect, Blur & Sharpen, Emphasize Edges. When the dialog box opens, click on the thumbnail on the right in the bottom row. This is the most pronounced of the options available. After you experiment with this a few times, you may decide you'd like a slightly less extreme look, and you can pick a different thumbnail.

Emphasize Edges dialog box

Click OK to apply. All of the "edges" or areas of high contrast, will be emphasized in the image. It will look pretty darned ugly.

Emphasize Edges applied

Now choose Effect, Special Emboss. When the Emboss dialog box, leave the center, default thumbnail selected and click the Options button. This will open a secondary Emboss dialog box. Leave the default values as they are. Click in the Coating Color box (arrow).

Emboss dialog box

When the Ulead Color Picker opens, from the Gray tab, select the very pale gray color indicated by the arrow below and click OK.

pick pale gray from the Color Picker

Click OK to apply the pale gray Emboss effect. Now the image looks downright funky. It's these little lines and indentations that will create surface texture in your pastel sketch.

Emboss applied

Hit Ctrl+C to copy the embossed image into the Clipboard. Click on the blue title bar for the other, unedited image to make it active. Hit Ctrl+V to paste Clipboard contents into the image. The embossed object will be "floating" on top of the underlying image. They should be aligned perfectly, since they are both the same size.

While the embossed object is active, right click and choose Properties. Doing so opens the Object Properties dialog box. From the General tab, select Overlay from the Merge dropdown list.

Choose Overlay merge method

You might want to experiment with the Merge methods here, if you're feeling adventurous. Often Soft Light, Multiply or Inverse of Multiply will also give lovely results. Users of older versions of PI won't have the Overlay Merge method, so try Multiply or Inverse of Multiply. Click OK to apply. When returned to the image, right click and Merge All.

I can't resist showing how nifty this effect is applied to other images. Click on the thumbnails below to view the full size image in a separate window.

This tutorial uploaded 7/13/01

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