The Color blend mode mixes the colors from the current layer with the brightness values of the layers below it, giving us our colorized sketch effect:
The document will temporarily appear filled with white. Depending on your image, there may be some areas of black here and there, but for the most part it will be filled with white:
Use the shortcut CMD+A to Select All, then go to Edit > Copy Merged (or CMD+Shift+C). This will make a clipping of all the visible layers. Press CMD+V to paste this copy at the top of the layer stack.
Add another Adjustment Layer, this time select the Black and White option. The default settings will suffice to remove the colour and generate more of a standard pencil appearance.
To achieve more of a coloured pencil drawing, the Black and White adjustment layer can be turned off to remove the desaturation effect.
After changing the blend mode to Color Dodge, the document appears white.
Normally, the Merge Visible command would essentially flatten our image by merging all of our existing layers down onto a single layer, but by holding down Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) while choosing Merge Visible, we told Photoshop to keep all of our initial layer intact, merging them on to a new layer (Layer 2) above the originals:
The effect we’ll be creating in this tutorial mimics the lines and shading of a pencil drawing. Producing this style of artwork for real would take hours of work for even the most talented artist, but the power of Photoshop gives us the ability to replicate it pretty well in just minutes. This makes it much more feasible to use the sketched look within your designs that might require an ‘artsy’ theme. If you don’t fancy creating this effect manually, you might be interested in my free Artistic Paint, Sketch & Ink Photo Effect Actions.
In this Photo Effects tutorial, we’ll learn how to easily convert a portrait photo into a pencil sketch with Photoshop. The initial sketch will appear in black and white, but at the end of the tutorial, we’ll learn how to colorize it with the photo’s original colors! In the next tutorial, we’ll learn a slightly different way to convert an image into a sketch, one that’s usually better suited for objects or landscape photos.
Drag the Radius slider to increase or decrease the amount of blurring.
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The three original layers are combined onto a fourth layer above them.
At the top of the Layers panel, you’ll find the Blend Mode option. It doesn’t actually say “Blend Mode” anywhere but it’s the drop-down box that’s set to Normal by default. Click on the word Normal, which opens a list of layer blend modes, and choose Color Dodge from the list:
Go back up to the Image menu at the top of the screen, choose Adjustments, then choose Invert:
The Desaturate command isn’t the best way to convert an image to black and white, but it’s good enough for our purposes here.
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Change the blending mode of the duplicate background layer to Color Dodge, which dramatically boosts the contrast and brings out the grainy details of the image.
Photoshop always places copies of a layer above the original.
Go up to the Layer menu in the Menu Bar along the top of the screen, choose New, then choose Layer via Copy. Or, for a faster way to run the same command, press Ctrl+J (Win) / Command+J (Mac) on your keyboard:
Begin by opening up your chosen source photograph in Adobe Photoshop. The effect works best with images that have a clean background in good lighting and focus, so working with a professional studio shot like this stock image from Shutterstock provides the best results.
This opens the Gaussian Blur filter’s dialog box. We create the sketch effect by blurring the layer. Begin dragging the Radius slider at the bottom of the dialog box towards the right to apply a slight amount of blurring. As you drag, you’ll see the sketch effect appearing in the document. The further you drag the slider, the more blurring will be applied and the more intense the sketch effect will become. If you drag the slider too far, though, too much of the original photo will show through and it won’t look like a sketch anymore.
This version of the tutorial is for Photoshop CS5 and earlier. Photoshop CS6 and CC (Creative Cloud) users will want to check out the fully updated version.
And there we have it! Visit our Photo Effects section for more Photoshop effects tutorials!
The first thing we should do before starting on the effect is make a copy of the original image so we don’t harm it in case we need it later. With the photo newly opened in Photoshop, we see in the Layers panel that the image is sitting on the Background layer:
To mix the colors of the original image in with the sketch effect, change the blend mode for the Background copy layer from Normal to Color:
This tutorial is from our Photo Effects series. Let’s get started!
Hold down the Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) key on your keyboard and with the key still held down, go up to the Layer menu at the top of the screen and choose Merge Visible:
Click the New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, then press CMD+Backspace to fill the layer with white (the default background colour). Head back to the Filter Gallery but this time choose Texturizer. Change the setting to Sandstone.
One of the classic Photoshop tutorial topics is the creation of a pencil drawing effect from a photograph. It’s one of those quick and simple techniques that produces a satisfying result, which makes the tutorial great for beginners. Throughout its history, Photoshop has featured lots of built-in filters that produce various sketch and artistic effects, but they don’t exactly produce a realistic outcome. In this tutorial I’ll show some clever steps that will transform a photograph into a hand drawn pencil sketch, which can even be fine tuned to find the most authentic look.
Change the blend mode of the inverted layer from Normal to Color Dodge.
With the Background layer selected, go up to the Layer menu, choose New, then choose Layer via Copy, or press Ctrl+J (Win) / Command+J (Mac). Photoshop makes a copy of the layer, names it “Background copy” and places it directly above the original:
Lower the layer opacity to reduce the amount of color in the sketch.
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Change this layer’s blending mode to Multiply so the underlying artwork can be seen, then reduce the opacity of the layer to around 50% to produce a much more subtle paper texture effect.
Go to Layer > New > Layer via Copy, or press Ctrl+J (Win) / Command+J (Mac).
Hold down Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) and go to Layer > Merge Visible.
The Background copy layer has been jumped to the top of the layer stack.
The Desaturate command instantly removes all color from the image, giving us a quick black and white version:
How To Create a Realistic Pencil Sketch Effect in Photoshop Tutorials 21 March 2016 32 Comments
The final result is a realistic pencil sketch effect with authentic line work and shading. The blurred and inverted color dodge layer does the base work by boosting the contrast, but the additional effects like the glowing edges outline marks and the paper texture make the artwork much more believable. The use of the Smart Object also means you can adjust the amount of Gaussian Blur to fine tune the result.
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At this point, the sketch effect is complete and if you’re happy with it in black and white, you can stop here. If you want to add color to the sketch, continue on with these last few steps. We’re going to colorize the sketch using the colors from the original photo. Our original photo is on the Background layer, so we’ll need to make a copy of it. Click on the Background layer in the Layers panel to select it:
Go up to the Image menu at the top of the screen, choose Adjustments, then choose Desaturate:
Invert the layer by heading to Image > Adjustments > Invert (or the CMD+I shortcut) to switch the colouring from white on black to black on white.
The text version of this tutorial continues below the video. Please note that the video below is from the updated Photoshop CC version of the tutorial but everything I cover in the video is fully compatible with Photoshop CS5 and earlier.
Finally, if you find the color looks too intense, simply lower the Opacity value at the top of the Layers panel to fine-tune the results. I’ll lower mine down to 65%:
Go to Filter > Filter Gallery, then navigate to Glowing Edges from under the Stylize menu. Change the settings to 1 Edge Width, and maximum Edge Brightness and Smoothness.
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Under the Filter menu, select Gaussian Blur and alter the radius to around 40 pixels. The use of the Smart Object will apply this filter as a Smart Filter so we can fine tune the settings if necessary, rather than permanently apply the effect.
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This next step is where we actually create the sketch effect. Go up to the Filter menu at the top of the screen, choose Blur, then choose Gaussian Blur:
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To use this Background copy layer to colorize our sketch, we need to move it above the other layers. We can jump it straight to the top of the layer stack by pressing the keyboard shortcut Shift+Ctrl+] (Win) / Shift+Command+] (Mac). The ] is the right bracket key. With the Background copy layer now at the top, the original image will once again appear in the document window:
Either way tells Photoshop to make a copy of the layer, which it names “Layer 1”, and place it above the Background layer. Notice that Layer 1 is highlighted in blue, which tells us it’s the active layer. Anything we do next will happen to the copy of the image on Layer 1, leaving the original on the Background layer unharmed:
Change the blend mode to Multiply, then adjust the result with the Opacity option.
There’s no specific Radius value to enter since the amount of blurring you use will depend on what you think looks good for your image, so make sure you keep an eye on your document to judge the results as you drag the slider. For my image, I’ll set my Radius value to around 12 pixels or so:
Next, we need to make a copy of our desaturated image. Go back up to the Layer menu, choose New, then choose Layer via Copy, or press Ctrl+J (Win) / Command+J (Mac) on your keyboard, just as we did in Step 1. Photoshop makes a copy of Layer 1, names it “Layer 1 copy”, and places it directly above Layer 1 in the Layers panel:
This inverts the colors in the image, or in our case the brightness values, making light areas dark and dark areas light, leaving us with a photo negative effect:
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Drag the Background layer over the New Layer icon in the Layers panel, or use the shortcut CMD+J to create a duplicate of the layer. Go to Image > Adjustments > Invert (or hit CMD+I) then right click and select Convert to Smart Object.
Go up to the Blend Mode option at the top of the Layers panel and change the blend mode for the merged layer from Normal to Multiply. This will darken the lines in the sketch effect. If you find the effect is now too dark, lower the Opacity value, which is to the right of the Blend Mode option. Keep an eye on the image as you adjust the opacity to fine tune the results. I’m going to lower mine down to 50%:
Click the Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and choose Levels. Move the shadows and midtones sliders slightly to the right to darken the image a little.
Step 8: Change The Blend Mode To Multiply And Adjust The Layer Opacity
Next in Tutorials: How To Create a Distorted VHS Effect in Photoshop Close
Change this glowing edges layer’s blending mode to Multiply to render the white background transparent, then reduce the opacity of the layer to around 50-60% to reduce the impact of these additional outlining sketch lines.