Monday, January 19, 2009


If you have Adobe Photoshop, here's a tip for breaking an image down into its basic values. It's the digital world equivalent of squinting, but you won't get those unsightly crowsfeet if you use this method. (It also helps you see shapes, not details, so you don't get drawn in to painting little tiny details before you've tackled the big picture.)

Open the image you want to use - in this case, I used a photo of my son Ben.

I duplicate the first layer, then go to IMAGE>ADJUST>DESATURATE, which creates a black & white version of the color image.
Then go to IMAGE>ADJUST>POSTERIZE, and choose 10, to wind up with 10 distinct values for your image.

I chose to then colorize the image to simulate a verdaccio underpainting, by going to IMAGE>ADJUST>VARIATIONS, and click on "more green" to give the grayscale image a green cast.

And then, finally, here's my underpainting in progress. We'll save the glazing pictures for another day.

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  1. Cool post! Thanks, Cindy... looking forward to seeing the next stage.

  2. Great post Cindy! If anyone reads this and has Paint Shop Pro, you do image>greyscale. Then Effects>artistic effects>posterize and choose 10 values. Then Image>color balance and slide the green up to 100.

  3. hey great post! great blog! thanks for the tips!

  4. Thanks so much, your blog is consistently interesting and useful, and I can't wait to try this. Judy