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Library: Creative Design


Render photos as art with the Cutout filter & layer styles

Added on Sunday 4th of January 2009 09:23 am EST

Application > Adobe Photoshop CS/CS2
Operating Systems > Macintosh, Microsoft Windows
Download >

During the mid 19th century, photography was developed initially as an aid to artists. They used it to render subjects that were difficult or even impossible to study in nature, and ever since that time the distinction between illustration and photography has become closer and closer. Today, artists continue to use photography not only as a reference, but to incorporate it directly into their artwork. As a result, the photo software that many artists use now contains features that enable them to apply artistic type effects to their photographs. Photoshop's Cutout filter produces remarkable results when used with layer styles, as shown in FIGURE A. Let's open an example and discover how to achieve such outstanding results.

Choose the right example
In changing a photo into artwork it helps to have an idea of the style or look you're after. For example, if you're after a soft pastel look, you might want to employ a blur filter. But before that, you might want to slightly desaturate your subject with the adjustment command. And before that, you'll need to choose a subject that lends itself to the concept. For a soft pastel look, a hard driving action shot most likely won't work as well as a kitten curled up in a blanket. For our image, we're after a flat, linear, monochromatic look, reminiscent of book and poster woodcut illustrations of the 1920's. So, for our subject, we'll use a flatly lit, winter shot of a group of tree trunks and branches. To follow along using our example, download the CUTOUT.ZIP file from the URL listed at the beginning of this article.

Prepare your image
Our first ta...


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