Tips for Color Converting Photos in Snap Art

Both the Pencil Sketch and Pen and Ink filters draw your photographs without using color, so it is important to adjust your original image's tone correctly to get well defined features in the final artistic rendering. In this tutorial we will show you how to use the Color panel in Snap Art to get better looking results for difficult images.

First, here is the image we will use for this tutorial:


This is a cute picture but there are some shadows on the face that cover up some important features.

If we run Pencil Sketch with full coverage and do not adjust the tone of the image we find that the image is too dark and the details on the faces are obscured.


There are a few things we can do to get the right tonal contrast in the image. We go to the Color panel and guide the color to grayscale conversion process.

First, uncheck the Automatic Color Conversion checkbox so we can manually adjust the color conversion process. The first thing I usually do is a little experimentation with the three sliders to see what kind of contrast I can get. I usually try cranking up each of the three sliders individually (the other two will be set to 0) or set two of them at 100 and one at 0. 


The behavior of the sliders is much like Photoshop's Channel Mixer except the three channels are always equalized so the overall brightness will not be disturbed. There are a few basic things to keep in mind if you want a little more control over the color conversion process. Each of the three primary colors can be made dark by setting the corresponding slider to 0 or bright by setting the slider to 100. For instance, to make the greens (such as tree leaves) darker just move the green channel slider to a low value, or to a high value if you want to brighten the leaves. If you want a red shirt or a pink face to get brighter then move the red slider to the right. In this example, there was a reddish cast on the faces, so I could selectively brighten the faces while leaving the background dark (the leaves in the back are green). Most times, however, it works best just to play with the controls until you get the effect you like rather than thinking about it too much.

The next thing I did was to boost the brightness to 10. This slider will brighten the midtones the most and makes the faces much more visible. I decided not to change the contrast because the problem with the photograph is that there are some shadows on the face so increasing the contrast tended to darken part of the face. Here is the final result:


As you can see, this is a big improvement over the original image. We can't always take a perfect photograph so a little bit of tweaking can go a long way.

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