Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Quick Clean Up of Drawings

This is in no way intended to be a tutorial because there are much better ones out there with regards to cleaning up a crappy scan or worse, a bad camera phone photo of one of your drawings.  This is more like a "Holy crap! Your Mom/Significant Other/Boss/Police will be over to your crib in five minutes and you have to clean/hide/burn/flush/throw out window all the junk to look attractive or normal or innocent!" kind of post about cleaning up your drawings for that final model sheet project that is due that your instructor told you to make look clean.
First, find a scanner and scan your drawings.  For those of you that thought it would be good idea to use your camera phone, hand held, to take a photo of your work, on your kitchen table under one light - probably fluorescent - or on your carpet in the living room next to your cat or your is what needs to be asked....WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?!  Are you just trying to ruin your life, or worse, MINE? Why not go and slam the car door on your fingers?  At the very least it would be faster and probably less painful to fix. Ahem. If, for some reason, you lost your mind for a moment and did intend take a photo of your drawing with your camera phone, at least lay it flat and get two lights of the same wattage and place them on either side of your work and find something to steady your hand so you at least simulate a camera stand.

Anyway, what's a good way to clean up all of the shadows and junk around your drawings if you do shoot them with your camera phone in manner mentioned above?

Let's start with the worst; a camera phone photo of a drawing as shot hand held on the kitchen table at 3:00 in the morning with just the kitchen light on.  Result is below.  Now, you could just turn this in because you are too busy to care, but your instructor is probably too busy to give you good grade if you force him/her to even look at this atrocity.
It's a revolting yellow color, there are shadows all over the place, it's a revolting yellow color, it's out of focus, and it's a revolting yellow color. Go have a look at the above, I'll wait.


Because this is for a model sheet project and color isn't really a factor, first thing to do is get rid of the color.
Now, you know this, in PS (I even have used a really old version of CS5-gasp!) open your file and click Image -Grayscale and click Okay.
You will now have the below.  Granted, it still looks terrible but at least that revolting yellow color is gone. Okay let's take away this gray.
Click Image - Adjustments - Levels (or hot key it) to get the Image adjustment window.
The sliders denote black, middle gray and white. Adjust each to get rid of as much shadow as possible without blowing out your drawing.  I tend to favor the gray slider.
This is what I ended up with.  Keep in mind that this is a quick fix in lieu of time, you can set up mask layers and all of that jazz, but we just want to get this out of the way so you can play another 15 hours of Skyrim.
To speed things along I click on the marque tool and select a large portion outside the drawing to delete...
and again on the other side...
That's less distracting.  Move on, the clock is ticking. 
Now, quickly erase out some of the extra junk on the outside you can/will erase later as a finishing touch.  We are about 4-6 minutes into the process.  Now, click on Filter - Sharpen - Unsharp Mask. I like this because you get a slider window and have a little more control over what you can sharpen rather than other options.
Use the sliders to bring the image more in focus.  Doing so will take away information so be sure you don't over do it and your image begins to pixelate.  But note how much more clear the image below is as compared to the above.

At this point, I want to lighten the gray stuff in the drawing itself so I marque parts, in this case, the legs and go back to Levels and use the sliders again.  Selection parts allows you to alter some things without losing information in other areas. The shoulder and head are going to be a little tricky as the shoulder is going really dark but the hand and parts of the head are washing or blowing out as a whole.  I selected the arm and cane and boost the levels accordingly.
Same with the legs as shown below.
The head/face and arm is really being a pain here so I select the whole group and go back to Unsharp Mask and after a little adjustment, I get it to a manageable value and sharpness.

Finally I erase out a little more of the spots and end up with the below.  A perfectly acceptable 'rough' drawing without camera shadows and other filth, the whole process took under ten minutes.  I understand many of you will object to the processes described in this quick demonstration but the steps mentioned above will get you a good, readable rough drawing suitable for use in project such as this where you need to show your rough keys.
Hope that helps, have fun drawing and uh...shooting stuff with your camera phone and PLEASE don't slam your fingers in your car door.