Those of you who read Part 1 of this article will recall that we’re in the middle of converting a photographic portrait into a credible facsimile of a professionally rendered line drawing. Using a combination of the Photocopy filter, a bit of cleanup, and one layer each of solid black and solid white, we came up with the rather predictable effect pictured below. But this is just the base drawing. The truly amazing stuff starts now.
Step nine:To form the cross-hatch effect, you need to establish a couple of repeating diagonal line patterns. I created two simple images (magnified to 800 percent below) with the pencil tool. Both images are tessellating tiles, meaning that they repeat seamlessly when expressed as a pattern. Notice that one pattern is a flipped version of the other; the right lines are thicker than the left. To define the tiles as patterns, choose Edit > Define Pattern for each image. I named the left-hand pattern Thin Lines and the other Thick Lines.
(You can get the exact patterns I’m using for my effect by right-clicking on each of the two tiny images below, choosing Copy Image, and pasting each in turn into a new Photoshop file. For more information on creating your own custom tessellating patterns, check out my article “The Art of the Seamlessly Repeating Pattern” included here in dekeStuff.)
Step ten: Return to the layered photograph file and make sure the sold black layer (the one below the Photocopy effect) is active. Then go to the half-black half-white icon at the bottom of the Layers palette and choose the Pattern command. Select the Thin Lines pattern. If necessary, scale the pattern to better fit the image. For the best results, scale the pattern by an even fraction (50 percent, 25 percent, and so on) and keep the pattern as large as possible. Remember the lines have to print without filling in, so a bit too big is just right. (I scaled the pattern to 50 percent below.) Click OK when you’re done.
Step eleven: To integrate the pattern lines into the artwork, double-click in the empty area to the right of the pattern layer’s name in the Layers palette. This brings up the Layer Style dialog box. Set the Blend Mode option to Multiply to drop out the whites and keep the blacks. Then use the Underlying Layer slider to taper the lines into the photograph. I dragged the white triangle so the right-hand value read 180. Then I pressed the Option key (PC: Alt) and dragged the right half of the white triangle so the values read 180 / 240 (see below). As a result, the lines gradually dissolve into transparency across the very lightest colors in the image. Click OK to accept your changes.
Step twelve: Press Option-left bracket (PC: Alt-left bracket) to move one layer down. (Or, if you prefer, click the solid black layer in the Layers palette.) Again click the half-black half-white icon at the bottom of the Layers palette, choose the Pattern command, and select the Thick Lines pattern. Scale the pattern by the same percentage as before (in my case, 50 percent) and click the OK button. The figure below shows my progress so far.
Step thirteen: In the Layers palette, double-click to the right of the newest pattern layer’s name to bring up the Layer Style dialog box. As before, change the Blend Mode setting to Multiply. Then adjust the white Underlying Layer slider triangle to taste. I Option-dragged (Alt-dragged) the white triangle so the pair of right-hand values read 190 / 220. Then I clicked OK. Whatever your settings, Photoshop merges the opposite line patterns to create a cross-hatch effect, as illustrated below.
Step fourteen: You can stop now and leave the cross-hatching set against a lightened version of the color photograph. But presumably, you want to convert the entire graphic to black-and-white. It might seem like you could just set the Background layer to white and be done with it. However, thanks to the Underlying Layer settings, the behavior of the cross-hatching depends on the colors in the photograph.
Here’s the better way: Click the top layer in the Layers palette to make it active. Then click the half-black half-white icon at the bottom of the palette and choose the Threshold command. Adjust the Threshold Level value to create the ideal balance of blacks and whites, as pictured below. Then click OK.
Step fifteen: At this point—at any point—you can adjust the Underlying Layer settings applied to the pattern layers to finesse the cross-hatching. In my case, I double-clicked to the right of the Thin Lines layer and dragged the two halves of the white slider triangle so the right-hand values read 225 / 255. After clicking OK, I double-clicked to the right of the Thick Lines layer and changed its slider values to 180 / 240 and clicked OK again. The point is, the cross-hatching settings remain forever editable. My modified line art appears below.
I finished things off by adding some text in back of the Threshold layer, so as to maintain the sharp transitions between black and white. I also threw in a vector graphic of a plate-glass bullet hole (courtesy of iStockphoto, www.istockphoto.com/artydanmark), which I pasted into my composition as a shape layer. My final illustration appears below.
If you want more definition, add more line patterns. To achieve the effect below, I used a series of six line patterns, five of various widths at a 45-degree angle (that is, down and to the right) and one at a 135-degree angle (down and left). For the best results, make sure each pattern layer employs lower Underlying Layer slider values than the one above it. If you’re anything like me, once you sink your teeth into this technique, you’re going to have a field day.