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Vector Clipart and Pencil Sketches from Photos
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Vector Clipart and Pencil Sketches from Photos
Created by: Doro Sensen

In this tutorial we'll use the Point-to-Point Drawing tool to create a clipart and a pencil sketch from a photo.
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To follow this tutorial, you can download the photo of my canary Tweetje.

Open a new image with the dimensions of the photo:
– Width = 148
– Height = 273
– Background = white
– Image type = 16.7 Million Colors
Open Tweetje.jpg or another photo of your choice and go to Edit || Copy (Ctrl+C). Switch to your new image and go to Edit || Paste || As a New Layer (Ctrl+L). In your layer palette, double-click on that layer and change its name to "Photo", then drag its opacity slider to 50%.
You can now close the original photo. Set both your foreground and background colour to black.
Click on the Drawing tool in your tool palette:
– Type = Point to Point Line
– Style = Stroked
– Width = 1
– Antialias = unchecked (if not greyed out)
– Create as vector = checked
– Close path = not available
With the Point-to-Point Line, you work directly in node-edit mode, i.e. by clicking on the picture you "draw nodes" which are connected by lines. Now click around the bird's body first to get its contour (the tail, feet and perch will be added later). Set as many or few nodes as you like, we'll edit this afterwards. When you're done, click somewhere outside of the image. You'll then have the outline of the bird, enclosed by the vector selection frame. A vector layer has automatically been added for your point-to-point line; double-click on it in your layer palette and change its name to "Clipart".
Click on the Vector Object Selection tool in your tool palette, then on the "Node Edit" button in the Tool Options palette (or right-click on the picture and choose "Node Edit" from the context menu).
First we want to close the contour: Take the end node, press the Ctrl key and drag it over the start node; when the word "Join" appears next to the cursor, release the mouse button.
You can now edit all the nodes to your liking. For example, if you're as unsure with drawing as I am ;)) you'll have made quite a lot of nodes around the bird's body. For a clipart, however, we want simple, straight lines, so it would be a good idea to get rid of some of the nodes. For this, select the nodes you want to delete (while pressing the Shift key you can select more than one node), right-click on the image and choose Edit || Merge from the context menu (Ctrl+M). The unnecessary nodes have now disappeared, and the line has been straightened.
To get nice curves, select a node, right-click on the picture and choose Node Type || Symmetrical (or Node Type || Asymmetrical) from the context menu. Now you can edit the curve and make it smoother by moving the node handles.
Work your way around the body, deleting as many nodes as you think necessary, and editing the remaining nodes and curves. Your clipart line need not meet the photo contour in every aspect, you can "optimize" it to your liking. Then add two (Single or Freehand) lines for the beak and, with the Preset-Shape tool, a small circle for the eye (Style = Filled, Create as Vector = checked).
Finally, do the same for the lower part of the tail; its upper part, the perch and the feet can be done with some Single or Freehand Lines. Be sure to have all contours closed and to draw the perch well over the whole image, from one edge to the other; that's important for our "pencil sketch" later on.
When you're done with that, you can copy the "Clipart" layer (Edit || Copy or Ctrl+C) and paste it as a new image (Edit || Paste || As New Image or Ctrl+V) and have already got a nice clipart of a bird on a perch!

Here you can see that you can reduce the size of a vector clipart without quality loss. I've also checked the Antialias option for this one (click on the Vector Object Selection tool, then right-click on the image and choose "Select all", right-click again and choose "Properties" from the context menu to change property options).

For the "pencil sketch", click on the "Photo" layer and set its opacity back to 100%.

Go to Colors || Adjust || Hue/Saturation/Lightness. Set the Saturation to -100, leave Hue and Lightness at 0. We've now turned all the colours in the photo to grey.

Now apply a motion blur (Image || Blur || Motion Blur) with an Angle of 45 and an Intensity of 10.
Now we have to clean up the area around the bird. Click on the "Clipart" layer in your layer palette, then on the Magic Wand tool in your tool palette. Keep the Shift key pressed and click everywhere into the background around the bird and the perch.
Then switch to the "Photo" layer in your layer palette and hit the Delete key (if that doesn't work, go to Edit || Clear). Everything around the clipart lines should be deleted now, and the white of the background layer should shine through. In case there's also something deleted within the clipart, some contours aren't really closed so that the inner area could be selected as well with the Magic Wand tool. Just undo, deselect, search and close the gap on the clipart layer and try again.

If everything is okay, deselect by right-clicking into the image.

Finally, the contrast between the clipart line and the "pencil sketch" could be a bit softer.

Click on the Vector Object Selection tool in your tool palette and then on the "Clipart" layer in your layer palette to make it the active layer. Now right-click into the image and choose "Select All" from the context menu so that your whole clipart is selected.

Right-click into the image again and choose "Properties" from the context menu. In the Vector Properties dialog box, change the black of the clipart lines (Line Style: Color) to a dark grey that matches better with the rest of the image.
In this dialog box, you can also change the Antialias option if you like. If you want to save your image as a transparent gif (like the one above), you should leave Antialias unchecked to avoid jaggies. A jpeg image, however, could look better with Antialias checked (like on the left).