In this tutorial, we are going to transform this photograph of my cat Caesar into a wood engraving. If you wish to use Caesar's photograph, right click on it and use Save Image As. You can use a photograph of your own, but it must be one that can be turned into a black and white image and still show enough texture to make an interesting woodcut. A black and white cat would not be good because it would translate to large areas of colour with no texture to give it shape. Caesar's tabby markings will give texture to the darker areas.
You will need a wood texture. Mine was obtained from Willy's page of wood samples.
Finally, you will need the Eliminate White filter. If you do not have this filter, it can be obtained from Edesign. Put it in your Plugins folder and restart PSP5 so that it will be available.
Open Paint Shop Pro 5 and load in Caesar's picture. We need two more open images of the same size as the cat picture, 204x214 pixels. Make these now, resolution 72, background colour white, 16million colours. If you are using a different image these new ones must be the same size as your original.
Return to the cat picture. Select the lassoo tool. Use View/Toolbars and check Control Palette. On the control palette set Selection Type to Point-to-Point, Feather 0, Antialias and Sample Merged both unchecked.
Go carefully round the picture and outline the cat's head. Zoom in if it helps. Take small steps so that you can fit the shape closely, and be careful not to double click until you have completed the outline. When you have encircled the head, double click to get the example on the right.
Use Selections/Save to Alpha Channel and save this selection, giving it the name 'head'. Use Edit/Copy. Click on one of the two white images you made, and use Edit/Paste/As a New Layer, to give you the cat's head against a white background. We need to associate the head selection outline with this copy of the picture, so make sure that it is the current image by clicking on it.
Use Selection/Load from Alpha Channel, and click on the 'head' selection which is associated with the photograph. This will give you the example on the left.
Use Selections/Save to Alpha Channel and once again save the selection as 'head'.
This is the picture we shall be transforming into a black and white image, so save this now as B_W.psp. If you have to leave this tutorial and come back to it, when you reload this image the Alpha channel holding the selection will now load with it.
We turn now to the other white image you made. Load your wood sample into PSP5. Use the flood fill tool, and have the control panel open. (Use View/Toolbars and check Control Panel if you have closed it.) On the control panel, set Fill Style to Pattern, Match Mode to None, Tolerance 20, Opacity 100. Click on Options, and from the drop down list of available images, select your wood texture sample. Click OK and click in your remaining white image to fill it with the texture.
Although we have no cat picture on this image, we do need to associate the head shape selection with it as well, so once again, click on it to make it the current image, use Selections/Load from Alpha Channel and select 'head', to give you the image on the right. Use Selections/Save to Alpha Channel, name it once more as 'head', and the selection is now associated with this image as well and will save and load with it. This image will be our final wood picture, so save it now as woodpic.psp.
Return now to B_W.psp. If we were simply to transform it to a 2-colour image now, it would look like this. There is not enough detail in the black areas, the tabby spots around Caesar's nose are not well enough defined and there is a very large featureless white area.
First, use Colours/Greyscale and then Colours/Increase Colour Depth/16million Colours
Select the retouch tool, and on the control panel set Retouch Mode to Darken RGB and Paper Texture at None. Set the brush tip settings as shown on the right. Now go over the tabby patches on either side of Caesar's nose and darken them a little, so that the tabby lines are black, but the area surrounding them is not. Then go down the sides of his nose from his eye downward, until a black line appears there.
On the control panel change the Retouch Mode to Lighten RGB, but leave all the other settings as they are. Go over the left side of his cheek and the top of his head to lighten them and get more texture into these heavy black areas. You greyscale image should look, when you have finished, like the picture below. Do not overdo any of the adjustments. If your black and white image is not satisfactory it is far easier to come back and do some more retouching than to undo what you have already done. It will never be the last strokes you made that you want to undo!
Now use Colours/Decrease Colour Depth/2 Colours. Reply Yes to the query box about layer merging. Set the parameters in the next box to: Palette Component, Grey Values; Palette weight, Non-Weighted; Reduction Method, Nearest Colour. Click OK and your image will look like the one on the right. If you are not satisfied with it, undo until you have 2 layers again and carry on retouching.
Now we need to apply the Eliminate White filter to isolate just the black areas of the picture. Before we can apply the filter, the colours must be returned to 16 million, so use Colours/Increase Colour Depth/16million.
The cat's head should still be selected. If you have released the selection use Selections/Load from Alpha Channel and reload 'head'. Use Selections/Promote to Layer. Then apply the Eliminate White filter.
Use Edit/Copy. Click on the wood image, which still has the selection of the cat's head showing, and use Edit/Paste/As New Layer.
Keeping this new layer as the current layer, select the magic wand tool, and click in the middle of one of the big black areas of the image. Most of the black will be selected, but there will be quite a lot of disconnected areas that you will have to select by hand, holding down the shift key and clicking on the smaller black areas with the magic wand tool. Zoom to 3:1 so that you can be sure of placing the tool on black pixels before you click. You must not select any of the surround. If you do, the whole image will be outlined, and then you must undo until only black areas are selected before you continue. Don't try to select every single pixel, but concentrate on clumps of black pixels, especially aroound the outside of the image, and down by the nose and mouth area where we darkened it. When you have selected as much of the black as you can, use Selections/Save to Alpha Channel and save the selection as Black. You should not, in fact, need this saved selection again but it is always a good precaution to save the selection. If you decide you are not satisfied with the final image because you left too many black pixels unselected, you will be able to undo, reload this selection and carry on. Your image will look like this.
Now use the eye dropper tool to select for your background colour the darkest shade you can find in your wood, and for the foreground colour the lightest you can find. Use Image/Effect/Cutout, with the settings shown below. Click OK.
Then use Image/Effects/Drop Shadow, using the foreground colour, with Opacity at 100 and Blur and the two Offsets at 1. Click OK, use Selections/Select None, and you have your engraved picture of a cat.
You will probably want to add some finishing touch like a decorative border. I have placed this image on another larger image with the wood slightly lightened in colour and decorated with cutouts, but what you do with your picture is up to you.
© Carol Brooksbank 2003