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Large strokes (layer effect) uneven at corners

May 22, 2012 2:17 AM

Hi all,

 

I'm using Photoshop CS6, but I've confirmed that this happens on CS4, CS5 and CS5.1 too.

 

When I create a shape (say a simple triangle or such, using the various Shape tools), then apply a large (40px) Stroke Layer Effect to it, the corners of the stroke aren't smooth - they're stepped/jagged. There's a screenshot of what's happening here: http://img.ly/images/4424013/full

 

http://s3.amazonaws.com/imgly_production/4424013/original.jpg

 

Note how the corners of the stroke aren't perfectly curved, but are made up of noticeable straight lines. The document you're seeing is being viewed at 100%, by the way. The stroke is set to Outside, and is 40px in size.

 

I'm aware of the new native strokes for vector shapes in CS6, and they don't have the problem, but in a certain project I need to combine both the native vector strokes and also the stroke layer effect, so I can't simply use the native strokes instead.

 

I'm also aware that I could use an Illustrator Smart Object with a pre-applied stroke, but that doesn't address whether this behaviour in Photoshop is broken or not.

 

It's been suggested to me that this problem arises because Photoshop applies the stroke layer effect to the rendered bitmap of the layer, not to the vector shape itself, and that's why the problem has persisted for several versions of CS.

 

Is this considered a bug? Is it likely to go away? Is there a workaround, bearing in mind that I require to use both native vector strokes and the stroke layer effect simultaneously on a layer?

 

Thanks,

-Matt

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 22, 2012 7:56 AM   in reply to Matt Gemmell

    Not a expert on this technique but it seems like you are up against image resoultion and size of brush that creates the stair step bend at corners.  If you have the choice of using an anti-aliased line it could smooth out the stair step effect.

     

    Can you use a smaller brush on the corners to mask that effect?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 22, 2012 8:05 AM   in reply to Matt Gemmell

    Set the stroke position to inside if you want a crisp outer stroke, assuming that fits your design. This approach has its limits as well for very wide strokes , but it may fit your needs.

     

    Paulo

     
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  • Noel Carboni
    23,455 posts
    Dec 23, 2006
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    May 22, 2012 9:28 AM   in reply to Matt Gemmell

    Matt Gemmell wrote:

     


    Unfortunately, 'Inside' doesn't fit my needs

     

     

    Just some thoughts on that...

     

    Sign3.jpg

     

    Sign3WithStroke.jpg

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 22, 2012 10:21 AM   in reply to Matt Gemmell

    Ok, as far as I know there is no way of making the layer style stroke always "fair" for wide strokes.  There may be a chance of a workaround that someone could suggest if you give us an example of exactly what you are trying to achieve. The image you provided in your original post does not show a vector stroke. A description and a pixels/inch spec would be useful.

     

    Paulo

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 22, 2012 12:06 PM   in reply to Matt Gemmell

    Ok, now I know what you are dealing with.

    Here is a quick rendition using one approach (one curve) does this meet your desires ?  If so we can discuss.

    Your posted image shows a small stepping effect, but I know that sometimes those little things can be annoying.

     

    Paulo

    Capture.PNG

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 22, 2012 12:23 PM   in reply to Matt Gemmell

    1. I used the pen tool to trace the path (open) of your sine curve.

    2. I then selected a brush tool and stroked the path using the appropriate icon at the bottom of the path panel - it could be any style/color brush you want.

    3. I then did a layer style for the light gray outer glow.

     

    One should be able to minimize the artifacts by having a larger pixel count document.

     

    Paulo

     

    PS:  what might worry me more than the slight stepping at the top/bottom-outside  is the pointed artifact at the top/bottom-inside of the sine stroke.

     
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  • Noel Carboni
    23,455 posts
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    May 22, 2012 12:34 PM   in reply to Matt Gemmell

    Redrawing one of the waves as a closed path, then creating a colored shape, then duplicating that isn't too hard.  It's clear, though, that the outside stroke is, as you say, a bit rough around the outer edges of the curves.

     

    Walking in your footsteps, I came up with this quick rendition:

     

    http://Noel.ProDigitalSoftware.com/ForumPosts/LogoRedrawn.zip

     

    Sure seems like Stroke brush spacing really ought to be controllable somehow, to allow you to smooth things out.

     

    I need to think on this some more...  Maybe the answer is to redraw both the inside and outside edges.

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    May 22, 2012 12:41 PM   in reply to Paulo Skylar

    You could stroke the path with a larger brush and a small Spacing value to get the outer dark gray, rather than it being a vector stroke.

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 22, 2012 12:42 PM   in reply to Noel Carboni

    Noel Carboni wrote:

    .....

    Sure seems like Stroke brush spacing really ought to be controllable somehow,

     

    -Noel

    As far as I can tell, that layer style "stroke" is a simple fixed function filter - no controls.

     

    Paulo

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 22, 2012 1:07 PM   in reply to Matt Gemmell

    Yes, those are pixels. The basic path(s), however remains vector and can be changed (Transform Path) to any size desired and then restroked.

     

     

    Paulo

     

    PS: You can also consider making your document pixel count large enough that even at it max print size you have 300 ppi. Then from that master document you can create various size prints.

     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    May 22, 2012 1:05 PM   in reply to Matt Gemmell

    Matt Gemmell wrote:

     

    Hi Noel,

     

    I've been thinking that I'll probably have to just redraw the curves as full, closed shapes, then apply a vector stroke for the dark-grey outline. Can't find any way to control the nature of the Stroke Layer Effect.

     

    -Matt

     

    Exactly what I did in the PSD I posted above, and you're right, they can't be made smooth.

     

    Here's one doing what I said - stroking the path with a thick gray brush at Spacing:1.  Note that this generates a layer of pixels, so I did it at an upsampled resolution.

     

    http://Noel.ProDigitalSoftware.com/ForumPosts/LogoRedrawnSmoothOuterSt roke.zip

     

    Here's what it looks like:

     

    LogoRedrawn2.jpg

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    May 22, 2012 1:13 PM   in reply to Matt Gemmell

    It was just a Hard Round brush that was 281 pixels.  Spacing: 1 in the Brush windows.

     

    In hindsight it should probably have been just a little thicker...  286 or so. 

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Noel Carboni
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    May 22, 2012 1:17 PM   in reply to Matt Gemmell

    You're welcome.  You should give Paulo the Correct Answer or at least a Helpful, as he thought of stroking the path with a brush. 

     

    -Noel

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 22, 2012 6:55 PM   in reply to Matt Gemmell

    Matt Gemmell wrote:

     

    Hi Noel,

     

    I've been thinking that I'll probably have to just redraw the curves as full, closed shapes, then apply a vector stroke for the dark-grey outline. Can't find any way to control the nature of the Stroke Layer Effect.

     

    -Matt

    Glad you found an approach that works for you.  If I were working with these curves I would probably stick with the open paths, though Noel's closed path approach certainly works. The curves would be easier to reshape if you changed you mind about the geometry at some point. I would use the open path and three separate strokes of the path. I've done this on a sample with a path drawn on a document created with File >New>US Paper, so it is a high res document. After I created the full size curve I then Merged the layers, duplicated and scaled it down three times. Looks good to me at all sizes,

    Paulo

    Capture.PNG

     
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  • Noel Carboni
    23,455 posts
    Dec 23, 2006
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    May 22, 2012 7:39 PM   in reply to Paulo Skylar

    Only thing the closed path buys you is more control over how the "kinks in the hose" look.

     

    Paulo, I'm not sure I'm happy with the way the glow looks around the ends of your renderings.

     

    -Noel

     
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