13 Replies Latest reply on Feb 13, 2012 9:24 AM by Noel Carboni



      George DeWolfe describes and edge enhancement method he calls outlining. He does this by manually painting edges with a small history brush. There must be a less tedious way in which one selects the edges and applies a saturation adjustment layer. So how does one create a selection of just the edges of an object?

        • 1. Re: outlining
          PECourtejoie Adobe Community Professional


          There are several ways to find the edges: Filters> Smart Blur> Mode: Edges only , or Filters>  Stylize > Find edges come to mind. (you can then use maximize/minimize, or other methods to tweak your edges.

          Of course, you want to create a flattened copy, apply the filter, then select all, hide layer, apply the saturation adjustement layer, Alt/Option+click the layer mask to target it, paste the "edges".

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          • 2. Re: outlining
            nitroxide5 Level 1

            thanks, I will give it a try, but in CS5, when I open a raw image from Camera RAW, the smart blur option is grayed out.

            • 3. Re: outlining
              PECourtejoie Adobe Community Professional

              Yes, it is not available in 16 bits.

              Make a copy of your image that you convert to 8 bits mode, and use that one as the source of the mask.

              • 4. Re: outlining
                Trevor.Dennis Adobe Community Professional

                I like the Topaz Simplify plugin for creating edges.  You can also clean them up using the brush set to Overlay mode  (white to clean the empty areas, and black to reinforce the lines)

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                • 5. Re: outlining
                  nitroxide5 Level 1

                  Thanks for the help guys.

                  The Topaz simplify looks interesting to create edges, although I would not use it to create the special effects for which it was apparently designed. I will download an evaluation version.

                  • 6. Re: outlining
                    Noel Carboni Level 8

                    What kind of edge enhancement are you actually looking to achieve?  Can you post an example image?  The word "enhancement" is simply too broad to know what your goals are here.  And painting with a History Brush depends on what you've done to your image, so that's no help.


                    If you're just looking to select edges, here's an idea:


                    • Duplicate the image as a new layer, then use Filter - Stylize - Glowing Edges.
                    • Use the result as a layer mask
                    • Now manipulate the mask, for example with Curves or even by painting on it, to isolate just the edges you want.  Use the mask to gate transparency/visibility of whatever you want.


                    For example:





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                    • 7. Re: outlining
                      nitroxide5 Level 1



                      Sorry to not say more about this. In George deWolfes book on the Fine Print workshop, he describes a procedure he calls outlining (pg 175). All he says is he uses the history brush in multiply mode to paint the edges in an image. This darkens them to make the object separate and stand out. I wanted to try this without the tedium of hand painting the edges. I am playing now with you suggestion.

                      • 8. Re: outlining
                        Noel Carboni Level 8

                        You could, for example, duplicate the image as a second layer, set it to Multiply mode, and use the mask I mentioned to make only those parts participate in the layer combination.



                        • 9. Re: outlining
                          Trevor.Dennis Adobe Community Professional

                          I did this with Topaz Simplify from a photograph (which was a nightmare to take because it was in Shanghai and always surrounded with tourists!), but chose to make it more of a grey scale image than line art. But if you dl the larger version from THIS LINK you can try the trick I mentioned back up the thread.  Just select the paint brush, and set its blend mode to Overlay.  Then paint with white to remove the lighter tones, and black to reinforce the darker tones.  I also Stroked the outline with black to give it a solid edge.  IIRC I had to use the pen tool to get a decent selection.



                          • 10. Re: outlining
                            Trevor.Dennis Adobe Community Professional

                            Adding to this, you can use a lot of airbrush artists tricks with images like this.  I usually make an elipse than more or less follows a line - somes times you need to transform the selection - and free hand paint using the selection, or maybe stroke it.  I usually add gausion blur, and set a value like 1.0 and keep using Ctrl/Cmd f to repeat it.  Then erase, or mask out the excess.  Hitting the m key gives you contrl of the elipse again ready to move to the next position.


                            You can also sharpen up an OOF image using the same sort of technique, by sllecting an outline and cloning inside and out to crisp it up.  It is suprising how few edges you need do this on to make a big difference.  BTW  This is only doable with narrow DoF images.

                            • 11. Re: outlining
                              PECourtejoie Adobe Community Professional

                              Nitroxide5, if you are using CS5, did you try simply to use the sharpen tool?

                              Yes, the one you heard you should never use. Try it, you'll be amazed, it has been re-engineered, and will soon be back in your favorite tools!

                              • 12. Re: outlining
                                nitroxide5 Level 1

                                Thanks for all the helpful suggestions! I really appreciate it.

                                Regarding the sharpening, I use Photokit, but I have heard that CS5, which I use, has a greatly improved set of tools for sharpening.

                                • 13. Re: outlining
                                  Noel Carboni Level 8

                                  Photoshop's own Smart Sharpen is pretty decent, but 3rd party tools do better, depending on your needs.


                                  Post a small crop from an image in a state which you would be ready to sharpen it, and describe what you need it sharpened for.  Perhaps someone could suggest specifics in that case.