Al's Photoshop TutorialOld Course (Versions 4.0 through 6.x)

Step 1: Create a sketch

OK, let's get started! I'm not going to offer any real help here on getting a sketch done, of course. There are plenty of artists' tutorials out there to help you with that. But once you've made or found a sketch you wish to use, or if you want to work with my sketch to the right here, we can proceed.

The image to the right is the sketch I'll be using in this tutorial. You can download the full-resolution version by clicking on it. You'll notice that the sketch is fairly large. I think it is good practice to work on a resolution that is higher than you'll need in the end, especially for screen-resolution images. The tiny errors that inevitably occur will be easier to correct in the higher resolution, and those small ones that do slip by are less visible when shrunk to screen-resolution.

If you're importing a sketch from paper to use, the best way to get it is with a scanner. These days, scanners are fairly cheap, fast, and high-quality, so if you're a serious aspiring artist, there's no reason not to have one. Scanners usually come with their own software for scanning, which can communicate with other programs through a protocol called "TWAIN" (which stands for "Technology Without An Interesting Name." No, really, it does!).

Take a look in your Photoshop menus, under File, in the Import submenu. You should see an option called "Select TWAIN_32 Source..." or "Select TWAIN Source..." Select that command and be sure your scanner is selected there. Then go back to the same submenu and select "TWAIN_32..." or "TWAIN..." to import an image from your scanner. This should start up the scanning software provided with your scanner. Although every scanner manufacturer's software is different, it's usually roughly the same experience. The software will immediately start making a preview of what's on the scanner bed, and then you can select a region of it to scan. Look for a way to specify what type of image it's scanning. If you're just scanning a graphite sketch, it's better to scan it in greyscale rather than full color. Also look for a way to specify the DPI (Dots Per Inch resolution) that it scans at. You might want to set this fairly high, like 200 or 300. If it's too big, you can always shrink it with "Image » Image Size".

Once you have your scan, don't forget to save! Use "File » Save As..." and be sure you're saving it in the Photoshop (.PSD) format.

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