Image effect automation

Via MAKE: Blog I found Adobe Photoshop Tip: Comic Art Effect (Update 7/16/2011 dead link) which describes a series of steps to approximate a “comic book” look from a photo in Photoshop. While experimenting with it, I made a Photoshop actions file to automate some of the steps. The tutorial uses a displacement map made from a gray scale version of the source image. My photoshop scripting skills weren’t up to automating that part in a satisfactory way (it relies on saving out a file with the displacement map). So the actions file I made contains three actions: The first one automates steps 2 through 5. Step 6 begins with applying the displacement map saved in Step 1. The second action automates the rest of Step 6. The third action creates the optional dot screen layer described later in the tutorial.

The actions don’t leave the layers in the right order, but it’s easy to rearrange them as the tutorial describes.

The actions all rely on the source image being in a layer named ‘Layer 1’ (not ‘Background’). This is an artifact of how I recorded them, but I left it this way since it’s slightly more flexible since Photoshop is a little picky about what you do to the Background layer.

The actions leave all the layers as the tutorial does so you can tweak things such as the Levels of the Tone layer.