How do I make smooth hand drawn lines?

#1
Hi all,

I would like some advice on the best way to smooth out my work.

My work is generally calligraphy, it is all drawn by hand but would like the option to smooth it out on photoshop if possible? Can anyone help with this?

I have attached a copy of the artwork(untouched) to give you an idea.

Thanks
 

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#2
Well, if you have a tablet, you need to select a brush, press f5 and in the options, make the brush go bigger if you increase the pressure of you tablet pen.
If you don't have a tablet, you make a path with your pent tool(p) and then right click>stroke path and check simulate pressure.
 
#3
Hi Chris,

I did as you said, when I click simulate pressure what else do I select? I tried brush and a copy of the pen line I made appeared - which was not smooth and x20 bigger than it should have been.
 

ALB68

Dear Departed Guru and PSG Staff Member
#4
There may be a good way to do this but I don't think there is a one or two click fix.Why don't you consider drawing these with the computer in the beginning. You may find that the quality and control you get, might make the savings in time worth the effort to learn the process. I'm not sure PS is the right software either, I think I would consider something vector based, such as Illustrator or Corel Draw. Good luck!
 
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ALB68

Dear Departed Guru and PSG Staff Member
#6
Well, you could do that but you would still spend a lot of time manipulating the curves if you autotrace. I use Corel Draw for vectors and there is an option for smoothing in the trace module. Now, you could draw them by hand, scan them in and then trace them by hand. That would be easy, not very time efficient, but you would have a lot of control over your output. Lots of people do that.
 
#8
if you own illustrator they have a spiral tool which is very good for this kind of work and plenty of tutorials out there for doing so, It has always been a tool that I am surprised that it has not been imported into photoshop. Google vines tutorial and that should be a good starting point just manipulate it more to your lettering.

that said if you want the quick and dirty version you can trace it in illustrator giving you paths and vector version
 
#9
If you continue to do this work in Photoshop and you trust your hand (or in Illustrator for that matter) a tablet would be a wise and wonderful investment for you, as chrisix suggested. You can always combine vector line creations with your handwritten calligraphic letters.
 

ALB68

Dear Departed Guru and PSG Staff Member
#14
With the pentool make your shape, By that I mean you need to make it so that you have two ends and they need to close to form a closed path. Once that is done, use the Path selection tool and click on your shape. The anchor points will appear and you can then manipulate the shape by moving the points. A tablet is really useful for this mission. You can then right click on your shape and stroke it. You can choose your pixel width etc in the pop up window. Hope this helps.
(You also have the option of filling the shape so that it is solid color if that works better for you)

Ok I think I can trace the curves with the pen tool, but as you can see from the original artwork how do I manipulate the line to be thicker in certain areas?
 
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#15
Probably the quickest way to smooth hand-drawn, B&W pen art is the following:

1. Use the "Select color range" or "Quick Selection" tool in PS to select the white (ie, non-ink-filled) regions. Invert the selection.

2. If you are more comfortable in PS, clean up any stray holes and black flecks while still in PS.

3. Go to the path palette, and, use the "Make a work path" command (in the upper RH corner) to make a named path.

4. For backup, save your work as an ordinary PS file.

5. Also, export your paths using the "Export paths into Adobe Illustrator" command, ie, save as an AI file.

6. Open this file in AI.

7. If you don't see the paths, hit cntl-A (select all).

8. At this point, you can do one of two things: You can either (a) try AI's "simplify path" command, or (b) manually simplify the path by deleting anchor points and straightening / smoothing the various segments of the path. Sometimes one gets lucky with the automated "simplify path" command, but, to be honest, even though it may seem more tedious, most of the time, it's easier and a more certain path to your goal to do it manually.

9. Fill the result with black and you're done.

In the next few posts, I'll post some screen grabs illustrating the various steps in the above technique.

HTH,

Tom M
 
#19
...and finally, here is a small section of the center of the image after manually deleting anchor points and tweaking the positions and handles on the remaining anchor points. Note: For comparison, I intentionally didn't do any tweaking of the right-most and lower path segments.

As you can imagine, if you spend a bit of time, you can get some very, very nice smooth, variable width art.

HTH,

Tom M
 

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#20
...and finally, here is a small section of the center of the image after manually deleting anchor points and tweaking the positions and handles on the remaining anchor points. Note: For comparison, I intentionally didn't do any tweaking of the right-most and lower path segments.

As you can imagine, if you spend a bit of time, you can get some very, very nice smooth, variable width art.

HTH,

Tom M

Hi Tom,

Thank you for your help, I managed to follow your clear instructions very well. Just a small query though.....

If i press cntrl+A it shows the whole path, when I start removing anchor points from certain paths(not all) the whole path disappears, it is a little annoying cause i have to press cntrl+A everytime.