I'd like to find a simpler solution for something that I need to do often, which is to turn photographic images into computery ones.
To be more clear, I'm often taking steps to
-reduce the number of colors in the image and
-turn the boundaries between colors into smoother lines.
For example, making something like this:
into something like this:
Here's what I have tried so far:
-the "Stamp" filter can be very useful IF the desired end result has only two colors.
-the "Cutout" filter IN THEORY is perfect. However, often even the most edge-faithful, least-smooth setting fails to create a discernible image.
-"Posterize" introduces all sorts of crazy web colors in ways I don't understand. (Why does the web think that green comes between light brown and dark brown?) AND the edges produced are very gravely.
So right now what I do is:
1-posterize the image
2-inspect by eye and eliminate the colors I think are stupid
3-make a layer mask for each color
4-gaussian blur each layer mask
5-threshold each layer mask
(BTW the gaussian blur/threshold combo is often very useful for smoothing lines.)
This is pretty time consuming and I was wondering if anyone has a better way.
>Posterize (3 or 4 levels can work, don't care the horrible colors, you'll change them later)
>Median (to soften the borders)
Then make the image inexed color and choose the "custom" palette.
Now the trick:
In the palette window, select the colors from the darker to the middle, then the window to select colors will open two times. Select a dark color the first time and a brilliant one the second time. Now, in the palette window again select from your last brilliant color to the last one. The color selection windows will open again. Leave the first color the same and give the second color a very light color or even white.
If you want you can convert the image to RGB again to fine tune the color.
This is an old trick, from the days indexed color was born, but it still has his uses from time to time. I hope this helps.
I think I'm slowly getting the hang of this.... so when you select a RANGE of colors from the palate window (and you can only select adjacent colors, right?) Then photoshop is like "okay hotshot, I'll replace these colors with the points along a linear gradient of your chosing," right?
Also just knowing about the median filter is a great help. (Gaussian blur, threshold is not so necessary after all...)
That's right, you can select a range of colors and Photoshop will ask for the first and last ones. Then, it will create a gradiente, as you said. You can also select a single color, for example, if you want the first and last ones to be black and white, you can create your gradient and then change the first and last colors. Sorry my post was not 100% clear from the begining, english is not my native language.
This process is, as many others in photoshop, a try and error one, but you can get some funky looks with it until photoshop integrate a similar filter to the Colorama in After Effects.