How To Create a Stipple Illustration Effect in Adobe Photoshop

Hello everyone this is Chris from Spoon Graphics back with another video tutorial Today I'm going to show you a technique I come up with to replicate those intricate stippled illustrations that are made out of thousands of tiny dots, but without the tedious process of dabbing each dot with a pen

When it comes to traditional art styles like this, the best results are always achieved by painstakingly working by hand for hours on end, but I think this digital effect actually looks pretty authentic We'll create a series of patterns which will help us fill out the spread of dots much faster, then use some simple filters to apply the stippling to an image So first we need to create our stipple patterns to save us from manually placing them one at a time Open Adobe Photoshop and create a new document at 500x500px Add a new layer, then go to Edit > Fill

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Change the drop down menu to white Next, go to Filter > Filter Gallery Navigate to Textures > Grain, then change the Grain Type to Stippled Alter the intensity to 51 This grain effect has created a nice spread of stipples, but they're really small at just one pixel in size

Go to Edit > Transform > Scale, then enter 200% in the Width and Height boxes in the top toolbar Scaling up the artwork helps soften those hard square pixels, making them larger circular dots that look much more like they're made with a pen Add another new layer and go to Edit > Fill Go to Filter > Filter Gallery again, making sure you select the menu option further down the list, not the one at the top which would repeat the last effect settings Increase the Intensity setting to 61 to increase the density of the spread of dots

Transform and scale this layer up by 200% Repeat the process with another new layer You can speed up the process by incorporating some keyboard shortcuts Use the CMD (or CTRL on Windows) and Backspace key to quickly fill the layer with white Add the Grain effect again from the Filter Gallery, increasing the Intensity by another 10px, making it 71

Use the CMD+T shortcut to Transform and enter the 200% figures in the toolbar Repeat the process of creating a new layer and increasing the grain intensity until you get to 100, remembering to scale up the layer by 200% each time We've run out of settings available in the Grain filter, but we can round off this series of patterns to 10 by duplicating the last layer Press the CMD+J shortcut 4 times Shift and click the first layer to select all 10 pattern layers, then change the blending mode to Multiply

This will render the white background transparent so each pattern layer builds upon the last Select just the top layer, then press CMD+T Click and drag with the mouse to move the layer in a random direction to offset the dots Select the next layer down and do the same, shifting this layer in a different direction to mix up the dots so they don't perfectly overlap Once all the layers are randomly positioned, toggle the visibility of each layer in turn to see the pattern density gradually decrease

With just the first layer visible, go to Edit > Define Pattern Give it a name of Stipple-1 It's a good idea to copy the word Stipple to save you from typing it another 10 times Toggle on the visibility of the next layer and go to Edit > Define Pattern Call this one Stipple 2

Repeat the process with the remaining 8 layers, until you have a collection of 10 stipple patterns This part of the tutorial was pretty repetitive, but at least you now have a collection of patterns you can use for all your future stippling You can skip straight to the fun bit next time! Next we need an image to apply the stippling effect to I'm using this portrait photo from Unsplash as my example Open your image in Adobe Photoshop

This particular image is 3000px, which is a little large for the size of dots we've made, so I'm scaling it down to 2000px If you need larger or smaller stippling for your projects, just use a figure larger or smaller than 200% when resizing the grain pattern Drag the background layer onto the new layer icon to make a duplicate, then add a black and white adjustment layer and a Posterize adjustment layer Select that background copy layer we just made, then go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur Adjust the value to around 3-4px, enough to smooth out the Posterizing effect outlines without losing too much of the details

Head back to the Posterize adjustment layer and change the number of levels Since we've made 10 lots of stipple patterns, we might as well go for 10 levels, but you can achieve simpler looking results with less levels Add a new layer, then select the Magic Wand tool Change the settings in the top toolbar to 0 Tolerance, then deselect Anti-Alias and Contiguous, but make sure Sample All Layers is enabled Starting with the lightest tone, click with the Magic Wand to load its selection, then go to Edit > Fill

Change the drop down menu to Pattern and select the lightest dot pattern Click the next lightest tone and fill it with the next dot pattern and so on Incorporate the Shift and F5 shortcut to quickly bring up the Fill dialogue box Select each posterize level and fill it with gradually darker dot patterns to see the image transform into a stipple illustration When you get to the darkest tones, you might have to temporarily turn off the layer visibility to accurately make a selection, otherwise it tries to sample the existing dots too

Once all the levels have been filled, you have an intricate stippled illustration effect that looks really quite authentic The enlargement of those original pixels made them more then size of a pen nib, and the resulting blurriness from resizing helped soften them into little circles Then applying the dots via pattern fills was a much faster process than manually dabbing each one by hand with pen and paper! So I hope this effect comes in handy in your future projects If you enjoyed the tutorial or learnt anything new don't forget to Subscribe to stick around for more Big thanks to Squarespace for helping out by sponsoring this video, don't forget you can get 10% off your first order with the code SPOONER

So as always thank you very much for watching, and I'll see you in the next one!

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