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Adobe Photoshop Manual

Drawing: Incised Scripts, Line Drawings

One of the most valuable tools that computer imaging offers is the ability to draw one's interpretation of the text directly on top of an image of the text. The drawing is ALWAYS done on a different layer or series of layers, so that the drawing can be changed without losing the original data of the photograph. A layer is like a transparency placed on top of a photograph--anything done to the transparency leaves the original photograph untouched.

The first example presented here is an incised inscription--letters carved in stone. One way of drawing characters in this type of inscription is to draw the "spine" of a letter rather than its outline. The "spine" can then be "stroked" with a paintbush or pencil tool to the thickness of the incision.

When drawing letters on an incised inscription it is best to use images taken with contrasting lights. We usually make our drawings with at least two images on the screen. A letter will be drawn on one image and copied to the other, so that there are matching drawings on both (or all) images. We will assume in the following example that two images are used, and that they have been sized to one another.

1. Open two sized images taken with contrasting lights and zoom in to the area to be drawn.

 Two images taken with contrasting lights.

2. In the Layer window, click on the right arrow and select "New Layer." Give the layer a name and click on "OK." All other settings in this window should follow the sample below.

Layer menu 

 Naming layer

Your drawing should now take place with the new layer selected. You can draw all your letters on one drawing layer, or you can add a layer for each letter. Layers do, however, increase the size of the file, so make sure you have enough memory to accommodate large files.

 New layer selected

3. In the Paths window, click on the right arrow and select "New Path." Name the path and click "OK."

 Path window

 New path name

The path will be the series of points you choose to trace or draw your letter. The computer authomatically connects the points, somewhat like a dot-to-dot drawing.

4. Select the Pen Tool. You will begin drawing with the basic pen tool (#1). Trace the letter by clicking at a few points (called "anchor points") along the spine of the letter. Use as few points as possible for a smooth line (only four points have been used to create the path below). The computer will automatically connect the points. At first the outline will look rather crude, but there are other tools that will be used to shape the path more precisely.

 Use a few points to draw the basic outline of the letter.

5. Now select, under Pen Tool, the Convert Point Tool (#5). Click on one of the anchor points and drag the cursor to one side. You will see that you have created "handlebars." Moving the cursor around while holding on to the end of the handle bar allows you to bend the path.

 WIth the Convert Point Tool, create handlebars and change the curve of the path.

Each side of the handlebar can also be moved independently. Unclick, then click on the end of one of the handlebars. It will now move by itself. Move the handlbar around, lengthening or shortening it as needed to curve the line to the curve of the letter. You may need to work with points at both ends of a line to achieve the correct curve.

 Move handlebars independently to achieve correct curve.

 Completed path, using pen tool (#1) and convert point tool (#5).

6. See Stroking Paths and Copying Drawings for completing the drawing by "painting" the path.

Drawing with Subpaths

Drawing Letters in Outline

Drawing Letters Made with Ink

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