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Adobe Photoshop Manual

Drawing: Incised Scripts, Outline 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 second example presented here is an incised inscription with the letters drawn in outline. The outline can then be selected and either "stroked" with a paintbush or pencil tool, or "filled" with a color of one's choice.

1. Open an image and zoom in to the area to be drawn.

 Image of area to be drawn.

2. In the Layer window, click on the right arrow and select "New Layer." Give the layer a name and click on "OK."

Layer menu 

 New named 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.

Note that for this particular inscription there are three image layers. When drawing letters that are incised it is best to have at least two views of the inscription, from alternate light angles, for comparison. In this case there is an image with the light from the right, one with the light from the left, and an x-ray shot. Before finalizing any drawing, all images should be compared in order to obtain the best idea of how a letter is formed.

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") around the outside of the letter. Use as few points as possible for a smooth line. 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.

Once the path is drawn, click off the active layer and click on an alternate image for comparison. You may need to make adjustments to your path based on different views of the same letter.


 Path on alternate image.

 Adjusting path on alternate image.

 Third image with path for comparison.

In this inscription it is necessary to draw each stroke of the letter separately (see Drawing with Subpaths) and it may be preferable to do that for all inscriptions, including those written with ink on parchment or papyrus. The advantage of this method is that one can stroke or fill each subpath with a different color to show stroke order (see #6).



 Second subpath.

 Second subpath after using Convert Point Tool.

 Third subpath on second image.

Third subpath on first image. 


6. See Stroking Paths, Filling Paths, and Copying Paths for completing the drawing.

Drawing Line Paths

Drawing with Subpaths

Drawing Letters in Outline

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