Looking for something fun to try? Here at Topaz we recently discovered how to create a coloring book effect with our plug-in Topaz Simplify and we’d like to share this bit of knowledge with you.

How to Create a Coloring Book Effect

Within the program you can choose effects that will turn your photo into a simple line & ink drawing or even an advanced oil painting in a single click. You can even go as far as creating your own effect by mixing up the selective parameters to produce unique art that doesn’t fit the preset mold.

To create a coloring book effect, we’ll be working in the right hand side of Simplify with these particular settings: Edges, Transparency, Saturation and Dynamics.

So if you missed our recent webinar on how to achieve a coloring book effect with Topaz Simplify, read on to learn how to accomplish this skill. I can’t promise that you won’t be trying this out on every single one of your images by the end of the tutorial…

 Create a Coloring Book Effect

How to Create a Coloring Book Effect

Step 1:

1. Open Topaz Simplify (see our installation instructions if you need help with installing the plug-in in a compatible host editor).

2. Go to the bottom right corner of the user interface and press “Reset”. By default our programs will apply the last used setting on your image that was used during a prior session so you’ll want to start with a clean slate.

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 3.15.13 PM3. On the right hand panel, under Global Adjustments you’ll see three modes: Combined, Base and Edges:

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 5.49.41 PMCombined = Base and Edges

Base= Shows color base

Edges= Shows lines/edges

4. Select the Edges mode. You’ll see that by default the edges are at zero, leaving you with a white canvas:

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 5.50.33 PM5. Expand your Edges panel and make these adjustments:

Edge Type: Mono Edge – Normal

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 5.51.21 PMMove your Edge Strength slider to 5.00 and your Simplify Edge slider to 0.00. What I like to do after this is move the Reduce Weak slider to 0.00, but then increase it a bit to lighten the image, but not too high as I do not want the texture to dissapear. The same is done with the Reduce Small slider as shown:

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 5.52.41 PMYou’ll notice a pretty neat outline has been created. Zoom in at 100% to see all the texture close up, making sure this is what you want for your advanced coloring book outline.

How to Create a Coloring Book EffectStep 2:

6. Once you are happy with your outline, scroll down to the Finishing Touches panel, expand it and increase the overall Transparency to blend back in some of the original image. A setting between 0.20-0.50 is ideal.

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 5.54.30 PMThis will bring in a slight amount of color, but be sure not to bring in too much as you’ll be able to adjust the saturation later on:

How to Create a Coloring Book Effect7. Apply these settings by pressing the double checkmark icon in the bottom right corner of the program.

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 5.56.55 PMAfter you apply the effect you’ll have a new base image. From here you can increase your saturation without having to worry about the heavy amount of color that was originally coming through.

Step 3:

8. Collapse all panels you were previously working in and then expand your Adjust panel.  Increase the Saturation and Saturation Boost sliders to help balance out the colors and make them more vivid.

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 5.57.54 PM9. Increase the Dynamics to push and pull different tones of pixels…this will start to pixelate your image breaking down the actual information, giving you an artistic effect. You might also opt to increase the structure slider a tad to bring in details.

How to Create a Coloring Book EffectAs always with these fun experiments in Simplify, I like to bring my image into the program a couple of times (on different layers) to produce different results and then blend them together back in Photoshop by reducing the opacity of one of the layers. Here is my final result:

coloring book effect, topaz simplify, the grand tetonsA coloring book effect is as easy as that. Now go have fun! Be sure to tweet us your results @TopazLabs or post them to our Facebook page!

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