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Tiffany7 04-06-2012 10:23 AM

Turn your Photos into Digital Stamps!

Make digital stamps (line art) from your own photographs! I used one of my own images for this tutorial! =) Hope you'll find it useful!

For this tutorial I'm using Photoshop CS5, but this lesson should work with most any version. Best of all you don't need any 3rd party plugins or filters, you use only basic filters that come with Photoshop. (I'm not sure about Photoshop Elements b/c I've never used it) This tutorial can work on most any type of photo, depending on what type of digital image you want to achieve. You can either isolate an object from a photo (like below) or, use the entire photo as a "scene" for a digital stamp image.

1. Let's start by isolating your object from the background of the image. Use your pen tool to create a new work path and select your object.
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_3EoOMTA9Jy...0/pentool1.jpg http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_3EoOMTA9Jy...0/pentool2.jpg

If you need help using the pen tool do a google search for a "photoshop pen tutorial". Depending on your image there are other ways of selecting your object; such as selecting by color range. I find it easier to zoom in really close to select your image with the pen tool. Use your space bar to pan around the image as needed. Depending on the detail of your image this step could take a while, but will be worth it in the end! Here you can see my selection path! When you have a high contrast from object to background you can use your magnetic lasso tool and it will automatically grab the sides! Very cool!

2. After you have selected your object (by connecting the last dot to the first dot!) Then Save Your Selection as a New Path by dragging your "new path" on the palette down to the "create new path" icon at the bottom of your Path palette. It will name itself Path 1.

3. Next, Convert Your Path to a Selection by clicking the dotted circle icon at the bottom of your palette.

4. Then go back to your layers palette and hit "cmd/ctrl J" to duplicate your selection.

Name this layer "flower". (1)

Then create a new layer below the flower layer and fill with white. (2)

5. Now, you need to desaturate your image, that means remove all the color. At the bottom of your layers palette click the New Adjustment Layer icon (the half full moon). Click "Hue/Saturation" and slide the Saturation slider all the way to the left. This will make your image look black and white.

6. Your image may seem rather flat, so lets Add Another Adjustment Layer with levels to increase the contrast. Selects "Levels".

On the levels dialogue box the left black slider represents your shadows. The right white slider are your highlights. The middle grey is for your midtones.

I moved my shadows closer in to where the shadow information starts on the scale. I did the same with the highlights moving to the left ▼

Look at your own image and decide what looks best.

This will make better end results with the boost in contrast.

7. Let's put this new grayscale image on it's own new layer.

Hold Cmd/Ctrl and hit your flower layer (the image part of the layer) and that will automatically select what you have on that layer.

Then do a Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + C and copy merge everything that is selected.

Then do a Cmd/Ctrl + V and paste and it will automatically paste onto a new layer. Be sure it is above all other layers.

You can name this new layer: "gray flower" or whatever you would like!! Your Layer palettes should look something like this ▼

Okay, lets start making this thing look like a stamp!! Now the real fun begins!

8. While you are still on the "gray flower" layer apply the "Smart Blur" filter.

Filter>Blur>Smart Blur

Set the Quality to High and the Mode to Edge Only.

These are the settings I used (above). You adjust your settings to fit your own image. Watch your image as you move the sliders.

Looking cool, huh? Now let's invert the image!

9. While still on the "gray flower" layer go to Image>Adjustments>Invert

Eeewww, groovy baby!! Stay on that gray flower layer, don't leave it yet!

Now, let's apply a black stroke to the flower!

10. Click on your Layer Styles icon at the bottom of your layers palette. (fx)

I used these settings below, but you adjust for your image!

Getting closer! Now let's define the edges just a little bit more! (still on the gray flower layer).

11. Filter>Artistic>Poster Edges

Nice! Now let's go the extra mile and make it awesome!

12. Let's apply the Cutout filter: Filter>Artistic>Cutout

These were my settings but you adjust for your image!

Remember every single image you ever do will be different!

Don't worry if you see lots of jiggly lines everywhere. You can clean up the image as much as you'd like. You can just erase them by using a white paintbrush as I did on the image below (on a new layer in case you mess up!)

Tweak it as much as you want to!

Finished Image ▼

I hope you learn something from this tutorial! I'll be doing more photoshop tutorials in the near future so stay tuned! Got an idea for me?

I would LOVE to hear your feedback on this tutorial!! Did you learn something? Do you wanna try it for yourself? Did you try it and wanna show me something?

Savagetwin 04-08-2012 10:36 PM

What a great tutorial. I have an old version of photoshop. I am dying to try your technique. Will let you know what happened when I do. Thanks so much for giving us such detail!

RosieLP 04-09-2012 06:03 AM

Fantastic tutorial! Thank you, Tiffany!!!

MariLynn 04-09-2012 09:03 AM

Awesome tutorial!! Thanks for sharing.

jknath 04-10-2012 07:36 AM

This is an amazing tutorial. I have been looking for instructions on making my own digit stuff and this is perfect. I would love to see more how-to's for making my own digit supplies.

craftymomto2 05-20-2012 10:05 AM


lori92760 06-19-2012 09:21 AM

photoshop elements
i can follow this tutorial up to the last step. i cannot find "layer style--stroke" in elements or something compatible. this is exactly the tutorial i want but in elements. can anyone help.


MaryCrafter 06-26-2012 06:56 PM

What a cool idea. I'd like to do a photo of someone and then color it in with prismacolor pencils. That would be cool.....if I can pull it off :)

MaryCrafter 07-11-2012 05:44 AM

I just tried it with a picture of my dog. Thanks so much for the instructions....they are perfect.

Tiffany7 07-11-2012 07:21 AM

Awesome! I would love to see your dog pic!! (before and after!!)

lori92760 07-11-2012 07:35 AM

watercolor a photo
hey mary,

here is a card in my gallery that my husband took. i changed it to black and white and played with the brightness and contrast and printed it out on watercolor paper. since i have and inkjet printer i had to spray it with a workable fixative so the ink would not bleed when i blended the watercolor pencils. i guess if you have a laser printer it wont bleed. its a fun technique and i feel like and artist!

Tiffany7 07-11-2012 08:08 AM

that was a beautiful flower lori! Tell me more about the workable fixtative you mentioned and how you use that? Sounds like something you're spraying on and can then paint over it? I'm intrigued!!!

lori92760 07-11-2012 08:28 AM


its just a quick light spray. you can use it to make digital photos more water resistant, charcoal drawings, its a protector in general. workable seals whats there but you can still add to the top, but i have been in a pinch and just used a quick shot of reg. fixative and it allowed the watercolor just fine. here is a pic of a digital stamp from your store on antique sheet music that i used watercolor pencils on. i am going to use an 8x10 mat and frame and its going in my daughters new home. (she gave me one of her antique sheet music magazines to use for crafts so i guess i owe her!)

Tiffany7 07-11-2012 11:03 AM

That sounds great! I will add that to my list for Hobby Lobby next week!! Thank you! Gorgeous! Musical/bird image you made!! Definitely worthy of hanging on a wall!! Thanks for sharing that with us! Oh You should add that to the Tiffany Doodles flickr group so I can use it in the store as a sample for that warbler bird image!! =)

lori92760 07-11-2012 11:49 AM

can i add it without a yahoo acct. i dont need another email!

Tiffany7 07-11-2012 01:50 PM

oh, I'm not sure! I've been on Flickr for so long I can't remember! They may let you use a different email! If they don't I can add it myself (linking to your photo in the scs gallery (or on your blog)) and then put your name as credit in the descript!... It's just so pretty I want others to see it in the store!!! =)

lori92760 07-11-2012 06:32 PM

oh please feel free to add it yourself. i'd love it.

Tiffany7 07-11-2012 07:00 PM

I added it! You can see it in the store here! Warbler Bird Digital Stamp

lori92760 07-11-2012 07:22 PM

oh that makes me feel proud. thanks.

paru m 11-20-2012 07:12 AM

Thanks so very much Tffany! what a fab idea!

jennie black 06-09-2014 12:12 AM

Thank u

emck 08-16-2014 12:26 AM

I was going to say does anyone know if Paint or the new paint.net (in windows 8) has all of these functions? i dont have photoshop thats all and im not sure if my old old version of paint shop pro will work.

the other question is what do you do with the picture do you like print it out and then cut it out and stick it on a card? and colour it in however you want to? As in like digital stamp meaning you dont actually have to stamp if you know what i mean? i am totally new to this!

lori92760 08-16-2014 08:08 AM


not sure if paint will do this or not. I occasionally have to use paint at work and find it very limited. photoshop elements is not too expensive ($70 maybe )and is much user friendly than photoshop. I have both and elements is my go to.

I have created stamps from photos and printed them out on watercolor paper and sprayed with a workable fixative, so the printer ink will not run and then watercolored. here is an example

bright summer cone flower by lori92760 - Cards and Paper Crafts at Splitcoaststampers I made a stamp (the flowers on the bottom of the page and did the whole thing digitally.

I have never printed one and cut it out. you could, I just hate fussy cutting. I have double vision and I cannot see to do that very well.

dini 08-17-2014 06:37 AM

Do you have Word? You can easily turn a photo to black and white by right clicking on it and formatting colors.

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