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I made this line work in Manga Studio, and transferred it to Photoshop CS6. I tried the pen tool, but it just doesn't look as good as I would've hoped. Are there any better ways to go about getting this general shape in Photoshop? Plugin or Vanilla?

enter image description here

[edit] keep in mind, i'm not a digital artist; this line work was a surprise to me haha

  • So - you want to go from this sketch drawing with multiple lines, and make it into a one, uniform stroke? – benteh Aug 11 '14 at 22:05
  • Seems like too much hassle. Just print the image, trace over it, re-draw it neat and then scan it in. – SaturnsEye Aug 12 '14 at 16:19
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    FWIW, I like the feel of this as-is. – DA01 Aug 13 '14 at 0:28
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There's no simple or easy answer here.

You use Filter > Other > Maximum or Filter > Other > Minimum to alter the existing strokes.

You could use a Brush and Eraser to adjust the strokes.

You could use the Pen Tool and redraw the shape, as Brian suggested.

You could abandon Photoshop and use Image Trace in Adobe Illustrator.

Ultimately each and every method takes practice and some skill. Which method you choose would depend on the final desired outcome.

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If you're trying to make good looking curves, the pen tool in Photoshop (and Illustrator) is hard to use if you are not used to Bezier curves. You'll get lots of pointy edges where you don't want them and the turns won't look "natural".

I can do it but it annoys me and is more labor intensive than it should be. I really prefer B-splines in Microsoft Expression. They don't make it any more, but they released the abandonware for free download:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36180

What's good about it is that you can just choose a point to be "sharp" or "pointy", and it does most of the work for you. It's easy to adjust. So here on your moose or whatever:

moose or whatever

The point not on the ear is pulling the curve, so the further you pull it the curve will move out. If you use Convert Anchor Point then you could turn that into a sharp point. Your curves can look smooth and sharp in the places you want.

It only exports to SVG. So I just use it as a tool for getting something roughed and then export and never load it back (no use in the .XPR format). Maybe you would find it helpful or not, I don't know.

Also obviously--if you are going for symmetry, only draw half of it!

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You could create a layer above your artwork and outline it with the pen tool. You'd obviously spend more time than I in my demonstration, but without knowledge of a automagical way.. this is what I would attempt first. Select pen tool, change path to shape, choose your stroke & fill color. Click to make a point, click & drag to make curves, click last point & hold the alt key to end the curve for a sharp corner, double click layer to add fill color.

enter image description here

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