Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Mini Tutorial on Making a Portrait Pattern Using Your Computer

So you want to make a portrait quilt?  I'm presenting here a mini-tutorial in case you want to participate in the SAY CHEESE self portrait challenge here and have no idea how to get started. For more details on this technique, see my book, Fabric Photo Play, AQS, 2005.

First start with a digital photograph.  I took this one of myself.  Please excuse my hair, I let it dry naturally today into a frizzy mess.  I'm planning to give myself a new hair-do in this portrait, so it doesn't really matter.

Load the photo into your computer and use Adobe Photoshop, or another photo editing software package to manipulate it.  I really LOVE to use the Filter called Cutout.  It divides the photo by value:
I didn't think the above pattern had enough shadow on my face so I told the computer to add more values:
Much better!  Now I could simple trace each area and use the tracing to cut out various fabrics (of various values) to fuse onto a background piece of fabric.  As long as I use light fabrics for the light values of the picture and dark values of fabric for the dark areas of the photo, then the portrait will turn out successfully.

Another option is to use the Sketch filter.  I know this doesn't show up well, but maybe you can see it.

I've decided that for this self portrait I'm going to use this Sketch pattern.  Today I transferred the pattern onto fabric.  Tomorrow I'll get started adding life to it.


Victoria Findlay Wolfe said...

this is very useful! Thank you for posting this Julia!

Will you use this image? I love it and the colors!

I need to do one of my daughter now... I hope to find another technique to try...

Carla said...

This gives me more options. Thanks for the tips!

Now for the picture....

Unknown said...

this is pretty cool...cant wait to see the next part!

What Comes Next? said...

thank you! now I have 2 new options to consider - I may have to try this more than once, to figure out which way I like best.

WoolenSails said...

I used a photoshop filter to simplify the photo, then I will work off of that.
For those who do not have a graphic program, you can sign up with photobucket and do your photos with lots of fun filters.


Kathy said...

I really need to get the software for this!! It looks so cool to play around with.