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smoothing lettering

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Anyone know if there's a way to smooth lines (the outer edges) of a hand-calligraphed word once it's brought into Photoshop?

Thank you,

Here is one option: select the area inside of the letters using Magic Wand tool, then use "Select and Mask" to adjust your selection area. Once you go into "Select and Mask," you can smooth, feather, and otherwise adjust the selection area. You will see a preview of your selection. Once you are happy with the outline of the selected area (ie, your lettering), click OK to go back. Create a new layer, and fill in your selection area (Paintbucket). Now you have a new layer that should be a smoothed and cleaned up version of your original lettering. I like to do this on a separate layer so that the original stays intact, in case you are not happy with the results.

Before doing all of this, it's helpful to adjust the Levels of the image so that it's nice and crisp, and the background color is consistent. It's much easier to clean up lettering in Photoshop if your scanned image is crisp and high contrast.

I hope this helps!

Erica McPhee:
Good tips from @chisato !

If you have Illustrator, you can also do a line trace to vectorize the lettering. I don't think there is an equivalent in Photoshop but if you have Inkscape (free app), you can do it in there as well. I only do that for engraving or printing if it's required by the printer. Otherwise, I like the natural look of the original.

Squirrely Flourisher:
I realize this is an old thread, but perhaps people are still reading it looking for ways to do this. One way to smooth out scanned calligraphy in Photoshop is with the "Stamp" filter.

You can select this filter from the main menu. On my older version of Photoshop, it's under Filters/Sketch/Stamp (and it's probably in about the same place on newer versions). When you select the Stamp filter, there are two sliders that you can adjust: "Light/Dark Balance" and "Smoothness". Play with both sliders to find the look that you want. (You can really crank up the smoothness, but if you do that too much, you're liable to lose some of the thinnest lines in your calligraphy.) It's a simple technique that only takes a minute or so, and it can of course be combined with other touch-up techniques.

For example, you could apply this technique to the mask that I describe in the "Scanned calligraphy in Photoshop without the Magic Wand" thread, rather than applying it to your calligraphy directly. In my experiments, this seemed to give slightly nicer results, but really both methods seem pretty close.

I'm attaching three images here: an image of some scanned calligraphy, another image that I got by applying the "Stamp" filter to it directly (with the black background that was created in the process), as well as an image that I got by applying the "Stamp" filter to the mask that I describe in the other thread (this image has a white background that I made using the method that I describe in the other thread).

Erica McPhee:
Mind blown! That is brilliant @Squirrely Flourisher ! Thanks so much for sharing!!!   ;D


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