Cynthia St. Charles Store

Monday, June 30, 2008

Photograph to Screen Print

Phase One - Using a Photo Editing ProgramI like converting my own digital photos into a black and white image that can be burned into a screen using my Thermofax machine.
I like to begin with a photograph that has quite a bit of contrast between the image I want for my screen and the background.
This photo of a cowbird at the birdfeeder is a good example. It would be better if there wasn't another bird or the textured tree bark in the background, but background noise can be removed later in several different ways. Ideally, the image should be more crisp, but that can be dealt with, too.

I like to begin by cropping my image, which I have done already. Then, I remove the color, making it essentially a black and white image.

After the image has been converted to black and white, I use the tools for creating more contrast and brightness. On my program - Photoshop Elements - there is a sliding gauge and the results are shown immediately on the image. Messing around with both contrast and brightness adjustments simultaneously will help find the best mix.

After the brightness and contrast have been adjusted to get the best image, it is fun to play around with filters and effects. What you use depends on the effect you are trying to achieve.

For the image above, I used an ink outline filter.
For the image below, I used a stamp filter.
Other favorite filters include posterize, and charcoal. I am going for an image that is clear, crisp, and strictly black and white with no gray areas.
The background noise can be removed using the eraser tool on the photo editing program, but when possible, I prefer to use the scissors to do this. I just carefully cut out the image I want to isolate for my screen.
This image is close enough to what I want. Next, I will print out my image and work with it a bit more to prepare it for the Thermofax machine.

I'll explain that process in my next post.

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