How to use the cutout filter in Photoshop tutorial

Cutout filter in Adobe Photoshop for abstract artworks in CC CS6 CS5 etc.

Cutout filter in Photoshop

cutout filter in Photoshop tutorial CC CS6 CS5
  1. Filter menu in Photoshop (for cutout filter)

  2. Filter gallery

  3. Cutout filter (COF)

  4. Set the levels / edge simplicity etc

  5. Click ok

You can use the cutout filter in Photoshop to totally abstract an image


Video tutorial on the subject by (youtube)


You can use the COF to add a powerful colorful reduction in seconds.


You can find the COF in the filter menu and gallery and the artistic section - where you can use it and combine it with other tools in the gallery set


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abstractThe COF is for RGB 8bit images.


The COF has only a few settings but they are very effective.


The COF is a powerful effect that works best combined with other effects such as the gaussian blur. You can use it create an interesting drawn looks as well as some truly abstract designs and color reduction. You can also combine the results from the COF with other effects such as the 3D graphics in CC


Number of levels - the lower the setting, the more abstract the image with hardly any features appearing


Edge simplicity - the higher the setting, the more the image will be lost and replaced with solid colors


Edge fidelity - probably the least effective of the settings with very subtle changes with either maximum or minimum but it does come in useful if the image is noisy


If you want more of your image then the best settings for the COF are levels 8 and edge simplicity 0. If you want a more cubist like image then set the number of levels to 8 and edge simplicity 10. If you want a fairly flat scene then set the levels to 2 and edge simplicity to 10


re-applied abstractAs with many tools in the gallery plugin, the Photoshop cutout filter works best when it is re-applied or used in combination with other effects such as the gaussian blur. I really don't like to see them described as one click tricks or one trick ponies etc, they can be used in countless ways to create many unique artworks.


Gaussian blur 10 and then COF levels 3 and edge simplicity 3 and then Photoshop cutout filter - levels 8 and edge simplicity 7


Actually, the edge fidelity really kicks in on the second pass. With the first application of the COF, the edge fidelity had hardly any effect but with two passes you can see the change with the edge fidelity.


Repeat COF to create a still recognisable design (in most cases) but still now very flattened.


It should be noted that the results will vary depending on the source image. I am using a 1000 x 1000 image but the effect may vary with a noisy image and 4000 x 4000.


fadedAs with all the tools in the application, , you can use the COF and then go to the edit menu and fade the result.


You can also use the fade to change the opacity and the blending mode of the effect and that can be used to create interesting effects such as using the abstract COF effect and then using the edit menu and fade with the divide blending mode for a very surreal looking artwork


Or you can use the edit and fade with screen and other blending modes such as with the image on the right. The result can be a very surreal looking effect.


deco art

The great thing about the effect is that the result is a large expanse of a single color and that is great for a selection using the magic wand tool. You can either select the areas of the COF result and then copy and paste them onto different layers as well as just using the selection of the solid color areas and filling them with different colors such as gradients or perhaps patterns


For exampe, Apply COF and then Go to a solid area of color and Use the magic wand and select. Fill with a gradient or pattern fill etc. Repeat selection etc


adjustmentsThe COF is great for creating abstract art but sometimes the result of averaging out an image can be a fairly unsaturated and dull design without a little tweaking and I always find the camera raw tool or some of the adjustments super useful to finish on.


The image on the right has been made a little more vibrant by using the vibrance and exposure etc settings of the camera raw


The tool can be used in color channels. It can be used as a smart object / effects. It can be used to create amazing video timeline effects with movies and much more


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