Sick of the same boring Jack O’Lantern faces? For something different this year, fire up Photoshop and make your own custom stencils out of Photographs or nearly any kind of image.
Virtually any image can work with this technique, although higher quality is better. Fine details are also hard to carve, so keep in mind you want to stay simple as possible.
will desaturate your image and turn it into grayscale.
Press to open your levels. Adjust the sliders as shown or use these values (148, 1.91, 185).
You want to increase your contrast until your image looks roughly like this. You want heavy blacks, minimal grays, and stark whites.
Go to Image > Adjustments > Threshold.
Adjust your threshold based on how your image looks. This value may not work perfectly for you, so experiment with it. You’ll gain and lose detail depending on your image.
Your image should lose all of its shades of gray. Grab your paintbrush and paint black over the parts of the image you don’t want.
The ghostly head of Bill is all that remains!
Look closely on your image and make sure that no parts of it are too thin are floating freely. You’ll have to paint these in with your mouse. Erase the small bits that you don’t want to have to carve, while you’re at it.
will invert the colors on your image. You can print the white on black image, but this saves ink, if you are so inclined.
Print your stencil and use transfer paper to copy it to your pumpkin or cut it out of your page with an X-acto knife, then stencil it on directly. Lifehacker has already done a fun article on tools to do just that.
Eric Z Goodnight is an Illustrator and Graphics Geek who hopes to make Photoshop more accessible to How-To Geek readers. When he’s not headbanging to heavy metal or geeking out over manga, he’s often off screen printing T-Shirts.
- Published 10/26/10