Gimp Tips - Hedcut

Here is a way to turn a photo into a Jornal-style hedcut. I was originally going to write all the steps out for you to follow, but I realized that it would make it easier for both you and me in the future to just make it into a script. So download that file, put it in share/gimp/2.0/scripts, and run Script-Fu|Matt|Hedcut. I'll walk you through some of the options here.

  1. happy guy Let's begin with this happy guy. You may recognize him for his love of business. He's a little blurry at this size, but that's ok with this script.
  2. business guy with white background Before applying the script, I'll paint out the background with white. You can leave the background in, but it's usually cleaner to remove it. I took out his hand with the phone, too, to make it a nicer head shot.
  3. hedcut of business guy This is the result of running the script using the default settings.
  4. hedcut with fewer lines If you intent to make a low resolution image, the lines might blur together. So you can change the first setting ("Approximate Number of Lines") to a lower number. This is the number of wavy lines that would fill the image from top to bottom. The number is approximate because some rounding will take place.
  5. hedcut with lots of lines The "Lightness Boost" parameter affects both lightness and contrast. Most photos would produce uniform lines or dots across the whole face. This boost ensures that there are white areas and good contrast. If you don't get any open white areas, turn this up. If you get too little shading, turn it down. Here's what it looks like with the lightness turned way down.
  6. just the dots and wavy lines If you want to get only the dots and wavy lines, you can uncheck "Include Outlines". You can then apply your own edge detection or photo-to-sketch tricks if you want.
  7. more lines and less black None of the remaining options are used unless you include outlines. "Remove Black Areas" will attempt to not fill in large areas of black. It makes it a little more sketch-like, but provides less contrast.
  8. more lines and less black "Line Thickness" controls how thickly the outlines are drawn. "Line Prominence" affects how many lines get drawn (and what sort of deatils will get lines). Here it is with both turned way up.