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Reduce white background in art sketchbook (actionable)

Community Beginner ,
Jul 07, 2024 Jul 07, 2024

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Hi,

I'm an artist who often draws in sketchbooks.  I've documented my sketchbooks by taking consistent digital photographs of each sketchbook page.  I have almost 600 images I need to alter at once.  I'm having a hard time finding a good, accurate and repeatable set of commands (through an "action" maybe?) to reduce the gray overcast the photographs have of the sketchbook drawings.  Some of the drawings have very fine line work I need to be mindful of when working with the images as I do not want to distort or lessen the drawing quality.  If anyone can offer some words of advice or suggestions, I would be very grateful.

 

see below for examples. These images have been reduces from 300 to 72 res for uploading purposes.

Thank you.

 

002-031.JPG003-039.JPG004-044.JPG006-048.JPG

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Actions and scripting , Windows

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Community Expert , Jul 08, 2024 Jul 08, 2024

Because your images are captured consistently, a possible simple alternative is to customize the Auto button settings for a Levels or Curves adjustment layer. This would let you brighten the paper white simply by clicking the Auto button, which will apply your customized adjustment.

 

The steps below are basic. If you want more background about how the options work, read the following article by Bruce Fraser. Although it was written 22 years ago, it still works today. The advice about colors is

...

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Community Expert ,
Jul 07, 2024 Jul 07, 2024

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You can try the action in the following topic to remove white (there is the original Japanese version or the one that I adapted for English installations):

 

https://community.adobe.com/t5/photoshop-ecosystem-discussions/photoshop-needs-quot-color-to-alpha-q...

 

This method differs from simpler blend if slider or color range masks.

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Community Expert ,
Jul 07, 2024 Jul 07, 2024

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I think that I misunderstood you in my previous reply.

 

If you are just looking for repeatable tonal adjustments, then if you are happy with the result of the auto button in the Filter > Camera Raw filter (under Light), then this can be automated via a script (not an action which would record fixed values).

 

/*
https://community.adobe.com/t5/Photoshop/Is-there-any-jsx-to-execute-the-auto-tone-of-camera-raw/m-p/10167490#M207367
*/

/*
ACR and raw files would be covered by this topic post:
https://community.adobe.com/t5/photoshop/how-to-record-button-click-on-action/td-p/10858184
*/

autoCRF();

function autoCRF() {
  // Camera Raw Filter - Auto
  var desc1 = new ActionDescriptor();
  desc1.putBoolean(charIDToTypeID("AuTn"), true); // AuTn = Auto
  executeAction(stringIDToTypeID('Adobe Camera Raw Filter'), desc1, DialogModes.NO);
}

// or:

/*
(function () {
  // Camera Raw Filter - Auto
  var desc1 = new ActionDescriptor();
  desc1.putBoolean(charIDToTypeID("AuTn"), true); // AuTn = Auto
  executeAction(stringIDToTypeID('Adobe Camera Raw Filter'), desc1, DialogModes.NO);
})();
*/

 

Or if you prefer fixed Camera Raw Filter values, then record auto in an action.

 

You can also look at auto levels/curve options which can be recorded into an action if your lighting and exposure is pretty consistent. You could also use the Image > Adjustments > Shadows/Highlights or other adjustments as required (Selective Color > Whites).

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 08, 2024 Jul 08, 2024

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Hi Stephen, Thank you for the responses.  I will give these try and follow up with any questions. Best,

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Community Expert ,
Jul 08, 2024 Jul 08, 2024

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Because your images are captured consistently, a possible simple alternative is to customize the Auto button settings for a Levels or Curves adjustment layer. This would let you brighten the paper white simply by clicking the Auto button, which will apply your customized adjustment.

 

The steps below are basic. If you want more background about how the options work, read the following article by Bruce Fraser. Although it was written 22 years ago, it still works today. The advice about colors is mostly about photos, so that might not apply to these drawings.

Don’t Underestimate Photoshop’s Auto Color

 

Start by adding a Levels adjustment layer, then click the Properties panel menu and choose Auto Options.

 

Photoshop-johnc74032420-01.jpg

 

Select Find Dark & Light Colors. (Or maybe for these drawings, if you are confident their white balance is consistent, Enhance Monochromatic Contrast might be just as good.) Also select Snap Neutral Midtones.

 

Photoshop-johnc74032420-02.jpg

 

Increase the Highlights Clip value; the maximum is 9.99%. This shifts the white point down, making the lightest tones brighter. The reason I stopped at 6% is that higher values appeared to cause more unwanted highlight clipping (potential loss of paper detail), but if you aren’t concerned about that you can enter a value higher than mine. Select Save As Defaults (to make your changes stick and therefore alter what the Auto button does), and then click OK.

 

Photoshop-johnc74032420-03.jpg

 

Because you changed the Auto button defaults, the next image should be a one-click deal. Open another image, add a Levels adjustment layer, and click Auto. It should apply your customized Highlights Clip default percentage, so if the image tonal levels are consistent with the earlier image, the customized Clip value should brighten the highlights in this image by the same amount as the previous image.

 

Photoshop-johnc74032420-07.jpg

 

If you want to create an action for that so you can batch it, I tried recording it and it works. The second step below is where it records me clicking the Auto button.

 

Photoshop-johnc74032420-08.jpg

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Community Beginner ,
5 hours ago 5 hours ago

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Hi Conrad, This is not only super helpful but easy to follow and solves my issue using simple in-house tools.  Thank you so much!! Best, John

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Community Expert ,
an hour ago an hour ago

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quote

Hi Conrad, This is not only super helpful but easy to follow and solves my issue using simple in-house tools.  Thank you so much!! Best, John


By @johnc74032420

 

I'll mark the reply from Conrad as the correct answer then.

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Community Beginner ,
a minute ago a minute ago

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I have a follow up question.  Some visual effects still need to be mitigated.  The gray overcast has been for the most part reduced significantly in a desirable manner, however, the area around the sketchs remains gray to the point when it will be printed on a piece of white paper the sketch will have a gray box around it.  I should mention the whole goal here is to take all 560 some odd sketches into InDesign and create a book.  I will then print the physical book.  Back to the issue at hand.  The "gray box" around the sketchbook was a white background.  It has some shadows on it.  I'm ok the shadows.  I'm not OK with the gray hard edged box.  I think it would be accecptable to just fade the outside .5 - ~1" to pure white if there is an automated way to do this.  I have tried using a brush but I do not believe this can be automated.  I am investiaging the feather command but am not savy enough to tackle it yet or come up with a solution.  Any additional insight would be wonderful.  examples of Leveled images per Conrad's suggesion below.  Thank you.

 001-008 copy.jpg001-009 copy.jpg001-010 copy.jpg

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