How to Make a Semiphotorealistic Three-Shade Printcomments (7) December 1st, 2011
Now you need to adjust the image to be stencil-friendly. First crop it to just the area you want to use. Then adjust the contrast so that there is a large amount of pure black and a large amount of pure white, with some gray. I use the levels option in my program, but you can use brightness/contrast or whatever option(s) work for you.
Note: If you want to make a one-color stencil, adjust until you only have pure black and pure white, with no gray at all.
Print the image the size you want your stencil. Don't worry if it's blurry; you'll smooth out the lines when tracing and carving. Now you'll need to figure out the order of your color layers. Whichever shade (black, white, or gray) covers the most area in the image, with the least amount of small shapes that aren't connected to the rest, should be your first shade. Whichever shade has the most small, stand-alone shapes should be your third shade.
Cut the freezer paper into three pieces as big as or bigger than the stencil area. Tape one piece, wax side down, to the image paper on one side only. Trace your first shade—it's helpful to write the shade and number above the image so you don't forget later. For the first color, you just need to trace the outline of the major shape; there's no need to worry about all the #2 and #3 shade spots within that shape because you'll be printing them on top. Because of the gray shades, it may be hard to see the line definition, which is why you put tape on only one side—lift the freezer paper to check on the lines, and the tape will hold it in place.
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