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Pencil Pixels uses the standard filters and editing tools of Photoshop to create these incredible effects. Photoshop's filters do a good job at manipulating images to produce nice effects. If you use Photoshop regularly, you would think that some of the effects can be easily recreated with a filter or two... and you can try that.

These one-mouse-click Photoshop actions, developed by Pencil Pixels, are created by combining multiple steps, sometimes as many as 150 to 200 subtle filters and layer manipulations to arrive at your one-mouse-click action.

Over many months of development and years of producing Photoshop art, we've discovered methods to simulate pencil textures, brush strokes and subtle art styles. Let's compare some Photoshop filters to the Pencil Pixel action effect.
(click to enlarge image)
Pencil Pixels effects with Video
A number of these effects can be applied frame by frame to short video projects.
As mentioned below, TV commercials are using video filter effects to grab at the audience visually. PencilPixels video of CEOHere you can sample a short video clip using the vector/ cartoon effect.
Links related to video and filtering are:
Stan Lee's Superheros  1  2

Reporter Video - Toon [MPG]
Reporter Video - Pencil [MPG]

How can you do that? See our tutorial which appeared in .PSD Magazine 02/07.
The better the image, the better the effect. Like the old adage, 'garbage in, garbage out', here it has a distinct meaning. The overall quality of the image will produce a better result when the image has proper contrast, lighting, color fidelity and sharp focus.

More ... The right side of the photo has the Photoshop Color Pencil filter applied. On the left is the Pencil Pixel action. The Pencil Pixel action retains the subtlety of a colored pencil sketch with more detail in the shadow area and a more realistic texture pattern. The left side of the photo has the Photoshop Watercolor filter applied. On the right, one of several one-mouse-click Watercolor actions has been applied. The softer, more detailed image combines multiple layer combinations to achieve a more muted watercolor effect. Photoshop 'Pen and Ink' filter is on the left and the Pencil Pixels' Ink action is on the right. The difference is all in the amount of detail retained with the Pencil Pixel action. Pencil Pixels has a vector-like Comic book style effect. This type of effect has recently been made popular by the Chuck Schwab commercials using complex rotoscoping to achieve this appearance. This effect was also a feature item on Stan Lee's "Superheroes" TV Series. See the sidebar for more information on this effect and the video sequences we can produce.

Art tools of my past making Photoshop tools of the future - PencilPixels