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Mix Photo and Vector

Chances are you already know how to work with vector shapes in Illustrator, and even directly in Photoshop, so now it's time to build on these skills and learn how to successfully apply a range of new techniques to photos or scanned images to create smooth yet detailed illustrations.

This tutorial doesn't use vectors - although the final result will partly look as if you have. By photographing elements such as trees and plants directly against the sky, with the sun as a backlight, you can create solid shapes with high contrast that are much easier to extract.

You'll use scans of solid ink that seamlessly blend into snowflakes to support the overall feeling of the piece and discover how to transform photos into hand-drawn illustrations with the help of filters, blending modes and Photoshop's Brush tool.

Having created a new layer with a second version of your photo, you'll then apply a filter (such as Dry Brush) to stylize the image a little, or create a high-contrast black and white version by tweaking levels and saturation settings. Afterwards, you can add an illustrative mood to your photo by fully masking that layer out and painting back details of the stylized version with a soft brush. A graphics tablet with its support for dynamic shape drawing functions could come in handy here.

To add complexity and textures, you'll also work with resources such as coffee scans and photos of dirty walls. After all, if you know how to treat such materials, they can help you create beautiful visuals over and over again.

Click here to download the support files

Click here to download the tutorial for free