Image Manipulation - Part 2
Using Andromeda's Screens Filter

Andromeda's Screens filter is one of my favorite filters for completely changing the look of an image. While I gave the reader specific directions the first article in this series, Image Editing, in this tutorial I will give only general directions since I do not believe in the "paint by number" technique when creativity is concerned. I will, hopefully, give enough information to unleash ideas and creativity. A knowledge of Photoshop is necessary for I am not going to teach basic techniques such as how to create selections, layers, etc. This tutorial should not only show how I use the Andromeda Screens filter, but, also, general points on using this filter.

This particular technique that I am presenting using the Andromeda Screens filter looks much better in print than than it does on the web.There are two reasons for this. If you look at the example onthe right of two pieces of sky, the screening in the screened version is obvious; it was darkened and the contrast heightened for this illustration. Two factors make these illustrations superior for print as compared to the web. Firstly, when one uses screens, the resolution of the image is important. I usually use 600 dpi (dots per inch) and then lower it to 300 dpi after the screening. Sometimes, I don't and leave it at 600 dpi. If the term resolution or dpi is confusing, see my article on Resolution. As can be seen from the illustration on the right, the Andromeda Screens filter, roughly, take the colors an isolate them in patterns. The lower the dpi, the further apart are the dots, and the less visible is the screening effect. Also, these images take longer to download. Many different patterns can achieved using the filter. Experimentation is the key and lots of it.

There are two modes for this filter, Novice and Expert. In this tutorial, I used Novice and kept the Presets settings, except for the lpi (lines per inch), the same. Believe me, once the filter is in your machine, it is not hard to use. The technique I will describe is not complicated. It involves using different screens (Andromeda Screen filter settings) on different parts of the image making each part a layer in Photoshop. Then, these layers are combined with layers from the original piece of work.

2 Selections 2 Selections Made into Layers

Step 1 - In Photoshop, I selected, Image/Image Size, and typed in 600 dpi. Whether I have Resample Image checked or not will not effect the final image using this technique. If I leave unchecked Resample Image, then the size of the image will shrink to half its original size but the number of pixels will remain the same. I recommend doing it this way. Later, if you change the image size to 300 dpi, while technically changing the look of the image, in actuality, once printed on a home printer, it is not obvious. If this explanation is confusing, just skip it and Uncheck Resample Image. Experiment with using different resolutions. I have found that the filter produces the look I want at a minimun of 300 dpi while 600 dpi works best.

Step 2 - I created two selections from the original image and cut and pasted each to its own layer. See the above illustrations.

Step 3 - I, then, applied various screens (from the Andromeda Screens filter) to each layer. The Andromeda Screens filter's setting that I used for the sky was Aquatint at 100 lpi (lines Per Inch). The screen I used for the background selection (not the bottom layer) was Engraving at 150 lpi. To find the settings sub menu, click on the arrow near the Preset Menu and choose a Preset type - Special Effects, for example, and then choose a Preset from that menu, for intance, Intaglio-Aquatint. Once selected, access the Lines Per Inch sub menu and choose a setting if you don't want the Preset's setting. Again, experiment. On the lower left of the picture of View of Andromeda Screens, you will see four boxes. You can increase or decrease the intensity of the effect of the filter by clicking on the More or Less box.

View of Andromeda Screens Filter From Screens Preset Menu

The above illustrations are print screens of the Andromeda Screens Filter.

If I just left the image at this point, it would have looked like the image on the right. As I stated earlier, it is very hard to see the screening at a dpi of 72 (which is monitor resolution). However, if you compare it to the original image on the left, the difference becomes more visible.

Original Image Screened Image Using Andromeda Screens Filter

In print the difference would have been very dramatic. It was too dramatic for my taste, so I made further changes to it.Also, I wanted the tall weeds in the foreground to stand out and be more separated from the background. The following print screens of the layer palettes will show some of the changes I made.

After Initial Screening Adding More Screened Layers and Starting to use Other Effects Final Rendition

If you look at the names of the layers, engraving150 75%, for example, means that I used the Preset in Andromeda Screens of Engraving, at 150 lpi (lines per inch) with the layer having an opacity of 75%. As you can see, I also blurred some layers using Photoshop's Gaussian Blur filter. The settings for the Gaussian Blur filter that I usually use for this type of work vary from a radius of 2.5 to 3.00. However, these are not magical numbers.

The image below is the final image. Once again, the nuances of the changes made are much more visible in print. If you compare it to the images above, you should see the softening of the sky and the darkening and slight blurring of the background trees in order to create more of a contrast with the foreground weeds.

I hope this tutorial has inspired readers to explore and see the multiple possibilities inherent in Andromeda's Screens filter.