Refresh Old Artwork in Photoshop: How to achieve a woodcut style

Jennifer Foy has over 12 years of experience using Adobe Photoshop. She has received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communications from the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. Her years of teaching experience include numerous software and design classes in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, QuarkXPress, Freehand and InDesign for Colleges in Atlanta, Georgia; and Louisville, Kentucky. Jennifer is currently working as the Creative Director and Universal Woods with the Unisub and Chromaluxe brands. Jennifer can be reached by email at

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Giving a photograph a woodcut feel can bring a whole new level of appeal to an image you otherwise had no use for. With your file open, duplicate the image in the Layers palette. This can be done by clicking on the options (the small arrow inside the circle at the top right) or by dragging the main layer down to the Create New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers window.

With the top layers selected, in the Layers window, select Color Burn. Next, from the top menu offerings, select Filter > Other > High Pass. In this dialog box with the preview box marked, drag the slider over until you can see the image and click OK. Scroll back to your top menu bar and choose Image > Adjustments > Threshold. From the Threshold dialog box, drag the slider to between 122 and 127 to see the outlines of the woodcut design.

With the background layer selected, choose Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Drag the slider to blur the image. Now, click on the New Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers palette. Choose Hue/Saturation and with the preview box checked, alter the colors until you are satisfied with the look. Most likely, the Saturation slider will be moved more than the Hue and Lightness sliders. Once you’ve clicked OK, the new woodcut stylized image is complete.

-Jennifer Foy, Unisub