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Redrawing Anime Graphics (for Wallpaper) with Adobe Photoshop 6.0 Tryout version

(c) 2002 By Merle Zimmermann


This document describes how to use the Tryout version of Adobe Photoshop 6.0 (available from Adobe System's website) and a low quality image from your favorite anime (in this case, a screenshot from a RoboTECH DVD) to (hand)make a high quality image suitable for desktop wallpaper by using the LAYERs feature of Photoshop to make digital tracing paper. The methods shown here also apply to the full version of Photoshop.

Alternative software programs are also discussed in the Notes: section.



Do not be afraid of Photoshop!

Note: If you haven't used Adobe Photoshop before the screen may be a little scary when you first load up the program. Do not worry-I will try to make the program as easy as possible by only using a few of the different tools on the screen, and I have pictures to explain the ones used here.

The photoshop program customizes the screen for you as you work so sometimes the buttons may be different on my screen. You can always match the picutre by holding down the mouse on the buttons that have a different thing on them. (I think that the Adobe people put many buttons under each one so that there wouldn't be too many things on the screen at once (See WORD 97 will all the toolbars on and you will understand ^_^).

My Background in Computer Graphics

I took a class at school (Montgomery College-Rockville) during the summer that was good. It was called "Computer Graphics I". The class helped me a lot when I was learning to use the Adobe Photoshop software. If you have used PAINT (included with WINDOWS) or MACPAINT (used to be included with MAC) the tools that we will be using here will probably be familiar to you.

Loading Time

The page may take a long time to load because there are many images here. Also, some of the pictures may not have a lot of detail in them. I did this because I could make the file size very small when I lowered the quality.

Other Computersystems

Mac users

I saw a Macintosh version of Adobe Photoshop Tryout on the website, but I haven't used it because I don't have a Mac myself. I think that the screen should be pretty similar to mine, but I'm not sure how you can convert the images or get screenshots from the DVD player in the comptuer. My sister has a computer and she said that there was a program called AppleWorks that has some of the same features.


I don't have Linux on my computer, but the best thing that I would advise is surfing the internet or asking some teachers and students in the computer graphics building at your school. They might know what to do, and they will probably be helpful.

You might take a look at the Google Directory. Look under Computers, Software, Graphics, ( Image Editing) to start.

Getting your picture

I was bored today* (*really some time ago 'cause this took more than one day to write!), so while I was watching my anime DVD "ROBOTECH" I pushed the screen shot button (on my PowerDVD player program that came with my DVD drive). It made a bitmap file in the POWERDVD directory ("c:\Program Files\CyberTEK\PowerDVD\"), but when I went over there and opened the file the picture was both small and blurry.

If your computer does not have a DVD drive, you can usually find some pictures from TV programs on the internet by searching for the name of the character you like and "fan site". If the picture was from a television program it usually ends up at 320x200 when it is turned into a graphic. This makes the picture very small and unsuitable for desktop wallpaper, but very suitable for the process described below.

Downloading and Installing Photoshop 6.0 Tryout

Hoping to fix this size and resolution problem, I installed my trusty download of Photoshop 6.0 Tryout version from the Adobe website (it can be found in the menu under TRY-OUT near the top of the page. Or go to the Photoshop part of the site and look aroundthere for the link (41.5 MB download for Windows version)).
Photoshop 6.0 Tryout version is the same as regular Photoshop only it doesn't have the SAVE feature under the FILE menu, so you might want to either do this project in the computer graphics center at your school or use a different software program (like JASC's Paint Shop PRO, which has a 30 day trial but lets you use SAVE.). If you need some more help with the software you can mail me at

If you are using someone else's computer (like your parents or older sister's), you should ask them first before you download and install things, especially large programs like Photoshop Tryout.

Alternative Softwares.

If you can't install things on the computer, you can find most of the same tools in the PAINT program that comes with Windows, but not the layer feature that is used in this tutorial. You can work by opening the picture in a viewer window like IFRANview or XNview (or Image Viewer/Internet Explorer/Netscape), and put the paint window next to that covering half of the picture. Copy the part that shows, then move the window to the other side of the screen and scroll over to draw the other half. (Or you could print out the picture on overlay paper and tape it to the computer monitor.)

Other Professional-Quality PAINT PROGRAMS

One of my friends told me about a different company, JASC. They have their own program called "Paint Shop PRO" that is a lot like Photoshop, but is cheaper to buy (less than $100 vs Photoshop @ $700). The download is also a lot smaller (I think that it's about 10 megabytes but I'm not sure.) so you might have a better time convincing your computer owner to install the program for you.

JASC's home page is at JASC has a try out program "Paint Shop PRO" which is limited to 30 days, but lets you save the files just like in the full version.

There's also a paint program sponsored by the box network called Pixel32. It is shareware.

Look in the Google search engine's directory and you can probably find a program for your computer. The Image Editing section looks especially promising.

Here is a drawing software that looks especially cute ! The English version of [[P]] was created by fans of the Japanese version. It looks realy nice.

The ROBOTECH picture we will trace:

Here is the 96th picture that I took while watching the DVD. It's the little robot from the end part of episode 7 of RoboTECH (on DVD #2).

As you can see although the picture is somewhat large it is not very sharp. This is a problem that often appears on DVDs made of television programs (NOTE: the RoboTECH DVDs are only $15 each at the official website!).

We are going to make this picture larger (1024x768 pixels) to match my desktop resolution, then sharpen it up by redrawing it. On the RoboTECH home page there are some professionally redrawn pictures to look at. After you practice a lot you can probably draw like that too.

NOTE that we could easily run some PROCs on this image
and end up with a similar result, but that would be too easy and not take enough time to make the
project last the afternoon (see my [PROC'ING with XNVIEW Tutorial]).  It would also not be
redrawing, so it wouldn't work for this tutorial page.
PS. I might not have written the XNVIEW tutorial yet .. 

Loading up Photoshop TRY OUT

After you finish the download of the program, run the file and it will install the TRY OUT to your start menu under PROGRAMS:ADOBE:PHOTOSHOP 6.0 Tryout:[Shortcut in here].

You can save my picture to your disk and use it with the program to follow the tutorial.

Making it LARGER

A nice feature of Photoshop is that it can make a picture bigger or smaller without having weird marks appear (note that XNVIEW can do this too, only better 'cause it takes less time to load up the pics). Another good image software is called IRFAN VIEW. It is a good image viewer/file converter by Irfan Skiljan. It can be found at It is shareware for $10.

To make the picutre bigger in photoshop, you go under the IMAGE menu and choose IMAGE SIZE. A window comes up that lets you put in the pixels. Good image sizes for a master image are 1024 HORIZONTAL by 768 VERTICAL or 800 HORIZONTAL x 600 VERTICAL, or 640 HORIZONTAL by 480 VERTICAL. Depending on the amount of RAM that you have you might have to choose a smaller picture.

The IMAGE SIZE option

The popup window

Using Layers and the Paint Bucket

Immediately it occured to me that if I drew right on the picutre, how could I get my drawing away from what was already there? The answer is to use another feature of Photoshop that isn't in PAINT: Layers. If you look in the lower right of the screen, you can see the Layers window. It shows that the little robot is drawn in the Background.

We will make two* more layers (*you may wonder why we need two.. bear with me for a bit okay.. I will explain) by [going up to the LAYER menu at the top and choosing "NEW..." then LAYER] twice. A screen will appear to let you name the layer. I pushed the OK at the bottom when this screen came up so my layers are called Layer 1 and Layer 2.

The Layers menu:Making a new layer

The OPACITY control

This control is on the layers mini-panel in the lower left part of the screen. Here is a close-up of the panel that we have now.

Sorry to introduce so much at once, but the OPACITY control can be used to make a layer cover up the previous layer. As you can see from the picture, new layers start with an opacity of 100%. I'm going to put in my own opacity by clicking on the little window and entering 50% (for LAYER 2 ONLY!!). This will make everything that is drawn on Layer 2 appear as a ghost on top of the picture below.

We can use this so that you can tell what you have traced so far.


Now you were probably wondering why there was a Layer 1 here.. If we are only going to do the drawing with Layer 2 then why do we need another? The answer is that we can use this "OPAQUE=100" layer to make an empty screen so we can check to make double-sure that the tracing is turning out A-OKAY. ^_^ Click on the Layer 1 part of the Layer panel. (and note that in all of the pictures the PAINT program had to be on top of the PHOTOSHOP TRY-OUT program for the PRINT SCREEN key to work)

See that the blue color moved to the Layer 1 part of the window, and also the little brush moved there too.


We will now use the PAINT BUCKET tool to erase the picture. Looking at the main panel (usually starts out to the left of the picture on the leftmost side of the screen)
count the buttons like this down from the little eye at the top of the panel.

When I opened the program for the first time there was a little black thing here, but it can be changed into the PAINT BUCKET if you hold down the button and wait for a little. Soon a pop-up menu appears, and it has GRADIENT TOOL and PAINT BUCKET on it. Choose PAINT BUCKET from the pop-up.

Note that many different tools are hidden under others. On a rainy day you can look through the whole panel and try everything out.

The Colors thingy (on the main panel)

Closeup of the colors thingy

(In the upper right is the switch tool.)
click on the little SWITCH tool that is in the colors thingy and get WHITE as the main color (when I first loaded my program it started with black as the main color in the upper left).
Use the paint bucket by pushing the button on the picture. SPLOOSH!
it is gone !

But if you click on the little eye next to Layer 1 in the LAYERS part of the window the robot will re-appear! whoo! where did it go?

(It was hidden by Layer 1).

Set up LAYER 2 for drawing

I though that it would be really cool to draw the robot in white on a black background so that's what I did. Use the PAINT BUCKET to make Layer 2 black like you made Layer 1 White.

How can you do this?

  1. Click on Layer 2 in the LAYERS window.
  2. (Make sure that the little brush is next to "Layer 2".)
  3. Click on the PAINT BUCKET tool
  4. Check the colors thingy to make sure it is set with black in the upper left.
    ( If it looks like this, click the switch tool (the arrows in the upper right corner.)
  5. Click on the robot.
This time the robot did not disappear entirely. It just got dim (like this).
[NOTE: I skipped making Layer 1 white, and I made a mistake setting up the fake screenshot. If you were following the tutorial closely, you would not have the eye icon next to Layer 1 shown in this and the following pictures. The little checkerboard next to Layer 1 would be white too. (sorry)]

Magnify the Picture.

There are two ways to do this. The MAGNIFY GLASS is right above the COLOR THINGY (see below). You can click the MAGNIFY GLASS on the picture and it will zoom in. Another way is to use the ZOOM IN option under the VIEW menu. Magnify it until the percentage gauge at the top of the window reads at least 100% (I like to work at 200% so I can see the screen better, but it's up to you [depends on your monitor]).

[MAGNIFYING graphic].
There's a little map up in the upper right of the screen that shows what part of the picture you are working on. It is called NAVIGATOR. You can move the red box to change what is shown on-screen when the picture has been magnified.

Below the Navigation screen is the colors screen. After you finish you can use the color panel to pick out colors to use when you color the drawing. I recommend accessing the "Swatches" subpanel. It shows some little squares of each color, and is easier to use than the RGB "Color" screen shown in the picutre.

The Magnified Picture

Tracing the picture

As you can see the picture is really blurry and choppy. Now use your human pattern-recognition skills to trace over the edges with the pencil tool.

I tried to record a video of the tracing of this part but it didn't really work very well. It's 500kB and doesn't show clearly what is going on. If you need more help you can IM me on AOL Instant Messenger. My IM name is Fifth Ork. You could also email me at if you are more comfortable doing that.

Correcting mistakes

If you make a mistake, you can go under the EDIT menu and choose "Step BACKWARD" to undo up to 20 or 30 things (again this depends on your computer's RAM).


Do not trace to close to the edge of the window. You might make a mistake about where the lines go. Try to keep working in the middle part of the screen, and use the SCROLL BARs or the NAVIGATOR to move the picture around as you work.

Every so often you can check your progress by clicking on the eye next to LAYER 1 in the LAYERS window. This will hide the anime away, leaving your drawing.

When you are done drawing, choose the ZOOM tool and choose "Actual PIXELS".

Then using the PRINT SCREEN key make copies of each part of your picture. Be sure to leave plenty of overlap. You can fit the pictures together (after cropping them) using the PAINT program from windows. If you have the JASC program you should be able to save your work with the save command.

My Drawings

The finished "ROBO" trace drawing

I drew this in four hours, but I'm not really satisfied with it. I'm going to try again next week and see if I can do better.

The second source screenshot "The Backstabber"

The "Backstabber" traced drawing that I did on the screenshot

This one took less time to do than the robot. I used the PAINT BUCKET tool to fill in the eyes on this guy from Episode 7 of Robotech The finished drawing took about 3 or 4 hours to make.


I used the PAINT BUCKET to fill in all the different areas in this picture. Instead of drawing with the pencil, I used the paint brush with a thick line. I wasn't really happy with how this one turned out.


My AIM is "FifthOrk" My email is


This page was made with Irfanview to encode the images, Adobe Photoshop 6.0 Tryout to draw them, MS Paint and the accessability features of Windows to copy them out and reconstitute them, and graphics from the ROBOTECH anime (which is somewhat cool - get your parents to buy it for you {or get it yourself-it's cheap ($15 per disc)}).
The official ROBOTECH site is at

The official Irfanview site is at
The official Adobe site is at

The things that are trademarks belong to the company associated with them.  I am not
the TM holder of these things.

The screenshots on this page were taken of the Adobe software during the first week
of January, 2002.

I'm not associated with any of the things listed above in the credits section in an
"endorsement" or "working for" sort of way.  I traced the pictures though '^_^'
If there's anyone I missed in this credits section please let me know so I can put you in.
Or if you are somehow dissatisfied with my work, (or especially happy :) please also send me an email too ^_^!
My email is
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