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DIY Cut Out Graphic Outlines Tutorial

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This is my first time making coro cut outs this year. I’ve noticed from similar projects I’ve done in the past that sometimes it is challenging for me to see a clean edge where colors meet. This method helps me, so I figured I’d share. Hopefully, this tutorial may help someone else, too.

The easiest way to find an outline is to use your search engine to look for a coloring page of your idea. The advantage to this is that it is quick and your graphic already has a nice bold outline. Sometimes though, you may want something different. Thankfully, there is at least one other way for you to do this yourself. My computers are PC. Mac may be a little different, but the process is similar.

I use the FREE downloadable photo editing software called Irfanview. At this point, most of my money goes towards kids and my college. So, any time I can get something for free- it makes my wallet happy! https://www.irfanview.com/


Getting Started
Go to your favorite search engine and type what you are interested in finding.  In my case I’m doing a SpongeBob theme this year and I wanted a Pearl Krabbs graphic.


Go to the images in your search and click on the picture you want.


It should take you to the page with the image. Right click on the picture and select “Copy” (or highlight and press control + c ).


Open your Irfanview program and press control + v . This will paste your picture


I recommend you save your original image at this point, (Pearl Krabbs orig) then save it again under a different name (Pearl Krabbs org2 .) The reason for this is that a different name will allow you to make changes without hurting the original if you save before renaming your edited project.
You don’t want to have to go through all that effort to find your graphic again, do ya?

Outline Process #1
So, you’ve pasted the picture in your Irfanview- now what do you do to outline it?
Your picture probably has several colors in it. We want to reduce those colors to only black and white.
•    Go to the horizontal tabs across the top and click on “Images.”
•    In the drop-down menu, click on “Decrease Color Depth.” You’ll find it around the middle of the menu.
•    Press the button that says “2 Colors.”
•    Press “Okay.”


And you’re done! Save your edited picture under a different name. (Pearl Krabbs bw)

Outline Process #2
There is another option that gives a bit of a different effect.
•    Go to the horizontal tabs across the top and click on “Images.”
•    In the drop-down menu, click on “Effects.” You’ll find it near the bottom of the menu.
•    Now click on “Edge Detection.”


•    Now we need to flip the colors. Click on the “Images” tab again.
•    This time in the drop-down menu we’ll click on “Negative (invert image).” You’ll find this on the lower middle of the menu.


And you’re done! Save your picture under a different name. (Pearl Krabbs neg)


The pictures are able to be printed on a transparency for overhead projector use. As a plus, color ink is saved in this process as well.


Some extra tips to consider:
•    If you right click on an image you like in a webpage, a menu appears. Select “Copy Image Location” and put the URL in your browser window. Press enter to go to that graphic page. I mention this only because sometimes the webpage with the picture automatically reduces the size of the graphic, whereas the image location page may have a larger graphic to use.

•    If you’ve not heard of the image search “Tineye,” you may want to give it a try. For example, say you find a graphic you like, but it is smaller than you would like. By going to Tineye you can enter the URL of your image and it will search the web for any image that matches. Then you can sort by finding the largest image available to use. 

Tineye is also useful if you like a graphic, but a text or symbol has been placed over it. Using Tineye, you may be able to find that same graphic without the writing or watermark.   https://tineye.com/

(Tineye for me has been so useful I have it as a Firefox browser add on. It appears in my right click menu as an option when I click on a picture. Saves lots of time.


I hope this helps! If anyone has more helpful graphic editing tips, feel free to add to this thread!

Note: I am not affiliated with any of the links in this article.


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Thanks, its always nice to have helpful posts like this. I have heard of Infanview. In the past I have just used my laptop through a projector onto my project board. 

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Thanks for this!  I am excited to try using this for my first project next year (this year is already booked solid).  I agree that the coloring page is the easiest way to start.  I have an analog/trial and error system that I have used previously to get my original artwork.  If anyone is interested in learning about it, or how I get from an 11" high original to something bigger, let me know and I will be glad to give you my method.  While I don't claim it's the best, it does work pretty well for somebody such as myself who is has limited technological/artistic skills.

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