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HOW TO GET PAINTING EFFECTS FROM ACTIONS-Part 2

Image of Edinburgh, Scotland, from the castleI have been enjoying learning about several actions people have created that give some interesting twists to an image, and some are quite painterly. Last week I presented Part 1 on action based images, and this week Part 2 is a totally different kind of look also created with actions. I have to thank Diana Day for the blog comment (here is a link to a beautiful flower image she created with the following set) that directed me to this little gem.

Ultimate Artist Action by Brandy Murry

The above image was taken from Edinburgh Castle in Scotland.The Ultimate Artist packet is an inexpensive set ($7.50 at this time) provided by Scrap Girls, one of the really nice website that scrapbook hobbyists use. Besides the three actions provided, this packet also included three brushes (although you can use any of your brushes),  six layer styles including one pattern for use in the styles and Pattern Adjustment Layers, two videos, and PDF instructions. I wanted to try a landscape so the Sepia Action was selected. The supplied Sketch brush was used to painted detail in the buildings but not the sky area. Following her suggestion in the videos, I copied the bottom original layer and moved it on top to add some color back into the image. This layer was set to Vivid Light at 59% opacity. On a New Layer some color was added into the image by painting with her Sketch brush. A Selective Color Adjustment Layer was added to get the colors exactly how I liked them, then set it to Darker Color blend mode at 77% layer opacity. Now the sky looked bad, so a cloud texture I had painted in Corel Painter were added for a more painterly feel. Any cloud brushes would also have worked. The sky color was changed back to a beige color as the blue just did not look right from the original. To do this a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was clipped to the painted cloud layer and the city was painted back in the mask.  Added a painted edge border on a New Layer on top – used the provided Sketch brush again to do this. Finally on a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) Brandy’s Texture 2 layer style was applied. The pattern did not completely cover the image and left a line down the right side, so the Pattern Overlay Scale was changed to 165% and the Blend Mode was set to Multiply at 24% (from the default Overlay at 100%) to get a very subtle overall textured feel. I really like the supplied pattern for this effect. This image took a long time for me to get to a point that I liked.

Image of yellow daisies that used Ultimate Artist action for effectThis image of my front yard yellow daisies that gives a very popular effect and is sold as an artistic effect in many stores. This image was cropped into a square and then the Color Action was run. The Watercolor Brush supplied was used to paint in the flowers on the action’s created black layer mask. When finished I decided to apply the layer mask so that I could add a texture behind the flowers that I painted in. The Outline Guide layer was turned off and Melissa Gallo’s beautiful Painted Texture April Pastel was brought in as layer under the flowers. French Kiss’s (see my Tidbits Blog for website link) Vintage French Recois overlay (the French writing) was placed over the flowers layer and set to a brownish color using a clipped Color Fill Adjustment Layer (CTRL+click between layers to clip). A layer mask was added to the lettering layer and it was lightly painted away from the flowers. Next I decided I wanted a more painted texture in the image so several New Layers were added using Creative Toons Watercolor brushes ( Creative Toons Watercolor Brushes – these were free from Photoshop Creative Magazine No. 113) on the different layers in different colors at different opacities. They were grouped to create just one layer look and set to 82% layer opacity. On a New Layer French Kiss Dot Grunge 04 was added and changed to a purplish color using same technique as the French Kiss overlay. Last step involved creating a watercolor border by painting around the edge of a layer with your favorite brush – the supplied brushes can do this easily. This was really a lot of fun to create and the package was very inexpensive.

Image of a vintage post cardJust having some more fun with this little action set. The flower followed basically the same actions and painting steps as above, just different Creative Toons Watercolor brushes. Next added the image to a beautiful free frame from Keep Designing.com called Antique Design Background and Rustic Frame and then Shadowhouse Creations free vintage Post Card Set 3-post card 3. Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) ReStyle was used to really get the look I liked. The address is one of my overlays I created (see my How to Create Personal Overlays for Your Images blog) and the French stamp is from French Kiss Collections. This image really took a lot of fiddling around with to get it to all go together but it was lots of fun to do.

A Few Brush Hints

After spending a large amount of time with these actions, I felt really nice effects can be achieved with them. The bottom two image worked out very well when flowers are used. But the landscape image turned out to be a lot of work and a  lot of manipulation had to be done to achieve a look I liked – I believe I could do this same effect in some of my Photoshop plug-ins a lot easier and get a similar result. I discovered the watercolor brush to be especially nice, but you need to go into the Brush Panel and check the Spacing checkbox to see the stroke effect in the Preview box. I had trouble getting the nice watercolor effect she got in her videos so some of the brush parameters were adjusted. Remember that the Options Bar settings are sticky so check the opacity and flow settings – a wrong setting can give very different results. On her Watercolor Brush she has the Enable Airbrush-style Build Up turned on – this means that the paint builds up as you hold her Watercolor Brush in one place. (To turn on in a brush, check the Build Up section in the Brush Panel – it activates the Option Bar icon at the same time or just check the Options Bar icon.) Jack Davis uses this setting in his watercolor brushes but most do not use it. I got a little bit of edge difference so experiment with turning it on and off – and a mouse vs. a stylus can give very different results so play with these settings. And if your lines are not as scattered as hers, go in and change the scattering – check out the preview section and change the sliders to see what is happening. I got a really nice Scattering effect with this brush by setting the Scatter to 190% and the Count to 2. The Brush Panel can be very useful to help get the look you like. Also, if you find a brush you like, be sure to save it as a brush preset to use again – otherwise your settings are lost when you change brushes.

Overall I think Brandy has done a great job in creating thee actions – it definitely creates more of a sketch look and would look great on note cards or for personal gifts. I still need to work with the actions to get some better results. Definitely spend time watching the included videos as they do give some extra info on how to set up the brushes. There were several images I used that did not work out – the landscape image needed a lot of contrast, which she says to do, to get a good result. What I liked best were her brushes – very nice place to start so you can create some really useful ones of your own – and her layer styles. If you enjoy this painting effect, it would definitely be worth purchasing – there is a lot of “bang for the buck” with this set. See ya next week!…..Digital Lady Syd

HOW TO GET PAINTING EFFECTS FROM ACTIONS-Part 1

Illustrative image of the Circus McGurkus at Seuss Land, Universal Studios, FloridaSince we are all clamoring to learn how to paint and how to give our images an artistic flair, this blog is about some really cool free painterly actions that I recently learned about! I really did not have high expectations since these were not sites I was familiar with (like the wonderful Jack Davis and his actions! See my Can You Get a Painting Look With a Photoshop Action? Jack Davis Can! blog). But still, since they were about painting effects, I had to try them. Well, if nothing else  these actions can serve as a great starting point to getting a painted look up and going rather quickly. I decided to break this down into two parts since this is a pretty long topic to cover in one blog, so next week a different action will be presented.

Painting Effects by SparkleStock

The above is another one of my quirky images from Universal Studios Orlando (I think I am obsessed with this place!) of The Circus McGurkus in Seuss Landing and I just had to do something with it. So this is how I got the really cute illustrative effect with lots of paint in it without too much trouble.

1. First step is to download the Painting Effects by SparkleStock from Photoshop Tutorials – there are three free actions for download.
2. Need to change your image into 8-bit mode if it is in 16-bit as the actions use the Photoshop Filter Gallery and will not work with 16-bit mode images. Go to Edit -> Mode -> 8-bit.
3. Run the action.

After applying Seim’s Power 4 Workflow (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) Magic-Harsh Sun Fixer preset to image in Lightroom, it was opened in Photoshop and the Modern Watercolor action was selected. The original action did not leave that great a result, but by changing the patterns in the Pattern Fill Adjustment Layers, totally different results can be easily obtained. The Outline layer was changed to Soft Light at 36% opacity. The Underlying Layer Blend If slider was changed to black tab 24/53, and Color Overlay was turned off. In the Pattern Fill 1 Adjustment Layer, I found a leafy pattern that had a lot of gray and white in it set to 110% Scale. In the Dark Paint Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer, I selected a very colorful pattern from 10 Free Seamless Colored Splatter Textures Pattern 7 set to 535% Scale that shows up in the white areas of the image . Both of these layers were left set to Overlay blend mode at 100% layer opacity. Then on several New Layers I painted on the image using various brushes, including those wonderful watercolor brushes from Creative Toons ( Creative Toons Watercolor Brushes – these were free from Photoshop Creative Magazine No. 113)). Clouds were painted in, the elephant’s body shadow lines were smoothed, and more color was added to the circus tent to give a more festive look. This was too much fun! A stamped layer was created on top (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) and two identical outside Radial Filters in the Camera Raw filter were added to really light up the edges (used these settings: Exposure +2.25, Contrast -47, Highlights -50, Shadows -21, Clarity +100, Saturation +28, and Sharpness +43) – layer was set to 74% layer opacity. Created another Stamped layer and applied Topaz (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) Detail 3 (these settings to adjust the color just a little sharpness to the image: Overall Small Details 0.3, Small Boost -0.05, Medium Details 0.35, Medium Boost 0, Large Details 0.25, Large Boost 0, Shadows -0.34, Cyan-Red, Magenta-Green 0.61, Yellow-Blue 0.45.  Set Overall Effect in the Mask section at 58%). Used French Kiss’s Sponged Edge overlay (from her Tableaux Texture Collection) and set it to a light pink. This action really allowed me to get a great painterly effect while it did the groundwork.

Image of a street in St. Andrews, ScotlandThis is an image I took a while ago of one of the most beautiful and charming cities I have ever visited (and of course the home of the most famous links golf course – Wow! See my The Old Course at St. Andrews image on Flickr.) The same Modern Watercolor action was used like above – I seem to get better results with this action than the other two. Detailed steps are listed as to how I got this look since it did take a lot of manipulation to get the effect. I have found the action is a great starting place, but it takes some help to get a really nice painterly feel to it. So bear with me as I list my steps (or skip over if you don’t need them).

1. Used the new CC Perspective Warp Command to set this town up a little straighter. There was some real tilting going on in the original image. (For instructions on this, check out Terry White’s What’s New in CC-1/14/14 Update)
2. Ran SparkleStock’s Modern Watercolor Action. Be sure you are in 8-bit mode before running.
3.  Changed bottom pattern to Sandpaper and Scale of 100% – Layer Blend Mode changed to soft light at 68%. Set This Layer blend If to 176 and 255.
4. Changed the second pattern to my SJ Purplish1 Impasto Texture Pattern at Scale of 238%. Set Blend Mode to Divide at 100% Layer Opacity. This texture I created in Painter and it really is a pretty subtle one – I converted it to a pattern by going to Edit -> Define Pattern – you can do this with any texture you have. This texture was basically just some smaller brush strokes in various tones of purple and white – I would suggest finding a couple of textures you own and just converting them to patterns and trying them out in the image. I probably tried out 10 textures before I found one I liked for this image. And try different Scale settings and blend modes. Each image will give very different results.
5. On Color Adjustment layer changed Saturation +67 and Lightness -11.
6. Changed Outline opacity to 47% and turned off the Cutout filter eyeball.
7. Added a Selective Color Adjustment Layer on top of action group (Absolute (Greens-Cyan -25, Magenta +1, Yellow -18 and Black 0; Blues-Cyan +13, Magenta -8, Yellow +20, and Black -11; Whites-Cyan +4, Magenta -9, Yellow -8, and Black +25; Neutrals-Cyan +7, Magenta 0, Yellow -14, and Black -1; and Blacks-Cyan -6, Magenta +1, Yellow -8, and Black -1) and set to 54% layer opacity. This made adjusted the color in the sky to ones I liked.
8. Added New Layer on top and used DC (David Cole’s Complete Digital Painting Techniques ) Watercolor Washer Brush (click here to download his wonderful brushes) on the foreground and to touch up little areas. Gives more painterly look.
9.  Created 2 New Layers to blend in the sky which I just didn’t love the way it looked – used Mixer brush by Fay Sirkis using  her CS6 Oily Rich Blender #1. (I love her brushes! If you are a KelbyOne member, they can be downloaded from her older webinars.) If not, download the Wet Media Brushes that come with Photoshop, change to the Mixer Brush Tool, and select the first brush, Round Point Thin Bristle set to a small size – under 20 px. Use these settings up in your Options Bar to get a nice blend brush – Turn on Load after every stroke, Turn off Clean after every stroke, set to Very Wet, Heavy Mix which sets the other settings, and check Sample All Layers. Try a different brush if this does not work – any brush can used as a Mixer Brush as long as it is listed in your Brush Preset Panel. It is really fun to paint with a Mixer Brush.
10. Create a Stamped Layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) which combines all layers into one on top.
11.  Opened Topaz ReStyle and applied the Bleached Raw Umber preset (Settings used ReStyle opacity 36%;; Hue Primary -0.19, Secondary 0.34, Third -0.23, Fourth -0.70, and Fifth 0.48; Sat Primary 0.55; and Lum Primary -0.58, Fourth 0.39, and Fifth -0.58; Texture 0.27; Basic Tone Black Level 0.47, Midtones 0.05, and White Level -0.28; and Detail Structure 0.42 and Sharpness -0.55. In Photoshop set opacity to 46%). Totally transformed the image into something that is just the look I wanted – ReStyle Rocks!

Okay – what have we got here? A pretty nice action set (and you cannot beat the price!) that gives you a great place to start – it reminds me of how an underpainting would look. Personally I find it works best on landscape type images – not having good luck with flowers and close-ups, but I will continue experimenting to see if I can figure it out. If you need a decent Mixer Brush to use on a New Layer above the actions, check out Step 9 – everyone can make this brush and it does a pretty nice job of blending some of the wild texturing. Also, create some patterns out of your textures for use in the different Pattern Adjustment Layers – see Step 4 – totally easy! Now you have some real variety and some very interesting results should happen. SparkleStock has created a very nice action for all of us to you. Next week I have another action that gives a totally different look, but still a great artistic look – so stay tuned! Until next week and Part 2, have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd

 

HOW TOPAZ BLACK & WHITE EFFECTS CAN CREATE SOME SURPRISING RESULTS!

Image of top of Caro-Seuss-el at Seuss Landing in Universal Studios OrlandoFor some reason this week I kept playing around with Topaz (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) Black & White Effects – have not really done this in a while and am enjoying some of the really different effects that can be achieved with this little gem of a plug-in. I am not a great black and white image fan, although I have been trying to learn the technique. There are so many things to learn just to get a great black and white image. But I use Black & White Effects more for getting that unique and sometimes artsy look.

So what did I do to get this totally different look from this plug-in since this image was taken in the middle of the day in bright sunlight? This is another image from Universal Studios Orlando of the top of the Caro-Seuss-el in Seuss Landing. In Lightroom used Seim Power 4 Workflow (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) Gentle Afternoon preset before opening image in Photoshop. Topaz Detail 3 was applied on the whole image to sharpen it up a bit. Nik Viveza 2 was used to add more emphasis to the little blue elephant and the really cool shadow from the pterodactyl-like bird. Then the image was taken into Topaz Black & White effects and one of my presets I created a long time ago was used. For the preset settings, see Image 1 info below. The Sharpen Tool was used on the elephant on a New Layer and some paint touch up was done to smooth everything together. A cloud layer was used (used my free Cloud Brushes No. 11) to add a little sky interest – the sky was cloudless. To get a really cool darker look, Kim Klassen’s free Simpleset Simple 2 black texture set to Screen blend mode at 56% was added and a dark blue Color Fill Adjustment Layer was clipped (ALT + click between layers) to the texture to make it dark blue instead of the black background color.  Image of a sign at Universal City Walk in Orlando, FloridaI have to be honest and say I love to photograph and post-process images of signs, especially unusual and brightly colored ones. Universal Studios Orlando has so many from which to choose. This one is from Universal City Walk that is outside the two large theme parks and has some great restaurants and entertainment offered nightly. In Lightroom used Seim’s Power 4 Workflow Ultra Color preset. In Photoshop a Color Balance and Curves Adjustment Layers were added to sharpen up the image a little. On a stamped layer on top (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) Content Aware Fill was used to get rid of some extraneous objects in the sky. Next Topaz  ReStyle was used – The Bright and Shiny preset was selected and few minor changes were done to the Basic Color sliders and Detail and Structure sliders. Some clouds were lightly added to background using Creative Toons Watercolor Brush 41 (these were free from Photoshop Creative Magazine No. 113) and then a layer mask was added to remove the cloud paint from the signs. A Gaussian Blur set to Radius 3.8 was used on a duplicate layer above to soften the background. The layer mask was copied (ALT+drag to new layer) from the layer below. On another stamped layer, Topaz Black and White Effects was used – started with my House Fronts preset and then did minor adjustments. (For settings, see Image 2 info below.) What made this effect look so good was the use of the Local Adjustments brushes – the Detail Brush was used to sharpen the letter in the signs, Color Brush was used to paint back in the original photo color of the arrows to brighten parts of them, Dodge the Brush was used to soften some of the background details, and the Darken Brush separated the edges of the signs that ran into the busy roller coaster background. The brush settings were all the same and were Size 54, Opacity 0.56, Harness 0, and Edge Aware 0.50. This really perked up the image and gives it less of a “canned plug-in” look. Topaz may do brushes the best of any plug-in as they are very different and easy to apply! The last step added a Camera Raw filter Radial filter to just the inside to brighten it up only a bit. I was so surprised how this image turned out – I keep forgetting how good Black & White Effects really is!
Image of a blue cactus plant in a basketThis beautiful cactus was growing on the porch of a friend of mine and I had to take it’s picture – it looks like a variety of Mother of Pearl Plant, (aka Ghost Plant, Graptopetalum Paraguayense Plant). The color above is actually pretty close to the original – very lovely plant. Anyway, just another quick example of a different look in Black & White Effects. What really worked on this image was adjusting the Quad Tones to new colors – used a dark reddish brown, turquoise, citrus green and light yellow for the different regions. The Adaptive Exposure Protect Shadows brought back the detail in the pot so it did not look too flat. (For settings, see Image 3 info below.) Last step in Photoshop was adding an overlay for a slight vignette effect from a texture by 2 Lil’ Owls Artisan Collection 2/1 (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) -  then added a Color Fill Adjustment Layer clipped to the layer (ALT+Click between layers) to change the color to a dark green color. (See my How to Create an Overlay Out of a Texture blog for info on how to do this.)

I would recommend you try using the different brushes in Black & White Effects and see if you can get some creative results. It has a lot of good adjustments – can use low or high opacity brushes and flow, can set the hardness to hard or soft, and has a pretty good Edge Aware capability when needed. This was an area I had not even bothered using much, but I can see some real benefit in learning how to use these tools in the plug-in for that unique look. And the Quad Tone section is really a great addition to give some very interesting tones to the image. I am really trying to pass on some of the little tricks I am learning when I use this plug-in and maybe the settings listed at the end will give a good starting place to create a very different look. Hope all are having a great weekend!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Topaz Black & White Effects and Alien Skin Snap Art Together!
Digital Lady Syd Reviews Topaz Black & White Effects 2.1
Sunny Preset for Topaz Black and White Effects
Topaz Black and White Effects Quad Tones Are Great!

Image 1 Topaz B&W Effects Settings: The Vignette setting is one of the areas that made this special effect so dark. The teardrops on the upper right area control Paper Tonal Settings. Here are the settings for all sections: Conversion Basic Exposure 0.02, Brightness 0.02, Boost Blacks 0.71 and Boost Whites 0; Adaptive Exposure 0.62, Regions 34, Protect Highlight and Shadows 0.01, Detail 2.47, Detail Boost 1.04, and PDI checked; Finishing Touches Silver and Paper Tone Tonal Strength 0.19, Balance 0, Silver Hue 42.58, Silver Tone Strength 0.46, Paper Hue 46.48, and Paper Tone Strength 0.48; Quad Tone Color 1 Region 1 (color black), Color 2 Region 67.18 (color R3/G36/B22), Color 3 Region 146.6 (color R214/G223/B238) and Color 4 Region 255.0 (color white); Vignette Strength -0.25, Size 0.01, Transition 0.17, and Curvature 0.50); and Transparency 0.92.

Image 2 Topaz B&W Effects Settings: This is my SJ House Fronts preset adjusted from last week’s image to fit this image. The settings are:  Basic Exposure – Contrast -0.50, Brightness -0.01, Boost Blacks 0.20, and Boost Whites 0.59; Adaptive Exposure 0.86, Regions 18, Protect Highlights 0.02, Protect Shadows 0.10, Detail 1.49, and Detail Boost 1.13 – PDI checked; Color Sensitivity: Red 0.73, Yellow -0.14, Green 0.61, Cyan 0, Blue -0.33, and Magenta 0.02; Color Filter Hue 325.1 and Strength 0.68; Simplify Size 0.08 and Feature Boost 1; and Vignettes – center on image, Strength 1, Size 0.78, Transition 0.59, and Curvature 0.78. In Local Adjustments painted in detail back into the signs using brush size 54, Opacity 0.56, Hardness o and Edge Aware 0.50; painted in color back into parts of arrows and signs to give a more painterly effect using same brush, used Dodge to remove man in lower left edge; and used Burn to sharpen edges of signs from roller coaster edges.

Image 3 Topaz B&W Effects Settings:  I created a SJ Cactus preset with these settings that also contain the new Quad Tone colors:  Conversion – Basic Exposure Contrast 0.08, Brightness -0.11, Boost Blacks -0.27, and Boost Whites 0.21; Adaptive Exposure 0.18, Regions 26, Protect Highlights -0.04, Protect Shadows 0.15, Detail 2.02, and Detail Boost 0.79; Color Sensitivity Red 0, Yellow 0.51, Green -0.33, Cyan 0.50, Blue 0.68, and Magenta 0; and Color Filter Hue 106.0 and Strength 0.67; Creative Effects Softness 0.37, Diffusion 0.74, and Diffusion Transition 0.50; Finishing Touches Silver and Paper Tone – used first tear drop called Selenium above; Quad Tone Color 1 Region (R49/G5/B5) at 0.00, Color 2 Region (R51/G76/B83) at 92.08, Color 3 Region (R106/G127/75) at 128.9, and Color 4 Region (R240/G240/B178) at 255.0; and Transparency Overall set to 1.00. In Local Adjustments used the Detail brush to paint over the foreground flower Brush Size 110, Opacity 0.60, Hardness 0.01, and Edge Aware 0.50; next used the Color brush to paint in more of the blue color in the foreground flower and its stem – set Opacity to 0.20; the Overall Strength for the brushes was set to 0.57.

MORE PLUG-IN AND PAINTING EFFECTS

Image of a candy shop at Harry Potter Land in Universal Studios OrlandoThis week I thought I would just do a quick additional blog to go along with the one last week on Topaz Black & White Effects and Alien Skin Snap Art Together! Alien Skin Snap Art 4. Loved this little candy shop at Harry Potter Land in Universal Studios-Orlando. I am not sure I have seen so much candy in one place in a long time! What I want to emphasize is that you can combine different painting techniques, including free hand painting, to achieve a look that is unique. This image has used the same workflow as last week, but also had additional painting throughout to remove distractions and to add additional tones and colors.

In Lightroom started with Seim’s (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) free Color Fantasies 2 Sampler HDR Classic preset. In Photoshop, followed the basic workflow from my Fun Photoshop Blog linked above, then applied Snap Art’s default oil preset. On a duplicate layer above, Topaz (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) Black & White Effects plug-in was opened and the Harry Potter Sky preset was applied without the vignette settings (for settings see the last image info in my Fun Photoshop Blog linked above). Topaz Simplify 3 was opened on another layer and the Color Sketch 3 preset was applied – then a black layer mask and just a few areas painted back where I needed a little line effect. Try using different Simplify sketches and adjust the Edge Section sliders to get a nice sketch look. Then in Photoshop the opacity and blend mode can also be changed to get more choices. A Curves Adjustment Layer was added for contrast. A stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) layer was created and the Camera Raw filter was opened and two radial filters were used to direct focus to the cones in the center of the image. A New Layer was placed on top and a Photoshop Oil Mixer brush was used to smooth some of the areas around the candy and remove some of the distractions in the ceiling. (These were the Mixer Brush settings used in the Options Bar to get this effect: Both Load and Clean were turned on, Wet 0%, Load 50%, No Mix, Flow 19%, and check Sample All Layers.) Sample colors in image by clicking on the ALT button to get a matching area shown under the dropper, or bring up the Color Picker and sample just one color. Another New Layer used my Chalk Brush as a clone stamp brush. Both these layers were necessary to give the image a true painterly effect, and not just a canned feel. Finally another New Layer was used with the Sharpen Tool to localize sharpening. Pretty much what was done in my last blog.

Image of some pretty pink rosesCreated this effect by combining Alien Skin Snap Art 4′s Impasto Vignette preset and Topaz Simplify 4′s Oil Paint preset, in that order. I had never tried this combination, but I liked the results! Simplify’s layer was set to Screen at 38% opacity and the main focal point flowers were painted out in layer masks on both plug-in layers to direct focus better. 2 Lil Owls Stained 12 texture (see sidebar for my Tidbits Blog for website link) (these are some of her prettiest textures I think) was added on top and just the flowers I wanted showing were painted by in a layer mask using my Chalk brush. Added back some contrast with a Curves Layer, and the free font is Ornatique Regular. On a New Layer set to Overlay, the edges in the flower were painted in with a black brush set to 12% layer opacity to just give a trace where edges needed to be sharpened in the flower. (See The Best Dodging and Burning Technique! blog.) That was it – Snap Art, Simplify, and painting edges on an Overlay Layer.

Guess what I am learning in my painting adventure this year is that you do not have to go only one way with your painting effects – and if you do not get the results you want using one technique, try another. And use your brushes – they do not have to be in the same media even – to give that unique look. Creating or finding a couple brushes that you can use to get your own style is great to to have – that is what I am trying to do with my simple Chalk brush. The plug-ins can be a great aid to filling up a canvas quickly, but that additional layer on top with your own paint strokes can give the image your personal stamp. I am learning to do this and feel I am slowing getting a good workflow and painting technique in place. It does take a lot of practice to get the feel down but I believe it will be worth it in the end!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
What I Am Learning About Digital Painting
6 Tips for Painting in Photoshop
Painting Effects – Which Ones to Use?

TOPAZ BLACK & WHITE EFFECTS AND ALIEN SKIN SNAP ART TOGETHER!

Image of a three wheeled riding bike at Universal Studios OrlandoThis week I wanted to show some of the results be combining a couple of very popular third party Photoshop plug-ins to get a very painterly or artistic effect with just a little experimenting. This above image was taken at Universal Studios-Orlando – they have some wonderful looking bikes around the park. I particularly like the effect of Topaz (for website see my Tidbits Blog sidebar) Black & White Effects and Alien Skin’s Snap Art together, although this first image did not use both. The above image started with one of the free Seim’s Color Fantasies 2 (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) using Classic Holga preset in Lightroom. In Photoshop Topaz Detail 3 was used to really sharpen up the lines of the bike by adding a black layer mask and just painting the bike back in in white. (Used a very subtle sharpening preset I use all the time on my images with these settings are just: Detail Overall Medium Details 0.38 and Large Details 0.16 and Tone Contrast 0.30 and Shadows -0.01.) On a duplicated layer Nik Viveza 2 was used to even out the tone and color with several control points. Next on another duplicated layer Topaz Black and White Effects was applied. (Here are my settings: Basic Exposure Contrast -0.33, Brightness -0.01, Boost Blacks and Boost Whites 0.25; Adaptive Exposure 0.86, Regions 18, Protect Highlights 0.02, Protect Shadows 0.10, Detail 2.50, and Detail Boost 1.11, and check PDI box; Color Sensitivity Red 0.15, Yellow -0.14, Green 0.47, Cyan 0, Blue 0.31, and Magenta 0; Color Filter Hue 325.1 and Strength 0.27; Creative Effects Simplify Size 0.12 and Feature Boost 1; Silver and Paper Tone Tonal Strength 0.40, Balance 0.30, Silver Hue 0, SilverTone Strength 0.50, Paper Hue 4.00, and Paper Tone Strength 0.25; Vignette – need to adjust center, Strength 1.00, Size 0.71, Transition 0.44, and Curvature 0.55; and Transparency Overall 1.00.) This is a great plug-in that most people use for black and white image, but I like the Transparency turned on at 100% which adds back roughly 50% of the color in the image. By using the individual Detail, Darkening and Color brushes on the image,  a very painterly effect can be obtained. Try experimenting with the brushes in the Topaz products – can get some great effect with them! Back on another duplicated layer of the Nik Viveza 2 layer, Topaz Simplify’s Pencil Hard II preset was applied, moved to the top of the stack, and set to Overlay blend mode at 26% opacity. This gives it a more illustrative feel which I was aiming to get. On a New Layer on top, the vignette and some of the colors were evened out out by sampling in the image using my Chalk Brush (Adobe Chalk Brush 60 with a Shape Dynamics set to 19% in Brush Panel). The last step involved adding a Curves Adjustment Layer to add back contrast to the image. Sometimes all the different manipulations tend to make the image lose its contrast.
Image of a Lost Continent Eatery at Universal Studios OrlandoThis image of a small water fountain at an eatery in The Lost Continent at Universal Studios in Orlando just caught my eye – loved the tiles. Very similar settings in Topaz Black & White Effects were used. On a New Layer above the plug-in layer, the chalk brush was used to even out the vignette, instead of using the plug-ins brushes. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) Alien Skin’s Snap Art 4 was applied using the Detailed Watercolor preset. On a New Layer, the Clone Stamp Brush was set to my Chalk Brush as used above, and at 60% brush opacity, it was cloned to add a few brush strokes into the areas so it looks like a really painted effect. On a New Layer on top, some small paint spatters were added back lightly into the image to give it just a little bit of a realistic feel and set to 70% layer opacity. A Curves Adjustment Layer was place on top.
Image of the rooftops at Harry Potter Land at Universal Studios OrlandoOne final image is of the Rooftops at Harry Potter Land at Universal Studios Orlando. Had so much fun taking images there! This image used Topaz Detail 3 with my detail preset from above, then I added a cloud since the sky was a rather flat blue using my Cloud 1 from my free set of Cloud Brushes. Next Snap Art 4 was opened and this time the Impasto Vignette was applied. On a stamped layer Topaz Black & White Effects was applied using a preset I called Harry Potter Sky (Here are the settings if you want them: Conversion Basic Exposure: Contrast -0.04, Brightness 0.09. Boost Blacks 0.29, and Boost Whites -0.24; Adaptive Exposure 26, Regions 26, Protect Highlights and Protect Shadows 0, Detail 1.07, and Detail Boost 0.70; Color Filter Hue 63.87 and Strength 1.00; Quad Tone Color 1 Region 15.08 – R1 G1 B12; Color 2 Region 143.9 – color R63 G78 B85; Color 3 Region R216 G211 B129; and Color 4 Region R255 G254 B237; Vignette – Vignette Strength -0.11, Vignette Size 0.68, Vignette Transition 0.93, and Vignette Curvature 0.75; and Transparency Overall 0.85.) Really gives the more spooky look that I wanted for this image. Next a Curves Adjustment Layer for additional contrast. The last step used the Photoshop’s Camera Raw filter using the same Radial Filter effect to add the largest tower. Lots of fun to do!

I hope you can tell that with just a little experimenting you can get a very painterly feel on an image. And try a different brush, instead of just a round soft brush, to use when cloning – this can really add a painterly feel to the image and the clone effect is not nearly so evident. It is so much fun to try out different presets and sliders and different plug-in combinations to get something very different. Hope you try mixing up your plug-ins and see if you can get some very artistic looks too!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
A Nice Illustrative Look
Get Great Results with Alien Skin Snap Art 3 and Topaz ReStyle Together!!
Can You Get a Painting Look With a Photoshop Action? Jack Davis Can!

WHAT ABOUT THIS FOCAL POINT ISSUE?

Painted image of a cafe in Edinburgh, ScotlandThis week I am going to discuss an issue that has always been a problem for me, and that is – how to find the focal point of my image, and then how to emphasize it once you know where it is. Darren Rowse, in a short blog called Using Focal Points in Photography, sums it up when he says “The reason a focal point is important is that when you look at an image your eye will generally need a ‘resting place’ or something of interest to really hold it. Without it you’ll find people will simply glance at your shots and then move on to the next one.” In other words, if you want people to look at your image seriously and not just consider it a snapshot, you better have a good, and if possible, interesting, focal point.

The image above was a good example of a focal point issue I had. This is an image of an outdoor cafe in Edinburgh, Scotland, with just a lot going on in it – loved everything about the scene and was not sure where to place the emphasis. (Click here to see my initial posting of photo on Flickr – notice that your eye goes everywhere when viewed – no obvious focal point in the image.) In the above painted rendition, I decided to draw the eye to the white jacket the woman had which was not so obvious in the first posting image. In this case by whitening just a little bit of clothing, it was enough to create a nice focal point. Also, the Camera Raw Filter’s Radial Filter helped provide the desired results with the subtle vignettes it provided. (See Image 1 Info at end of blog for settings used, including the Radial Filter.)

How to find your Focal Point

Deciding where the focal point of your image should be is the first thing to do before any post-processing is done to an image. You have to know where you want people to look to get a good result! Melissa Gallo is the major champion of focal points – she is both a traditional and digital artist and I believe she is the first person to really help me understand what a focal point is. She teaches a video class called Painting with Photoshop Workshop where she explains this concept very thoroughly. (I highly recommend your getting Melissa’s class if you are at all interested in creating digital art – and she provides lots of  her beautiful textures for this class.) I learned these two tips are very useful for finding the focal point.  First decide what was so important that it made you take the picture? – that should be your focal point.  I tend to take a lot of images where I have not put a lot of thought into why I took it. I now understand that I am just taking memory snapshots, not something with major intention behind them. That is not necessarily a bad thing, and I do get some shots for creating nice photos or art, but overall the results are not good. Melissa’s second bit of advice was to “Squint at your images. If the focal point doesn’t stand out while squinting then something is wrong.” That is the area in the image to work on – you want to drive the viewer’s eye to the focal point. In the above image it was the people that attracted me – although beautiful buildings are in the background and there is the interesting signage, the people are the main story for me. And by painting more of a white color in the ladies shirt, it made the focal point a little more apparent. By squinting, the white does stand out to your eye.

A few good references on this subject are listed here. A most helpful one covers this topic in a lot more detail than my blog and is from Digital Camera World called Using Focal Points in Photography: How to Get Perfect Composition Every Time – check it out for some really good info. Another quick resource blog is The Importance of a Focal Point in Photography by by Wayne Turner. Also this short blog shows how Leonardo da Vinci developed his focal points using color, contrast and structure – see n-sane.net’s blog called Focal Point.
Image of guy serving Butter Beer at Harry Potter Land, Universal Studios-Orlando

Some easy ways to emphasize the Focal Point

There are lots of ways to draw focus, but I really like the Radial Filter in the Camera Raw Filter. Frequently I use this as my last step to add a nice subtle vignette to emphasize the focal point in my image. The Camera Raw filter’s Radial Filter is one of the biggest improvements that came with Photoshop CC.  This can also be done in CS6 by going back and forth between Lightroom and Photoshop, or by using Russell Brown’s script (see my Edit Layers with ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) Script blog) that let’s you open Camera Raw on an individual layer in earlier versions – and CS6 does have the Radial Filter available. The Radial Filter appears to be able to replace a lot of the other ways used to de-emphasize or emphasize a photo, and does it really quickly. All the Basic sliders are available and several radial filters can be placed all over your image so it is fairly easy to draw the eye to the focus point exactly the way you want.

The above image is of a man serving the best tasting Butterbeer from a street cart at Harry Potter Land at Universal Studios-Orlando.  His interesting face was my main focal point. Topaz (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) Detail 3 was used to add just a little sharpening, although the Sharpen Tool on a New Layer or Camera Raw Filter’s Sharpening Panel could have been used – Detail is just so quick and does a great job with this so I tend to use it most for sharpening (my settings are in the Image 2 info at end of blog). Next two Radial Filters from the Camera Raw Filter – one for just his upper body where I want to draw attention and want the vest detail to show up, and another one for the rest of the image. Since the red on the truck was so overpowering, by using the outside radial filter the color could be slightly desaturated so the man shows up better. Also the detail in his shirt could be emphasized some with the inside radial filter. (See all settings for Image 2 at end of blog.) A Gaussian Blur Filter was added to a stamped version on top and the Radius set to 4.8. Then a black layer mask was added and areas around his face were blurred slightly, like the woman’s face and parts of the background. This is also an easy way to draw the eye to the focal point.

A couple quick tips on using the Radial Filter are listed here. Be sure to make your layer a Smart Object before opening up the Camera Raw Filter so that you can go back and adjust the Radial Filter settings if needed (Right click on the layer and select Convert to Smart Object.) A Smart Object and a Smart Filter are the same thing so either one will work. To duplicate a radial filter in Lightroom or Camera Raw, just hold the ALT+CTRL buttons and then drag the first dot so a second dot appears – next be sure to change the radial button setting to Outside or Inside if needed. By using this technique, you can cover the whole image to localize the effect you want. Don’t forget that you can place several radial filters in an image. The filter can be duplicated to apply the same effect twice to the same area. Sometimes you may just want to add or subtract color in a certain area and then go back and set another one to do something else, like sharpen or add clarity. This is a really versatile tool.
Image taken of a store display at Universal Studios Orlando
This image was taken in a store at Universal Studios Orlando. I loved all the beautiful shapes and colors in this image, but it a really good example of trying to pick the correct focal point. I tried to make the three pots on the lower left the focal point – still not sure I succeeded, but I believe they do stand out more than the rest of the image. I tried to follow the color, contrast and structure principle to emphasize the focal point. To me there is a question of exactly how far do you go to emphasize a focal point when there is so much to see in the image? When I “squint,” my eye does rest on the orange colored pot, so I believe I succeeded in emphasizing the correct area for my focal point. (See Image 3 for info post-processing.)

I hope I was able to help anyone else who has problems figuring out where the focal point is in an image and then what to do to emphasized it. It is not an easy topic. The above related blog links should help if you need more info on this. I will continue working hard on emphasizing my focal points in my photography and Photoshop. Have a good week!……Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Storytelling with Your Images

Post Processing Info

Image 1 : In Lightroom some basic changes and Dave DuChemin’s Classic India Split Tone preset was applied. Some major clean with removing cars and people that you can see in the original linked above on a New Layer. Three stamped layers were used, one after the application of another filter, for each plug-in.  The image was actually painted in using three of my favorite plug-ins: Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Detail 3 with my abstract setting (Detail Overall – Small Details, Medium Details and Large Details sliders all at -1.00; Color Temperature -0.27, Tint 0.34, Saturation -0.65, and Saturation Boost 0.21.) which gave the image a soft pinkish smooth look that was kind of interesting by itself; Alien Skin’s Snap Art 4 using Oil Paint Thick Paint preset with three Detail Masks to add detail back to the people and plants a little bit, Adding some Saturation and Contrast to the Colors tab, and using the Canvas default texture; and Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) ReStyle’s Cypress and Tan preset with no changes and applied at 66% layer opacity. The last step involved creating two Radial Filters in the Camera Raw Filter – Outside used Exposure -0.40, Contrast -41, Shadows +42, Clarity -44, and Saturation +6; and Inside, which was placed very close around the people sitting at the table, had Exposure +1.00, Contrast +71, Highlights +20, Shadows +74, Clarity +19, and Saturation +48. The Feather for both settings was set at 89%. Back in Photoshop the Camera Raw layer was set to 73% layer opacity.

Image 2: In Lightroom added Seim Power Workflow (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link to free sampler with this preset) Super HDR X preset that was applied at 79% using The Fader add-on. Opened in Photoshop and Topaz Detail 3 using a very subtle preset I use all the time on my images (my settings are just: Detail Overall Medium Details 0.38 and Large Details 0.16 and Tone Contrast 0.30 and Shadows -0.01) were applied on a duplicate layer. The image was turned into a Smart Object and the Camera Filter was opened. Two Radial Filters were used – one to emphasize the server, and one for the rest of the image. Outside used Exposure -0.60, Contrast +45, Highlights -12, Shadows +21, Clarity -73, Saturation -31, and Sharpness -72; and Inside, which was placed very close around the mans upper body and really brought out the detail in the vest, had Exposure +2.10, Contrast +47, Highlights +51, Shadows +93, Clarity 0, and Saturation +5. The Feather for both settings was set at 89%. Back in Photoshop the Camera Raw layer was set to 73% layer opacity. The last step involved created a stamped layer on top and adding a Gaussian Blur with a Radius set to 4.8 – a black mask was applied and just the lady and detail around the man’s face was painted back blurred using a 30% opacity white brush on the mask. I felt like this area was just too sharp and took away from the man’s face or the focal point.

Image 3: In Lightroom Seim’s Color Fantasies 2 HDR Classic preset was applied (another free sampler to download). In Photoshop the background layer was duplicated and set to Screen blend mode to lighten image as it was very dark. OnOne (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) Perfect Effects 8 plug-in was applied next. Stacked these layers in the plug-in: Split Tone, Detail Adjustment Brush painting in the three bottles on center left, Glow Adjustment Brush painting in just the three bottles on center left, Sunshine Glow, Big Softy Vignette set to Subtle with Size set to 7, Center placed on the three bottle in center left. Trying to make the bottles the focal point. Back in Photoshop another Camera Raw smart object was opened and two radial filters as before were created – emphasized the three pots in lower left. The Sharpen Tool was further used to help draw the eye. A Selective Color Adjustment Layer was used to add more color into just the three pots. On a stamped layer on top a Gaussian Blur set to 3.8 was applied. In a Layer Mask, just the pots were painted back leaving the rest of the image slightly soft. This is another way to draw the eye to the focal point. That was about all I could do. Vignetting, Color,Sharpening, and some selective Blurring.

WHAT I AM LEARNING ABOUT DIGITAL PAINTING

Painted image of neighboring dachas in BelarusThis week’s blog is sponsored by the word “Confused” – I can’t seem to make up my mind how I want to paint digitally! I do one version, then try it differently, and realize I like both version, but they are very different. And I am finding out that I can’t seem to settle on one program or plug-in – sometimes I have to use everything but the “kitchen sink” to get the results I like! Therefore, this week I am just going to share a few things I have painted recently, do a little image comparison, and explain what I learned from each image. Maybe you might get a few ideas that will help your creative process, and let me know of any other suggestions.

Painter and Photoshop

I like the above photo of neighboring dachas on a dirt road near Minsk in Belarus. This image was basically painted in Corel Painter. The brushes used were created from a short Corel video called Reason #2 – Cloning Feature by Melissa Gallo.  The basic colors and shapes were cloned in roughly following her basic steps. The image was then brought into Photoshop where Melissa Gallo’s Painted Texture Embossed Fabric Warm Paper was set to Color blend mode. Just the dachas and greenery along the trail were painted back. This gave a beautiful yellow orange feel to the sky and looked pretty nice already! On a New Layer on top a Cool Grunge Mixer brush (碎块) in Blur’s Good Brush 5.1 Pro set (a wonderful huge free download of all kinds of Photoshop brushes including several really nice Mixer brushes!) was used in a beige-white color to add some texture mainly to the sky. Also used this brush, 透明水色 – 2(正片叠底), to add more grunge on another layer. On a New Layer on top of this, Fay Sirkis’s (a Corel Painter Master) Fays #2 tap n blend brush (one of my favorite mixer brushes – if you are a Kelby One member, her fabulous painting brushes are all downloadable for free from her webinars posted on the site) was used  to clean up some of the painted edges from Painter. What really popped this image was a Selective Color Adjustment Layer that was added next and just the Reds Colors were changed to give a more pinkish tint to the overall image. A little frame I had created in Painter previously was added to finish off the image.

What I learned from this image: It seems that at my stage of learning, I am still heavily relying on Photoshop. My results when Painter is used has a much more abstract feel to them. I think it is okay to use both programs to get that final result if you are comfortable going back and forth between the programs. Also, you have got to create some brushes that you can use easily. Otherwise it can be overwhelming. Melissa’s Painter brushes were a great place for me to start, then adjust them to get the right stroke effect. I will add that Fay Sirkis is another artist with fabulous brushes and I use them a lot.

Photoshop, Alien Skin Snap Art 4, and Topaz ReStyle

Image of the dirt road a some dachas in BelarusI tried to create a different painterly effect with the same image as the first one. I did a lot of experimenting with the image to get this more “photorealistic” look to the image. I like the results, but it took a long time to get it the way I liked. First in Lightroom Seim Power Workflow 4 (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog Sampler Super HDR X preset (free download that contains some really nice presets) was used to brighten up the image first. In Photoshop some clean up was done to remove the electrical lines and a box, and flowers were copied and added to the bottom front. The Warp Tool was used to get a nice effect. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) everything I could think of was added. Two Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer, two layer textures, Alien Skin Snap Art 4, Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) ReStyle, Nik Viveza 2, two Curves Adjustment Layers, a Selective Color Adjustment Layer, and a Blender Mixer Brush layer. Whew! At least I got to experiment a lot to decide which tools and plug-ins work best with my painterly style. Lots of fun!

What I learned from this image: You do not have to do a lot of painting to get a really nice painterly look in an image. The plug-ins worked nicely instead of a lot of hand painting – just one layer used the Mixer Brush to clean up a few things. But beware, if you really want an overall artistic feel to an image, it will probably require some initial work in Painter.

Photoshop

Painted image of the entrance to Dr. Seuss LandThis was fun to paint! The colors and lines were so bold and beautiful in this sign indicating the entrance to Universal Studios Orlando. And it was relatively easy to do! Basically in Lightroom added Seim Power Workflow (free sampler link with this preset) Magic Ugly Shade Fixer preset and Dave Delnea’s LR Develop Presets Backlight Vertical Right preset (love both these presets). Then in Photoshop Melissa Gallo’s Painted Textures May Garden was added on top of image with a layer mask. Using my Chalk Brush (Adobe Chalk Brush 60 with a Shape Dynamics set to 19%) set to black at 30% opacity brush, the major parts of the image were painted back – actually quite a bit was painted back. The rest involved using the Chalk Brush as a regular brush, Mixer Brush, Eraser Brush and Clone Stamp Brush to get it looking like I wanted it to look. Just be sure to save the altered regular brush to your Brush Presets so you can select it for the other types of brushes. When finished, the Camera Raw filter was opened up and a Radial Filter was used to direct the view and lighten up the focal point, the red door.

What I learned from this image: One favorite brush can do a lot in an image, especially in Photoshop. Find one you like and practice using it. I am liking my Chalk Brush more and more as I become better at painting.

Painter, Photoshop and Topaz ReStyle

Painted image of Dr. Seuss Land sign at Universal Studios OrlandoWhat I really love about Painter is that the colors seem to be so much more vivid which gives your images a bit more of a painterly appeal. I am still trying to get comfortable with a more abstract feel to my Painter images. This image follows the top blog image’s workflow very closely and used the same Painter brushes. The results in Painter are never what I really like so the painted file goes into Photoshop. The detail is added back in just a little and the Mixer Brush is used to clean up my Painter messes. This time Topaz ReStyle was used to get a little better color palette using the Peach Prairie preset. That was about all that was done. This time I did not paint all the way to the edge in Painter so I have a naturally occurring frame.

What I learned from this image: Painter does have better color and brushes – hands down! It has a large learning curve, but once again, find a couple brushes that work for you and stick to those until you get the hang of what you are doing. That is what I am trying to concentrate on. It is so tempting to try and learn everything about every type of media and brush, but you really need to find one that suits you to start using. I find I am leaning towards the oils and pastels, and will learn watercolor when I am more accustomed to Painter.

Photoshop and Alien Skin Snap Art 4

Image of silk flowers post-processed with Alien Skin Snap Art 4Since this image of some silk flowers had a lot of soft background color in it (actually emphasized nicely in Lightroom first by using Seim’s Power 4 Workflow Sunday Cross preset and Dave Delnea’s LR Develop Backlight Vertical Right preset), the Snap Art 4 plug-in was used to add paint in the area quickly. The Oil Paint Abstract preset was modified by setting Photorealism slider set back to 21 so it does not look too much like a photo and the Colors Saturation set to 46 to add more color to the image. On New Layers above the plug-in layer, an Oil Pastel Mixer brush was used to paint over the flowers and to add some some more random colorful strokes to the image. More details were painted back into the image using the original image as a guide. A Curves Adjustment Layer was used to add some contrast back into the image and John Derry’s Varnish Satin Light layer style was added to the top layer to give a more painterly finish.

What I learned from this image: You do not have to have everything perfect – it sometimes looks better to have the color but not the lines to give a strong feeling to an image. It was a little scary putting bright blues and purples on the flowers, but it gives a more artsy feel to the image than what the plug-in did – and it lets you put your own twist on the picture. Now the viewer can use their imagination to see what was really going on with the image. Needless to say, I am still working on this concept.

Painter and Topaz ReStyle

Image of silk flowers post-processed in Corel Painter This final image started the same as the one above, but this time the image was painted completely in Corel Painter. First the source image was changed and set Adjust Color to Hue Shift -2, Sat 84, and Value 62. Melissa Gallo’s same brushes from Reason #2 Cloning Feature video were used – her Medium Bristle Rough brush, Coarse Sergeant Brush Jitter and Luscious Oil, used mainly as clone brushes. There is nothing wrong with using cloning brushes in you digital art, especially if you are actually doing the brushstrokes – you really are just sampling color and positioning objects from the photo. The Painter image was brought back into Photoshop where a little clean up was done on a separate layer with the Chalk brush. A Levels Adjustment Layer was used to adjust contrast. Then Topaz ReStyle’s Snow Cover preset was applied which added a little structure to just the flowers in the Basic layer mask for the plug-in. The image had a much softer lighter feel to it now. I am always amazed how different the images can turn out!

What I learned from this image: It is okay to clone – just do your own strokes. And add some of your own color into the image. It does not have to look just like the original photo – in fact it is probably more interesting if it does not. Many famous artists added different elements than what they were actually seeing while painting.

That said, I do believe that both programs will probably be in my workflow for digital painting since in Photoshop I do know what to do if I really mess things up! I still have problems getting brushes to paint on separate layers in Painter, which to me seems so necessary with my Photoshop background. There are ways around it, but you do have to spend a lot of time researching this. I plan on discussing this topic later in another blog. I hope you enjoyed some of the experiences I am having with my painting venture this year. Hope you are having as much fun learning about it as I am!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Some Pros and Cons of Corel Painter (And Why I Still Love Photoshop)
New Years Resolution – Painter and Photoshop Together!

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