Here is another Photo Art application from the wonderful Russell Brown. Very rarely would I be posting about something that is different for CS6 from CS5, but on occasion this is happening – especially when it comes to Dr. Brown’s panels. I had previously downloaded Dr. Brown’s Painting Assistant Panel for CS5 and got some really nice results. I actually blogged about it in my Tidbits Blog Think Pink! Rally for the Cure Pink Rose a while ago. He recently came up with a new panel for CS6 that gives different results as it creates specifically an impressionistic oil painting look. I like both panel version’s results. The Fairfax County Courthouse cannon above was my first attempt at using the CS6 Painting Panel and to be honest, it is a little tricky to master. You definitely need to review the videos that he distributes with the download before starting. And he does make a major point that once you start, you cannot go back to a previous step. When you open the panel in either program, he gives you the brushes you need to complete your images. Here is the link to the Dr. Brown’s Scripts Page – there are two versions of the Painting Panel, you must scroll down a ways for the CS5 version – and as always with Dr. Brown, these are free downloads. To finish the image above a clean up layer was created, a Curves Adjustment Layer applied to add some contrast, and my Double Edge Frame Layer Style was applied. Also note that a Wacom tablet really helps with this panel and he recommends using the barrel rotation pen – I use a large Wacom Intuos 3 tablet (I cannot justify upgrading as it works great – if you cannot afford a new tablet, you might want to check out E-bay for one of these older versions), and I bought the pen a couple years ago from Amazon (I am not sure you must have this to get good results – they are quite expensive and do not come with the tablet when purchased).
Below I used the same Lightroom adjusted flower image and opened it up in both Photoshop programs. This first example is from CS6.The above is the final version after adding in some clean up brush strokes on a separate layer using a regular pastel brush and sampling color from nearby areas in image (ALT+click in image), adding Flypaper Textures Apple Blush Taster Texture (comes with Dr. Brown’s Paper Panel Texture download) using Pin Light Blend Mode at 66% opacity, and a Curves Adjustment Layer to adjust contrast. Below is what the image looked like after Step 4 of the Painting Assistant Panel.
There are seven steps to the Painting Assistant Panel. The first two go really fast – they involve opening your image, resizing it, and smoothing it using the new Oil Painting Filter in CS6. (You can see the filter texture in the border areas). The next four steps take a considerable amount of time. Step 3 is Create Rough Underpainting which goes fairly fast. Step 4 is the Intermediate Painting which takes the longest time to do as this is where the impressionist strokes are painted over the image. Step 5 is Finish Intermediate Painting where a few details are added back in. Step 6 is Detail Recovery using a provided History Brush which may take a while to do depending on how much smaller detail you want to bring back into your image. Step 7 is Add Finishing Touch which adds the High Pass Filter to sharpen and is quick. Other textures and filters can now be added to the image to finish it up. This whole process can be quite time consuming. Impressionism requires a lot of small strokes to get the look. (See my Tidbits Blog Digital Lady Syd’s Rule No. 6 – Try Something New! with links to Fay Sirkis who explains how to actually paint a stroke to create an impressionistic effect – check out the article link in the blog.) The wood boat image below is a more complicated image and took way too long to finish in one sitting. Even the cannon image took a very long time to finish so I would stick to images with simpler lines like floral or still life for use with this panel.
Now for the Photoshop CS5 Painting Assistant. The steps only number 6 but the panel works the same way. The first step is where you open the image. Second step Adds a Surface Blur filter to your image, Step 3 creates an Underpainting Layer where you use a supplied Mixer Brush, Step 4 is an Intermediate Layer, Step 5 Detail Recovery, and Finishing Touch that adds the High Pass Filter for sharpening. Only a Curves Adjustment Layer was added for some contrast and OnOne PhotoFrame (see sidebar for website at my Tidbits Blog) acid burn 07 was used to finish up the photo. Personally, I think that the Painting Assistant is CS5 is easier to use than Cs6′s, but you are not trying to create a particular style of painting as in the CS6 version. This image of Laupahoehoe Harbor on the Big Island in Hawaii was created very quickly in Photoshop CS5 – much faster than using the impressionist effect in CS6. The way I got the texture to look more painterly was to add a light gray texture created from an actual oil painting I own. I use it a lot and if you would like to download it, check out my Cat Painting Canvas Texture download link at Deviant Art. It was set to Overlay blend mode at 57% opacity. The Painting Assistant layer was slightly cleaned up on a separate layer by sampling in the document and using a low opacity Photoshop chalk brush to fill in. If you do not want to spend so much time on a document, the CS5 Painting Assistant seems to be the answer.
A couple quick tips: Dr. Brown says paint your image as a paint-by-number of old times when in the Intermediate Painting step. I discovered that at this point you can erase any areas you did not paint over in the outside border before going on to Step 5. Once in the Finish Intermediate Step 5, be sure not to overdo the detail – only place it where you want the viewer to focus in the image. It is easy to overdo this step. I used it to smooth out some of the indistinct lines in the image below. Step 6 is actually the History Brush and it is set to 4% opacity. I changed this to 22% as I could not see any changes occurring in my image. Step 7 adds a High Pass Filter set to Radius of 8 – you can always paint out areas that are too sharp in a layer mask if it seems like too much. For the wooden boats at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island in Hawaii, after the Painting Assistant was used, a clean up layer was created to fill in a few areas and a Levels Adjustment Layer was added to increase contrast. That is all!
As you can see, this is another great way to photo paint an image. Dr. Brown always has fun and interesting ways of doing things. He is in the process of creating a watercolor module for the Painting Assistant and I can hardly wait to try it. Give this panel a try and see if you like the results – some people are creating some incredible art using it. I think I need to work with it some more but it is fun to do!……Digital Lady Syd
This new feature is taking the Photoshop world by storm! What a great new addition to Lightroom’s 4.1 upgrade. If you have Lightroom 4, you have got to try this. Matt Kloskowski, one of the NAPP Photoshop Guys, created a nice short video, A New HDR Feature in Lightroom 4.1, on how to process your images using the Merge to HDR in Photoshop, and then bringing the 32-bit tonemapped image back into Lightroom to use with the camera raw sliders. The image above is from the Hilton Waikoloa Village – some of the unusual art that is in this complex. After processing the 32-bit image using Lightroom sliders, Nik Color Efex Pro 4 was applied within Lightroom using these filters: Detail Extractor adding (+) control points on only the sculpture itself, Midnight using Neutral mode, and BiColor User Defined Preset 02 Brown/Pink and using (-) control points on the sculpture. The image was taken back into Photoshop (now as a 16-bit psd file) to add OnOne PhotoFrame acid burn controller 06 (see sidebar for website in my Tidbits Blog), which could have also been added in Lightroom. The Nik plug-in could have been added in Photoshop and a Smart Object used to save the setting – instead I created a Note in Photoshop to recall how the settings were used used in Lightroom.
What is absolutely amazing about this addition to Lightroom is that the images are so sharp and clear with little noise especially in the skies like you get with the other HDR processes. It is totally amazing that neither of these images had any sharpening or noise reduction applied. Wow!
Here is my first attempt at creating a 32-bit image using three bracketed images hand-held of the beach on the perimeter of the Hilton Waikoloa Village – not a very good place to sunbathe but nice and breezy. No other plug-ins were applied to this photo. I was major happy how clear and sharp this image came out. The frame was created using the layer style instructions for my Digital Lady Syd’s Free Layer Style Frames – colors can be sampled from image and changed out easily.
What is happening here is that inside Lightroom you select your bracketed images, right click and Edit In – Merge to HDR. This opens up the HDR program in Photoshop where set the tonemap setting to 32-bit, not 16-bit. Next check the Remove Ghosts box. Close and if you do not have your Preferences set up in Lightroom to save your HDR’s as TIFF’s, you need to do a Save As, name file, and select TIF as your format to bring back into Lightroom. Once back in Lightroom you are free to use all the sliders available to create the look you want on the 32-bit image. The image can be taken back into Photoshop to add your framing or plug-ins if you want, where it is now back at 16-bit mode.
I am still amazed how great these images are looking. This image is of some colorful plants at the entrance to the Lightner Museum, in the old Alcazar Hotel, St. Augustine, Florida. After processing as a 32-bit image in Photoshop and bringing back into Lightroom, the image was taken back into Photoshop and the new Topaz photoFXlab v1.1 plug-in (see sidebar for website in my Tidbits Blog) was opened and the Dynamics slider applied at 55. I also removed a very small amount of noise with Imagenomics Noiseware. This is my free Thin Double Edge layer style frame (see link above) with colors sampled from the image and that was it. This image is incredibly clear!
My last example once again was processed in Lightroom as a 32-bit hand-held HDR. I did apply a little Nik Color Efex Pro 4 Detail Extractor to the gargoyle only to sharpen it a little. No noise reduction was applied, only my Thin Double Edge Frame layer style applied to the image. Very easy. This image was taken at Flagler College (the old Ponce de Leon Hotel) in St. Augustine, Florida.
I am going to have to go back through my old HDR images and update them. This process is totally amazing if you want a very natural HDR look. Wonderful new feature! It is a pretty easy procedure to follow and the results are definitely worth keeping!…..Digital Lady Syd
Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
32-Bit HDR Using Lightroom and CS6