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Posts tagged “Alien Skin Snap Art 4


Image of a lizard hiding in some underbrushThis image was taken at the Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando, Florida. This little guy thought he had a pretty good hiding place, but I found him! I wanted to give him a very surreal surrounding and I think it happened using this week’s technique! Learned this from one of my favorite resource places, Creative Live, where a lovely lady named Kathleen Clemons presented a wonderful program called Creating Painterly Photographs. She was teaching how to both shoot and use Photoshop to give some very creative effects using mostly flower and leaf images. This got me thinking about how I could use some my favorite techniques and PS plug-ins to do get some interesting results also.

One of her PS suggestions was to try using the Motion Blur filter to get a different effect. That is exactly what was done in the image above. Very simple process to actually apply the filter. Below is the original image so you can see how the motion blur turns a rather busy image into a really nice painterly result.

  1. Duplicate your image.
  2. On this layer go to Filter -> Blur -> Motion Blur. Now adjust to your liking. If you want a horizontal look as shown above, set the Angle to 0; if a vertical blur is needed, set Angle to 90 degrees.
  3. Add a layer mask to the blur layer and paint out where the effect should be removed. Use a low opacity brush if just a little bit of effect needs to be removed.

This is such a simple technique I am not sure why I had not thought of it myself! Now any of your other filters and textures can be applied with a very different look being created by the motion blur. Thank you Kathleen for bringing this to my attention! (Click on the original image below to see a larger view in Flickr of the Layer Panel – it can be clicked on to enlarge also.) At end of blog under Image 1 is a detailed paragraph on all the different layer steps shown here.

Screenshot of original lizard image and layers panel
Painterly image of the Viera WetlandsThis image was taken at the Viera Wetlands also called  Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands in Brevard County, Florida. A very similar image is posted here from a Tidbits Blog for the original version. Used the workflow above but this time Topaz Lens Effects’s Lens Motion filter was used to create the Vertical motion blur although PS could have just as easily been used. See Image 2 below for more details on how this image was finished.

Image of a Gardenia flowerThis beautiful gardenia was also taken at the Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando, Florida. Topaz Lens Effects Motion Blur filter’s Zoom was used to get this lovely effect. See Image 3 for more details. Kathleen definitely had some great tips for both photography, including how to use a Lens Baby, and Photoshop – if you like shooting flowers, she is a master at it! Hope everyone has a great weekend – I think I will go try shooting some more flower shots using Kathleen’s techniques this week!…..Digital Lady Syd

Photo Information

Image 1 Info: First the PS Motion Blur settings used were Angle 0 degrees and Distance 375. On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) was used created. Then to bring out the Lizard more, the free JixiPix Spectrel Art’s Dark Lines preset with the Detail set to 74 was applied – then in PS the layer was set to Linear Dodge blend mode. Just the lizard was painted back in a black layer mask (just press ALT while clicking on the layer mask icon at bottom of the Layer Panel). Since the lizard was too bright, the Density slider in Properties Panel for the layer mask was set to 66%. This plug-in is a great way to add some detail back into an object that is not defined well. (See my How To Use the Free Spectrel Art Plug-in blog.) Next on another stamped layer, the Liquify Filter’s Bloat Tool was used to increase the Lizard’s eye just slightly. Now an Exposure Adjustment Layer could be used to pop his eye so it could be seen even better. (See my How to Do a Quick Eye Sharpening in Photoshop.) Another stamped layer was created and Topaz Texture Effects was opened. Kathleen in her videos showed how to add a folder with your favorite textures in the Textures section of this plug-in. Just click the New box in the upper right corner of the panel in the opening screen. It turns into a Custom (preset) and the big (+ sign is clicked on. Only the Texture Panel was opened – by clicking on the little square next to the texture drop-down field, a new texture folder can be added. This is where loaded in a batch of many of the textures I created (but I could have added up my favorite 2 Lil’ Owls or French Kiss textures – see my Tidbits Blog for website links). Then all the sliders below can be applied to these textures very easily and areas can be masked out with a brush. Other panels can be added at the bottom or another Texture section can be added. This time I applied on of my first textures made in Corel Painter using Skip Allen’s Buttery Oils brushes. Then changes were made to the Opacity, Blend Mode, Saturation, Color and Color Strength in the plug-in. Lots of fun here! On a New Layer some clean up was done where edges looked bad. On another stamped layer, the now free Nik Viveza 2 was opened and 3 control points were added just to the Lizard to give his face and body yet more detail. Used a Curves Adjustment Layer to get rid of an overly bright section on a leaf in center of image. (See my How To Use Curves Adjustment Layer to Dodge and Burn an Image blog.) On yet another stamped layer, Topaz Lens Effect’s Add Vignette Selective – Soft Olive Green preset was applied with these changes: Placement Adjustments – Focus Width 0.55 and Focus Height 0.45 – placed center on lizard (2989, 1404); Tonal Adjustments- Vignette Strength 0.20, Transition 0.40, Contrast 1.51, Brightness 53.02, and Opacity 25.25.  I really like the olive color in lots of  my images for a Vignette. Then two more Curves Adjustment Layers were created – following the Dodge and Burn technique above – to give the lizard’s head yet a little more pop and to soften down some of the vertical lines. Next Adobe Paper Texture Panel (this is free from Adobe) was opened, a Flypaper’s Raw Linen texture was applied using Linear Light blend mode at 25% layer opacity. This panel is a really cool way to see quickly what a texture will look like on your image. As you can see, I did not settle on a final color for this image until Topaz ReStyle was opened and saw the beautiful way some depth could be added to the image. Created yet another stamped layer and applied the Brandeis Blue preset with these changes: Color Style Hue Primary -0.70, Secondary -0.12, and Fourth -0.62; Lum Secondary -0.19 and Fourth 0.03; Basic Color Temperature 0.20 and Tint -0.34; and Detail Structure 0.34. A Selective Color Adjustment was opened to adjust color just a little more (Reds: Cyan +46%, Yellow -55%, and Black -28; and Yellows: Magenta -26 and Yellow -49). A clean up layer was added to soften some overly bright areas with a low opacity brush. Many of the layers had layer masks applied as you can see in the screenshot. It took a long time to do, but I like the final result now. This Lizard looks like he is really looking around!

Image 2:  Lens Effects allows placing the effect in the image with different types of blur (Panning,Rotation, Shake, Spiral and two Zooms). This image used a Rotation (same as the vertical or horizontal effect in PS) – the Motion Amount is the same thing as the Distance in PS Motion Filter. Alien Skins Snap Art‘s Impasto Detailed was used for the texture and the Dodge and Burn Curves Adjustments Layers were used to emphasize certain areas. Lisa Glanz Flying Geese bird png was used with a Pattern Adjustment Layer clipped (ALT+click between the layers) using a sepia watercolor pattern to give the birds some light texture. Topaz ReStyle was used again (Hanging Orangutan – Set to Restyle Color blend mode, Hue Primary 0.02, Third 0.50 and Fifth 0.02; and Sat -0.42; Basic Saturation -0.16; Tone Black Level -0.05, Midtones 0.20 and White Level 0.05 ). The sky was white so I added the blue sky in Nik Viveza 2 using the Color Swatch – this turned out so natural looking. This is a good tip for Viveza which is very good with handling color problems.

Image 3: Wanted to point out that for this image, all the clean up was done first including using Topaz Detail 3 to sharpen the center of the flower and adding one of my textures to soften the background and painting back the flower (set to Overlay blend mode at 53% layer opacity). Two Curves Adjustment Layers were used to Dodge and Burn the background. Nik Viveza 2 was used to darken the corners of the image and add focus to the center. Then Topaz Lens Effects Zoom motion filter was applied. Last the text was added (it is a really old font from 1996 called Abigail and no recent link could be found – there is now a newer different font called Abigail that is not this one). On a New Layer above a simple flourish was added under the text. A Layer Style was created to give the nice effect on the text – learned this was an old Photoshop TV video from 2007 (Bevel & Emboss – Style Inner Bevel, Technique Smooth, Depth 276, Up, size 54, Soften 10, Shading Angle 120 degrees and Altitude 39 degrees (no Global Light on), Highlight Mode Screen at 93% opacity and Shadow Mode Screen at 28% opacity; Inner Glow Blend Mode Lighter Color, Opacity 74%, Noise 0%, Color set to Gradient going from a blue color (#0e2053) to white, Elements Technique Softer, Source Edge, Choke 0%, Size 70 px, Quality Range 50%; and Color Overlay set to Blend Mode Normal, Color Swatch a beige (#93815e) at 100% opacity). Change the overlay color to get different colors in your text.




Image of Hawaiian PlumeriaSo even if you do not have Corel Painter or artistic talent, you can get some pretty amazing results with some Photoshop plug-ins and layer masks. These beautiful plumeria were taken in Hawaii and are a good example of what can be done with just a little set up. I am giving you some of my preset settings that you can try to see if you can get good some results.

This image used Topaz (see website at my Tidbits Blog sidebar) Impression to do the basic paint effect in this image. This worked because I created a wild preset in Impression I call SJ WC like effect on bkgds with the Brush Stroke changed to 1.00, to get this abstract background look. (Settings: Stroke: Brush Type 04, Brush Size 0.91, Paint Volume 0.42, Paint Opacity 0.87, Stroke Rotation 0, Stroke Color Variation 0, Stroke Width 0.33, Stroke Length 0.89, Spill 0.23, Smudge 0.26, and Coverage 1.00; Color: Overall Hue 0.15, St -0.20, and Lightness 0.06; Red Sat 0.47 and Lightness 0.14; Orange Sat 0.60 and Lightness -0.42; Yellow Sat -0.33 and Lightness 0.13; Green Sat 0.20 and Lightness -0.32; and Blue Sat 0.36; Lighting: Brightness -0.04, Contrast 0.39, and Light Direction x0.33 and y0.06; and Texture: Strength 0.78, Size 0.30, Canvas IV, Background Type Solid, and Background #d38967 (soft melon color). ) I was really surprised what these rather strange settings did to the background and making it look as though it was actually painted by hand. By duplicating the layer underneath and moving it on top of the Impression layer, then adding a black layer mask to it, the actual objects or flowers in this case can be painted back. See the original image as brought in from Lightroom at end of Image 2 section below. Since Topaz ReStyle had been applied to the layer underneath, there was already a bit of a grainy artsy effect applied to the overall image before Impression was applied to it. By duplicating the ReStyle layer, the graininess is still visible in the flowers when painted back and they blend in nicely with background. I tried adding another dose of the same Impression preset to the layer and got a very different background look so give this a try also. See Image 1 below for full instructions on the image workflow.

Instead of using a plain round brush, I used my SJ Pastel 3-painting texture adder brush set to a 30% or less brush opacity on the layer mask to add some softer edges when painting back the flowers. This is important to get a the painterly look. This same brush was used on several New Layers to clean up more edges, add some defining lines in the flowers, and blend in some additional color. (See my How To Use Photoshop’s Brush Texture Section for Painting Clean-Up blog for settings to create this brush.) Just sample colors, both the darker colors and lighter colors next to it, to soften edges. Any brush you like will do, but try to find something with some rough edges for this technique. I know I have mentioned it before, but has different media type brushes for Photoshop, and on each Monday a free brush can be downloaded-click on Resources tab. This is a great way to try out different kinds of brushes and see which ones work best for painting on New Layers and which work well with layer masks, or both.

Painted image of Flagler BeachThis image is of beautiful Flagler Beach, Florida, where another example of the same type of painted background effect was created. The original image was very blown out as I thought this was what I wanted the image to feel like at that point in post-processing. This time my SJ Painterly Impressionistic preset was used for the background, which produces a much smoother background effect. (Settings: Stroke: Brush Type 09, Brush Size 0.75, Paint Volume 0, Paint Opacity 0.50, Stroke Rotation, Stroke Color Variation, Stroke Width, and Stroke Length all set to 0; Spill 0.63, Smudge 0.10, and Coverage 1.00; no Color changes; Lighting – no changes; and Texture Strength 0.25, Size 0, Canvas II, Background Type white solid, and Background White.) A stamped layer was created (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) without including the Topaz Impression layer, and moved on top. Impression was opened again and my SJ Painterly Imp Mod was applied (Settings: SJ Painterly Imp mod – Stroke: Type 09, Point Volume 0, Paint Opacity 0.75, Stroke Rotation 0, Stoke Color Variation 0, Stroke Width -0.25, Stroke Length -0.17, Spill 0.63, Smudge 0.09, and Coverage 1.00; Color Overall Saturation -0.23, Orange Sat -0.27, Yellow Sat 0.28, and Aqua Sat 0.51; Lighting Brightness 0.08 and Contrast 0.14; and Texture Strength 0.25, Size 0, Canvas II, Background Type white solid, and Background White.) Any plug-in or Photoshop filter could be applied at this stage to get different effects on the main objects. A black layer mask was added and just the wanted objects were painted back. The color scheme did not suit me so Topaz ReStyle was used on a stamped layer to change up the colors. Pretty easy to get this painterly effect. See Image 2 for more post-processing details.

Original images after Lightroom processing

Image of the Flamingo Boats at Sea World OrlandoThis time the image was taken at Sea World Orlando of the Flamingo Peddle Boats using Alien Skin’s Snap Art 4, which has a rather different approach to adding painterly effects to a layer. This program lets you set control points and make parts of the image very “photorealistic” if you want. In this case no control points were used but just the Impasto Detail preset. I really like the texture this plug-in adds to an image. This time the original background layer was duplicated and a black layer mask added. Only the fountains’ water was painted back from the original image. Topaz ReStyle was added above using a stamped layer on top with the Saturation Station preset, which created the pinkish tones. See Image 3 below for more details.

I hope you will try out either one or both plug-ins, Topaz Impression and Alien Skin’s Snap Art 4, to see what results you can get. The whole basic concept is to change up a duplicate layer and apply something a little outrageous but making a nice background look. Then duplicate the original background layer, place it on top –  then apply a different filter to it, use the same filter with different settings, or just use the original layer. Add a black layer mask (CTRL+I in the mask to change white to black) and with a white low opacity brush paint back what you want to show through. Use different types of brushes to paint back these effects in the masks. These two painterly plug-ins are not the only ones that will give nice effects – try Topaz Adjust or Topaz Simplify, or maybe Nik Analog Pro 2 for example. And don’t forget to try Topaz ReStyle if you want to change up the color scheme. This all can give a really nice painterly effect without having to paint every stroke in the image.

Enjoy your painting!…..Digital Lady Syd

Image 1:  First do the basic tone and color changes in Lightroom or Camera Raw. In Photoshop, I used Topaz Detail to sharpen up the image as I wanted the details to still show up nicely in the flowers and the colors were also adjusted in this plug-in. Topaz ReStyle was applied on a stamped layers (CTRL+ALT+SHIFTS+E) above. This time I used a preset that had lots of blue tones as I wanted the colors to be more bluish as opposed to the yellow and green colors in the original and it softened the background colors. A Basic Mask in the plug-in was used to paint back just the flowers to keep the details. Next Topaz Impression was opened on a duplicate layer and my SJ WC like Effect on bkgds presets was used to get this crazy painterly background. Settings are shown above. The ReStyle layer was duplicated and placed on top with a black layer mask (Add layer mask and  (CTRL+I) in the mask to turn black).  Clean up on several layers and Nik Viveza was used to slightly darken the background edges and lighten the flowers a little. The last step was to add a Curves Adjustment Layer to increase contrast.

Image 2: First Topaz Clarity was applied to the image – used one of my presets to get the image the sharpness I wanted (SJ Big Clouds preset with changes: Dynamics Micro Contrast 0.98, Low Contrast -0.14, Medium Contrast 0.22, and High Cntrast -0.37; Tone Level -0.23, Midtones 0.19, and White Level -0.19; Hue Green -0.30; Sat Red 0.03, Orange -0.78, Yellow 0.28, Green 0.19, Blue -0.25, and Overall 0.03; and Lum Red 0.39, Orange 0.11, Yellow -0.47, Green 0.23, Aqua 0.55, Blue -0.09, Purple 0.14, Magenta -0.20, and Overall -0.20. ) I like to use Clarity on landscape images. Topaz DeNoise 5 was used set to Overall 0.13 and Highlights 0.72. Since I am never sure how my final image will look, I usually try to get my image as sharp as I can. On a stamped layer above, Topaz Impression preset (SJ Painterly Impressionistic) was added as discussed above. Then another stamped layer and the second Topaz Impression preset (SJ Painterly Imp Mod) was applied with the black layer mask. Just painted back what I wanted with my SJ Past 3-painting texture adder brush. Curves, Selective Color and Color Balance Adjustment Layers were added. Then on a stamped layer Topaz ReStyle was opened and a preset taken from an image processed previously was used or I would give you the settings. Nik Viveza 2 was used to add a little structure to the focal point. A Levels Adjustment Layer was added to tone down the dark areas.

Image 3: There was not as much to do with this image as Snap Art added a lot of the effect I actually wanted in the image. Next ReStyle was added using the Saturation Station preset. Two separate layers were added where Kyle’s Spatter Brushes – Spatter Bot B (75% layer opacity) and Aaron Nace’s Glitter Brush (12% layer opacity – info for making this brush can be found at end of my Some Christmas Cheer and Resources blog) for a little more miscellaneous water being thrown around. Nik Viveza 2 was used to give a little bit of a darkened vignette feel around the edges of the image. The last step was a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer with Master set to Saturation -76 to try and soften the big dark blue splotches in the trees. The layer mask was filled with black and just the splotches were painted back with a white brush where the blue was.


My Robinia Tree created using the Photoshop Tree FilterSounds simple enough! It is but it is not. Had a lot of fun trying out a few techniques and going back and forth between Photoshop and Painter. Unfortunately, I believe this will be my workflow since both programs have things I like.

So let’s start with this top image. This actually is a tree that was created in Photoshop with their relatively new Tree Filter – it is in both Photoshop CC (go to Edit->Fill->Pattern Fill and open Scripts-has a few of the sliders missing from CC2014) and CC2014 (go to Filters->Render->Tree). It took some experimenting to get what I consider an artistic feel to the tree, but it can be done. Two files were created to do this. First I found a texture that I liked – it was Anna Lenabem’s Texture 208. (If you have not seen her textures, check them out – they are absolutely beautiful!) Next the tree was created on a New Layer above. (Here are the settings in case you want to see how it was done: Base Tree Type:  Robinia; Light Direction 180, Camera Tilt 3, Leaves Amount 100, Leaves Size 98, Branches Height 100, Branches Thickness 112, Check Default Leaves, Check Custom Color for Leaves – color used R255/G255/Blue147, Check Custom Color for Branches R238/G128/B99, and Arrangement 94.9.) I think I am turning into a Blake Rudis “groupie” – he definitely has the best tutorial on how to create trees in Photoshop – see his recent video tutorial called How to Make a Tree in Photoshop CC. He also gave me the idea to try and make a fine art image out if it. Now here is where it gets a little sticky – the layer was duplicated and just the tree was taken into Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link) Impression. (Here is my preset and the settings applied: SJ WC like Effect preset-Stroke: Brush Type 04, Brush Size 0.91, Paint Volume 0.42, Paint Opacity 0.87, Stroke Rotation 0, Stroke Color Variation 0, Stroke Width 0.33, Stroke Length 0.89, Spill 0.23, Smudge 0.26, and Coverage 1.00; Color: Overall Hue 0.15, St -0.20, and Lightness 0.06; Red Sat 0.47 and Lightness 0.14; Orange Sat 0.60 and Lightness -0.42; Yellow Sat -0.33 and Lightness 0.13; Green Sat 0.20 and Lightness -0.32; and Blue Sat 0.36; Lighting: Brightness -0.04, Contrast 0.39, and Light Direction x0.33 and y0.06; and Texture: Strength 0.78, Size 0.30, Canvas IV, Background Type Solid, and Background #d38967 (soft melon color). Changes I made to it: Stroke Color Variation 0.52, and Green Sat -1.00 and Lightness 0.) The layer was set to 63% layer opacity. A Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was placed and clipped to tree layer on top with Master Hue set to -43, Sat +36, and Lightness 0 – this added some pink tones into the leaves. A stamped layer was created (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) and Alien Skin’s Snap Art 4 was applied. (Here are the settings used:  SJ Abstract Large Color Variation – Artistic Style Oil Paint; Background:  Brush Size 27, Photorealism 4, Paint Thickness 100, Stroke Length 49, Color Variation 73, Brush Style Bristle Brush, and Random Seed 418; Detail Masking none; Colors Brightness 59, Contrast -14, Saturation 54, and Temperature 33; Lighting: Highlight Brightness 45, Highlight Size 26, Direction 120, Angle 65, Color White; Vignette none; and Canvas Rough Paper, Thickness 26, Zoom 16, Texture Paper, rough, Color white.)  Since it puts the layer on white background, the layer was set to Multiply back in Photoshop and the layer opacity set to just 21%. The last step in this file added a Gaussian Blur filter with the Radius set to 1.1 – added a black layer mask and painted back just the sharp edges of some of the leaves that looked unnatural. Saved this image and then saved another version that was flattened to take into Corel Painter. Here is what the image looked like at this point.

Image of Tree as taken into Corel Painter

All that was done in Corel Painter is a New Layer was added and Karen Bonaker’s Bare Trees brush from her Holiday 2014 Brush-a-Day Set (this is brush 1) was used to add the trees in the background. The file was saved as a PSD file and taken back into Photoshop where the Painter layer was set to 49% layer opacity. A little clean up was done on a New Layer. Next Painted Textures Desert Sky Canvas texture was applied twice, first set to Divide blend mode at Fill of 26%, and the second one set to Linear Burn at 68%. Another stamped layer was created and the image was taken into Nik Viveza 2 where the focal point was clarified just a little – I love what this filter does to a photo! Created a stamped layer and this time another of my all-time favorite plug-ins, Topaz ReStyle, was added. (These settings were used: Silver and Ivory Cloak preset – Set ReStyle to Screen at 53% opacity and Texture 1.00; Basic Tone Temperature -0.34;  Black Level 0.66, Midtones -0.27, and White Level 0.05; and Detail Structure 0.39.) On a New Layer above back in Photoshop, the Blur Tool was used to further blur the edges of just the dark leaves on the tree that appeared too sharp. The last step was adding a Curves Adjustment Layer to give a little more contrast. That was it – a really involved workflow, but it was not that hard – just a lot of experimenting. It was really fun to create something that looks so artistic with just filters!
Image of Robinia tree using the Photoshop Tree FilterThis is the same tree – the only difference in the whole workflow is that I used a different preset for Topaz ReStyle – the Guite Chrysanthemum preset. The settings were lost but is was slightly lightened in the plug-in. I liked the results so I thought I would show you what a different color palette can do for the image. I really like the way the oranges and blues play off each other.

Hope this blog gave you some ideas on how to use your filters with the Tree Filter in Photoshop. It really can give some beautiful results. And what the heck is a Robinia Tree? Have a great week and grow a Photoshop tree!…..Digital Lady Syd


Image of a Native American Girl dancing in costumeCreated this blog to show some painterly effects using the same image with some different Photoshop plug-ins. I started by first trying to get Topaz Impression and Alien Skin Snap Art to give a similar look. I really thought that if one looked nice a certain way, the other would give similar results since both plug-ins create painterly, and in this case oil painting effects. It just did not work! They are as different as can be and yet both plug-in are very good at what they do. The final results on all the images are ones that I thought looked good for each of the plug-in(s) used. I was pleasantly surprised at the variety in the images and all the very nice painterly results even though processed so differently! I hope you will get some ideas on how to achieve the look you want. Also, at the end of the blog I have links to reviews on each of the plug-ins used if you want more info on any of them.

The original image above was taken at the Native American Festival in Ormond Beach, Florida. This image had a large group of people dancing and watching so it had to be totally clean up and the sky extended. The clouds were still there at least. Then a stamped layer was opened into Alien Skin’s Snap Art 4 where a preset I created from the Default preset for Snap Art 3 was used. One thing I like is that up to three different Detail Masks can be painted onto the image and different settings can used to pinpoint those areas. In this case two were used. There is a Photorealism brush which will bring back a little more of the image which is great to emphasize the focal point of the shot. Some clean up painting and horizon adjustments were done on separate layers. To get the pretty orange tones, Topaz (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) ReStyle was opened and the Shadowy Orange preset was applied. A Radial Filter was used to emphasize the wrap just below her head area. A Selective Color Adjustment Layer was used to tone down her shadow. It actually took a lot of manipulation to get the final look but I really like the results. The plug-in settings are listed below under Image 1 if you are interested.

Image of a Native American Girl Dancing in Tribal CostumeThe above was more how I had envisioned this particular image. This time Topaz Impression was applied using the Turner Storms I preset with no changes. I liked the way the ground and shadow looked a little more realistic and the sky does look stormy, which it was not. I had originally tried to get this image to look somewhat like the Snap Art Image by applying the Oil Glaze by Blake Rudis, but it did not give quite as nice a final look.  Therefore I went with a totally different filter look. Topaz ReStyle was also applied to this image – the Zambest Zest preset (changed the Basic section to Luminosity blend mode and the Structure to -0.59 and Sharpness 0.73). Nik Viveza 2 was used to emphasize the back of the wrap.

Image of Native American Girl dancing in tribal costumeFor those of you who own the Topaz Suite of plug-ins, this is an example of using both Topaz Simplify and Black & White Effects to get the above result. I think it looks just as good – just took a little creativity to get the total look. The background layer was duplicated twice. The bottom duplicate was taken into Black & White Effects and a preset showing lots of detail that I created was applied. Then on the top layer Topaz Simplify was applied and another of my presets that added the painterly look was applied. A layer mask was added to it, and just the parts of the B&W Effects that I liked were lightly painted into the Simplify layer mask – used my Chalk brush with black paint at 20% brush opacity. This technique was used since the Simplify preset added the painterly feel but basically wiped out any of the texture in the image – B&W Effects was used to add back the texture a little. This mainly included the shadow area and the details in the wrap. Lots of clean up was done using my Chalk Brush to just go around and sample and add in paint where needed.  A Gradient Map Adjustment Layer, using the Gold-Copper gradient that comes with Photoshop, was set to Darken blend mode. A Curves Adjustment Layer was used to add contrast back into the image. Finally Nik Viveza 2 was added to direct attention to the focal point, but the Radial Filter in the Camera Raw Filter could have been used instead. For settings in the plug-ins, check Image 3 below.

Image of Native American Girl Dancing in tribal constumeCan this look more different from the other? This time I used Nik Analog Efex Pro 2 first. Then Smart Photo Editor was opened and just the Daniel-Davidson Lost and Taken 4-02 preset was applied to get this pretty result. The effect had to be adjusted in the plug-in to line it up properly. I did not love the resulting color when brought back in Photoshop – a real color shift occurred. Therefore a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was added and Yellows were set to Hue +11 and Sat +29, and then Master Hue -2 and Sat -49. Next a Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layer was added and set to a deep purple color (R68/G35/B75), set to Overlay blend mode at 29% layer opacity to get the final more colorful effect. See Image 4 settings for Nik Analog Efex Pro settings.

I hope you can see that it probably does not matter which plug-in(s) you have, you can get something rather painterly and interesting in many different ways. I guess that is why we get them – you can often get a surprise while using them. I have my favorite plug-ins that seem to give me the results I love, but I was also pretty pleased to see some different results by just combining them in various ways. I hope this blog gave you some ideas on how to use plug-ins you already may have and maybe get you interested in some of the ones you do not have. Any way you do it, it is always fun to play with these filter effects! Have a very Happy Turkey Day if you are one of my U.S. friends and otherwise, just have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Posts:
Digital Lady Syd Speaks Out on Topaz Impression
Digital Lady Syd Reviews Alien Skin Snap Art 4
Digital Lady Syd Reviews Topaz ReStyle
How About That Update to Nik Analog Efex Pro 2?
Digital Lady Syd Reviews Smart Photo Editor Photoshop Plug-In
Digital Lady Syd Reviews Topaz Black & White Effects 2.1
Digital Lady Syd Reviews Topaz Simplify 4
Nik’s Viveza 2 Plug-In – A Hidden Gem!

Image 1 Settings:  Alien Skin’s Snap Art 4 SJ Factory Default preset – Artistic Style Oil Paint; Background – Brush Size 35, Photorealism 35, Paint Thickness 85, Stroke Length 45, Color Variation 30, Brush Style – Default Brush, and Random Seed 7556; Detail Masking used on the feathers and the small face portion – Effect Detail, Brush Size -22, Photorealism 56, Paint Thickness -6, Stroke Length -31, Color Variation 44, and Brush Style Default Brush; Detail Masking used on just the diagonal lines in her skirt – Effect Detail, Brush Size -30, Photorealism 7, Paint Thickness 43, Stroke Length 0, Color Variation 66, and Brush Style Default Brush; Colors – Brightness 22, Contrast 25, Saturation 12, and Temperature (cool/warmth) 34; and Lighting – Preset Default – Highlight Brightness 46, Highlight Size 35, Direction 120, Angle 59, Highlight Color White, and Vignette – Preset: None; and Canvas – Preset: No Texture. Topaz ReStyle settings: Shadowy Orange Rose preset with these changes:  ReStyle blend mode Color; Color Style Hue Third 0.33; Sat Primary -0.69, Secondary 0.17, Third 0.47, Fourth 0.03, and Fifth 0.45; Masked out the bright green shadow to make it much blacker – used Edge Aware Brush, Strength 0.58, Brush Size 0.10 and Hardness 0.33; Basic Color Temperature 0.14 and Saturation 0.19; Tone Black Level -0.47, Midtones 0.14, and White Level -0.20; and Detail Structure 0.42.

Image 3: Topaz B&W Effects settings:  Conversion Section – Basic Contrast -0.33, Brightness -0.01, Boost Blacks 0.25, and Boost Whites 0.25; Adaptive Exposure – Adaptive Exposure 0.86, Regions 18, Protect Highlights 0.02, Protect Shadows 0.10, Detail 2.58, Detail Boost 1.11 and checked PDI; Color Sensitivity – Red 0.15, Yellow -0.14, Green 0.47, Cyan 0, Blue 0.31, and Magenta 0; and Color Filter – Hue 325.1 and Strength 0.27; Creative Effects Section – Simplify 0.12 and Feature Boost 1; and Finishing Touches Section – Silver and Paper Tone – Tonal Strength 0.40, Balance 0.30; Silver Hue 0, Silver Tone Strength 0.50, Paper Hue 4.00, and Paper Tone Strength 0.25; and Transparency – Overall Transparency 1.00. I also had Border (Border Type Grungy BW7 set to Size 0.36) and Vignette (Vignette Strength 1.00, Size 0.71, Transition 0.44 and Curvature 0.55) that were turned off before applying the preset. The Topaz Simplify preset settings were: General Adjustments Section – Simplify – Colorspace RGB, Simplify Size 0.84, Feature Boost 0, Details Strength 1.29, Details Size 0.96, Remove Small 0.10, and Remove Weak 0.20; Adjust – Brightness 0.02, Contrast 1.11, Saturation 0.60, Saturation Boost 2.06, Dynamics 0, Structure 1.00, and Structure Boost 1.00; and Edges – Edge Type Color Edge – Normal, Edge Strength 0, Simplify Edge 0.60, Reduce Weak 24.00, Reduce Small 0.20, and Fatten Edge 0. My Chalk Brush settings: Select Photoshop’s Chalk 60 brush and in the Brush Panel set size to 200 pixels and in the Shape Dynamics section set the 19% – everything else off. I use this brush usually at 30% brush opacity or less to paint in texture and clean up layers.

Image 4: Here are the settings used for my Nik Analog Efex Pro 2 plug-in: Basic Adjustments – Detail Extraction 81%, Brightness 4%, Contrast -17%, Saturation 13% and two control points were used on the image – both placed in the sky on the right and left and set to Detail – 100%, Brightness -16%, Contrast -42%, and Sat -100 to soften the overall detail effect in that area; Bokeh – Bokeh Style – circle for apply elipse, Blue Strength 87%, and Boost Highlights 90%: Light Leaks Strength 50% and set to Soft choosing the 3rd row and 1st column soft red glow leak set right in the center of the image; and my favorite section Levels & Curves – Opacity set to 100%, Luminosity Curve pulled down with two points (7.5/6 and 12/16.5), Red one point at (12/13), Green two points at (7/6) and (12/14), and Blue two points at (5.5/6) and (12/16).


Image of a Golden Retriever lying on his back in the sunHappy New Year to everyone! Hope you have a wonderful year ahead and create some really spectacular images from your photos! Recently I have gotten interested in adding a painterly feel to my photos. Alien Skin’s Snap Art 3 has definitely been one of my favorite Photoshop plug-ins for doing this – not only for its ease of use, but also because it gives some great results quickly. (See my Digital Lady Syd Reviews Alien Skin Snap Art 3 blog). I was excited to hear the plug-in was being updated to version 4. Since I reviewed Snap Art 3 not that long ago and since it is the holidays, I am just going to do a fairly quick update for this version. Needless to say I love Snap Art 4. It is definitely worth a second look if you love the painterly effects like I do. To be honest, I do not see a whole lot of difference between the two versions except for the new interface, which looks more like Lightroom’s interface. The biggest change is that thumbnails are note created of your image showing all painting style variations in each artistic group – this makes it easy to choose a particular filter or effect for the image. Also the Background and Detail Masking Panels can be seen at the same time which is very helpful. F5 still resets the Background to some default settings, but I am not quite sure how this is determined. CTRL+R resets the Detail Mask so you can create new ones. The sliders and artistic effects are all the same as version 3.

The image above is of a beautiful golden retriever dog (similar to one I used to own) that was enjoying a nice sunny morning in Savannah, Georgia, in October. This is a great example of how subtly the plug-in can be applied, yet still get a nice painterly feel. In Lightroom, Trey Radcliff’s Dramatically Clean Chipmunk preset was applied before opening the image into Photoshop and the Snap Art 4 plug-in. I applied a preset I created from Snap Art 3’s Factory Default preset settings – still one of my favorites that is based upon an Oil Paint effect. To sharpen the details when using this filter, increase the Photorealism slider and decrease the Stroke Length slider. In this case, two Detail Masks were created to add back the detail to the dog’s fur and face. Pretty simply!
Image of a bloom from an Elephant Ear plant
I am finding that I like to use this plug-in with other Photoshop plug-ins to achieve the look I like. In this Bird of Paradise bloom pix from my yard, a 5-image HDR was processed using HDR Soft’s Merge to 32 Bit HDR and returned as a 32 bit TIFF file in Lightroom. Some localized sharpening and Trey Radcliff’s Gradient Folding Colors preset was applied before taking the it into Photoshop. The layer was duplicated and made into a Smart Object before opening in Snap Art 4 (it is very helpful to use a smart object so you can go back and adjust the detail masks if needed), which achieved this beautiful painterly result using the Abstract Pastel preset – two detail masks used on the bloom where a little more Color Variation and smaller Stroke Length were used. Next Nik’s Analog Efex Pro plug-in was applied using only three of its filters that just popped the color: Basic Adjustments with Saturation set to 85%, Lens Vignette with amount set to -29%, and Levels and Curves with just a little RGB and Luminosity tweaking and an amount set to 67%. By combining these different applications, a very beautiful image was achieved.
********Image of Victoria Station using Snap Art 4 Colored Pencil effectThis image of Victoria Station in London uses Snap Art 4 Colored Pencil filter. First Topaz (see sidebar for website link at my Tidbits Blog) ReStyle’s Cambridge Battleship preset was set to Soft Light blend mode. Then one of Snap Art’s colored pencil presets was applied. In the Detail Masking panel, the Photorealism slider was set to 100 and the people were painted over to bring out detail in them. Created the frame back in Photoshop  by painting around the image edge on a New Layer with a Sponge brush, then opening up a Drop Shadow layer style where Distance was set to 0, Spread to 34% and Size to 5 pixels. This gave the cool dark edge effect in the border.

Check out Alien Skin’s website page for several useful tutorials, especially one called Chris Wieck’s Snap Art Tips. Well, that’s it for this post – just wanted to get this review done since I believe Alien Skin’s Snap Art 4 is a fantastic way to add some painterly effects to an image, or to totally change the image. This is in my top five plug-ins for Photoshop so that means it is pretty darn good! Lots of fun – and that, my friends, is the “name of the game!”

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Get Great Results with Alien Skin Snap Art 3 and Topaz ReStyle Together!!
A Day in the Sun!