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