This week still having some summer fun. Have not been painting that much recently, so I decided to share a couple little things I am learning. Since I have been playing around with faces and portraits a little (Lisa Carney reruns have been on Creative Live recently and she is the best retoucher), I thought I would attempt a little painting in Photoshop. The above image was taken from a beautiful photo at Unsplash by Roksolana Zasiadko. First the image has to be cleaned up and the subject put on its own layer using some sort of selection process. I could not get her hair extracted properly in PS, even with a little “channel pulling” (using the channel with the best contrast to make a selection) to make the selection, so I improvised by doing using the Select and Mask command before painting in the missing hair. Then lots of layers of painting and retouching on the face . I cannot tell how important it is to develop a set of brushes for this type of work. So for example, I used the brush that was in my How to Create my Favorite Brush blog using a very small size to paint in the eyelashes. David Belliveau’s mixer brush was used to smooth skin. (A link to his free brushes are with his How to Blend Colors in Photoshop: 4 Essential Technique blog.) To add the hair, one of Aaron Blaise’s Lion Leopard Fur Brush was used at a large size. It worked amazingly well by just sampling lighter and darker colors. Added one of my orange light leaks (one I created using my How to Create Light Leaks to use Over Again blog) to the right side to lighten it up and give a sunny feel. One of my Corel Painter textures was used as a background. On the top a layer used one of 2 Lil’ Owls (for website, see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog) Creative Masks set to Screen blend mode at 31% layer opacity for a little detail effect on the side. Just a lot of experimenting with brushes and effects. If you have a great photo to start with, it is not that hard. Still, it takes a lots of practicing to get the digital look just right – hope to spend some more time on this this summer!
I discovered that using Topaz Impression2 to help your digital art is just fine, and then take art to the next level with your painting. This shot of a coleus plant was taken in my front yard – they grow almost like weeds once planted, but they are so pretty, and there are lots of pattern varieties. It took quite a bit of clean up to get to a point where the painting could begin. The plants were selected and placed on their own layer – much easier than the portrait with the hair above. Then the selected object was taken into Topaz (see sidebar for website link at my Tidbits Blog) Impression 2 was opened and my SJ Van Gogh Painting Start preset was applied – can be downloaded in the Topaz Community by searching for sj space. (These are the settings if choose to use: Started with Van Gogh II preset and made these changes: Stroke Type 01, Number of Strokes High, Brush Size 0.13, Paint Volume 0.20, Large Brush Volume 0, Paint Opacity 0.81, Stroke Rotation 0, Rotation Variation, Stroke Color Variation 0, Stroke Width 0.68, Stroke Length 0.58, Spill 0, smudge 0, and Coverage 1.00; Color Overall Saturation 0.17; Lighting Brightness 0.09 and Contrast -0.04; and no Texture.) For this image, the Orange, Aqua, and Green Colors were also adjusted. Next Jai Johnson’s Daily Textures Explorations 10 was added underneath and a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was set above to get the background colors.
Several new layers were painted using my SJ 3-Pastel-Van Gogh TI1 brush – this is a brush I created just for painting this type of image. To make your own, follow my How to Create my Favorite Brush blog but with a couple important changes. First a small square was selected using the Marquee Tool showing a part of the plant Impression layer that showed some nice contrast and brush strokes in it. It was turned into a Pattern by going to Edit -> Define Pattern and name it. (I named mine TI Van Gogh). Next the Brush Panel Texture section was opened. Select the Pattern drop-down (little arrow on right side of pattern swatch) and go to the very bottom where the new Pattern is located. The setting for the pattern I created are: Scale 46%, Brightness -46, Contrast 34, check Texture Each Tip, Mode Color Dodge, Depth 38% and Depth Jitter 12%. Try adjusting all these settings to fit your particular pattern. This brush gives a nice stroke effect at both larger and smaller sizes. Then open the Color Dynamics section and check Apply per Tip, set the Hue Jitter to 2%, and Brightness Jitter to 11%. (It was used on the hair in a few places on the top image.) This is the only brush used in the Coleus picture and basically I dabbed around on each leaf to get the look I wanted. And since the image is a composite, the plant edges were painted over slightly using the brush at a little larger size and sampling the background color all around – this blends the edges much better so it does not look like you just popped the plant on the background. To finish off, another texture from Jai called Be My Valentine was added on top – it was set to Overlay blend mode at 80% layer opacity. Another Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer was clipped to the texture (ALT+click between layers) to set the color correctly. Finally finished off with a Black and White Adjustment Layer set to Luminosity blend mode and a Levels Adjustment Layer to get the final tone and color correction.
Well it may sound like a lot of work, but I am finding using the new brush is very nice for painting, with no change of pattern. I did notice after several attempts to get the correct feel to this image that using a texture that matches the painting style being used is very helpful. And I was surprised how easy it was to get nice hair effects by creating your own hair. Until next week, have a good one – I hope to try a little more experimenting with these techniques……Digital Lady Syd
This 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
I 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.
This 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
What 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
Since 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
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!