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
Since I have reached this major milestone, I decided this week I would show a few examples of what I use the most in Photoshop and what is the most fun for me when using Photoshop. In some of these cases, I will be mentioning certain products or people but that is mainly because I really like what they do – they do not know me. Also, no external plug-ins will be discussed here.
- Photoshop’s Merge to HDR 32-bit ability that can be adjusted in Lightroom 4.1 (see my blog New Lightroom and Photoshop 32-bit Processing Capability)
- Photoshop’s Puppet Warp magic (see Straightening with Puppet Warp!)
Several things were done in Photoshop to process this image of a sailboat model of the USS Constitution located at The Casements in Ormond Beach, Florida. The most important is that a 32-bit tone-mapped image was created in Photoshop’s Merge to HDR, saved as a TIFF file, and then brought into Lightroom 4.1’s Develop module using the sliders to bring out all the details. This now makes Photoshop’s HDR processing on par with several of the other HDR software programs. The TIFF image goes back into Photoshop to finish up using another one of my favorite tools – Puppet Warp – to straighten out the extreme warping in the original image (it was actually applied twice). It was a difficult image to work on since it has a square glass encasement and the horizontal louvered blinds in the background. Just using the arrow keys is sometimes enough to push and pull the image pins the correct amount and Puppet Warp works much better than Lens Correction or the new Adaptive Wide Angle filters for me. Puppet Warp can be used in a Smart Object for readjusting later if needed.
- Russell Brown’s Paper Texture Panel for Photoshop CS5 and CS6 (see Russell Brown’s Paper Texture Panel Updated!)
I am slowly really getting into textures – they just do so much for a boring image. The texture above was created using one of the best panels you can apply to Photoshop and that is Dr. Brown’s (may be the top Photoshop guru of all time and works for Adobe) Paper Texture Panel – biggest time saver for anyone that likes to experiment with textures! This is one feature I use all the time and can’t believe I used to go through my textures individually to try them out. To really enhance this process, create a folder on your desktop that contains several sub-folders to place copies of your favorite textures. He recommends keeping these folders to around 20 textures as it takes a while to load if it is much bigger. I have sub-folder on textures I created, my favorite textures I use all the time, and a few on textures I have downloaded or bought. You can switch folders very quickly in the panel. This image used Paul Grand’s Scratches Texture and Gavin Hoey’s beautiful grunge frame 1. I am also putting a plug in here for my favorite texture guy, ShadowHouse Creations, who offers all kinds of beautiful textures for free, and I use them all the time. I reference his textures in many of my older blogs.
- Photoshop Brushes including the wonderful Mixer Brushes! (see Adobe Photoshop CS5′s Mixer Brushes)
Those wonderful brushes in Photoshop! My very first blog featured the above image where I actually used a Photoshop Mixer Brush to paint in the petals of the flowers. This is still one of my favorite painted images – the Oleander flowers in the original were not near as pretty. The background was a Karen Sperling texture called 08Sperling (I believe this now has to be purchased – not sure how I got it) that added was a very delicate complement to the image. She is actually a Corel Painter Master and does some wonderful things in that program.
- The Curves Adjustment Layer (see I Didn’t Know That! Curves Adjustment Layers)
Totally indispensable! The last step I always do before I save an image. A few months ago I viewed a short video tutorial at Kelby Training called Mastering Curves: Adjusting Tonality by Ben Wilmore, another great Photoshop guru, who teaches how to use Curves correctly. (I have found the Kelby Training tutorials to be the best you can find on every aspect of photography and photoshop.) The basic thing to know about Curves is that by selecting the hand tool in the top left of the adjustment panel and dragging straight up in the image it lightens it up, and down darkens it. If you get two dots close and rather flat on a Curve line, you will lose detail. A black layer mask can be created to target just the areas you want changed. It is a pretty simple technique but can improve an image quickly. Also you can save Curve settings if you want to apply them again. The image above of the beautiful birds in the Spring at the Rookery used several Curves Adjustment Layers to match the tones for the composite.
- Layer Styles to create simple framing effect (see Digital Lady Syd’s Free Layer Style Frames).
I have been using this Double Edge Frame layer style a lot on my images – gives a nice clean look with colors that can be sampled from the image. Also plain black borders can easily be created. To download this layer style for free or directions on how to create it, see my blog referenced above. There are many other uses for layer styles that I love, but I use the frames the most. Also a couple textures were added here with Dr. Brown’s Paper Texture Panel.
- Smart Objects (see Black and White Photo or Not? Give It a Try on That Difficult Image)
I love the way you can go back in and fix your settings if you do not like the way they look. Most of the plug-ins I use have Smart Object capability and this is why I use them. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone back into Nik’s Viveza 2 and adjusted my control points! Just another great Photoshop feature. The image above of the Hilton Time Share swimming pool on the Big Island in Hawaii used Smart Objects for both the Nik HDR Efex Pro using Granny’s Attic preset and Viveza 2. Also two Curves Adjustment Layers were used.
I could go on and on about all my favorite features I love. The above are some of the ones I use the most. I thought about writing on the new Defringe section in Lightroom 4.1 and Adobe Camera Raw that works wonders on this problem – better than any of the noiseware software available for controlling the ugly fringe problem. The new sliders in both are much improved and both now do a great job on reducing noise too. Also the Graduated Filter is much improved. Back in Photoshop I love being able to use LAB mode to sharpen some of my images selectively. Content-Aware tools cannot be beat but I still use the plain old Clone Tool the most. And the improved Sharpen Tool is fabulous for those little areas that need a detail boost. I even love the Color Replacement Tool that hardly no one uses! And all the blend modes just add so much to an image. Needless to say, there is a lot to like about Photoshop and so many ways to do things. I guess the real fun is learning new ways to use it and that is why I blog! Hope you have enjoyed some of what I have learned these past couple years!…..Digital Lady Syd
A few weeks ago I did a blog called “Russell Brown’s Paper Texture Panel-A Real Winner!” which gives the basic information needed to use this wonderful panel (which adds texture(s), resizes it to fit your image, and sets a blend mode for you all within a single click with Photoshop CS5 or CS6). At that time he was using 12 Flypaper Textures (which are absolutely fabulous if you have never used them). Russell has updated the script to include folders for your favorite textures so adding and experimenting with any texture is quick and easy. A white layer mask has been created next to the texture so you can easily paint out the texture effect where you do not want it. There are now 20 Flypaper Textures provided with the updated panel. All you do is click on the fly-out menu in the upper right corner of the panel (just like in Photoshop’s panels), click Load Texture Folder, and select the folder to open. I created a Texture folder on my desktop that contains both a My Favs folder (with textures I use the most) and a Flypaper Folder – that way it is easy to switch between them quickly. NOTE: The scroll bar on the right side of the panel does not show all the textures – you have to hover your mouse over the panel textures and use the mouse wheel to scroll through them if more than 10 textures are in the folder. To get the updated version, see Russell Brown’s Scripts Page and download the latest version. A word of caution from his website on this panel – “If you target a folder containing very large image’s or more than 20 images, then the loading process may take several minutes. Use smaller textures when ever possible.”
The above are African Violets (or agapanthas) growing in my front yard. To clear out the background, a couple virtual copies were edited in Lightroom 4 at different exposures and then stacked in Photoshop. A black layer mask was added (hold down the ALT key while clicking on the layer mask icon at bottom of Layers Panel) and the areas to keep were painted back in on the upper layers. Then ShadowHouse Creations You’d Be Surprised texture was added using the panel above. It was set to Lighter Color Blend Mode at 59% opacity. The flowers were painted over in the white layer mask using a low opacity black brush to remove the effect on the flowers. Voila! – no distracting background!
This image of a clock at Queens’ Marketplace on the Big Island in Hawaii needed a bit of a vintage feel so several textures were layered to get this effect. Using the Paper Texture Panel I was able to stack four textures and try out different combinations and blend modes very quickly. (This image stacked ShadowHouse Creations Clouds & Birds texture minus birds using Overlay Blend Mode at 100% Opacity, ShadowHouse Creations Painterly Effect2 with same settings, Caleb Kimbrough’s Summer4 texture using Soft Light Blend Mode at 81% opacity, and Flypaper Texture Creme Anglaise using Color Blend Mode at 48% opacity. A light green to white Gradient Map Adjustment layer was added on top at 17% opacity and OnOne PhotoFrame Grunge_07 – see sidebar in my Tidbits Blog for website link.) The textures can be added to landscape images and it gives just a subtle punch that some images really need. The original image had just a plain white sky.
This beautiful Hibiscus was growing on the grounds at the Queens’ Marketplace along with several other varieties. Great place to see hibiscus if you are on the Big Island in Hawaii. Only one texture was added using the panel but I really liked the results – it was ShadowHouse Creations Bokeh4 texture set to Overlay Blend Mode at 100% Opacity. The flower was painted over using a soft black paint brush on the mask. The final result lets some of the background through but adds the interesting bokeh effect to soften it.
If you enjoy using textures at all, or would like to start using them, give this panel a try and visit some of the texture sites linked above. You will not be disappointed!…..Digital Lady Syd
Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Russell Brown Texture Panel Landscape Image
Tips for Flower Textures
Adding a Texture for Flair!
Using a Color Fill Adjustment Layer as a Spotlight
Soft-Look Flowers Using Textures