Since we are all clamoring to learn how to paint and how to give our images an artistic flair, this blog is about some really cool free painterly actions that I recently learned about! I really did not have high expectations since these were not sites I was familiar with (like the wonderful Jack Davis and his actions! See my Can You Get a Painting Look With a Photoshop Action? Jack Davis Can! blog). But still, since they were about painting effects, I had to try them. Well, if nothing else these actions can serve as a great starting point to getting a painted look up and going rather quickly. I decided to break this down into two parts since this is a pretty long topic to cover in one blog, so next week a different action will be presented.
Painting Effects by SparkleStock
The above is another one of my quirky images from Universal Studios Orlando (I think I am obsessed with this place!) of The Circus McGurkus in Seuss Landing and I just had to do something with it. So this is how I got the really cute illustrative effect with lots of paint in it without too much trouble.
1. First step is to download the Painting Effects by SparkleStock from Photoshop Tutorials – there are three free actions for download.
2. Need to change your image into 8-bit mode if it is in 16-bit as the actions use the Photoshop Filter Gallery and will not work with 16-bit mode images. Go to Edit -> Mode -> 8-bit.
3. Run the action.
After applying Seim’s Power 4 Workflow (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) Magic-Harsh Sun Fixer preset to image in Lightroom, it was opened in Photoshop and the Modern Watercolor action was selected. The original action did not leave that great a result, but by changing the patterns in the Pattern Fill Adjustment Layers, totally different results can be easily obtained. The Outline layer was changed to Soft Light at 36% opacity. The Underlying Layer Blend If slider was changed to black tab 24/53, and Color Overlay was turned off. In the Pattern Fill 1 Adjustment Layer, I found a leafy pattern that had a lot of gray and white in it set to 110% Scale. In the Dark Paint Pattern Fill Adjustment Layer, I selected a very colorful pattern from 10 Free Seamless Colored Splatter Textures Pattern 7 set to 535% Scale that shows up in the white areas of the image . Both of these layers were left set to Overlay blend mode at 100% layer opacity. Then on several New Layers I painted on the image using various brushes, including those wonderful watercolor brushes from Creative Toons ( Creative Toons Watercolor Brushes – these were free from Photoshop Creative Magazine No. 113)). Clouds were painted in, the elephant’s body shadow lines were smoothed, and more color was added to the circus tent to give a more festive look. This was too much fun! A stamped layer was created on top (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) and two identical outside Radial Filters in the Camera Raw filter were added to really light up the edges (used these settings: Exposure +2.25, Contrast -47, Highlights -50, Shadows -21, Clarity +100, Saturation +28, and Sharpness +43) – layer was set to 74% layer opacity. Created another Stamped layer and applied Topaz (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) Detail 3 (these settings to adjust the color just a little sharpness to the image: Overall Small Details 0.3, Small Boost -0.05, Medium Details 0.35, Medium Boost 0, Large Details 0.25, Large Boost 0, Shadows -0.34, Cyan-Red, Magenta-Green 0.61, Yellow-Blue 0.45. Set Overall Effect in the Mask section at 58%). Used French Kiss’s Sponged Edge overlay (from her Tableaux Texture Collection) and set it to a light pink. This action really allowed me to get a great painterly effect while it did the groundwork.
This is an image I took a while ago of one of the most beautiful and charming cities I have ever visited (and of course the home of the most famous links golf course – Wow! See my The Old Course at St. Andrews image on Flickr.) The same Modern Watercolor action was used like above – I seem to get better results with this action than the other two. Detailed steps are listed as to how I got this look since it did take a lot of manipulation to get the effect. I have found the action is a great starting place, but it takes some help to get a really nice painterly feel to it. So bear with me as I list my steps (or skip over if you don’t need them).
1. Used the new CC Perspective Warp Command to set this town up a little straighter. There was some real tilting going on in the original image. (For instructions on this, check out Terry White’s What’s New in CC-1/14/14 Update)
2. Ran SparkleStock’s Modern Watercolor Action. Be sure you are in 8-bit mode before running.
3. Changed bottom pattern to Sandpaper and Scale of 100% – Layer Blend Mode changed to soft light at 68%. Set This Layer blend If to 176 and 255.
4. Changed the second pattern to my SJ Purplish1 Impasto Texture Pattern at Scale of 238%. Set Blend Mode to Divide at 100% Layer Opacity. This texture I created in Painter and it really is a pretty subtle one – I converted it to a pattern by going to Edit -> Define Pattern – you can do this with any texture you have. This texture was basically just some smaller brush strokes in various tones of purple and white – I would suggest finding a couple of textures you own and just converting them to patterns and trying them out in the image. I probably tried out 10 textures before I found one I liked for this image. And try different Scale settings and blend modes. Each image will give very different results.
5. On Color Adjustment layer changed Saturation +67 and Lightness -11.
6. Changed Outline opacity to 47% and turned off the Cutout filter eyeball.
7. Added a Selective Color Adjustment Layer on top of action group (Absolute (Greens-Cyan -25, Magenta +1, Yellow -18 and Black 0; Blues-Cyan +13, Magenta -8, Yellow +20, and Black -11; Whites-Cyan +4, Magenta -9, Yellow -8, and Black +25; Neutrals-Cyan +7, Magenta 0, Yellow -14, and Black -1; and Blacks-Cyan -6, Magenta +1, Yellow -8, and Black -1) and set to 54% layer opacity. This made adjusted the color in the sky to ones I liked.
8. Added New Layer on top and used DC (David Cole’s Complete Digital Painting Techniques ) Watercolor Washer Brush (click here to download his wonderful brushes) on the foreground and to touch up little areas. Gives more painterly look.
9. Created 2 New Layers to blend in the sky which I just didn’t love the way it looked – used Mixer brush by Fay Sirkis using her CS6 Oily Rich Blender #1. (I love her brushes! If you are a KelbyOne member, they can be downloaded from her older webinars.) If not, download the Wet Media Brushes that come with Photoshop, change to the Mixer Brush Tool, and select the first brush, Round Point Thin Bristle set to a small size – under 20 px. Use these settings up in your Options Bar to get a nice blend brush – Turn on Load after every stroke, Turn off Clean after every stroke, set to Very Wet, Heavy Mix which sets the other settings, and check Sample All Layers. Try a different brush if this does not work – any brush can used as a Mixer Brush as long as it is listed in your Brush Preset Panel. It is really fun to paint with a Mixer Brush.
10. Create a Stamped Layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) which combines all layers into one on top.
11. Opened Topaz ReStyle and applied the Bleached Raw Umber preset (Settings used ReStyle opacity 36%;; Hue Primary -0.19, Secondary 0.34, Third -0.23, Fourth -0.70, and Fifth 0.48; Sat Primary 0.55; and Lum Primary -0.58, Fourth 0.39, and Fifth -0.58; Texture 0.27; Basic Tone Black Level 0.47, Midtones 0.05, and White Level -0.28; and Detail Structure 0.42 and Sharpness -0.55. In Photoshop set opacity to 46%). Totally transformed the image into something that is just the look I wanted – ReStyle Rocks!
Okay – what have we got here? A pretty nice action set (and you cannot beat the price!) that gives you a great place to start – it reminds me of how an underpainting would look. Personally I find it works best on landscape type images – not having good luck with flowers and close-ups, but I will continue experimenting to see if I can figure it out. If you need a decent Mixer Brush to use on a New Layer above the actions, check out Step 9 – everyone can make this brush and it does a pretty nice job of blending some of the wild texturing. Also, create some patterns out of your textures for use in the different Pattern Adjustment Layers – see Step 4 – totally easy! Now you have some real variety and some very interesting results should happen. SparkleStock has created a very nice action for all of us to you. Next week I have another action that gives a totally different look, but still a great artistic look – so stay tuned! Until next week and Part 2, have a great week!…..Digital Lady Syd