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Resolution is in the brushstrokes

From: Digital Painting: Architecture

Video: Resolution is in the brushstrokes

If you've ever reproduced a photograph with an inkjet printer, you've most likely learned the lesson that, as output size increases, greater image resolution is required. Most of us learned this lesson the hard way, by printing a low resolution image at a large size. The result is a blurry rendition of the image that looked sharp and crisp on-screen. The prevailing rule of thumb is that a photograph destined for printing must contain sufficient resolution for output at a specific size. These are wise words when printing a photograph, but you'll be surprised to learn that you can cheat this supposed commandment when interpreting a photo into a painting.

Resolution is in the brushstrokes

If you've ever reproduced a photograph with an inkjet printer, you've most likely learned the lesson that, as output size increases, greater image resolution is required. Most of us learned this lesson the hard way, by printing a low resolution image at a large size. The result is a blurry rendition of the image that looked sharp and crisp on-screen. The prevailing rule of thumb is that a photograph destined for printing must contain sufficient resolution for output at a specific size. These are wise words when printing a photograph, but you'll be surprised to learn that you can cheat this supposed commandment when interpreting a photo into a painting.

So what I want to do here is enlarge this image, so I can print a very large size of it out when I print it on a inkjet printer. And let's take a look at the current image size. So, 240 is a good resolution for inkjet printing, and right now if I printed this image out it would be roughly sixteen by ten inches, which is okay, but I want a larger image. In fact, I want this to be twice as large. So I'm going to go ahead and break this commandment, and I'm going to take this and make this 200%. So it's going to be essentially twice as large as it was.

So let's go ahead and apply that, and let's go up to 100%, and sure enough, there it is. Look at it. It's kind of soft and fuzzy. This would not make a good print. But here is the beauty of working with painting. For a photographic output, this is insufficient, and we can see it right in the image itself. It's too soft. However, we are going to be replacing this image with brush strokes. Now, they're still made up of pixels, but when we start applying brush strokes at this newer resolution, the brush strokes are now going to be the carrier of the resolution.

And being applied at this resolution, it's going to work out just fine, and let me show you what I mean. Here's a sample. This image has been resized to 200%, and if we look over here, you can see, here's the painted version of that image. Because all of this photographic softened detail has literally been replaced, and this color's been used in the brush strokes, this looks fine. This is absolutely perfect, sharp, crisp resolution for an image twice the resolution that we've been working at. So the lesson to be learned here is that, while you do need to have a specific starting resolution with a photograph when you're going to print it out to a specific size, you can actually take advantage of the fact that you are going to be replacing photographic detail with brush strokes in your final image.

And by enlarging the image prior to the application of brush strokes, you can take this image, which, yes I totally agree, not sufficient resolution for large output as I want to do, but after I've applied the brush strokes to it once I've enlarged it, it's perfect. So this is at trick you can use. You don't necessarily have to have a high resolution image to start with when you're painting. Certainly the smaller the image it is and the larger you enlarge it, the more softer and blurry this is going to become, but remember that you are just using this as a palette of color that is going to be interpreted through the brush strokes.

So that soft, blurry image, when that color's picked up and funneled through the brush stroke, it's going to become a nice, sharp, finished image at the higher resolution. So, keep in mind that this is a nice little trick you can use to get around this supposed resolution limit that you're faced with when you're normally printing with a photograph.

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This video is part of

Image for Digital Painting: Architecture
Digital Painting: Architecture

49 video lessons · 11729 viewers

John Derry
Author

 
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  1. 26m 4s
    1. Introduction
      1m 3s
    2. Using the exercise files
      32s
    3. Installing custom content
      2m 46s
    4. Setting up Wacom express keys
      13m 32s
    5. Setting Wacom touch ring preferences
      2m 14s
    6. Setting Wacom stylus preferences
      3m 24s
    7. Division of labor: Image prep and painting
      2m 33s
  2. 19m 9s
    1. Visual vocabularies
      3m 49s
    2. The vocabulary of photography
      7m 38s
    3. The vocabulary of painting
      4m 59s
    4. Looking at reality through a mental painting filter
      2m 43s
  3. 38m 57s
    1. Removing lens distortion with the Adaptive Wide Angle filter
      6m 47s
    2. Removing distractions
      8m 7s
    3. Don't be a slave to the original photograph
      10m 51s
    4. Correcting image adjustments
      2m 58s
    5. Telling a story with added image elements
      10m 14s
  4. 25m 2s
    1. The eye has a better sensor than a camera
      3m 2s
    2. Adding natural shadows with Field Blur
      8m 47s
    3. Using the Shadow/Highlight adjustment filter
      7m 48s
    4. Using the HDR Toning filter
      5m 25s
  5. 39m 56s
    1. Resolution is in the brushstrokes
      3m 26s
    2. Using the Surface Blur filter
      6m 17s
    3. Using the Displacement filter to add imperfections
      6m 22s
    4. Using the Oil Paint filter
      11m 51s
    5. Making tonal and color corrections
      12m 0s
  6. 22m 40s
    1. Nondestructive layer painting (NDLP): Your creative safety net
      5m 54s
    2. Setting up the Mixer Brush cloning action
      7m 29s
    3. Using cloning layers
      2m 58s
    4. Working with adjustment layers
      6m 19s
  7. 20m 7s
    1. Using tool presets and not brushes
      3m 41s
    2. Categorizing and organizing brushes
      6m 14s
    3. Adding canvas texture
      4m 51s
    4. Using Sample All Layers
      5m 21s
  8. 14m 48s
    1. You must destroy detail
      2m 9s
    2. Establishing compositional structure
      3m 46s
    3. Determining a style and sticking to it
      7m 30s
    4. Painting in progress: Finishing the underpainting layer
      1m 23s
  9. 26m 40s
    1. Understanding simplified indication
      9m 9s
    2. Understanding color: Warm advances, cool retreats
      4m 9s
    3. Painting in progress: Introducing texture to the intermediate layer
      13m 22s
  10. 40m 19s
    1. The play's the thing
      5m 18s
    2. Focusing on the subject through detail
      4m 40s
    3. Using a traditional paint color swatch set
      4m 37s
    4. Painting in progress: Completing the detail layer
      16m 25s
    5. Adding surface texture effects
      9m 19s
  11. 12m 47s
    1. It pays to wait a day
      1m 55s
    2. Adjusting your importance hierarchy
      4m 49s
    3. You'll never paint the same thing twice
      2m 7s
    4. Helpful resources and inspiration
      3m 56s

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