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Learn to think like a painter and render images that look like they were created with oils or acrylics, using the latest digital artist's tools. Author and artist John Derry introduces the process of interpreting a photograph into a painted work of art. He begins by explaining his system of visual vocabularies, which describe how to replace the visual characteristics of a photograph with that of expressive painting, and also shares the custom brush sets and actions he uses to achieve these results in Adobe Photoshop. The course also covers working with filters, layers, effects, and more to add further detail and texture.
A large part of the image preparation phase relates to draining the language of photography from our image. The Oil Paint filter is new in CS6, and it offers an interesting technique for replacing the precision of photography with the variability of paint. By the time we get to the second phase, interpreting an image with hand-applied brushwork, our job will be easier because we have applied several photograph- draining steps, and replaced them with paint-leaning visual attributes. The Oil Paint filter acts as a major step in this transformation.
First and foremost, I want to explain, just like some of the other things we've been doing here in this chapter, these are often try and undo types of procedures. And there's never one correct result. So I can't necessarily give you a set of values that you would want to apply and use every time on every image. It's always going to be variable, and getting back to the vision concept that I've talked about, what your vision is and what my vision is could diverge, and you just will see something different that you like. So, don't take every step that I'm showing you here as bible.
You can decide to use this particular step, or you might not want to, or any of the other steps, for that matter. So, this is all in that whole season to taste environment that I like to talk about. So, what we're going to do here is apply the Oil Paint filter, and we don't have to do anything in advance of that other than, I will say that you want to look at this at 100%, so I'm going to just double click my magnifying glass so I see this at 100%. The other thing that I will tell you is, when applying this filter, you want to probably be observing a part of the image that has some detail in it that you know you want to retain.
And I know that this metal scroll work in the door is something that I don't want to see get totally obliterated. So, I'm going to focus on that particular portion of the image as I apply this filter. And what happens in other parts of the image, I can certainly look around at it, but whatever I do, I do want to make these adjustments, so that I don't somehow lose the meaning of this scroll work that I see in the door. So let's go to the Oil Paint filter. It's under Filter, its right here at the top level under Oil Paint.
And there's some things that I want to tell you about. Now let's also put this up to 100% so that we're seeing it just like I described a minute ago. There we go. There are these lighting filters. However, if shine is at zero, none of these have any effect. Let me show you. If I turn this up, see how it kind of gives a raised, three-dimensional effect? That's a cool effect, and there are times where if I were just using this image on its own, I would want to retain that effect. However, I think it kind of interferes with our process and so I don't actually want shine turned on.
But because it's going to be down I just want to again show you this. When Shine is enabled, something like Angular Direction changes the supposed highlight and shadow angularity of that three-dimensionality. Also, you get into what's called Bristle Detail. You can see how that changes, it's kind of like sharpening the focus as you turn it up and it just becomes a little more obvious. Also, the scale slider, see how scale is changing. Now, these are all neat attributes, but for my purposes, and possibly for yours, I don't want all of that going on, it gets a little too noisy.
So, I'm going to turn Shine down. But by turning that down, remember that now Angular Direction, Bristle Detail, and Scale have no meaning. They only are functional if Shine is above zero. So, by turning this down we're really now focusing only on the Stylization and Cleanliness sliders, and let's take a look at what those do. Now, I'll just crank it up here so we'll see what happens. See how the image is getting more and more kind of softened and some of the detail is going away. Same with Cleanliness, as we turn this up, it tends to soften things.
Now see, that's an interesting pattern, but now I've lost all of the detail that was in that scroll work. So I need to turn this down, and, like I keep saying, this is one of those sweet spot things. I'm just kind of looking to where I still get the sense that, that is the scroll work, but it's not so lost I don't read it as scroll work anymore. So I'm kind of looking for somewhere right around in here, and let's just kind of look at the image in a few areas so we see what's happening.
Unfortunately, there is no preview in here, so you, you see it or you don't. And, that's one of the things that would be nice, would be a little bit of a way to turn this on and off so you could see the differences. However, let's go ahead and apply that, and I'll be able to undo and redo here, so we can just see what we got out of this. okay, so I'm going to undo-redo. See what happened there? Now, it is doing an interesting effect, and for some imagery it may be fine.
But I discovered a little trick, 'cause I wanted to see what's going on with this Oil Paint stylization, more than it actually seems to show now. You can see in these areas, that looks pretty cool. I like that. That's very interesting. But I somehow want to introduce more of this effect in these areas and it's all flattened out, especially like in the sky. Not much really seems to be happening. So, let's undo this. And the trick I figured out was, by adding a pattern to this image, we can introduce an extra level of detail that the Oil Paint filter is going to resolve itself around.
We saw what it did without it and it's a pleasing effect, but I want to add to it a little bit. So the way to do that, is, we're going to go down here and select the pattern adjustment layer. So we'll go right down here. Right up here, we have pattern. So let's go ahead and click on this, and what this lets me do is fill this with a pattern. And, by default, when you open this up for the first time, the patterns are going to be the default patterns, and these aren't any of the patterns I want. So what we have to do is load another library up.
And so, we click on the little gear here. And we want to go down and get the Erodible Textures. So click on Erodible Textures, and we'll just go ahead and replace, and the one I'm interested in here is Pebble Board. Okay, so can see now, this is actually also used with some of the charcoal and chalk-based brushes that are in Photoshop. But for our purpose, we're using it primarily for its granularity. What we do have control of here is scale, and I'm going to just turn it up a little bit, 'cause I did play with it earlier and I know that at a 100% it didn't quite seem as aggressive as I wanted it.
But again, you may want to play with different scales to see, what does it look like based on the scale, 'cause it does change the quality of how it looks. So, let's go ahead and apply that. Now, what we need to do is, we want to merge this with the image, so we're going to switch this to overlay. Now we've got our image as well as this texture. And in order for this to work, we have to flatten this, so that it's all part of a single image. It won't recognize that pattern layer if we tried to do it. It has to be embedded in the image.
So, I'm going to drop this, and now we've got a flattened image with that texture in it. Now, let's go back to the Oil Paint filter. And let's go back up to 100%. Now look at that. See how there's much more fluidity kind of happening in all of these areas. Even, remember, the sky had nothing going on. Now, it does. So, we've now introduced a technique to be able to have this sinewy kind of oil paint texture embedded all throughout our image.
And once again, I want to make sure I do still have the same settings, so far we don't have to change them much. But I'll just kind of play around with both of these to see what I get. As I turn Cleanliness down, its getting closer and closer to that original image. And I don't want that. So, I'm going to turn it up, just to kind of start softening things up. But again, remember, my goal here is to make sure that I don't lose sight of the fact that I want to retain the look of this metal scroll work that's on the front of the door. Lets just adjust Stylization a little bit, this is where we're really going to see it kind of slowly move away, from being readable as that pattern.
And so I'm going to turn this down till I get right around in here, where there's enough of it there that it does give us a good sense of what that originally was. And being that that's probably the most detail-oriented area of the image, everywhere else should fall into place just fine. Okay, now that we've done that, let's just kind of look at some parts of this. I noticed over here. Oh, look how cool this looks. I really like the way that it's turned into this. And what's interesting about this, let's go back to the overview of the image and look at the whole thing.
You'd think, oh, those are making huge changes, and this is what happens with a lot of people working on high resolution images. Especially in painting. When you're working way up close, you think oh I'm making huge changes to the image, but as we back out to this, it doesn't look like much is going on. And in a way, that's actually a good thing because we do know at the granular level, at the very close-up level of this image, we have made major changes to it, we can see them in the image. But as we get away from it, it's not as overriding of the original image as you would think.
So, we've found a nice sweet spot here, where the image is changed. and when we start applying brush strokes, they're going to be picking up those changes in tonality across the brush stroke and introduce more complexity within each brush stroke. So, while at the moment, it may only look like something's going on when you zoom up to this at 100%, when we start applying brushstrokes, the differentiation at the cellular level, if you want to call it that, that we see at 100%, that will impact how the brushstrokes look.
Now, the last thing I want to change here is, I do notice that this got brightened up a bit. So I want to show you how this has changed the tonality somewhat, and every texture is going to influence the overall tonality of the image a bit just based on its, you know, how much darker or lighter than medium gray it is, essentially. And so if we go back here, that's what we had. And after the Oil Paint filter has been applied, See how it's brightened up? So what I want to do is go in here, and I'll use the Curves adjustment.
And I'm just going to kind of eye-ball it, but I want to start to drop this down closer to what I saw previous. And that looks much better. And again, remember, every time I look at this, I'm applying a subjective judgement to it. I'm just deciding, you know, I like the way this looks. It's not necessarily, this looks exactly like it did earlier. It just looks good to my eye. And as you work through an image like this, you will learn, if you haven't already, to trust your eye.
And what looks good to you is a good aesthetic decision for your image. So, trust your own vision of what looks good, and decide that that's what you want to go with. And that's exactly what I've done here. So this may be a little lighter, or a little bit darker. I just noticed that it did get lighter, and I want to make sure that I didn't fall too far away from it. Now, in the final video in this chapter, we're going to look at this even a little greater detail. And just do some final, overall adjustments to this image so we've got the image exactly the way we want it before we start painting.
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