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Learn to think like a painter and render images from photographs 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 elements of an image with expressive painterly qualities, and also shares the custom brush sets and actions he uses to achieve these results in Photoshop. The course also covers working with filters, layers, effects, and more to add further detail and texture.
The key idea behind nondestructive layer painting is to provide a safety net that enables you to experiment without fear of losing creative activity. This concept is expanded further through the use of adjustment layers in concert with the cloning layers. By adding an adjustment layer, you're provided with greater editability and that's a good thing. So I've opened up a file that is in your exercise folder and I've just enlarged it to 100% here, so we're looking at the line of cars that is at the intersection.
And I've painted on all three layers. In fact, let's turn them on and off individually, so you can see that is my Detail Strokes. Here are my Intermediate Strokes, and here is the Underpainting. And as you can see, without anyone of these on, you definitely lose information about what is there, so it requires all three of these to make up this kind of gestural scene of these cars aligned in front of the intersection. What I want to show you is that we can now edit how the colors on each layer appear, and one of the things I often do is as things become more important in a scene, I tend to play with the color a bit.
So the Detail Strokes, for example, once again I'll turn those on and off, so you can see them. I guess I had the background off. I'll turn that back on and I can turn off the Reference layer for now. So we're basically just seeing to this scene as it would look painted, but I want to play around a little bit with the colors. So the Detail Strokes, once again, it's these strokes right here that we're seeing that kind of supply the most detail about the cars. I am going to go and double-click on my Hue/Saturation layer, which is associated with the Detail Strokes.
And now I can play with this. So, for example, if I start to turn this up, see how I'm increasing the saturation, but it's only on that layer. I can also play with Lightness. Maybe I want to do a combination, if I want that to be lighter and more of saturated. So let's just leave it at that and here is the great thing: this is nondestructive. If I don't like this I'm not stuck with these colors. So I'm free to visualize a whole range of possibilities. Let's go to the Underpainting layer and go to its Hue/Saturation layer, double-click, and maybe I'm going to turn the Lightness down a little bit on that.
Maybe I'll decrease the Saturation a little bit. Okay, that looks pretty good. Now let's go to the Intermediate layer and just see what we can do there with its Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. What if I actually change the colors? I could adjust the Hues into probably nonsensical hues that I wouldn't care about, but this just gives me a way to possibly even by a couple points change the color character of the image without fear of having damaged the entire image. Maybe I want more or less Saturation, maybe a little less value on it, but I'm encouraged to see and play with different combinations of things.
So now I've got three layers that I've adjusted from their original character and it's nondestructive. I can always go back and change it. The other thing we can do, and let's do this with the Detail layer, I have the option of applying any other adjustment layers I may want to. So let's take something like Levels. So I'll just take Levels on that layer and here is where I can start to play around. If I want to tighten that contrast up on an even more, I can do that.
And again, it's nondestructive. Maybe I want to adjust the Hue/ Saturation now of that layer, so maybe it doesn't need to be so saturated, because I have kind of accomplished that with my Levels. But the idea here is that you can use these adjustment layers in concert with your cloning layers as a means of further adding your expression to it or editing it. One of the things I'll get into a little more detail later is as objects become more important, the subject areas of a scene come to the fore, you want to do things like increase that saturation, maybe lighten it or darken it, and things that are not as important you may want to take some of the saturation out of it.
So by having these adjustment layers associated with each of your cloning layers, you have the option then to kind of play with the visual weighting of the layers in terms of their color and contrast. And that's a great way to take an already good painting and just tweak it in small ways that can add to the readability of the image that would otherwise be difficult to do. If this was a traditional painting, imagine how hard it would be to change those colors. Here it's just a slider that we're adjusting and we're making that happen. With the addition of adjustment layers to cloning layers, you've got a complete nondestructive layer painting environment.
This broad safety net enables you to paint without fear of making an unrecoverable mistake.
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