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Digital Painting: Street Scene

Working with the Surface Blur filter


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Digital Painting: Street Scene

with John Derry

Video: Working with the Surface Blur filter

The Reduce Noise filter which we looked at in the last video performs a basic job of removing high-frequency detail. Let's take it up a notch now and look at this Surface Blur filter. This filter uses a sophisticated algorithm that blurs an image while preserving its edges. And remember from the last movie, that is something we want to do. We want to take areas of very little noise--and a good sample would be like an area here in the foreground-- and we want to smooth it out. But areas of high detail, on the other hand, the edges of the cars for example, or the edges of the trees, we want those to maintain their sharp edges, and Surface Blur is particularly adept at that.
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  1. 8m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 11s
    2. Using the exercise files
      39s
    3. Installing custom brushes
      7m 0s
  2. 22m 3s
    1. Understanding the visual vocabulary
      4m 46s
    2. Using the vocabulary of photography
      6m 41s
    3. Using the vocabulary of painting
      7m 1s
    4. Looking at reality through a mental painting filter
      3m 35s
  3. 10m 22s
    1. Understanding that resolution is in the brush strokes
      3m 6s
    2. Understanding the subject
      7m 16s
  4. 16m 1s
    1. Removing lens distortions
      2m 33s
    2. Using the Free Transform tool
      4m 42s
    3. Using the Lens Correction filter
      4m 36s
    4. Understanding the ACR lens correction profiles
      4m 10s
  5. 12m 23s
    1. Working with Vibrance
      3m 14s
    2. Using the Match Color command
      2m 59s
    3. Understanding the traditional paint color swatch set
      6m 10s
  6. 16m 6s
    1. The eye has a bettor sensor than a camera
      3m 16s
    2. Using the Shadow/Highlight filter
      3m 17s
    3. Using the HDR Toning filter
      5m 23s
    4. Understanding how RAW files provide malleability
      4m 10s
  7. 14m 42s
    1. Working with the Reduce Noise filter
      2m 50s
    2. Working with the Surface Blur filter
      3m 6s
    3. Using Smart Blur for simplification
      2m 51s
    4. Working with the Topaz Simplify plug-in
      5m 55s
  8. 31m 10s
    1. NDLP: A creative safety net
      5m 1s
    2. Using custom actions
      9m 41s
    3. Using the reference layer
      5m 29s
    4. Cloning layers
      6m 5s
    5. Working with the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
      4m 54s
  9. 17m 28s
    1. Brush categorization
      10m 1s
    2. Working with canvas texture
      3m 41s
    3. Using Sample All Layers
      3m 46s
  10. 12m 48s
    1. Being willing to destroy detail
      7m 21s
    2. Establishing the painting style
      5m 27s
  11. 25m 1s
    1. Simplified indication
      9m 3s
    2. Understanding color
      4m 10s
    3. Introducing texture
      11m 48s
  12. 17m 36s
    1. Providing rest areas for the eye
      6m 55s
    2. Focusing on the subject through detail
      10m 41s
  13. 24m 20s
    1. Being willing to depart from the original
      6m 48s
    2. Creating detail to enhance the artwork
      8m 36s
    3. Creating physical surface texture effects
      8m 56s
  14. 10m 33s
    1. Waiting a day
      4m 14s
    2. Examining your importance hierarchy
      6m 19s
  15. 57s
    1. Goodbye
      57s

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Digital Painting: Street Scene
4h 0m Intermediate Aug 12, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Understanding that resolution is in the brush strokes
  • Understanding the subject
  • Removing lens distortions
  • Using the traditional paint color swatch set
  • Making shadow and highlight adjustments
  • Simplifying details with filters and Smart Blur
  • Cloning layers
  • Using custom actions
  • Working with canvas texture
  • Creating physical surface texture effects
Subjects:
Design Digital Painting
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
John Derry

Working with the Surface Blur filter

The Reduce Noise filter which we looked at in the last video performs a basic job of removing high-frequency detail. Let's take it up a notch now and look at this Surface Blur filter. This filter uses a sophisticated algorithm that blurs an image while preserving its edges. And remember from the last movie, that is something we want to do. We want to take areas of very little noise--and a good sample would be like an area here in the foreground-- and we want to smooth it out. But areas of high detail, on the other hand, the edges of the cars for example, or the edges of the trees, we want those to maintain their sharp edges, and Surface Blur is particularly adept at that.

So let's go down to Blur > Surface Blur, and we'll take a look at this. Now I'm going to just start off with the same settings I had in the last filter. Radius and Threshold tend to be the two controls for all of these, and it turns out if you've found a setting you like in one, you can almost always take those same settings in another Radius and Threshold pairing of controls and they will work equally well, or at least it gives you a starting point, so if you want to make adjustments after that, you can, but this looks pretty good.

Maybe I'll play with the Radius a little bit here just to see. So you can see, as I turn this up, it tends to simplify things more. For example, if we look up here at this building, there is a lot of still noise in the side of that building whereas when I turn it up, I start to see that go away, but sharp edges are maintained. And I like that look, so I'm going to go ahead and say OK, and there is a very nice rendition of that. Now you can see down here, that noise was strong enough that the Threshold wasn't high enough to overcome it. That's why we still see that there.

The higher you set the Threshold the farther into the size of the noise is going to look, so a higher setting would also smooth this out, but that's a nice look. And each one of these is seasoned to taste. You do what looks right to your eye. There is no single setting at all. So now that I've done this, this becomes the basis for a underpainting. You want your underpainting to be a simplified version of the original image, and you are going to simplify it a great deal more through the brushing process.

But prior to doing that, by taking this first stab at removing detail, you're already investing in making this image look less like a photograph and more like a painting, because you are getting rid of the language of photography in this, which is the high-frequency detail. This is a very good tool. All of these tools actually are good at this. It just that's the crux of what we are doing this for is to prep this in advance of painting, which will even be simplified more. But to go to this step provides a way to mask a lot of that photographic vocabulary before you even apply the brush to your painting.

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