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Photo-Based Art Emulating natural-media painting techniques

How do you prepare your photos?

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Old 11-11-2009, 04:36 PM
ISeek ISeek is offline
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How do you prepare your photos?

I have been trying painting the photos after watching some DVDs and have started to feel that the output from the photographs that I use doesn't come out as good as it was in the tutorials.
That means the selection and the "preparation" of the photograph is very important.
So can you all please let me know how you prepare the photos (your workflow) before you start the painting?

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Old 11-11-2009, 09:05 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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Re: How do you prepare your photos?

there is no set manner of prep. generally, i find that noise reduction is fairly key. you want smoother images, generally, to work with... clean and smooth. but, that's only in general. contrast can be key, also. so, things like curves, brightness/contrast, and levels can all help and sometimes you need to do color correction, so, channel mixer and color balance and even hue/sat may help.

i've found that again, in general, the skills one uses in photo retouching are a great help to photo art. and, photo restoration can help, also, but perhaps not as directly.

it also helps to have a 'photographic eye', that sense of obversation that can frame in one's mind the shot one is taking, and know ahead of time what is going to be a good shot and what not so good and make corrections in the shooting. the same skill applies to retouching, restoration and photo art.

it also helps to have a general knowledge of art, art techniques, artists (particularly painters) and their techniques and at least a working sense of 'what is art'.

but mostly, ya just gotta dig in and see what happens one of the best writers i ever knew said something like, 'if you want to be a great writer, then write! and write a lot!'. that's a bit of a paraphrase and i hope i havent hacked it up too badly, but the point is, if you want to be a great photo artist, DO a LOT of photo art
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Old 11-12-2009, 01:28 AM
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DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Re: How do you prepare your photos?

If the intended outcome is artwork (vs. photos...) my normal approach is something like:
* Assess subject photo and envision and or loosely skerch the desired outcome and note pre-art changes to be made (see following)
* If a head/shoulders portrait, this would normally include replacing, eliminating or in some fashion deemphasizing the background. I may boost eye, nose, hair and lips detail through sharpenening; frequently lighten "whites of eyes" too.
* If landscape/architure, this could include sharpening, color or contrast adjustments to emphasize edges or shapes
* I use plugins and filters on most of the arty work I do. Plugins and filters do not operate well on large blocks of solid color, especially "white" and "black," that is they are ignored or only modestly changed. So before applying a plugin or filter I usually replace B & W with off-white or darker colors -or- manually paint in highlights (onto darker areas) or shadows into highlight areas to give the plugin/filter something to work with."

...then it's off to the races.
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Old 11-12-2009, 04:59 AM
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pavel123 pavel123 is offline
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Re: How do you prepare your photos?

Image preparation is a factor, but I would not not beyond basic photo adjustment (contrast, saturation and so on). Image preparation may also depend on what do you have in mind.

Some photos may not be so good for intended purpose to begin with to the point that PS correction may not help much, for example making sketch from an image that has large dark areas and poorly defined edges, or watercolor using an image that has numerous small details that are important for image composition.

Also, it is not just a photograph plus tutorial, there is also a personal component that is part of the equation. If you take 10 people to follow the same tutorial, you will get 10 different results, moreover, if the same person goes over the same tutorial twice, you are likely to get different results.

This is not exact science

Last edited by pavel123; 11-12-2009 at 05:14 AM.
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Old 12-31-2009, 02:08 PM
ahutton ahutton is offline
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Re: How do you prepare your photos?

The preparation I do depends on what I envisage the end result to be. Sometimes you need to simplify ( I used to use buzz, now I usually use PSP salt and pepper filter, or one of the other "remove noise" filters.

Other times (after a quick initial filter test run) you see that the edges have melted away. So you go back to the original and bump up the definition of the lines/edges before you run the filters again.

Sometimes when you want a watercolor look you need to preserve the edges and smooth out the texture. One quick and dirty method is to you VP gouache to create the background and then add a layer with the edges done in one of the tracing filters on the original.

The prep you do is always different. So without forward looking at what you want to accomplish, you won't know how to prepare the original image.

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