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Photo-Based Art Emulating natural-media painting techniques

Misc: Watercolor attempts...

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  #1  
Old 04-23-2004, 07:13 AM
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Fluffbutt Fluffbutt is offline
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Misc: Watercolor attempts...

I've been looking through some painting book, kind of trying to get ideas. I found one on watercolours - it had some lovely pictures with that 'washy' wet edged watercolour look to them.

I set about trying to recreate them, what do you think? Be harsh, I'd like to perfect the technique (which is a combination of underpainting with the original psd file as the texture source, then a overlayed paint engine, then the original layer as colour overlay, plus other tricks as needed)

The book had a photo in it as a starter for a 'step-by-step' guide, so I scanned that in as the first piccy, the second came from a free stock library.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Farmlands WaterColours.jpg (46.8 KB, 74 views)
File Type: jpg Barn Oldstyle Water.jpg (84.8 KB, 80 views)

Last edited by Fluffbutt; 04-23-2004 at 07:29 AM.
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Old 04-23-2004, 09:33 AM
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Fluff,

I like what you've done here!

However, you've asked that we be critical, so I will be a little.

What I noticed is that the apparant texture in the broad colored areas does not seem like true watercolor. I can make out what looks like individual small brush marks, as opposed to the broad washes. Look at the mountains in the 1st photo for an example of what I am talking about.

The 2nd seems better, but there's a little area of the trees just to the right of the porch roof that has the same "not-right" textural feeling with me.

Again, I like the effect, but it doesn't quite ring watercolor to me.

I think a little tweaking of the paint-engine settings would take care of this.

-Jeff
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Old 04-23-2004, 10:44 AM
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DannyRaphael DannyRaphael is offline
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Watercolor is really hard to do in Photoshop. Some of what you have done looks watercolor-like, but most watercolor paintings I've seen have a lot less detail. There are different styles of watercolor paintings; some of yours look close to dry brush.

If you want to get very realistic "wet-on-wet" and "wet-on-dry" watercolor strokes and paint blending, the best program I've seen that does that very, very well is Corel Painter.

That's not to take anything away from what you've done. These examples are very, very good coming from Photoshop.

~Danny~
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Old 04-23-2004, 02:23 PM
westsidemaurice westsidemaurice is offline
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Interesting stuff. Fun.

Not criticisms, just personal taste:

I'd be happier with the images if you'd been less heavy-handed...wouldn't hurt to have them look more detailed. Both images were probably more beautiful as original photos...maybe somewhere in-between would be better.

I don't like those bright red blobs in the yellow...I'll tone them down, maybe go for a brick color..the red is too unnatural-seeming.

My sense is that watercolors aren't often as saturated as your images...maybe dropping contrast and lightening...you could use layers to intensify small sharp dark areas and paper-white highlights while making everything else less intense.
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Old 04-26-2004, 01:28 PM
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Thanks for the ideas. yes, the barns maybe too red - I was really trying to achieve what a real watercolourist had done, and it was pretty close.

Yes too, some more detail wouldn't go amiss - then again, there's many a watercolour with broad bold washes.. Maybe it's the wrong subject for this treatment?

Anyway, two more attempts, exact same picture, but second one had an extra step to reduce detail - a washier image..
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File Type: jpg Farm Water One.jpg (31.5 KB, 24 views)
File Type: jpg Farm Water Two.jpg (23.4 KB, 34 views)
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Old 04-26-2004, 02:31 PM
westsidemaurice westsidemaurice is offline
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Both versions look a lot more like water color than the earlier version did, IMO.

I favor the one on the left because it has more detail, draws my eye more...

However neither has an important element that would initially draw the eye...previously the ugly red roofs did that, but the image is a lot better without them. I think there needs to be somethng specific that draws the eye.

Maybe the big barn or house at the edge of that upper pasture (above center and to the right) could be manipulated to become an initial center of interest..then the eye could wander over some nice shapes and textures (I especially like the ripples on the water in the version on the left). Maybe if that building was whiter and sharper...
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Old 04-27-2004, 09:45 AM
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westsidemaurice, thanks.. In hindsight, I think the picture doesn't really lend itself to the style I'm chasing... Maybe something with more focus, or more colour ranges (a field of sunflowers, something punchy - even if the colours are 'pastelized' afterwards).
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Old 04-27-2004, 10:31 AM
westsidemaurice westsidemaurice is offline
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How about some horses....maybe you could import a few horses in a cluster, drop them in somewhere to create a focus...

....or a nice red tractor...or a bunch of black and white cows ...sharper than the rest of the image...
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Old 04-28-2004, 10:08 PM
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Another try, this time with a focal point.

(I agree with your ideas of a tractor, or horses (niiice), but I wanted to get the technique better before spending time on the actual subject - i.e even horses won't help if the watery colour looks rubbish.

How about this one, called 'Waiting For Sarah'.

I made three layers (other than background),
1 = select by range shadows
2 = select by range midtones
1 = select by range high lights

Then ran filters and plugins (and a little hand work) on each layer seperately.
Then blended each layer down to the base. The hilight layer has dust&scratches on it - that's a LOVELY filter for a hi quality simplifier effect.

Comments?
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File Type: jpg Waiting For Sarah.jpg (99.3 KB, 22 views)
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Old 04-29-2004, 07:22 AM
westsidemaurice westsidemaurice is offline
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Remarkable image!

First, the geometry and perfection of hard lines in the subject, in particular those railings, would be a test of draftsmanship...I doubt many watercolorists are good enough with rulers or could as realistically manage even that simple perspective, much less render chrome so believably. Watercolorists prefer trees and clouds and water and and livestock and children and old men with pipes and nekkid wimmen.,,,not forgetting pastures and rugged vistas

So it seems to me you've chosen an image that will inherently look photographic, and will be a mysterious and even intreiging (sp?) factor no matter how you Photoshop it. The modifications will draw attention to themselves as part of the mystery. Effects that draw attention to themselves seem usually to be negatives, but I like them here.

What else do I like? The postage stamp image of the seated man, the window behind him with the tree outside, and the tree they share, inside somehow, in the middle of the station. Did you import some of those elements or did they live in the original photo? Does a real tree grow right there?

I like the complexity of that soft central imagery and I like the strangeness of that cartoonish or lyrical image supported by harsh, dark geometry...the coldest, hardest possible structural elements (those railings) leading us inward.

Meanwhile your Photoshopping reduced attention-distracting details in the 80% of the image that is only a stage set or background, focussing attention into a central event. This photo is the polar opposite of that woozy pastoral scene with the missing livestock and tractor

I think this image would be best printed over 11X14. That way the background would serve its purpose most fully and the viewer would be allowed to be relax into that central image of the man on the bench with his window and trees.

I also suspect that, in printing the image, you might decide to shade those railings, reducing their brilliant intensity in a gradient.
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