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Good candidates for photo-art creations

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  • Good candidates for photo-art creations

    Jill (aka twinbNJ) asked an interesting question that I thought merited posting for discussion and opinions.

    In essence it was, "What qualities should an original image have that make it a good candidate for photo-art transformation?"

    Here are my initial thoughts, to which I hope you'll add some of your own.

    As someone in another thread mentioned, sometimes "high quality" (subjective term) images may not work as well as potential "throw-aways."

    To be sure I've masked many technical errors in an original with a heavy dose of manipulation.

    I've had good luck with non-throw-away pics, too. I have to admit my wife constantly asks, "Why do you want to mess with a perfectly good image?" to which my normal reply is, "Because I CAN!"

    Generally speaking:
    * Simpler images seem to turn out better than "noisy" ones with a lot of detail
    * Close-ups (less busy) seems to work better than images taken from "far away"
    * Not too many dark (or black, shadow-type) areas, which many filters tend to ignore
    * Commercial portraits (simple backgrounds)
    * Good focus helps and not too grainy. You can always blur and add grain.
    * Depending on manipulation techniques used original image size might be a consideration if the final result is going to be printed.

    What others can you think of?

    Thanks, Jill, for posing such a provocative question.


  • #2
    I, personally, like a photo with a good strong subject. I don't generally care about what else is in the photo or the overall quality of the image. I can always isolate what I want by extraction or cropping or other means. My favorite flavor, smudging, doesn't care about pixelation in the slightest bit, either. It hides a lot of flaws.

    It's nice when you get a good quality image with a good central subject (fishboy's cats, for example) but I also like to see nice strong singular images that I can smudge away on (like bk's flowers) and see good results.


    • #3
      I meant to include "avoid blown highlights" or patches of pure white in my initial post. Good catch, Fishy.

      The final medium (print? web?) dictates the final image resolution. so I believe there's a place for low and high resoluvtion pics.

      Sometimes to get the desired effect one has to res down an image from say, 300 ppi to 75 ppi, in order to see results from a particular arty process. Take for example a 5"x7" image at 300 ppi (great for most printing needs) and apply the Colored Pencil filter on it. You can barely see the results unless your nose up pressing against the monitor. Down sample to 75 ppi and the filter effects are pronounced.

      If the destination of the final image is the printer, then upsampling would normally be necessary. In addition, depending on image characteristics, after restoring the original resolution one might have to use the Smudge tool or run filters such as Dust and Scratches, Median. Grain Surgery or Neat Image to soften the edges.

      If destined for a RetouchPRO post, as a desktop imagge or pBase gallery, a lowres image works fine for me.


      • #4

        The point is different resolutions (whether high or low) work in different situations.

        Sounds like most of the time for the work you do you need hires images for the filters you use to be effective. That's fine.

        In some of the work I do, I need lowres images in order for the filters I use to render the effects I'm looking for. If I decide to print said low resolution image, I have to upsize and do a little blurring to mask artifacts.

        To illustrate take any 8x10, 300 ppi image, duplicate it and apply, say, Artistic > Dry Brush to it.

        Back to the original image, via Image Size dialog, change the resolution to 75 ppi and then run Dry Brush again. (Note: I'm not suggesting the results are pretty; just trying to demonstrate the difference resolution makes for my purposes.)



        • #5
          My favorite pictures for photo-art are people, animals, and flowers. Buildings with surrounding landscape are okay. OTOH, I do remember doing one here that was a junker truck, and in fact ended up posting two versions of that. And with all of these I think I tend more toward a single focus object, but with flowers I might like a combination of distinct flowers.

          All else being equal, I prefer uncropped images. This allows me to pick my own crop relative to what I see in the image. But with the file size limitation here, cropped can be a tradeoff for more pixel density in the area of interest. Also, I would prefer to work with the original, but this too can be factor against uploading here.

          That's about it. I try to predict which qualities will work best with certain techniques, but I'm wrong more often than I'm right. I admire people who develop a technique that works across many photos, but in my case, the picture usually leads and I follow.


          • #6
            Thanks, Goldcoin.

            Let's all just mooooove on now and get back to some pixel pushin'.

            Andrew B., you bring up a very good point about pre-cropping photos. It's really tempting to crop out what you think are undesirable aspects to a photo for posting. But what is fluff to one person might be the very aspect that someone else wants to focus on. Good call.


            • #7
              I've been thinking about this question and can only state the obvious. Anything might turn out to be an excellent art candidate, but not for every single technique. Nor will one technique work for all images. At art museums, every conceivable subject is represented there in some medium but even the Mona Lisa might look silly in watercolor.

              Clearly our everyday snapshots seldom work with anything, but through experience we find just the right technique for each good image. I've not posted on many threads here despite pulling every arrow out of my quiver. Nothing I had seemed to work. I've got one photo that is my favorite photo from my trip to the Amazon last year. But I can't find ONE artistic technique that works on it. I guess I'll post it on the Challenges!



              • #8
                My personal preference for photos that are good candidates for photo transformation are those photos that don't really succeed as a photo. A few photos submitted here already looked too good for me to mess with in any way.

                Honestly, what most impressed me about this photo art forum initially was how an ordinary record shot photo could be manipulated into something that many people would want to see and enjoy. I have lots of mediocre photos that are simply record shots of people, places and animals that I wanted to remember -- now some of them can become something worthwhile to look at.

                My observations are same as some already mentioned -- I think I can work better with images that are not filled with lots of different elements throughout the entire image. Extra High contrast photos with blown out highlights and blocked out shadows don't usually work well. Medium contrast shots of landscapes, large elements with interesting shapes (that old truck image gave people a lot to work with) seem to work well.