For those of you who know me, you know I’m a software junkie. I dare say that I love processing photos almost as much as I love taking them. I enjoy playing with an assortment of plug-ins and filters and love the ease and creativity they can open up. Instead of continuing to hack around on the artistic effects side, I decided to sign-up for a 4 week on-line course through BetterPhoto.com. It is called Enhancing Images and Creating Works of Art by Deborah Sandidge. I would highly recommend any of her courses. I finishing up the last week of her course, and thought I would share some of my lessons learned. This post features works created by Alien Skin’s Snap Art plug-in. They offer a free-trial of the software, so it’s worth checking out if you’re interested.
Eye-opener #1 – You can create many interpretations of the same image.
I know this may sound obvious, but typically I look at a subject as either “fine-art”, “pop-art”, or with graphic possibilities. During the class I would pick a favorite photo and try many different treatments to see the range of effects and feelings. This photo below is of two teenager sisters sitting quietly watching a sunset (I know seemingly implausible). One interpretation uses Snap Art’s oil painting preset, the other uses the Stylize preset. One could be placed on a wall, the other a postcard.
Eye-opener #2 – Use blending modes and opacity to adjust the effect
Sometimes the effect is too “heavy”; it can obscure the original image to the point of distraction. The Sisters – Postcard image above is an example of where I applied the Stylize effect, changed the blending mode, and then reduced the opacity so the subject was not completely abstracted and obscured.
Eye-opener #3 – Takes a good photograph into a completely different direction.
We loved photographing this old barn with a field of red clover. To be honest, Peter’s photos were a lot better than mine. Realizing that competition becomes unhealthy in a marriage after a point, I decided to take my barn image in a completely different direction and make it more painterly. I used Snap Art’s Pastel Abstract preset to make the image below. I took a good photograph and made it something unique.
Eye-opener #4 – Add feeling to an image
The images below did not invoke any emotion for me. I liked the subject and composition – but something was missing. Snap Art helped me to create an image that invoked tranquility.
Eye-opener #5 – Identify what you wish your photo would convey and then try to create it.
Peter and I were hoping for a beautiful beach sunset – it was just not going to happen. I loved this palm tree and the two people sitting on the beach hoping for the same thing we were. It was cold, windy, and sometimes rainy. I ran the photo through Topaz Adjust 5 to create the yellow vintage look (more to come on that software in a different post), and then took it into Snap Art and used an Oil Paint preset. This was what I wish we had seen on the beach that night.
You can see more of our digital art on pamphotography.com