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Old Jul 23, 2012, 5:34 AM   #11
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Very impressive PP. Looks like a real watercolor. Nice work!

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Old Jul 23, 2012, 1:27 PM   #12
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I see you're not letting on how it's done!
Pentax K10/K5, DA18-55mm, DA50-200mm & Tamrom 18-250mm
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Old Jul 23, 2012, 1:44 PM   #13
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Opps sorry, I forgot! Thanks for the reminder. Here are the steps that I have learned from a photo magazine... here are 20... apparently not 25... but when you mess around with the contrast and lighting... etc... I guess that is why I remember 25.

Hope this helps.



Turn photographs into watercolour paintings

1. Open the your image
2. It is a good idea to make some space for yourself in PSE 10. Drag the “Layers palette” so that is floating out to the left. Hide the “panel bin” so that your PSE workspace is not so busy. From the “Menu Bar” and deselect “Panel Bin”. Move your “Layers palette” back to the right where it was before.
3. Duplicate your layer by dragging it down to the “Create New Layer” icon to create a copy. You can open up the “Layers palette” a little more and see “Background copy” on top and “Background” on the bottom.
4. Before an artist starts to paint colour into his picture, he normally will sketch out a drawing in rough form using a pencil just to get a basic composition. At this point, we are going to mimic that pencil effect by clicking on “Background copy” and applying a filter to it. From the “menu bar” select “Filter” and then choose “Artistic” then go to “Cutout”. This is designed to create a “screen print” version of your photo with a simplified colour and detail.
5. You can play around with “Edge Simplicity” to make your photo look much simpler and thus create a more stylised version. You can change the levels of colours by selecting “Number of Levels”. “Edge Fidelity” fine-tunes the way you see details. A basic guideline would be to adjust the “Number of Levels”: 5; “Edge Simplicity”: 3; and the “Edge Fidelity”: 1. You want to have a good combinations of simplified tones, making it look as if your were sketching things out as if you were painting them but you also have some detail as well. When you are satisfied with the way things look, click “OK”. Now the “Cutup” version can be seen in the “Background copy”.
6. You can see that we are working with filters, but not the most obvious filters like “watercolour”. The other thing to do with filtered layers is to combine them in different ways using layer blends just to help mix them with the original photograph to change the filtered look and make it look a little more unusual and harder to spot how the technique is achieved. To do that we are going to double-click on the lower layer “Background”. Click OK and then pop this layered version (“Layer 0”) above the filtered version (Background copy).
7. We can then change the blending mode of this (“Layer 0”) to mix it with a simplified version. So we will create something new. You can use a blending mode of “Hard Light” by clicking on the “Layer Palette”, “Normal” and then look further down for “Hard Light”. (Note: I used “Soft Light” which gave me more detail in the “Grand Hotel, Stockholm” photo).
8. Now we have a much simplified version. You have some strong colours but you are also getting effects of the “Cutup” artistic filter from the layer below. At this point, if things still look too complicated, it still may not quite look like a painting, but we will combine more layers and filters shortly in order simply things and make it look more like a realistic watercolour. Currently we have two layers blending together to create specific looking image. We are going to turn this image, (“Layer 0”) into a pencil sketch. At this point we could go to the Menu bar " Layer and select “Flatten Image” or “Merge Visible” in order to apply our next filter to it, but then we would lose the original layers, which you might want to use later on. So, a cool way to a combined version (or also known as a single merged version) and preserve the layers at the same time is to perform the keyboard shortcut: Shift + Control + Alt + E. You now get a new layer, called “Layer 1” which is a combination of the two layers below.
9. Select “Layer 1”, then go to Menu Bar and select Filter " Stylize " Find Edges, which will create a pencil sketch. It gets rid of all the blocks of colour and keeps the edges. You can see that it looks sort like a pencil sketch, which an artist most likely would not do. So, at this point we want to remove colour and thus create a more simplified version. Go to the Menu Bar and then click on Enhance " Adjust Colour " Remove Colour. This is really a neat way to fake artistic pencil drawing.
10. At this state the pencil sketch is a little too strong and overpowering, so we need to reduce the strength of the pencil strokes to make it look more realistic. On your “Layers Palette” click on the icon “create a new layer” (it is the icon in the far lower left). Then go to the Menu Bar once again and click “Edit” " “Fill Layer” and then choose “Contents” and use “White”.
11. Pop that layer below “Layer 1” so that “Layer 1” is on top of “Layer 2”.
12. Target “Layer 1” by clicking on “Layer 1” and change “opacity” to about 40% to create more delicate looking pencil strokes. If your “Layers Palette” is getting a little crowded, you can lengthen it as you wish. You can also change the size of the palette thumbnails using “Panel Options” and shrink them down a little bit to fit more into the window or “Layers Palette”.
13. Drag the “Background Copy” to the top. At this point we are going to add a “mask” to it. Go to the bottom of your “Layers Palette” and click on “Add Layers Mask”. Click on the new white mask. We want to hide all the contents at first by “Ctrl + I” in order to inverse the mask and make it black. All the black is hiding the contents of the attached layer. When we paint a white brush, or a gray brush on to this mask it will start to introduce colour. That is the secret to our watercolour effect.
14. Click on the “Black” mask to target it, then go to your icons on the far left of PSE 10, you will see a “Brush” icon, go up to the “Brushes” then click on it and select: “Watercolour Loaded Wet Flat Tip”. By the way, you can go to preferences to select “tool tips” which will help with selecting brushes.
15. Reduce the opacity of the brush to make it more subtle in its effect. This is very important as it lets you build up the colours in various stokes. Change the “Opacity” of the brush to about 40% or so.
16. Change the size to 188; for the sky, perhaps use the size could be 500. (USAGE NOTE: I use a very big brush to create an original was or layer of colour). Because the opacity is 40% it creates a gray stroke on the black layer, and that will be a semi-transparent stroke, you can play around with “opacity” as you wish. Now you can gently wash in your colours. Simply click and spray. With each use of the brush, and thus change the colour intensity.
17. At this point, the picture looks a little clean and clinical. It has a nice organic look to it but there is no real grain on the image that you would get with watercolour paint. We can mimic grain by creating a new layer. So, in the “Layers Palette” go to the “New Layer” icon and click on it. Pop it on the top if it is not there automatically, you should see “Layer 3”.
18. Click on it and then from the “Menu Bar” click “Edit” " “Fill Layer” " “50% Gray”. Then click OK. This will serve as the basis for the noise you are going to add. From the “Menu Bar” select “Filter” " “Noise” " “Add Noise” and set it to a value of 200% (The “Distribution” should be Gaussian). Also, make sure that “Monochromatic” is selected, which is found on the bottom. Click OK
19. We want to blur the noise, so go to your “Menu Bar”, select “Filter” " Blur " Motion Blur, set the angle to 0, Distance to 4 and click OK. To finish that off we need to change the “Overlay blending mode”, so in your “Layers Palette” Click on “Normal” then look further down and click “Overlay”.
20. Change the opacity to 22% or 23%.
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Old Jul 25, 2012, 9:09 PM   #14
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I don't usually like the end result when someone changes a photo into a painting, but this time it worked very well. Very nicely done! I don't think I have enough patience to go through all those steps, so I'll satisfy myself by admiring your fine work.
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