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The Painter Wow! Book: Creating an Impressionist Look

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Overview Combine Glass Distortion and Surface Texture special effects to transform a photo into a painting, creating brushstrokes and building up paint.

By combining two powerful effects, Glass Distortion and Apply Surface Texture, you can create an Impressionist look with textured highlights and shadows—turning a photo into a painting. This effect can be applied to an entire image, a selection or a layer, giving you much more flexibility than you would have in the darkroom working with diffuser screens and masks.

  1. Choosing an image. Choose an image with a strong focal point and good highlights and shadows. You can achieve good results with either crisp or soft-focus images.
  2. Figure 1. The original photograph

  3. Initiating strokes. Choose a coarse paper texture—large organic textures with a broad tonal range help to emulate the look of paint on canvas. We chose River Map from the Branched Textures library (located in the Paper Textures folder on the Painter 12 DVD-ROM). Then we used the Paper Scale slider on the Papers panel to scale it to 70% to complement our 1200-pixel-wide image. To diffuse or break up the image into paint-like strokes on paper, apply the Glass Distortion dynamic layer: In the Layers panel, click the Dynamic Plug-ins button and choose Glass Distortion from the pop-up menu. In the Using menu select Paper. Choose subtle settings—our settings were Softness, 2.7; Amount, 0.72; and Variance, 1.00; Click OK to apply your settings.
  4. Figure 2. Applying Glass Distortion to the photo

  5. Adding texture and shadows. To add realistic relief, choose Effects, Surface Control, Apply Surface Texture. (If the Commit dialog box appears asking you if you’d like to convert the dynamic layer to an image layer, choose Commit.) In the Using menu choose Image Luminance. Use subtle-to-moderate Surface Texture settings to avoid a harsh look and to preserve the original image. We used Softness, 0; Amount, 65%; Picture, 100%; Shine, 5%; and Reflection, 0. (To raise the highlights, we turned on the Inverted check box.) Choose a light direction that is consistent with the lighting in your photograph, and click OK.
  6. Figure 3. Adding highlights and shadows to the distorted image with Apply Surface Texture

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