Painter: Creating a Photo-Painting
... Cher Threinen-Pendarvis
Open a retouched photo in Painter; paint a loose abstract background; clone and paint the image with brushes; add surface texture...
For PORTRAIT OF PATRICE, Michael Campbell combined photography with painting. Campbell is a professional photographer who specializes in portraits. He began the work by choosing a photo from a shoot and retouching it using Photoshop, and then saving it as an RGB TIFF file. In Painter, he used cloning and paint applied with various brushes to combine the photograph with expressive brush work and texture.
See: the original photo and the painting results (click to toggle images)
1 Opening a photo and making the clone.
To begin the image, Campbell opened his photo in Painter. The file was approximately 10 x 14 inches, at 150 pixels per inch. He made a clone of the image by choosing File, Clone. (Campbell left the original photo open so that he could sample color from it later using the Dropper, or clone from it later using the Cloners brushes.) He saved the cloned image, giving it the name Step 1 to keep versions of his image organized.
For a colored background that would provide a base for more tightly rendered brush strokes, Campbell used the Dropper tool to sample a light tan color from the original photo. Then he filled the clone canvas with the color by choosing Effects, Fill (Ctrl / cmd F), choosing Current Color and clicking OK. Next, he applied loose brush work to this background using various Oils brushes (for instance, the Opaque Round variant of Oils), applying colors that he had sampled from the photo with the Dropper. At this point, he had not cloned imagery from the photo yet. He saved and named the painted background image step 2.
At right: The clone filled with a tan color and the loose brush work painted over the tan fill. (detail)
3. Beginning to clone in the photo.
Next, Campbell added more loose brush strokes to his image using a large cloning brush based on the Camel Oil Cloner variant of Cloners. (During this step in his process, he doesn't like to use Painter's tracing Paper function much, because he feels that it hides the look and color of his brush strokes.)
Left: Loosely cloning the photo into the painted background
4. Building form and color
As Campbell continued to paint the figure and basket, his brushstrokes followed the contours of the forms as they do when he uses conventional oil paints. While he worked, he often changed the size of the brush using Size slider popped out of the Property Bar. Sometimes he turned off the Clone Color button in the Colors palette and painted freehand to retain a loose painterly feeling in the image. He saved this version of the image as Step 3.
5 Refining the Painting
Campbell wanted to create a looser painted look in the clothing, flower basket and background, and more realistic detail inn the model's face. To paint the dress, flowers and basket, he used a smaller version of the Camel Oil Cloner variant. He softly refined and detailed parts of the face, especially the eyes and mouth. In areas where he wanted even more realism, he switched to a small Soft Cloner variant of the Cloners and with the original photo as the clone source, he carefully restored the model's eyes, nose and lips. When Campbell was pleased with this stage, he saved it and named this version of the image Step 4.
4a: building the forms and colors
4b: using smaller brushes to refine the forms and background
5: The final painted stage is shown in this detail
Click for detail
6 Applying two kinds of texture
Next, Campbell added three-dimensional highlights and shadows to his brushstrokes by choosing Effects, Surface Control, Apply Surface Texture, Using Image Luminance, with subtle Amount and Shine settings of approximately 30%, leaving other settings at their defaults. He named this textured image Step 5.
He wanted to try a canvas-like texture, so he opened his Step 4 image, and chose File, Clone again. With this image active, he chose Effects, Surface Control, Apply Surface Texture, and this time Using Paper. He chose the Raw Silk texture from the Painter Texture library, loaded from the Painter X CD-Rom. He named the clone with the canvas texture Step 6.
Detail of the face showing the surface texture applied to the paint
Detail of the image showing the second Surface Texture application showing the canvas texture.
7 Cloning imagery from different versions
To hide the canvas in some areas as if tit were thick paint covering up the canvas of a real painting, Campbell used various sizes of the Camel Oil Cloner variant to clone imagery from the Step 5 clone into the Step 6 clone. (To designate another image as a clone source, open it; then choose File, Clone Source and select its name in the menu.) After he was satisfied with the look of his image, he saved it as Step 7, and as an RGB TIFF file for printing on a high resolution inkjet printer using archival inks.
Detail of the final image showing areas of the first Apply Surface Texture application that accentuated the brushstrokes (Step 5) cloned into the Step 6 clone that included the Apply Surface Texture application Using Paper...
Face detail, see the
Basket detail, and finally, enjoy the
Stunning final masterpiece. (236 K, may take a moment to load!)
Excerpted from The Painter X Wow! Book by Cher Threinen-Pendarvis. Copyright ©2007. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and Peachpit Press. Photo, Art and Painting Copyright ©2007 Michael Campbell
The Painter X Wow! Book
Cher Threinen-Pendarvis An award-winning artist, author and educator based in San Diego, California, Cher Threinen-Pendarvis has always worked with traditional art-making tools. Also a pioneer in digital art, Cher has created illustrations using the Macintosh computer since 1987. She has been widely recognized for her mastery of Painter, Photoshop and the Wacom pressure-sensitive tablet, using these electronic tools since they were first released.
The Painter X Wow! Book is the book that all fine artists must have to get the very most out of Painter! It's not just about using Painter -- it's about inspiring examples and techniques for creating fine art, photography, graphic design, multimedia, and film that will raise your work to a new level.
In this new edition, bestselling author and renowned artist Cher Threinen-Pendarvis takes her readers step-by-step through this revolutionary program, revealing the best practices of numerous digital artists. With her clear, instructive approach, Cher quickly gets beginners up to speed and provides more advanced users with additional insight on the latest creative and productive techniques.
Don't just dream about getting better --
become the best you can be with this latest edition of
The Painter X Wow! Book
If you use a Graphics Tablet
Then you must have The Photoshop and Painter Artist Tablet Book! This is the ultimate for artists, illustrators, photographers, and designers of all levels who want to tap the creative power of using a tablet with Photoshop and Painter and develop their own unique style of painting with these applications. If you don't have a tablet, you should try one! If you get into tablet painting, then you'll definitely want to pick up a copy
See our complete review of The Photoshop and Painter Artist Tablet Book
See our previous interview with Cher: The painter behind Painter WOW
See another exclusive DTG interview with Cher: Working with Graphics Tablets
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