No, I am not a painter. I did several fantasy doodles in my teen years but that’s all. Yet what you can see below is a painting of our blooming orchid. Well, it’s not a painting really, it’s a photo which I wanted to convert to something that would look like as much as a real oil painting as possible. Was I successful? Click on the photo to enlarge it and judge for yourself.
~ Phalaenopsis Twins ~
1/3 and 1/2 sec. @ 100 mm, f/11, ISO 100, 2 stacked images
Now I’d like to share some information about why and how it was done. If you are interested, read on
I took this photo of two orchid blossoms a month ago and made only basic processing – stacked 2 images, which I had to take to have both blossoms sharp, plus a series of common adjustments (saturation, contrast, retouching, cloning the unwanted part of stem out etc.) The problem was that the photo was taken against a black background and it was a bit, well, boring. You can see the enhanced original photo on the right side. I put the image aside as I didin’t exactly know how to make it more interesting. I was thinking about using some texture overlay but was not really striving for it. I posted some other photos, for example these from the same session, and I came back to this photo only couple days ago. I decided to browse flickr pages for some free textures and stuck on amazing painted textures by clive sax. Even before I saw them I was playing with a thought of converting this photo into a painting and when I saw clive’s outstanding golden texture I knew that I want to match the texture with this photo and produce something that will look as close to the real painting as possible.
After an hour of searching the net for some useful tutorial on converting photos into paintings and another appx. 6 hours of playing with filters and blending modes in photoshop I got it.
To sum the process up, I did following steps:
- complete post-processing of the original photo (contrast, levels, saturation, sharpness, cloning etc.) in Lightroom 2.5 and Photoshop CS 4 (PS),
- applying the Golden Texture 2 by clive sax (thanks Clive!) as a new layer over the photo in PS,
- carefully erasing the texture to uncover the photo behind it,
- aplying gaussian blur on the background layer to take DOF into play,
- flattening the image so the next processing will affect both the photo and the background, giving it a uniform look,
- following excellent tutorial on photoshopessentials.com (to make it short it consists of adding saturation, applying Glass filter [Filter/Distort/Glass], Paint Daubs filter [Filter/Artistic/Paint Daubs], Angled strokes filter [Filter/Brush Strokes/Angled Strokes], Texturizer filter [Filter/Texture/Texturzer] and applying emboss overlay to make the brush strokes more plastic). This was the most difficult part as I had to find out the set up of filters which will look best.
And that’s it. One important thing is that a photo processed this way can’t be resized much with awaiting that it will still look great. The best way is to resize the original photo before the step 6 and then do the step 6 on the resized image. You will very probably need to tweak the settings of filters again to match it resized image. You can see comparison of 100% cropped original photo after step 5 and after step 6 on the left side. Pretty impressive, isn’t it?
I hope you liked this post and image.
Enjoy the early spring!
Technical information: the photo was taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM macro lens upon tripod, indoors, under natural light.