Monday, April 12, 2010

I'm No Artist, But Adobe Photoshop CS5 Helps

If you were to flip back a couple of month’s worth of posts you’d see an image that looks remarkably similar to today’s image. The big difference is the fact that I’ve tried another of Adobe Photoshop CS5’s new features. The Mixer brush. It took a couple minutes of playing to get an idea of how it works. I’ll freely admit that I’m a photographer, not a paint and brushes type of artist. Therefore, I was starting from ground zero as far as how to produce some sort of “painting” from a photograph. I’m sure several people I know could start from scratch and come up with a better representation of a sunflower than what I’ve done. I certainly wouldn’t go entering today’s image in any sort of “art fair” as a digital painting, but I do see the potential of one of Photoshop CS5’s new features. In the past, if you grabbed a brush tool you did have several options, but they all involved either single colors or previous states of your image. With the Mixer Brush (B) it’s possible to select multiple colors and have them interact with each other. Again, if I were an “artist” in the traditional sense, I’m sure I could “build” an image. Being feeble of mind when it comes to size and proportion, that ain’t happening. On the other hand, John Nack, of Adobe, has an example and video of painting in CS5 as a function of modifying a photo of an apple versus painting an apple from start to finish. In the example, both come out looking like an apple. (Here’s the link) According to the video it takes approximately the same time either way. I really don’t care how much time you give me, I wouldn’t come up with something, from scratch, that would look like an apple. It’s not in my DNA. To find out how today’s image “evolved” using the Photoshop CS5’s new Mixer Brush, hit the “read more”.
First thing I tried was “painting” directly on the background image. (Hey, it was an experiment.) That didn’t work. Couldn’t get anything to happen. Next was creating a blank new layer and painting on that. Since there was nothing to get the information from, again nothing happened. I just looked and there is an option for “Sample All Layers”. Had I looked for that before It probably would have picked up the information and be able to paint on the blank layer. Duh!!! It’s always the little things.

So, the way I did it was paint directly on a copy of the background layer. I separated out the major components, the flower, the stem and leaves, the center and the background. Each of those on a separate layer gave me greater control. Thinking about it, I should have treated each as a individual painting and combined the pieces to create the total.

Photoshop CS5 will be another learning curve. Between the Content Aware Fill, the Mixer Brush, the Puppet Warp, and more than forty new features it’ll be hitting the books all over again.