All posts by pickering

Photo experiment – day 26 of 31

Today’s experiment is turning a photo into the look of a pencil sketch.


The sketch was created with the Tiffen Dfx plugin for Photoshop.  I tried a couple of other things first – the Photoshop sketch and other artistic filters, and Topaz Simplify, but none of them gave the look I wanted.  I ended up creating two layers with different treatments in Tiffen Dfx, one that looked good for the face and hands, and one that worked for everything else, then masking to get the results in the right areas.  I also masked out the background details.

Photo experiment – day 22 of 31

Today is experimenting with subject matter – creating The Scream out of food (carrots, blueberries, hummus, cinnamon sticks, eggplant, butter, peppercorns, dried strawberries, cocoa powder). Kind of pointless but fun.

The main photographic challenge was finding a way to photograph it so that the light did not glare off the elements too much – the glare works fine on the water, but not for the eggplant dress.  The best way to photograph it turned out to be outdoors in medium shade.

Photo experiment – day 21 of 31

Today’s experiment is using the oil paint filter in Photoshop CS6:

This filter is very easy to use, with 4 sliders for brush controls and 2 for lighting controls – giving more or less detail to the strokes.  It works well on this photo with simple shapes.  I first tried it on a more complex scene with fairly muddy results, although that one probably would have worked out well if I had applied different settings for the oil paint filter to different parts of the image (the oil paint filter does not directly allow this, so layers and masking would have been needed).

Photo experiment – day 20 of 31

Today’s experiment is creating a microplanet. Here’s the Statue of Liberty on top of the world (glad that Photoshop knows more about polar coordinates than I remember from school)


The technique is very easy (using Photoshop’s polar distort filter) but getting something that looks decent is tough.  The big issue is finding a type of photo that works for this technique.  I don’t take too many broad landscape-type photos, so it took me a while to find one of mine that could work.

The starting photo needs to be much much wider than tall – either a panorama or a photo cropped to these dimensions (which is what I used).  It is best to have something where the top is plain sky, and the bottom can read correctly after it is distorted – since it ends up as the center, it gets the most distortion.  And I had to experiment several times to get the proportions of the top vs. bottom right – after polarization, the Statue of Liberty and buildings came out in different height/width dimensions depending on the ratio of top (sky) to bottom (water) that the starting photo had.  The other issue is the seam – the image needs to have the horizon be exactly vertical, and more or less matching areas at either end so when it wraps the seam will not be too visible.  I ended up being able to get it all pretty much okay except for a visible difference in the color of the sky at the seam, which I had to smudge/blur/clone until it was less obvious.