Saturday, March 12, 2011

Utilizing Tools - Photoshop Elements

Knowing I will never visit Monet's Garden in Giverny, I chose a reference photo by Ilis from the Wet Canvas Reference Image Library(RIL) for this exercise.  My goal is to look closely at what tools in Photoshop Elements could be used to help break down the photo into usable segments instead of being overwhelmed by all that beautiful greenery.  Listed below each photo is the tool used in Photoshop except for the Vermeer Armature which was drawn using Paint.
  • Most of us are familiar with converting a photo to grayscale to see the values, ranging from black to white. For those of you not familiar with Photoshop, click "Enhance", click "Convert to Black and White".
  • Next, the "Cutout" filter is found under "Filters" then "Artistic.  It was used so that the photo could be broken down in to mass shapes and colors.
  • Contrast was used In the 4th photo.  Under "Enhance", click "Adjust Lighting" then click "Brightness/Contrasts", to create more contrasts within the photo. 
    • To create a photo similar to a "Notan (pure black and white areas in the photo), use the "Threshold" button found under "Filters" then "Adjustments".
  • In the 5th photo the edges were accented and the greenery simplified.  The "Accented Edges" filter can be found under "Filters" then "Brushwork". 
  • Not shown but important when you want to know what colors are in the photo is to posterize the photo.  Posterizing emphasizes the base colors and simplifies the shapes.  Click "Filters", "Adjustments", then "Posterize".
    • The last photo shows lines, known as a "Vermeer Armature", drawn on the photo using an imaging program called "Paint".  Look at where the interior lines intersect and create an "X",  I believe these areas are called sweet spots and are indicated by circles.  
    The object in doing these exercises is see how a photo or thumbnail can be changed and/or improved.  Try moving horizontal or vertical elements up or down, creating more of a 1/3-2/3rd ratio.  Zero in on a certain area and crop the photo.  Change a horizontal format to a vertical format and vice versa.  Note where the sweet spots are in the photo - rearrange the subject so the area you want for a focal point is situated closer to one of those spots. Please note that in this instance,the composition of the original photograph has not been changed.

    Try these exercises, then do notans where you can see the ratio of white to black areas, and thumbnail sketches.  Thumbnails sketches are an excellent way to modify, design, values, and shapes.  

    The painting below was done in 2004 when five of us did a "painting a week" for one year.  I fell in love with Ilis' photo(s) of Giverny and that is why I chose her photo for the exercises shown above. 
    Monet's Garden in Giverny
    Reference photo by Ilis, Wet Canvas RIL


    Happy Little Trees Studio said...

    I took a class this past semester in Creative Suite. I have a whole new appreciation for people who with with this media.

    Ann Buckner said...

    Kimberly, like you, I appreciate all those that know this stuff. My knowledge of Photoshop and its capabilities are minimal. I just know it is a tool that is there to be utilized when needed. :) Maybe you will share some things with us about it on your blog.