The Digital Darkroom; Artistic Filters Photoshop

The Digital Darkroom is a series of posts aimed at beginners and those interested in Digital Photography and Editing. In previous weeks we have looked at basic adjustments, curves, editing colour with the HSL/Color panels, black and white toning, split toning, local adjustments, sharpening, noise reduction and Lens Correction and Camera Calibration in Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw. Moving into Photoshop we have looked at the program’s layout,basic adjustments to light, basic adjustments to colour, basic black and white adjustments, Basic Sharpening, Basic Noise Reduction, Creating Presets and Actions, Basic Masks, Making Selections, Refining Selections, Using the Pen Tool, Clone Stamp, Heal Tool, Patch Tool, Content Aware, Smart Objects, Basic Blur Filters, Field Blur, Iris Blur, Tilt Shift Blur, Path Blur, Spin Blur and this week Artistic Filters.
If you wish to check out previous posts in the series you can do here.

So far in the digital darkroom series we have been looking at filters and adjustments to make the most of your pictures. Sometimes though we don’t want to adjust a picture and keep it a photograph, but transform it into something else. This is where the line between photography and digital art can sometimes be drawn. I don’t think there is anything wrong in transforming a picture into a faux watercolour image, as long as it does the subject justice. However I would no longer call it photography. Although this is a debate that maybe I should write at a later date.

This week’s post of The Digital Darkroom is going to be looking the Artistic filters in Photoshop. As with all filters in Photoshop these are quite powerful. However I feel they are more than one click solutions, although others may disagree.
The Artistic filters are sometimes hidden in Photoshop, especially since CS6, and locating them can at first feel frustrating. Photoshop does hide them in the filter gallery with a few other filters but they can also be access via the filter menu.
To access the artistic filters through the filter menu first you must go to Edit- Preferences and then Plugins. Here you choose Show All Filter Gallery Groups and Names.
Now you have them we can use the filters to replicate different artistic methods to adjust your image.

Coloured Pencil

This filter crosshatches the image to replicate a pencil like effect. Areas with similar tones are hatched with diagonal strokes and areas of contrast our outlined.

color-pencil-screen

 

Pencil Width – Controls the thickness of the pencil hatches.
Stroke Pressure – Controls the intensity of the filter, the larger the pressure more colour comes through.
Paper Brightness – controls the overall brightness of the effect.

 

Cutout

This effect resembles a person creating an image from various pieces of colour card.

cutout-screen

Number of Levels – The number of colours used.
Edge simplicity – how much edge detail between contrasted areas is preserved. The lower the setting the more rounded and curved the edges are.
Edge Fidelity – Blurs edges of borders the more the setting is increased.

 

Dry Brush

This Filter can be used to add more stylistic effect to an image by reducing details with borad strokes. It also be used to help imitate water colour or oil paintings.

Dry-Brush-screen

Brush size- the size of the brush. A larger brush the effect looks like a water colour and with a smaller brush size the effect can resemble something more like an oil painting.
Brush Detail – controls how much detail there is. It is usually best to increase this setting as you increase the Brush Size for the best effect.
Texture – This add texture to create the impression of a canvas.

 

Film  Grain

Not really a artistic method but does a good job adding realistic grain to an image. The grain is added predominantly to the shadier areas of an image, leaving lighter areas richer and glossier.

Film-Grain-screenjpg

Grain – controls how much grain is added.
Highlight Area – increases the brightness.
Intensity –controls the brightness of the lighter areas.

 

Fresco

Creates an effect similar to pigments being applied to fresh plaster. The image becomes blurry and as with dry brush can do a good job in imitating watercolour and oil painting.

Fresco-screen

 

Brush size- the size of the brush. A larger brush the effect looks like a water colour and with a smaller brush size the effect can resemble something more like an oil painting.
Brush Detail – controls how much detail there is. It is usually best to increase this setting as you increase the Brush Size for the best effect.
Texture – This add texture to create the impression of a canvas.

 

Neon Glow

Neon Glow desaturates the colour in an image adding in the main colours in the background. It then uses a third colour to create a glow in the shadows.

Neon-Glow-Screen

Glow Size – Controls the intensity of the glow. This filter works with a positive and negative scale. If the image is dark and the background bright you need to use the negative side of the scale, and vis a vis.
Glow Brightness – Controls the brightness of the glow.
Glow Color- Choose the colour of the glow.

 

Paint Daubs

Smears colours of the image using different brush presets.

paint-daubs-screen

Brush Size- controls the size of the brush used in the effect.
Sharpness – sets the sharpness of a stroke.
Brush type-  lets you choose between different brushes for the effect.

Palette Knife

Simulate painting with a palette knife, each stroke wiping paint on the canvas subduing some detail.

pallet-knife-screen

Stroke Size- Controls the size of the strokes
Stroke Detail- controls how much detail is preserved. The larger the setting more detail is preserved.
Softness- Gives control of how soft the edges of strokes are.

Plastic Wrap

This filter obviously gives the impression of something being wrapped in plastic but can also give a wet look or feel to an image.

Plastic-wrap-screen

Highlight Strength- The brightness of the highlights
Detail- how much detail is preserves in the wrap.
Smoothness- Controls how smooth the plastic texture is. A higher value means more highlight areas on the surface.

Poster Edges

Gives a rough poster feel, by reducing the number colours and adding a black outline between areas of contrast. Similar to Cutout but with black strokes and smoother.

Poster-edges-screen

Edge Thickness- How thick the lines outlining the image are.
Edge Thickness- How dark are the lines outlining the image are.
Posterization – How many colours are used.

Rough Pastels

This gives the feeling of a pictured coloured with pastels on a rough texture.

Rough-Pastels-screen

Stroke Length- How long strokes are
Stroke detail- adjusts the size of the strokes, allowing you to control detail.
Texture- Choose what texture you are applying the pastels to.
Scaling- how large the texture is
Relief – strength of contrast in the texture.
Light – lets you choose the direction of light that should be rendered with the texture.

Smudge Stick

This effect blurs the image leaving diagonal strokes. Darker tones are smudged and lighter tones are brightened.

smudge-stick-screen

Stroke Length- How long strokes are
Highlight Area- sets the brightness of highlight areas
Intensity- controls the contrast of the effect.

Sponge

We all painted with sponges as a kid and this replicates this style of painting.

Sponge-Screen

 

Brush Size- adjusts the size of the sponge effect.
Definition – Controls the contrast of the sponge
Smoothness- how detailed the sponge dabs are

Under Painting

Gives the impression of drawing on a wet oil painted surface.

underpainting-screen

Brush Size- Controls the thickness of the brush
Texture Coverage – Sets the level with the image shows through.
Texture- Choose what texture the oil paint was applied to.
Scaling- how large the texture is

Relief – strength of contrast in the texture.
Light –  lets you choose the direction of light that should be rendered with the texture.

Watercolour

This is a pastel effect which defuses an image creating a watery texture.

water-colour-screen

Brush Size- Controls how simple the details are in the image.
Shadow Intensity- adds shadow areas to an image.
Texture- Sets how sharp the texture is.

Mixing Filters

Within the atyisic Filter menu you can combine filters together to create one effect. On the right side panel at the button click the new filter button at the bottom next to the bin to add a new filter. These filters are then layered and are applied to each filter below. You can also rearrange the order of the filters by dragging them up and down.

neon-glow
You can also use layers in Photoshop to mix different filters. This is the method I like to use as I can mix the filter effects together with layer masks and blending options. With the picture above I duplicated the pictures layer and applied to neon glow filters, one to each layer.

If you have any questions or comments please use the comment box below, all are welcome as this series is designed to help people learn how to use Photoshop and Lightroom.

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If you wish to get notifications when I post on my blog, you can follow me on Twitter@apertureF64, on Facebook.com/aperturesixtyfour or alternatively be emailed by subscribing below. All images are the Copyright of Benjamin Rowe , ALL RIGHTS Reserved unless credited to another photographer. For more information please read my Copyright Statement

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