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Creating A Photo Illustration Effect With Watercolor Brushes: Part 2

This is part 2 of the 4 part tutorial on creating this photo illustration effect. (Part 1 is an overview of the entire tutorial.)

Chateau de Chinon as a photo illustration by Leslie Nicole

Choosing and Preparing The Color Image

This post is divided into 3 parts.

  1. Choosing and preparing an original image.
  2. Examples of the original image using different filter effects.
  3. Those filter effects used in the photo illustration.

Choosing An Image

This technique seems to work best on images with a fair amount of detail, particularly detail along the edges of the image. Travel images often work well.

Basic Image Processing

Do any basic image processing such as exposure corrections that you normally do. I won’t cover basic image processing in-depth in this tutorial, but I have included notes about this image.

My original image

Below is the SOOC photograph I took of the Château de Chinon in France. Actually there may have been a bit of exposure adjustment in Lightroom, but it’s pretty close to SOOC.

Chateau de Chino original

Original Image before post processing.

Final Processing.

This is with dodging to bring out the luminous quality of the stones on the castle and slight color overlays applied with  brushes to enhance the touches of gold. I also applied Topaz Lab’s Filter, Detail*.

Chateau de Chinon by Leslie Nicole

Processed Image

Retouching

Since my goal was a vintage/artistic effect, I desaturated or retouched out minor details that looked too modern such as visible, bright colored signs and cars.

Retouch Details

Zoomed in view of areas to desaturate or retouch.

 


Creative Processing

You may wish to enhance the photo illustration effect by doing further creative processing to the color image. A great way to add more of an illustration effect is with 3rd party Photoshop filters. Some of the results below may be too stylized for stand-alone photos, but I wanted you to see the originals as well as the effect when combined with the illustration.

Be sure to save a copy of the original color image before trying the creative effects. Duplicate the layer.

Filter Forge

In the last post, I showed an example of using a filter in Filter Forge with this image. I used the Paint HDRtist filter by Filter Forge contributor, lipibianc.

Chateau de Chinon by Leslie Nicole

Topaz Labs Simplify

Below, I used the Buz Sim preset in Topaz Labs Simplify.* They do have a watercolor preset, but I haven’t managed to get results I like yet.

Chateau de Chinon by Leslie Nicole using Topaz Simplify.

Alien Skin Snap Art

I haven’t been using Snap Art long, but I’m loving it so far. I used the Detailed Watercolor preset in Alien Skin’s Snap Art filters.

Chateau de Chinon by Leslie Nicole

Topaz Labs Adjust

Finally, I thought I’d try Topaz Labs Adjust*. I used the HDR Sketch Light preset. Although the following example looks a bit too harsh for a stand-alone photo, as part of the photo illustration (see Final Comparisons below) it works.

Chateau de Chinon by Leslie Nicole


Final Comparisons

Original Processing

Chateau de Chinon as a photo illustration by Leslie Nicole

Filter Forge

Paint HDRtist filter

Photo Illustraton using Filter Forge

Topaz Labs Simplify

Buz Sim preset with adjustments. I increased the details setting.

Chateau de Chinon by Leslie Nicole using Simplify.

Alien Skin Snap Art

Watercolor – Detailed preset.

Chateau de Chinon by Leslie Nicole using Snap Art.

Topaz Labs Adjust

HDR Sketch Light preset.

Chateau de Chinon by Leslie Nicole using Topaz Adjust

 Which version do you prefer?

Creating A Photo Illustration Effect Using Watercolor Brushes. A tutorial in 4 parts.

  1. Part 1: An overview of what will be covered.
  2. Part 2: Preparing the Color Photograph. (This post)
  3. Part 3: Creating the Black and White Line Illustration.
  4. Part 4: Putting it all together and using the watercolor brushes.

* Topaz Labs Filters is an affiliate link. I get a small commission from any sales resulting from a click from this site (at no extra cost to you.) I really do love these filters. Nearly all of my own images use one of these filters. Thank you for supporting the site!

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2 Responses to Creating A Photo Illustration Effect With Watercolor Brushes: Part 2

  1. Kathleen Lapergola September 12, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

    Great instruction Leslie, can’t wait to try this method!!!

    • Leslie Nicole September 12, 2014 at 6:24 pm #

      Great! I’ll get the final part out soon.

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