Hello everyone I wanted to do a post regarding what different software there is out there! I have 3 different ones on my computer due to the fact I have a love affair with photo painting. I know it is not an effect all photographers like but I love it!! and see it as part of my style.
I take some pictures for a local rescue here in Florence Alabama by the name of PAWS ( Pets Are Worth Saving ) and my little model for this is Molly who is a sweet little gal.
the 3 different programs that I use are
Overall they are all 3 awesome pieces of software and I use them all on a regular basis but, some have a few different ways to edit your pic to look like a painting.
First off Topaz Impression can be used a stand alone program or a plug in for Photoshop or Lightroom. This program has tons of presents to choose from and sliders to change and customize the effect to make it your own.
Here is what it looks like right after I open it up with all the presets and these are only the painting presets.
Below you can see all the different things you can change such as the brush used, brush size, the number of strokes as well as paint volume.
There is a way to change the hue and saturation of colors.
Select different lighting, contrast and size of vignette if you choose to have any.
There are many different texture presets from canvas, paper, concrete, and wood. There is a way to change the opacity of the overall effect as well.
Another good aspect of this one is it has a masking feature. Here you can take back some of the original features of the picture using a hand brush to paint on with your mouse or Wacom tablet (which I like more due to the pressure sensitvity being similar to that of a pen or a brush)
. As you can see below I chose to bring only the eyes back just a tad so that they pop a little bit.
End result is a lovely photo painting of a cute pup!
Topaz Impression is available for a free trial so you can download it and test it out to see if this is something you want to spend $99 on. For me the program is well worth it’s money.
In order to get this done by hand in photoshop it would take forever and take individual strokes with a brush that you download with any specific paint texture. Topaz has already put all of those brushes in one place and have preset starting points.
the bottom photo is the original and the top is the one I edited with Topaz Impression.
Next in the series is Alien Skin Snap Art can be use as a stand alone program or a plug in to Photoshop and Lightroom.
This program also has tons of presets to choose from that are similar but in their own way different from the Topaz impression program making having both of them very unique.
Here is what it looks like right after I open up the program
As you can see it looks similar to the Topaz program in a few ways and has a few things all of it’s own.
All the different types of styles are on the left hand side of this one and are a tad fewer than Topaz. This in a nutshell does not matter much as they are just starting points because you are going to tweak your picture to fit your own style in the end.
On the background drop down you can control your brush size, paint thickness, Photorealism ( in the Topaz program you use the opacity to help with this ), Brush style, and Color variation.
Again you can change the color hue and saturation on this program as well as the lighting and contrast.
This program also has Canvas presets to put on a texture to make it look like it has been painted on a canvas.
The one thing that is different on the masking tool in Alien Skin is that you can choose a few different areas to work on and you can set things accordingly to that specific area that you painted on.
As you can see in this picture below I brought back the detail in the eyes again to make them pop but, then I was able to select a totally different area so I selected the nose. I did not want to bring back as much detail to the nose as I did to the eyes so I could adjust that second area separately from the eyes. The different areas are marked on the picture as two different dots.
Alien Skin Snap Art is a tad different than the Topaz impression in a few ways and it all depends on what options you are looking for.
The biggest difference is the way the masking tool works. It almost is a similar concept to layers in Photoshop where you can control the settings on different aspects of the picture at the same time by just clicking on them.
Again this software has a trial period where you can download it and try it out for free before paying the $99 for it.
Well worth the money due to saving time. I own both Topaz and alien skin due to the differences I can use in them and for me having both is a must.
That might not be the case with what you are looking for so download them both and figure out what you like working with.
The photo on the bottom is the original picture and the photo on the top is the one I edited with Alien Skin Snap Art
I put this one last as it is a completely different program from the previous two. Of course the essentials 5 does not have all the bells and whistles and the full Corel painter version but it has enough to make essential photo paintings. If you find that you are working with Corel enough to purchase the full version please let me know and do a review on it! 😉
As a side note I also have their Particle shop plug in for pictures that require awesome brushes that you can add prior to making your photo paintings they are so much fun to play with so go check them out!! works very well for making fairy tale like pictures and use with fine art photography and fine art compositing.
Now with Corel Painter and Particle shop I always suggest that you use a Wacom Tablet or something like it so that the brushes you use are sensitive to the pressure like when you draw with the pen and will make a huge difference as you can’t do that with a mouse.
Below is what the program looks like when I open it up.
Now do not be alarmed it opens on your actual desktop.
On this one it lets you select if you want to start a photo painting or if you want to have an open canvas to start an actual painting.
I noted after taking this picture and sharing it that I do not have any of my pictures as my actual desktop so I will take care of that issue LOL.
I added my own picture as a desktop photo because gotta keep up with the brand 😉
Ok all silliness aside let’s get back to Corel Essentials.
I opened out picture as you can see on the very right hand side as well as the ability to select presets for a quick auto photo painting. This is where you can start with the painting then hand paint afterwards.
I chose detailed painting and pushed the start button until it was all done and this is what I have to start with prior to painting by hand from here.
This program does have presets like the previous two but from here it is completely different as you have way more control over the brushes and what brushes to use.
Top left is all the selections of brushes that you can use on your painting. There are some specific photo painting brushes that are all set out for you in the section. Make sure you clone the color from the source image first. Then use the brushes at different straights and sizes to paint on the strokes or smooth out the ones.
Just like Photoshop there is a place do do actual layers so that you can create different aspects of this photo so you can erase when you need to.
This program can be downloaded for a free trial before you spend the $49.99 on it so you can see if you want it.
the photo on the bottom is the original and the photo on the top is the one I painted with Corel Painter Essentials 5
As you can see each program has it’s similar and different effects.
The first two ( Topaz and Alien Skin) are much of a quicker edit with Corel Painter being more hands on as to how the ending image looks with more emphasis on brushes.
I have all 3 because each and every one has it’s own unique features that I need to complete my portfolios.
I in no way showed you every single inch of these programs, you will need to download them to venture them for yourself. I just gave a highlight on which ones are for your editing needs.
I hope you enjoyed my little review of the products/ a tiny tutorial into what they do.
My ebook is coming out very soon with how to take these pictures in the first place with a DSLR camera on Manual before even editing them.
I go through it in my Ebook and I will post it on here…if you don’t have the picture correct in the camera in the first place editing is not going to help it.
Nicole Cowan- Owner and instructor at Sweetellabella Photography