Hi art friends.

I took a long walk on 8/24 around the neighborhood with my 50 mm lens + 12 mm extension tube. It was a beautiful day: diffuse light at 5 pm, a cool breeze signaling fall is on the way, lots of late summer blooms and leaves turning red.

Found so much cool stuff and took over 200 photos, including some really great spider webs. However, the web shots did not fare well through the watercolor test, so I’ll post those another day.

I was at the end of my walk and happened to look up to see an apple tree, heavy with fruit. I took a few shots and then looked down to see piles of apples that had fallen to the ground.

I processed the raw images in Lightroom and applied Still Stories presets to all of them. I must have 50 processed images to explore. I started to play with a couple when I remembered the Awake PBB Photoshop Actions set I purchased included a number of actions I haven’t tried, including the Watercolor 2021 actions and brushes.

Today’s post shows the results of three tests of PBB Watercolor 2021. I used the Auto selection action and the default settings.

“Starfall & Keaton” Still one of my favorite photos of the stars of the Takashima Extraction. I can tell it is an early test because Keaton is wearing a random wig and outfit. It was a test of the compositing dolls onto the background with a lot of grunge; the final image was then converted to black and white.

For this test, I used the color image just to see how the watercolor effect would turn out. The action incorporates the color palette of the image for the splatters. It’s magical to watch the action run. There are nearly a dozen layers once the action completes.

As with the Comic Book Maker tests, the doll eyes get lost as the action converts the photos to sketches and paintings. I have several fixes, depending on how clear the eyes turn out after running the action. On some images, I dodge the eyes whites of the eyes before or after I run the action. Sometimes I run the action then adjust the brightness or contrast layers. It still experimental and depends on the doll’s position to the camera, is the doll in profile or partial profile, are the eyes in the light or in shadow. The main point is that I need to adjust the doll eyes any time I run the artistic PBB actions.

“Red” Macro shot of a Gerbera daisy, sprayed with water. I wanted to see how the action would handle all of those elements.

“Fallen,” a pile of small apples near a retaining wall. I took a lot of shots in this spot. Mainly because I can’t kneel on concrete so I squatted/hunched down and blind shot the apples. The out of focus photos would be a good component of a homemade grungy overlay.

Overall, I like the way the action works. It really looks like watercolor – there are sketch layers, base painting, texture layers. So much richness and all the layers are adjustable. I could spend so much time experimenting with the watercolor actions.

I’ll be honest: I was skeptical of buying Photoshop actions. However, my favorite works are the ones that look like paintings. Once I found PhotographyBB’s actions, I am hooked! I can really dig into the layers and tweak them and make the results my own. I’ll run a few more experiments using the defaults to get a feel for the action and then delve into the layers and then start blending the watercolored imagery with all my other grungy elements and fold this action into my style. I’m curious to see how this evolves.

There are 2 actions from the set I haven’t tried: Reflections and Shockwave.

Which is my way of saying: expect more PhotographyBB Photoshop action experiments when you see them.

Happy creating!