Hi art friends.
Giddy with the power of experimentation, I dug into The Archives for this photo from October 2016 and my last road trip with mom. We drove around the back roads of the Yakama Reservation. This has been one of my favorite images from that trip, but I’ve never been quite satisfied with my previous Photoshop Artistry attempts.
Here is the original image:
As you can see, I’m dipping my toes in the world of delicious blur. I probably used my standard kit lens and using the Macro setting. If I were shooting this image today, I’d use my AP setting, 50 mm lens and 12 mm Kenko extension tube and I’d move that stick from behind the hero bloom. It’s rather distracting.
First, I took the image in Lightroom and applied the Tiny Details 4 preset, which deepen the colors.
The hero bloom of the original image was covered in tiny bugs. I tried to ignore the bugs, but when I ran the actions, they turned into unattractive black spots. So I spot healed them out of the picture.
In Photoshop, I ran the Sketcholography 2 Rough Pencil Color, then laboriously went through the layer stack clone out that stick. It’s not perfect, but I thought this layer would be set to Overlay or Soft Light then masked to hide the portions of the pencil sketch that were too distracting or too much.
For the Watercolor action, I chose the manual subject selection, focusing on the hero bloom and the circling around to catch the blurry daisies. Then I tweaked the settings:
You can see by the gaping blurry spot where I didn’t select the subject. I didn’t notice this blurry hole until the very end.
The sketch layer was set over the watercolor layer. After much fiddling, this layer was set to Normal with a reverse mask and the sketching on the blooms were revealed.
It’s tough to see the difference but there is more detail on the hero bloom. However, that blurry spot still bugged me. So I went back to the original image and had an idea: I added a new layer, used the eye dropper to select colors from the image then used a soft brush set at 30% and carefully painted out the unwanted, distracting bits – twigs and those blurry diagonal things behind the hero bloom. I re-ran the sketch and watercolor actions selecting more of the bloom area. And got this:
The differences are subtle. Painting out the background simplified the sketch, focused on the hero bloom. The watercolor version, too, is a bit cleaner. I really like the way this turned out. It’s how I would paint the image.
The final version of “Rural Daisies” is available to purchase in my Society6 Shop.
I will do some more experimenting with these actions. I can tell I’m nearing the next evolution, which is to add text and grunge. I’m also curious to run these action on composite images to see what happens.