Photo to Painting

Photo to Painting

There are a lot of filters/Apps that will take a photo and make it look like a painting.  But, to truly take a photo to painting you have to paint it.  One is the click-of-a-button, the other is skillful talent, and time consuming.

Let’s take this photograph of a field of sunflowers.  By itself, the photograph is good.  Applying a filter or App only does what the filter or App is supposed to do.   Here is the photo straight from the camera…

copyright 2016 db walton - photo to painting
Straight from the Camera

Here’s the same photo with a filter applied…

copyright 2016 db walton - photo to painting
Oil Painting Filter Applied

Careful inspection of both reveals it is nothing more than the original photo with some pixels swirled around.  The problem with this is it took zero talent to take the photo and to apply the filter.  It only took clicking on a button.  I might go as far as to argue the original photo is better than the photo with the filter applied.

Here’s another popular push-of-a-button App that claims to create watercolors.  Again, inspection of the two images side-by-side reveals it is nothing more than pixel manipulation by an algorithm.  In fact, I’m showing it with half the image masked so you can see there isn’t much difference except for a muddied, blurry photograph.

copyright 2016 db walton
Computer Generated Watercolor

This next one is an interactive filter.  Unlike the previous examples, this requires more than a push of a button.  It requires brush strokes from the artist while the computer does some interpretation of those strokes.  This is somewhere in between a painting and a filter.  The previous ones, given the same photograph, anybody could duplicate them.  This, however, cannot be duplicated.  It requires skill and patience.  This is a technique I’d recommend for someone who doesn’t have the patience to actually do a painting.

copyright 2016 db walton - photo to painting
Interactive Painting Filter

As you can see from the above example, it is not a 100% match to the original photo.  The stalks aren’t exactly straight which expresses some artistic deviation from the photograph.

Finally, here are some work-in-progress snapshots from an actual digital painting.  No filter here.  This is all done brush-stroke upon brush-stroke.  It is just like it were on canvas with real paints, only it is being done on a computer, using a Wacom Tablet and Stylus and digital painting software.

copyright 2016 db walton - photo to painting
copyright 2016 db walton - photo to painting
Adding Rough-out
copyright 2016 db walton - photo to painting
Adding Large Details
copyright 2016 db walton - photo to painting
Adding Medium Details

I’m not done with this painting.  The last step, adding the fine details takes the longest.

Here’s a photo and final painting.  As you can see, they are vastly different…

copyright 2016 db walton
Digital Painting by db walton
copyrights owned by client
Snapshot provided by customer

Why Show This?

Why show this?

Well, there are some photographers who attempt to pass-off a digital filter as an actual painting.

I’m not one of them!

I’m not one of them photographers who will run Adobe’s Photoshop Oil Painting Filter and call it a painting.  My photo to painting process is this latter process I’ve shown you.

Want to Learn?

Do you want to learn how to do digital paintings?

I’m offering a 4-day workshop in September.  You can register here:

Class size is very limited in order to provide individualized attention and instruction.  This is a hands-on class.  You will photograph your OWN reference photos making the work 100% yours and not some class assigned photo to paint.

Hope to see you in my class.

Leave a Reply