SOMETHING DIFFERENT | "OIL PAINTED" FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY PRINTS
As my photography journey continues and I learn about more photographers, certain things always stand out. Landscape photographers want to shoot the same hero shots (nothing wrong with this. I do it), edit in the latest and greatest methods, or need to purchase the newest gear. Rarely do I come across another landscape photographer that has a new look to their images. On a recent trip to Idaho, I came across some fine art photography prints that were oil painted.
I guess my problem is I get bored with the same old thing. The same editing, the same photos, etc. How many times can I shoot Seattle from Kerry Park or Alki Beach? Maybe that's why I’m drawn to infrared and black and white. Well, when I saw the “Oil Painted” prints hanging on the wall at the Sun Valley Inn, I found something new. A few years ago, there was a plugin for Photoshop that had painterly effects but it’s no longer sold. I think Topaz Labs made it but can’t remember for sure. Now you can enjoy my new collection of Oil Painted Nature Photography.
The process of oil painting is created by mixing pigments with drying oils. The different types of oils used for this painting process are walnut, safflower, and poppyseed to name a few. Oil painting has many advantages over other styles which include a wider range range of color from lights to darks and greater flexibility. The downside is the length of time required for the oil to dry. But art should not be rushed. Every time I rush a fine art photograph, it usually fails as an image. As I was researching oil painting, one fact stood out. The oldest known oil painting is from the 7th century A.D. created by Buddhists in Afghanistan. Now that is an old painting. Back in the day, oil paint colors were created with minerals or plants. Today's paints are created with synthetic chemicals. And who doesn't need more chemicals around? But, you're able to create more colors in the modern era. I remember when I was an auto body painter and how many toners we would use to create a single color to paint a car. When cars first came out, you had a choice of black. Eventually, green and red were created and now cars come in a rainbow of colors and the custom colors are endless. Oil Painting is much the same way. If you need a certain color, mix a few together and create it yourself. It's all in the artist's vision.
FILTER BUILT INTO PHOTOSHOP
While in Sun Valley, Idaho, for the holidays full of cross-country skiing, nearly freezing to death on the way to Redfish Lake (my car showed -19 for the outside temperature), and having a great time, I did a little research on the oil painting. I learned “Oil Painting” is now built into Photoshop in the Filters tab. Perfect, now I have something to try when I get home. I don’t have a laptop with Photoshop installed to take on my adventures, so I had to wait to get home.
But, getting home was not much fun. The roads were horrendous, and it took way longer than normal. Getting from Sun Valley to I-84 at Mountain Home wasn’t too bad, but that's where the fun stopped. I was driving 30-40 mph on the interstate and my car was sliding around. We saw 1 car rolled over in the ditch, and another being pulled out of the ditch by a tow truck. A 30 minute drive took almost an hour. That just got us to Boise, where we stayed the night with my parents. After leaving Boise in the morning, roads were terrible again. 2 more cars in the ditch and only 30 to 50 mph from Boise to Pendleton, Oregon. Usually a 4 hour drive, this time it was over 5 hours. At Pendleton, the roads dried up, and the driving was much better. Oh yeah, this blog post is about the Oil Paint filter in Photoshop. I should get back to that.
TESTING THE FILTER
I started uploading photos to Photoshop to play with the filter. To my surprise, it works better than I thought. Took a few minutes to dial in the setting and now I have an action so the Oil Painted fine art prints are the same. After testing around 10 images, I learned what works and what doesn’t. Dark areas in my fine art prints don’t show the effect and boring skies are still boring. A few of the prints had interesting challenges. For instance, the red barns of the Palouse images, depending on the way the wheat was facing, the effect may or may not work. One setting in the filter is the angle. If the wheat is going up and down and the angle is set to 90 or 180 degrees, there wasn’t much change. A fix for this was to make 2 copies with the Oil Paint effect and change the angle on each one. Now I can paint in the effect where it didn’t work from one copy to the other. Other settings in the Oil Paint filter is the shine, stylization, bristle size, and cleanliness. Each setting can drastically change the outcome so play around with it and see what fits your style.
ENLARGING THE "OIL PAINT" FINE ART PRINTS
Some images I used the Oil Paint filter on were from my old Canon SL1 infrared converted camera. It’s an 18 megapixel crop sensor camera, which means blowing up prints more than 24x36 is not an option. For fun, I used Topaz Labs Gigapixel AI and enlarged the print to 40x60. To my surprise, it worked. I zoomed in close and couldn't find pixelated areas that show up if I enlarged the image without the Oil Paint filter. I’m guessing this is because of the limited detail in the images. All detail has been lost in the “brush strokes” of the filter. Another interesting effect is the way the filter makes some lines vertical and others horizontal. This makes cityscapes interesting as the buildings appear to be separated from each other. If all the lines were going in the same direction, you may lose the detail in the scene.
After spending a week or more playing with images in Photoshop and the Oil Paint filter, I really enjoy the outcome. It doesn't work on every image but made some more interesting. With all the adjustments available in the filter, it can be hard to find the perfect setting for each image. Others may need the angle changed and brushed in to create the look I want. Either way, it's a fun new tool in the tool box of editing. Most of the "Oil Painted" prints can be found in my other fine art galleries without the painted look. If you're interesting in puchasing "Oil Painted" fine art photographic prints, please reach out through my Contact Page with any questions you have.