Photo Realism to Photo Illustration to …….Photo Art?

As regular readers of this blog will be aware, my usual approach to photography is to present images that are, for the most part, a realistic depiction of the world as I encounter it. However, I’m not averse to using digital software tools to enhance my photos on a case by case basis when the need, or the desire, arises.

There does come a point where we go beyond mere “enhancement” of reality and plunge into “transforming” it. Today’s image is such a case where we go from photorealism to photo illustration to …. well…(maybe)….photo art. Comparing the original file to the final processed image, you’ll see that the original was rather uninspiring, in fact as a straight or documentary shot, it was probably destined for the rubbish bin. However, the shape, form and colour of the seed pods appealed to me and I believed would lend themselves to a simpler, graphic image. I wanted to achieve an effect reminiscent of the botanical art created, prior to modern photographic means, by hand drawing and colouring.

Image processing using Photoshop

In order to achieve this effect using Photoshop CS5,   I;

  • Selected the subject from the original image using the quick selection tool,

  • Placed the selection onto a white background,

  • Boosted the colour saturation with a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer,

  • Increased contrast via a curves adjustment layer,

  • Duplicated the image and used a “Multiply” blending mode to increase the density of the image,

  • Used the eyedropper tool to select a colour from the image itself and used that to create the coloured vignette,

  • Sharpened the image, added my text and converted to jpeg for web display.

The finished image
The original image

So there you have it,  I’ll leave the reader to decide whether the end result is worthy of the “photo art” tag or not,  it took quite a few steps (and time) to achieve my goal of a “simple graphic” image.

Blog Updates.

Apologies for the lack of blogging activity lately,  almost a month between blog entries!    I’ve got some catching up to do.    In the last 6 months, I’ve had some highs and lows (like everybody!)   The high was taking some extended leave and travelling to the Hawaiian Islands through March-April during which I managed to take quite a few photos (which I’m still processing and editing).  The low is due to a niggling injury which has seen me office-bound with my employment.   The problem with that,  from the blogging perspective,  is that I’m sitting in front of a computer screen for 8 hours per day before I get home and even think about more computer time for the blog.

With all that said,  I will be endeavouring to post more content in the weeks ahead,  but ask readers to bear with me if the timing’s a little erratic.   ~KD

PS:    Today’s image was created from an original captured on the big island of Hawaii.