Photography Project: Creating a painterly photo effect with textures


I just completed my first online video course from CreativeLive Online Course.  The subject was creating painterly effects, and the instructor is Kathleen Clemons.  Kathleen inspired me to push past my comfortable habits, get reacquainted with my Lensbaby gear (yes, I’m going to try again), and find new ways to use software that I left behind.  This week, I’m focusing on that last item.  I purchased Topaz Texture Effects a couple of years ago, did not understand how to take advantage of the software, did not like the preloaded textures, and quickly went back to my old way of importing textures into Photoshop.  I have no realized that I have made my post-processing harder than it needed to be.



What I like about this software

  • You can see how textures change your image by rolling over the texture.  In photoshop, you have to import it, place it, size it, change the opacity, decide you don’t like it, and start all over.
  • You can also change the color, the saturation, and the detail of the texture all within one panel without having to create several linked layers.
  • It has more creative effects than just textures.  You can add color overlays (helpful when addressing a background with a competing color), darken one or more edges, add light leaks, and create split tones.  It combines many creative effects in one place.
  • You can import your own textures.



What I don’t like about this software

  • You can’t see the names of the textures you are using.  I like to keep notes in my image file so I can recreate the look.
  • You can’t size the textures asymmetrically.  There is a size feature, but it changes the sides equally.  Sometimes, I just want to pull the texture out on one side and leave the rest.
  • It can take awhile to import your own textures.

If you decide to give the software a try (free 30-day trial).  I highly recommend watching this tutorial by Topaz Labs.  Its long, almost 60 minutes, but really helpful in terms of understanding what’s available and how to do fine tuning.


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