A Strong Impression

By Mark

Every once in a while I bemoan that I have no drawing or painting talent at all.  One of the things about Photoshop and all of the available plug-ins that add to the fun are the creative tools which can help anyone overcome their own natural artistic limitations through the application of math and technology.  

Photoshop used to have a lot more “artistic” filters included including the “oil painting” one.  For a couple of releases they removed it, but they have brought it back. I think it has fairly limited tools. 

I recently had the opportunity, thanks to a loyalty coupon to get a copy of Topaz Impression.  Topaz makes some good software, but I have never purchased the whole set, because between the Nik Google collection and the OnOne software they had everything covered.  Impression is intended to convert images into drawings, sketches and paintings.  It works from Lightroom, Photoshop and as a stand-alone application. 

I’m really just starting to play with it, but have found it pretty easy to use.   The Menu has two parts, some starting presets which are grouped according to the various art forms you are trying to emulate and a panel where you can create your own effects.  

I’ve always loved impressionist paintings so naturally I started there.  I had the chance to shoot in Monet’s Garden in Argenteuil at his lily pond.  

France-4-192.jpg

Topaz has presets recreating the styles of many artists including Monet.  They even give you the option of his earlier and later periods.  

I tried different effects on the same image so you can see the range of options.  I used the later Monet, Renoir and Cezanne and you can really see the changes from picture to picture.  

Base Photo

Base Photo

Monet 2

Monet 2

Renoir

Renoir

Cezanne

Cezanne

The software also allows you to apply texture effects like different types of canvas, wood or brick, but I haven’t really explored those yet.  You also can mask out the effect from various areas of your photo directly.  Of course if you open the image from Photoshop, and create a new layer first, you can apply more complex layer masks.

So far, the software has been fun to use and provides some pathways to overcome my inability to draw anything beyond stick figures.