Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Impressions of Doelan

Topaz Labs are about to give digital photographers an even worse reputation than we already have. Their latest program 'Topaz Impressions' makes turning your photographs into watercolour masterpieces (questionably of course) as easy as painting a wall, and it seems to have become the latest craze in post-processing. I have always admitted that the artistic direction is always where I have wanted to take my photography. Not the upside-down-ice-cream-on-a-road photograph that sells for £500,000 kind of art (I hate that), but the visual creation of something more than just being a photograph. My normal outlay has been through HDR photography, the blending of multiple exposures into one exposure fits all imaging. This will probably always be my favourite type of photography, and it still gives photography a modern and unique look. However, looking through my blog archives you can see times when I have tried to something a bit different with my pictures.

Up until now though, there has not really been any enormous leap forward with creating art pieces out of photographs and the results have just been 'alright'. Topaz Impressions changes all that. I used a photo from my recent trip to Brittany, a river shot taken in the village of Doelan. This is a quintessential tourist snap. But I think this just might be the target for Topaz Impressions. As you may be able to guess from the original photo below, I did not do any pre-processing before Topaz accept for some cropping. Impressions gives you many presets to choose from when you load your photo up and I have not nearly enough time to explore them all yet but for this picture I went for Monet, an artist who's work I have often been compared to. I then used the sliders to adjust the picture to my preferences and brought the picture back into Lightroom. The picture looked good when you turned the saturation down a bit, but as this was a sunny day, I wanted to keep the bright feeling. There wasn't much else I did apart from turn the highlights down a bit (I did a bit of layer masking in photoshop to help with this as well) and then a bit of sharpening, though it's not as essential as a normal photograph.

They say that Photoshop can't make a bad photograph good, but I think Topaz Impressions can definitely give a striking new look to your tourist snaps. I can see me now going through my Venice photos from a few years ago, and giving them an all new look. Artists will of course hate the fact that they were created on a computer, not while sipping absinthe by the riverside, whilst being admired by onlookers for your artistic genius, but times change, and I can't wait to see more examples of impressionist photographs surface on the net.

The original image

Click on the photo and use the arrows to compare them together:

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