After Image Before Image
The almost-famous ABFriday Forum begins the year 2015 with a special new feature, entitled “One Photo Focus.” Here’s how it works: one week each month, all participants will impose their skills and if need be, their trickery on the same image. The images for the next several months have already been submitted by the early adopters who have already signed up for this extravaganza. The honor of being the first in 2015 goes to Emilio Pasquale and he has presented us with an interesting challenge. I thought at first it was taken on the set for the chicken race scene in the movie “Rebel Without a Cause.” I can’t wait to see what other interpretations will be unveiled today which can be found here. Like all ABFriday posts, anyone can participate. Guidelines can be found at Stacy Fischer’s Visual Venturing site.
Emilio’s Original Challenge Image
Looking at the challenge image I could see (after the movie flashback) that it was quite dark (despite some strong shadows) and it lacked overall sharpness. This is not necessarily bad, but it does affect the directions one can choose in creating something that hopefully will have an impact. And I suspect that Emilio didn’t want to make it too easy. Anyway, it seemed that moving away from a photographic look toward a painterly style might be worthwhile. In doing so, I learned that there is a dark side to Photoshop CC.
But I am getting ahead of myself. The first step was to follow my normal workflow and run the original image through the RAW (ACR) process, adjusting contrast, tonality, and brightness. The result is shown in the image below which evokes a sunny day that seemed consistent with the strong shadows in the original. The adjustments (some of
them rather extreme) were intended to cut back on the bright highlights and open up the dark areas for greater detail.
Step 2 was to open the image in Photoshop and after routine and very minor clean-up, the Unsharp Filter was unleashed just to see what might happen. The sharpness didn’t improve, but as the setting got more extreme, the image got more interesting (i.e., less photographic). The screen capture below shows the settings and the effect.
Unsharp Filter Applied
I’ve not done a lot of special effects work on images, but recently have been experimenting with the Filter Gallery in Photoshop. So that seemed like a good place to start and I was pleasantly surprised to find an “Oil Paint” function in the drop-down menu under Filter (Filter–>Oil Paint). What I did not know at the time was that I had accidentally opened Photoshop CS6 instead of the latest version of Photoshop CC. So be aware that the following steps are not possible unless you have a copy of Photoshop CS6 or CS5. More on this later.
Like the Filter Gallery, the Oil Paint function opens the image in a full screen dialog window with the adjustment controls on the right side. The screen capture shows the settings and a detail section of the effect.
Settings for Oil Paint Filter in Photoshop CS6
Image After Using the Oil Paint Filter
Just for fun,I took the idea one step farther, and used a black and white adjustment layer choosing the High Contrast Red Filter effect instead of the default option. The final image is shown below. Immediately below the full image is a detail of a section of the image to show a little more clearly the effects of the Oil Paint Filter. I would be interested in your thoughts on the color vs. the black and white versions.
Thanks again to Emilio Pasquale for his contribution to the First Edition of One Photo Focus. And thanks to Stacy Fischer for organizing this project. To see what the others have done with Emilio’s image, please check out the Visual Venturing post at this location. And if the raging online controversy over Adobe’s removal of the oil paint filter piques your interest, just Google “Where is the Oil Paint Filter in Photoshop CC?”