DAP Tips and Tricks

Discussion about Mediachance DAP
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DAP Tips and Tricks

Post by mhwarner »

Please use this thread to post any tips or tricks you may have discovered about using DAP, creating paintings, creating AOPs, adding texture, pre- or post-processing, etc.
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Oscar's Portrait Painting Techniques

Post by mhwarner »

I found this one I had labeled "Oscar's Portrait Painting Techniques" (saved from the old forum -- I presume Oscar was the original poster).


The portrait needs a bit different way of painting - it is more like an image processing than painting because portrait painters need to capture the detail shades of the face.
Right now you can decrease the size of brush, choose Portrait or Photographic palette and let it run for a while.
But more elaborate process is needed: You practically need to be accurate on the face itself and then give more style outside and even more on background.

So a detail masking is a way to go, this is why it was added in first place:

Some steps would be like this:

- start will well light portrait photo, a random photo with lot of shadows in face will never make good portrait.
- use defocus mask to blur background, you don't want much details there
- run default palette with large brushes briefly to cover whole image, but not let it go to details too much
- use detail mask to mask out the background - so it will paint only the portrait body - clothes, hair etc..
- put the details bar to max so it will start painting right in the detail brushes
- paint so the whole body is reasonably painted, yet still keep a good paint style look - don't care much about the face at this moment, just look at the clothes and hair - it should still look like painting. If having trouble move the expression bars under palette more right
- change the detail mask to include only the face and hands, also perhaps a special associated object to those like tie, necklace, ring etc...
- change palette to Photographics or better Portrait - this increases the shades a great deal
- paint and let it run till the face looks very detailed. You may lost some paint feel on the face - that is ok
- you can decrease brush size during painting

If you want to know more about portraits, study the experts like John Sanden
look at the gallery and you will see that he keeps the same ballance between being ultra realistic (face) and being more artsy (outside face) and often giving only hint of background detail (not always rule)

Also note important fact, if those would be photographs, they would still be a great portraits, so you always have to start from a good photo. You can't make good portrait on a badly lit photo or photo with lot's of shadows etc... This is the problem of portraits from photos.

If you study the above you will see that he keeps a lot of detail in face and hands, it is almost like you would use a simple image processing from a very good photo, then he puts a good amount of attention to chest area (often put emphasis on some type of necklace, tie or other garment with lot of small details) But then everything is progressively getting less detailed. He doesn't put nearly as much attention to hair - keep it often large brush strokes especially if there is lot of hair.
So if you put a face as a centre his image details would be like an decentric ellipse or perhaps a tunnel that ends up in face and so focusing the viewers eye there. You look at it and say - what a great portrait, yet the paint technique is actually irrelevant, it is a great portrait regardles of a technique used.

Another good sample portrait works would be Everett Raymond Kinstler (note the same principle apply):
http://www.everettraymondkinstler.com/p ... raits.html

Margaret Sargent

Or look at Steven Levin, this image shows exactly that if you look at the face - it is nearly as a retouched photo:
http://www.gandynet.com/art/Masters/Lev ... /Siena.htm
So for digital painters - sandwitch a processed photo with painted photo through face mask in Photoshop.

Also excellent study material is on portrait society of america:
http://www.portraitsociety.org/conferen ... inners.htm

It is possible to create an excellent portrait digitally, but be prepared to combine various techniques on different parts of the image (masks) and most notably study what makes a good portrait.
And at last - presentation - you can't make even the best portrait stand out if it is printed on a letter sized page or sized down on a web page. For all that the best medium is photography.
What I would suggest, go to flickr, grab some professionally made interesting portrait photos and try the digital technique on it, you will see that it isn't that hard on a great photos as it is nearly impossible on bad photos. Then try to adjust your photography technique to produce good portraits. (hint, 3 point lighting is the key)
Last edited by mhwarner on Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Yuma's Workflow

Post by mhwarner »

I had this one labeled as "Yuma's Workflow".


Thank you Rachel, magpie, Frank, lylejk for your kind comments. This is very encouraging for me. Believe me I have no secrets in my workflow. And I don't have one fixed way of doing it. As many of us, I'm experimenting with various brushes and pre/post processing techniques. However, there are some general rules which I found for myself useful. In pre-processing, I tend to simplify the image a little with Topaz filters in PS and give it some color and density. In DAP I like to use Sargent AOP with different templates and size of resolution. I start with 2.5 then stop when it covers all canvas, then restart with 6 or 10M. But I try not to put too small strokes in the large areas, especially on backgrounds. Sometimes I add some other AOP on top of Sargent. I'm still experimenting which ones. After DAP is completed I open the painted image in PS again. I also take the original and make sketch from it (e.g. with help of Topaz filte), then blend it with the painted image and lower the opacity to 3-50%. This gives you some outline on the painting. Then you can add depth to your strokes (there was tutorial on how to do it). You need to sharpen it with USM after all to give the image more focused view. Then correct colors with different PS tools like Selective Color or Color Balance or enhance saturation by Lab Color tip. Finall add texture and sharpen again to your taste. Again, do experiments and choose the way which you like most. I still do some works which come out dirty. I can not figure out why. I try same technique for two different picture, one comes out fine, the other bad and you have to try another way for it. I'm sure you experienced this as well. I think Rachel is on the right track with her attemps. I could see that her works are getting better and better every time. She also posted some very good tips. Yuma
YumaWorkflow.jpg (252.24 KiB) Viewed 33787 times
Last edited by mhwarner on Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Brush Mark / Bristle Texture Effect

Post by mhwarner »

Michelangeo on brush mark bristle/texture effect using a second program:

More About Texture

In the quest for trompe-l'œil or fooling the eye, here's yet another trick. It uses another painting program called FotoSketcher which is a free download. It has some simple and convenient functions which we can use for texture.

Try the following;
1.Paint your image as usual in DAP.
2.Open your painting in FotoSketcher and select Painting 6 (Oil Painting)
3.Apply this setting and Viola!, you have a bristle look to your painting
4.Use the Merge source & result selection to adjust the effect.
4.You can also add a canvas texture at the same time or separately.

The end result is that from far away the painting still looks like the original. But up close, the paint is broken up with a hatch texture that gives the illusion of brushstrokes. There's plenty of adjustment available to tailor the effect as desired.
Last edited by mhwarner on Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Adding Texture

Post by mhwarner »

From the old forum, posted by Gene:

Playing with several techniques recently suggested. Repeated processing using Gruppe_wc AOP> first at 2.5 Meg. then twice at 10 Meg , reducing brushstroke size and increasing precision each time. Last time using the mouse the entire time to direct where it was painting.

Next did same image using FotoSketcher Oil Paint setting (#6) with increased brush intensity (~110).

In Paintshop Pro (PSP), brought in DAP image. Duplicated layer and applied Effects --> Texture Effects --> Emboss.
Next Adjust --> Color Balance --> Negative image. Added canvas texture at this point (Effect --> Texture Effects--> Texture --> OilCanvas**).
Set embossed layers blend mode to 'Hard Light'.

Next , layered FotoSketch image onto to DAP image. Applied Effect --> Texture --> Emboss & Adjust --> Color Balance --> Negative image.
Set blend mode to Hard Light and reduce opacity until desired effect achieved.

Finally and because I intend to use this image in making note cards, I added a edging in PSP uisng a a script called Photo Edge with modified brushstroke values

** Created a PSP Texture from DAP Oil Canvas by following Mary Warner's suggestion of capturing it.

Thanks for looking.
GenesTexture.jpg (120.7 KiB) Viewed 33786 times
Last edited by mhwarner on Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Creating Better Skies

Post by mhwarner »

Not sure who deserves the credit for the original posting, but here's a tip on creating better skies.

For some images with blue sky or clouds the brush strokes can be unattractive in the final painting. Do you have any advice for overcoming this in your workflow?

I use different tactics:
1. need to use a mixture of different aops for higher density coating
2. Switch strokes from dry to wet
3. Switch outline to 0
4. the first layer do with strokes 300-1000%
5. Use the POI in the required fields

Good luck
Last edited by mhwarner on Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Paint Thickness Tutorial

Post by mhwarner »

I think there were several contributors in this "Paint Thickness Tutorial" information I had saved, but I'm not sure who they all were.

The option for save the paint thickness map is very useful because take only the most important brushes, and the result is very real and not confusing.
Here an example with the Edward style, then imported in Photoshop with map.
PaintThickness1.jpg (186.45 KiB) Viewed 33785 times

I think the easiest way to do this in Photoshop would be to apply the Height Map file using the Filters -> Distort -> Displace filter (you will need to save the PNG Height Map file as a psd file first - at least in PS CS which is what I have). Then tweak the settings to give the desired sense of depth to the image. Will play with this a bit more, but that's my first thought and the coffee hasn't quite kicked in yet, so forgive me if I am missing something else

How use the Paint thickness map in photoshop (tutorial)

***This tutorial works with all versions of Photoshop.***

1. Create a painting with DAP, better without "Real Canvas" option because the 3D light effect works enough also for background;

2. Save the painting as: >File >Special >Save Layered PSD and also >File >Special >Save Paint Thickness map in a personal folder;

3. Open both files in your photoshop;

4. First is necessary work on the mask image, if the gray brusches areas are too small (very often) you must improve these parts
with "Levels";
a. Ctrl + L for open Levels;
b. Move the middle triangle to left for improve the gray details but not too much. (suggested value from 1 to 2 max.);

5. Ctrl + A for select the image with a selection and then Ctrl + C for copy that in the photoshop clipboard;

6. Open the DAP image (two layers) and select the layer called "painted" for adjust the luminosity and contrast with "Levels" or
any other photoshop tool;

7. Select the "Channels" tab of painted image and create a new channel called "Alpha 1", Ctrl + A for select all and then Ctrl + V for paste the Paint
thickness map over the new one, now the new channel appear with all gray brusches details;

8. Reselect the RGB channels and come back on layers tab and open: >Filters >Render >Lighting Effects filter and set all
parameters excatly like in the image included.
Of course is possible modify something like the light direction (Top - right or Top - left) but about the height value of channel
(this create the 3D effect) is better keep the value from 5 to 15 otherwise the final result is too strong and innatural.
Is possible save the filter settings for the future with the "save" command in the Lighting effect style area.

9. At the end I suggest to sharp the image a little bit.

Now your 3D effect is ready, all strokes of subject are in relief and also the background appear more real.
Any question or comment is appreciated.

Suggestion for Oscar:
Perhaps is possible include this 3D effect directly in DAP with intensity parameter and light direction selection (Top - Right or
Top - Left) in according with the original image when applicable.
Will be a great addition.

All the best.
PaintThickness2.jpg (71.47 KiB) Viewed 33785 times

Sorry if this is a silly question, but how do we get the SM style preset in the lighting effects, I don't seem to have that option?

The "SM" is probably a label that Stefano added....I set default parameters
as in his example and labeled it DAP Default

Exactly, is possible save the custom settings in any name with filter save command.
Last edited by mhwarner on Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Better Skies with Pre-Processing

Post by mhwarner »

Another pre-processing tip for better results on plain/smooth skies or other backgrounds (not sure who deserves the credit):


Sargent didn't like the smooth gradient background in my original image so I applied the clouds filter in Photoshop to give the background more variety, which worked out a lot better after I took the image into Sargent.
Last edited by mhwarner on Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Creating AOPs Tutorial

Post by mhwarner »

This is a pdf containing my tutorial and a compilation of tips from the help file and postings by Oscar on creating AOPs.

Last edited by mhwarner on Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Working with Brushes

Post by mhwarner »

From the old forum (apparently posted by Elivarz):

Tips For Working With Brushes:
"Here some tips from me:
1) I've found two small utilities for Photoshop Brush sets (abr) preview and export.
The first - Abrview
and second Abrviewer Net 2.0
Both tools can export each brush as separate picture file, also export whole set/sets as one picture with all brush thumbnails. Then you can paste these pictures/this picture in brush template 3000x3000. I think, this can spare a lot of time. Also on the net is a lot of free brush sets. Better looks Abrviewer Net. Also no need for installed Photoshop.
2) You can try draw your own brushes on printed template - print out on paper table with 10x10 cells, each cell, let say, 2x2cm. Draw your own brushes in cells, scan this page and paste scanned picture in 3000x3000 DAP brush template. That's all. "
Last edited by mhwarner on Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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