Saturday, February 23, 2013

Paper Texture for the Web

Choosing your paper when you print is very important on multiple levels. There's gloss, tooth, and its ability to be faithful to your vision, etc. But what about the web? How do you display how a print will look on paper? The short answer is that you can't because the display is actually light while paper is reflected light. But.... you can come a bit closer than you may think. There are times when Corel's Painter program is much better than Photoshop, and one of them is in the area of creating the illusion of paper texture.

The two images above are shown without texture added (top) and with Painter's "Apply Surface Texture" effect (below). If you are showing your portfolio online, then showing how the paper texture effects the final product is important. The top image is a bit flat, more glossy photographic-like, but nonetheless flat if your preference is to print on textured paper. 

In fact, if you were so inclined you could use Painter's ability to add tooth to test just what kind of final print surface you may want. There are many paper types available to choose from in Painter and I'm sure a clever person could make one to mimic the type of texture of preference.

For my personal work I will be using Painter to mimic the watercolor-type paper I will be printing on. 

And no... the butterflies in the image are not Photoshop clones. There was a day in Minnesota about ten years ago where there was a Painted Lady butterfly bloom. There were millions of them EVERYWHERE. I thought maybe it was just my backyard where we had these ornamental chives growing. We had hundreds of butterflies in my yard alone. Maybe there were a lot of eggs laid just in my little area I thought. But no. As I drove to work I saw them everywhere! It was incredible. But as butterflies go they don't live that long. The next day there weren't as many and the following day they were gone for the most part.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Oz The Great and Powerful

For more about the new Disney movie follow this link.

I cut the above image from the link above and enlarged it using Photoshop (PS). I then used the Topaz Clean PS plugin to depixelate and texturize. The figure was emphasized against the background by several PS Curves. I typically use two or more Curves layers, depending on the complexity of readjusting the overall tonality. The two basic ones would be one to enhance only the highlights and one for the dark areas. Topaz Adjust was also used to help enhance the fog effect and light diffusion.

The essential part of the recomposition was the use of Topaz Clean after enlargement. Of course enlarging a 76 PPI screen captured image is fought with problems. You can't create detail that isn't there. If there are only 76 pixels per inch and you enlarge to 300 PPI, then 224 pixels are simply 'made up', and the results are very crude heavily pixelated image. Topaz Clean and Simplify have the ability to 'repaint' the image by rearranging the pixels into new patterns. This very controllable rearrangement process can do very little to the original, or, totally remap pixel detail, color, tones, image shape relationships, create lines and more.

In fact, these tools can take any ordinary image and turn it into your personal vision of the subject. The extensive amount of pixel-level control and shape arrangements can completely redefine an image bringing into the realm of digital art.

The image below also came from the Disney site and is the coolest animated GIF file I have ever seen. Simply inspiring. I didn't touch that one at all.