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Bryce Canyon National Park Antique Landscape Digital Art

Thursday, December 13th, 2018

Bryce Canyon National Park Antique Landscape Digital Art
Bryce Canyon National Park Antique Landscape Digital Art, 40 by 24 inches

Yesterday I took some time away from my Earth as Art book project to do some experimenting with image processing and converting a digital photo into digital art.
Specifically I took one of my photographs of Bryce Canyon and by using a somewhat convoluted workflow produced what I will call a digitally painted image.

I use the term digitally painted here in a different vein than I normally do. As a rule, when I describe one of my artworks as having been digitally painted it is because the image was created by my using either a mouse or Wacom Intuos tablet stylus or a combination of the two to directly apply color to a digital canvas. Quite frequently this painting involves the use of one of the generative brush engines I created so that the effects of my brush strokes are amplified.
However, in this case I’ve decided to use the phrase digitally painted to apply a label to a photograph that has been manipulated (post-processed) by a series of global image processing actions to create an image that is non-photographic.

The Image Processing Software Used

In producing Bryce Canyon National Park Antique Landscape I used three different graphics programs:

  • Rawtherapee
  • G’MIC
  • Adobe Photoshop CS4

While I am a relative newcomer to RawTherapee I hold it in high regard because of its capabilities. Rawtherapee is a wonderful and powerful alternative to Adobe Camera Raw, Adobe Lightroom, and Darktable as a processor of camera raw data. In addition to being open source, Rawtherapee is also available for those of us running Linux systems.

G’MIC (GREYC’s Magic for Image Computing) is an open source image processing framework that is available as either a command line toolset, as a GIMP plugin, as a Krita plugin, or as an online image processing package. For those who prefer not doing command line work, I recommend using the G’MIC GIMP plugin. Like Rawtherapee, G’MIC is also available for Linux. (For the curious, I am running Ubuntu 17.10, aka Artful Aardvark.)

Lastly, Adobe Photoshop CS4 is my general workhorse in terms of performing global adjustments, layering, adding watermarks, sizing for the web, and adding text to images. In fact Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator have a lot to do with why I still use Windows 7 as an OS. While my version of Photoshop is quite out of date, it contains all the tools I need and none of the distracting elements that Adobe has added to Photoshop in order to turn it into a one-size-fits-all solution.

About Bryce Canyon National Park Antique Landscape

This work started as a photograph that I took while visiting Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. The effect I wanted to achieve was somewhere between that of an old colored etching and a color pencil drawing. I wanted the image to be bright with a low color saturation and evidence of pencil lines.

To achieve this effect I first opened the raw image in Rawtherapee and made a variety of adjustments there. These adjustments including enhancing contrast, increasing color saturation, and sharpening details. I next ran the Rawtherapee output through G’MIC a number of times, each time producing a different output file. I then combined all the files together in Photoshop and used a variety of adjustment layers and layer blends to create the final image.

If you are a person who works with digital photography and enjoys using a fair amount of post-processing work to substantially alter your original photograph, I would like to offer the following advice. If you ever want to reproduce an effect, be sure to thoroughly document every step of your workflow. Personally I fail at documenting what I do and consequently can not easily, if at all, reproduce the style of any particular workflow I previously employed.

Bryce Canyon on Redbubble

Bryce Canyon National Park products on Redbubble

I’ve made Bryce Canyon National Park Antique Landscape available on a variety of products at Redbubble.com. You can see the products, which includes wall art prints, by either clicking on the product image above or the button below.

Bryce Canyon National Park Antique Landscape artwork on Redbubble

Availability of Original Canvas Print

Open edition prints of Bryce Canyon are available as wall art on Redbubble. The largest size canvas or photographic print available from Redbubble is 30 by 18 inches. However, until a print is sold on Redbubble I can offer an original 40 by 24 inch gallery wrap canvas print or a 36 by 24 gallery wrap canvas print in a float frame which will come with a certificate of authenticity. Once someone buys the original print, all wall art options will be pulled from Redbubble and no other print copies will be produced – insuring that the purchaser has the one and only canvas print. This is a limited time offer because once a print sells on Redbubble, the offer of an original print will be rescinded. To clarify, there will be either a single original print or multiple open edition prints in a variety of sizes.

To learn more about purchasing an original canvas print, please contact me

 

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A Pillar of Rock at Grand Canyon National Park

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Rock Pillar, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Rock Pillar, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Twenty20 (formerly Instacanvas) is a art and photography print-on-demand (POD) service that I joined earlier this year just to see about using it as a means of selling my mobile photography posted to Instagram. That didn’t last long. I rather quickly decided to start posting artwork and my DSLR photography to Instagram/Twenty20 – rather than photos taken with my smart phone’s camera.

One aspect of Twenty20 that has kept me adding new content is their challenges in which members are encouraged to submit images to theme-based contests. I most recently decided to submit a photograph to their Rock Formations Challenge and was quite pleased when I got an email from Twenty20 telling me that my contest submission was being featured on the Twenty20 home page. NOTE: My day in the sun has already come and gone but the Rock Formations Challenge is still underway.

It took some time for me to locate a photograph that emphasized a rock formation. Actually I have lots of photographs of rock formations but finding one that I wanted to submit was the challenge. I finally settled on a photograph of a pillar of rock photographed from the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. Adding to the drama of the scene that day was the stormy weather – far more dramatic than clear blue sunny skies.

There are two interesting points I would like to make regarding this photograph. First, the photo I posted to the contest has a significant portion of the image cropped out. In part this was to satisfy Twenty20’s square aspect ratio requirements. The other consideration was cropping the image for composition purposes in order to emphasize the rock pillar.

The second and far more interesting point is that this photograph was never meant to stand alone. It was one in a series of bracketed exposure photographs to be used in the construction of an HDRI (High Dynamic Range Imaging) photograph. By bracketed I mean taking multiple photographs of the same scene varying only the exposure time. I take three or more photographs: one or more under-exposed, one correctly exposed, and one or more over-exposed. The over-exposed shot reveals details in the dark regions of the image while the under-exposed shot preserves details in the bright regions. Stacking and merging three separate photographs together produces an image rich in detail and color. In Photoshop the creation of an HDR image is most simply accomplished by selecting the individual images using Adobe Bridge and then using the Merge to HDR Photoshop tool option.

Three Full Frame Exposures for Rock Pillar Grand Canyon
Three Full Frame Exposures for Rock Pillar Grand Canyon

It was the HDR version that I was going to submit to the contest. However in looking at each of the three individual exposures as photographs in their own right, I was struck by the mood created by the underexposed photograph. I happened to open up the Photoshop channels palette to check out each individual RGB channel. Individual channels are gray scale images and it was seeing the photograph in black and white that led me to desaturate the photo. To my surprise I found the black and white version much more appealing than the color version. And that is how I came to submit an underexposed black and white photograph – rather than an HDR photograph – to the contest.

With respect to the image cropping, you can compare the cropped version of Rock Pillar Grand Canyon at Twenty20.com with the uncropped version of Rock Pillar Grand Canyon at Artflakes.com

The moral to this story is to keep your options, your eyes, and your mind open when it comes to the creative aspects of art and photography. Make it a point to explore and consider alternatives. Your work will be the better for it.

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