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Creating Artistic Photographs

This chapter covers how to age a photo, change color to black and white, make a photo look like an oil painting or a watercolor, and more tips. (From the book, Paint Shop Pro 8, by Jennifer Fulton, Sams, 2004, ISBN: 0672323893.)

Author Info:
By: Sams Publishing
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September 21, 2004
  1. · Creating Artistic Photographs
  2. · Change a Color Photograph to Black and White
  3. · Colorize a Photograph
  4. · Make a Photograph Look Like an Oil Painting
  5. · Turn a Photograph into a Watercolor
  6. · Make a Photograph Look Like It Was Drawn
  7. · Make a Photograph Look Like Ansel Adams Shot It

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Creating Artistic Photographs - Make a Photograph Look Like Ansel Adams Shot It
(Page 7 of 7 )

Before You Begin

  • Select a Portion of an Image with Channels
  • Improve Brightness and Contrast
  • Sharpen an Image

See Also

  • Change a Color Photograph to Black and White

Ansel Adams [1902–1984], perhaps more than any photographer of the twentieth century, established photography as an art form. No longer were the operation of a camera and the development of a print from a negative seen purely as mechanical acts for which any individual could be trained. Like any great painter, Adams produced new, personal visions of the latent truth in a scene using a technique he developed himself called the zone system.

Key Term

Zone system—A method of measuring the reflective light from various zones (areas) of an object and applying the appropriate exposure so that the resulting black-and-white print was exactly as the artist desired, full of detail and variances of tone.

Although Adams did shoot in color, the images usually singled out as masterpieces are his distinct monochromes—images that don't try to reproduce a scene as much as to isolate, exploit, and reveal some signature portion of it, such as the majesty of a mountain. In this task, you'll learn a method that simulates some of the visual style and developmental approach of the master.

  1. Isolate the Red Channel

    Start with a majestic color image, such as one of the Grand Canyon, a smoky mountaintop, a Hawaiian volcano, or a waterfall. Select Image, Split Channel, Split to RGB. Close the original image and the windows for the Green and Blue channels; you won't need them. In honor of Ansel and his red filter, we'll be using the Red channel.

  2. Adjust the Channel's Histogram

    From the menu bar, select Adjust, Brightness and Contrast, Histogram Adjustment. In the Histogram Adjustment dialog box, adjust the black and white pointers so that the resulting histogram extends to the left and right edges (you can clip some pixels at either end if you like). Adjust the gamma so that the "humps" are located in the middle of the graph and at the two ends. To further distinguish lights from darks, drag the Midtones slider down no further than –10, to expand the distance between lights and darks on the graph. Ansel Adams often captured black-and-whites with three discernable zones of light: whites, blacks, and lots of middle grays. Click OK.

  3. Clarify the Result

    Select Adjust, Brightness and Contrast, Clarify. Set Strength of effect to 3 and click OK. This setting evens out the histogram, supplying a better range of tone. If the image contains a minimum of detail, repeat this step.

  4. Apply the Unsharp Mask

    From the menu bar, select Adjust, Sharpness, Unsharp Mask. In the dialog box, set Radius to 3, Strength to 100, and Clipping to 100. These settings sharpen the image and create points of bright highlights. Click OK.

  5. View the Result

    For this example, I used a photo of the Korean War Memorial, taken during a recent visit to Washington, D.C. I also applied these techniques to an image of a leaf wet with dew. By widening the midtones and sharpening the contrasts, I was able to re-create, at least in part, the look of a couple of Ansel Adams' photographs. Look for these images in the Color Gallery in this book.


Figure 16.7

This chapter is from Paint Shop Pro 8, by Jennifer Fulton, (Sams, 2004, ISBN: 0672323893). Check it out at your favorite bookstore today.

Buy this book now.

DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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