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Thread: My First Smudge Painting

  1. #1
    CNelson's Avatar
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    My First Smudge Painting

    I've played around with this technique but this is the first time I've carried through to create a smudge painting image. Actually I only used the process on the deer in the foreground. I did a number of other things to subdue the background and bring the deer forward. It's intentionally a dramatic image and not to be confused with a realistic representation. It's very time consuming but interesting to play with. Certainly not something for every image.

    Here's two image or actually two versions or crops of the same image.

    My First Smudge Painting

    Here's a closer crop where you can see the "painting" effect a little better.

    My First Smudge Painting

    Chuck

  2. #2
    Peter Ryan's Avatar
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    Re: My First Smudge Painting

    Hi Chuck,

    I am not sure it is my thing. I have seen a images in this style lately and have not made up my mind yet but I actually prefer #2 I think.

    This effect is quiet strong and is a bit distracting in the broader shot. The closer and simpler compsoition in #2 suits the style better IMHO.

  3. #3
    CNelson's Avatar
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    Re: My First Smudge Painting

    Hi Peter....I don't know how much of this I'll do but I kind of like the effect. Here's a link to a pro who does it. Of course he sells CD's with lessons. I saw a short teaser lesson by him and thought I'd give it a try. I'll not be buying the lessons but I suspect I will play with it from time to time. Go to the top of the page on his website and check out his GALLERIES...he is quite good but you have to like the effect. As for which is "better" I'm not sure...depends on personal choice. Thanks for your input.

    http://deardorfftraining.com/

    Chuck

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    mythlady's Avatar
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    Re: My First Smudge Painting

    I think the technique can be effective, but for me it's not quite subtle enough -- the foreground deer stands out a little too much, as if it's not quite "in" the picture. But it's a great image to work with, and the technique is definitely worth pursuing.

  5. #5
    CNelson's Avatar
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    Re: My First Smudge Painting

    Quote Originally Posted by mythlady View Post
    I think the technique can be effective, but for me it's not quite subtle enough -- .
    I tend not to be subtle in much of my photography....that's me not the technique....I agree that the technique is worth pursuing but there will always be individual interpretation with each image. Thank you for the input.

    Chuck

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: My First Smudge Painting

    Chuck

    I immediately thought 'commercial' when I saw these. They're not the sort of fine art images that would sell for hanging on the wall (but, just as I've written that I'm reminded that I've seen some interesting things on walls over the years!).

    What came in to my mind immediately were cards and book illustrations. I haven't looked at the link site you referred to, but it would be interesting to know what markets that photographer aims his stuff at.

  7. #7
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: My First Smudge Painting

    This is one of those styles where you want the viewer to figure out is it watercolor, oil, pastel, "you say this is photography no way"!

  8. #8
    mythlady's Avatar
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    Re: My First Smudge Painting

    I'm curious how you got the effect, since I'm not familiar with the term "smudge painting." Can you share anything about the technique?

  9. #9
    CNelson's Avatar
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    Re: My First Smudge Painting

    Thanks for the comments all. I just got time to return to the post to see the comments.

    Donald, I know what you are saying...it is a different product but some are sold commercially. Also, I am aware of some portrait photographers who charge a lot extra for smudge painting a portrait. Be sure to look at the Gallery on the website I referenced....he is a real pro. There's much more to smudge painting than you see in my first attempt.

    Mythlady, smudge painting is done in Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro or any software that has a smudge brush. It allows you to click on your image and smudge or smear the pixels just as if you were smearing wet paint. If you want to try it, here's what I did based on viewing a short tutorial on NAPP.

    Use texture 1 brush for smudge work. Vary size as needed…the insturctor in the video started at 15 pixels size 70 strength. Strength can be 70 to 80. He increased brush size for broad areas. You will be working zoomed in to 100% or usually more when doing the smudge work.

    First smudge each tonal area working the brush back and forth to retain shape. Each tonal area remains distinct and retains its shape but it is converted to brush strokes and tonal area edges are blended smoothly into adjacent tonal areas. If an animal has hair, smudge/paint with the direction of the hair.

    In an area with longer straight hair you may want to increase the brush strength from 70 to 80.

    The painting process tends to flatten highlights and shadows but this can be fixed later. See my comments below for what I did to perk it back up.

    I did a lot of tweaking beyond smudging to get the effect I wanted. When done with the smudging I used Topaz Adjust to enhance contrast, detail and color. You can do this in most programs w/o Topaz but Topaz gets me where I want to go quickly. I also used dodge and burn tools to give contrast and shape.

    Finally, I made a duplicate copy (by the way you should always do your smudge painting on a copy of the background so you have the background for reference and as a safety net.) of the smudged image and used the MULTIPLY blending mode to darken the image. I adjusted opacity to suit my taste then put a layer mask on it and used the black paintbrush to paint back in the brighter underlying smudged deer. This brings the deer forward and subdues the background. I did other tinkerings but can't remember everything I did as I tend to fly by the seat of my pants.

    I haven't tried but you may be able to find a more sophisticated tutorial if you search on the web. I hope this helps. I recommend you jut play with the smudge brush to get a feel for it. Have fun.

    Chuck

  10. #10
    WilliamS's Avatar
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    Re: My First Smudge Painting

    Hey , Really great effect that you've created here on these images Chuck, Well done mate , must give this a go sometime

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