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Thread: Tulips are here --

  1. #1
    mythlady's Avatar
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    Tulips are here --

    Whole Foods had tulips, two bunches for $12, so of course I couldn't resist. (I wanted all the colors, so I guess I did resist, since I got only two.) Don't you think at this point that I should be able to deduct flowers from my income tax, since I couldn't practice my business without them?? Anyway, I was trying for a "botanical illustration" feeling here -- any suggestions?

    #1
    Tulips are here --

    #2
    Tulips are here --

    #3
    Tulips are here --

  2. #2

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    Re: Tulips are here --

    Love the flowers and the treatment, but on #1 and #2, I find the little (look like dragonfly wings) paper abberations at the top quite distracting...I'd lose 'em. My vote is for #1.

  3. #3
    mythlady's Avatar
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    Re: Tulips are here --

    Yeah, that's part of the old paper texture thing. I can lose it, if it's distracting. Thanks --

  4. #4
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    Willie or Jiro is fine by me.

    Re: Tulips are here --

    Loved the composition and the subtle use of background texture on #1, Elise. If you're really into the botanical illustration style, I believe you have to stay minimalist and go without the texture effect. Just a thought (too much caffeine I guess).

  5. #5
    mythlady's Avatar
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    Re: Tulips are here --

    Better? They are supposed to be old botanical illustrations --

    Tulips are here --

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    Re: Tulips are here --

    Well, for me....much!

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    Re: Tulips are here --

    Super stuff. You're just getting better and better at this. And, yes, that last re-work is better.

  8. #8

    Re: Tulips are here --

    Very pretty, Elise. They look like Marjolein Bastien watercolors (you know - Hallmark?) I think that I, personally, like the photos to look more like photos, though. I love the textures in these and, yes, I agree that the rework is better.

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    Re: Tulips are here --

    Just a thought, but one thing about illustrations is that they have zero noise. Also, I notice that my images look more like drawings when they are underexposed a little. I came by these observations trying to get my underexposed images to actually look like photographs, BTW.

    Edit:
    Out of curiosity I tried my own suggestion using NeatImage (remove all noise), one layer of High Pass filter at 4.6, blend mode overlay to sharpen, and I think it made a difference with the leaves and the stem, but in my version, the flower is clearly oversharpened. I tried not to change the background.I just thought I would share my result.

    Tulips are here --

    I like where you are going with them.
    Last edited by tameigh; 28th March 2011 at 05:15 PM.

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    Re: Tulips are here --

    Elise,
    I added a copy layer excluding background (ctrl-J on selection) with blend mode of overlay to sharpen contrasts a bit. I think it works a little better.

    Tulips are here --

    Noise reduction totally hammers the nice texture though. I have sort of had in the back of my mind that I would start doing this stuff with birds, when I get the capture down properly.

    One more thing, I liked the little tear

    Another idea might be to select significant areas of similar tone and color and averaging them, to make it look like they were painted with a single color. I have no idea how that would work, I am just thinking out loud. I hope you don't mind
    Last edited by tameigh; 28th March 2011 at 05:34 PM.

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    Re: Tulips are here --

    Hi Elise, I love them all (surprise ) the rework in post #5 works for me it looks perfect. I have a book with some of those old botanical prints and you are right on the money. They look wonderful

    Wendy

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    mythlady's Avatar
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    Re: Tulips are here --

    Thanks, everyone -- Tim, I wonder if the noise reduction would help as a first step -- I'll go back to that. I appreciate the comments.

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    Re: Tulips are here --

    Quote Originally Posted by mythlady View Post
    Thanks, everyone -- Tim, I wonder if the noise reduction would help as a first step
    That's what I was thinking. After that, it starts interfering with the textures.

  14. #14
    mythlady's Avatar
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    Re: Tulips are here --

    Here's another try, using Tim's suggestions in the right order and a somewhat different set of textures:

    Tulips are here --

    Better?

  15. #15

    Re: Tulips are here --

    Very pretty, Elise! I love the texture on this - it does have that look that you were going for - botanical illustration. The stain is great!

    I'm sorry, I don't know enough about post processing to know what Tim and you are on to. I've been zipping back and forth between your first one and this one and I wonder if you've lost detail in the tulip with this new one. It seems blurrier to me. That's, actually, something that I liked about your first one - the texture and that highlight in just the right place (well, I liked the tear, too.) I think that the leaves have less detail - less of that darker color, too. Is it because you've brightened them, maybe? I do remember something in the tutorials about how noise can make a photo appear sharper or to have more texture. Is that what's going on. I'm losing the gestalt a little. (Psst! Where's the "cross eyed" smiley?)

    I reserve the right to be completely wrong and/or to change my mind.

    P.S. as I've mentioned, elsewhere: that they remind me of Marjolein Bastien is a compliment.

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    Re: Tulips are here --

    Katy, Good tip on Marjolein Bastin.
    marjolein-bastin-gallery

    I am thinking of the "Views from a sketchbook" image. I think that the noise reduction is definitely part of the solution, but I am not sure that the ball moved a lot with this one. Katy, I think that lack of detail in the leaves is part of the effect that she is trying to achieve, getting away from photographic realism to something more painterly. As always, I could be all wet too.

    Maybe desaturation?

    Do you notice how the leaves of grass in the image referred to above just have a couple of values of green in them?

    Another type of image I like that could be a target are the images of fish at Cornell University's Web Site


    hickory_shad.

    I think maybe the best way forward is to set your sights on a particular style, and then look for ways to get there.

    Now I am hooked on this.

    I think that #3 of the original posting is the closest.
    Last edited by tameigh; 29th March 2011 at 06:16 PM.

  17. #17

    Re: Tulips are here --

    Elise

    To be honest I think you had it with the two images in the first set. It is your style and it works very well. No 3 has something missing and if I saw it alone I would not have immediately recognised it as an 'Elised' image. There is a subtlety to your work that we must be careful not to drown by treating them to the same C&C we would a faithful capture image. I have seen a fair few of these type of images now and you definitely have a fully developed baseline style. They do not mimic others and neither should we encourage you to do so.

  18. #18

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    Re: Tulips are here --

    Steve,
    Elise knows that we love her work. That is not the same thing as putting her in a box. She is free to accept or reject any and all advice given here and she will still win her share of competitions. I am interested in this more from a hope of learning from her than trying to direct her down a particular path.

    In that spirit, I tried an effect to simulate the lines an artist draws:

    Tulips are here --

    It consists of just a couple steps.

    Duplicat layer (ctrl J)
    - Filter -> High Pass, with the radius set to the width of the lines you would like to add.
    - Image-Adjustments-> Invert the layer. (not sure why you need to do this, but I couldn't get it to work else)
    - Levels (ctrl-L) Move the base slider and the top slider together to the bottom and top of the skinny histogram. Move the middle slider toward to top slider. What you are trying to achieve here is a white outline on a black background. Once you have that...
    - Invert the image again to get black outlines on a white background.
    - Change blend mode to multiply. This will make the dark outlines darken the tone of the colors underneath it, giving the subtle appearance of a lines drawn.
    - Adjust opacity to taste.

  19. #19
    mythlady's Avatar
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    Re: Tulips are here --

    Thanks, everyone, Katy, Tim -- and Steve, thanks for your very kind comments. Katy, part of what I'm doing is using filters like "Paint Daubs" and "posterize" so that the flower moves away from realistic representation. I do take your point that the darker green is good and may go back and try to recapture that. It's really a complicated process, and sometimes as you get one bit you like, another disappears

    I appreciate your saying that I have a style, Steve. And I have also said to Tim privately that I really appreciate his input, because I am interested in expanding my toolbox of techniques to get different effects, or at the very least, to approximate more closely the picture I have in my head. I'm not quite at the point where I know what all the filters are going to do (the high pass, for instance -- that's one I haven't really explored), and I can't always predict how things are going to come out -- sometimes it's a happy surprise; other days I sit there for hours and get nothing but dreck.

    On another thread, I said that I've learned a lot by kind of slavishly imitating things I like, and then branching off on my own, so I'll keep plugging away at that. I really appreciate every bit of feedback. I know, though, that what I'm doing will not be everyone's cup of tea, so of course I completely discount comments that come from that side . . .

    In a couple of weeks I'm going to take a little course (just four Saturdays) on botanical illustration (non-digital). That may help me move forward a bit. If I had another lifetime (and more talent), that's something I'd pursue -- there's a graduate program in botanical illustration near me, and the things they do just blow you (me, anyway) away --

  20. #20

    Re: Tulips are here --

    Quote Originally Posted by mythlady View Post
    Thanks, everyone, Katy, Tim -- and Steve, thanks for your very kind comments. Katy, part of what I'm doing is using filters like "Paint Daubs" and "posterize" so that the flower moves away from realistic representation. I do take your point that the darker green is good and may go back and try to recapture that. It's really a complicated process, and sometimes as you get one bit you like, another disappears
    Yes, and that's what I meant, actually, that the first one looked more painterly and texturized in the flower and the leaves - meaning, the highlight and the darker green on the leaves looked like brush strokes. I liked the first tulip better, because of it. (...and, I really hate it when I misspeak!!!)

    Thanks for filling me in on what bits of PS that you're using. I've just started using it, this past week (urgh - newbie) and it helps to know.

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