photo-i DVD
a guide to digital


Masterpiece using
Paint Shop Pro.


One of the great things with digital photography is that you can salvage at least 70% of photographs that may have otherwise ended up in the bin. Paint Shop Pro can help with difficult pictures, but it should not be relied on for salvaging bad photography. Maintain a high level of expertise in your photography and use PSP to add the finishing touches wherever possible.

Our tutorial picture is a medieval banquet scene that was shot under very low light - I didn't want to use a flash on the camera as this would kill the atmosphere.  The ISO was set to 1600 using a Nikon D1 digital camera, but using a high ISO can produce noise problems in the shadows and other dark areas. Under low lighting and a high ISO the camera is unforgiving and most of the shots suffered with excess noise. This, together with using a high level of JPEG compression, meant I was left with a shoot fit for the bin. (move your cursor over the picture to see the noise)

Paint Shop Pro has many filters that can be utilised to enhance a picture or to cover up faults made by a photographer and other unavoidable technical problems. To salvage this job, I decided to turn this picture into a simulated Oil Painting. But before we convert the picture, let's tidy up a couple of things. (Click the picture next to the heading to download the tutorial image)

Step 1.

Open the picture in PSP and then open the Curves palette, Colours > Adjust > Curves. Click on the curve and drag it upwards so that the input box has a value of 125 and the Output value is 204, or just click on the curve and enter the figures in the boxes. This has now lightened the image and also amplified the noise problem.The picture is far too cool in colour, so we need to warm it up. You can adjust this by using the curves or the Colour Balance palette (Colours > Adjust > Colour Balance), but for our example we are going to use an Auto feature. From the menu select Effects > Enhance Photo > Automatic Colour Balance. In the Auto panel select strength 20, check the Remove colour cast box and move the colour Temperature slider to 4500. This warms up the picture (try moving the slider all the way to the left and to the right and see the effect on the picture of different colour temperatures). Experiment until you find a colour temperature that suites the picture.

Step 2.

On the top right corner there is a hand together with a modern-style scarf and jumper which can be painted out using the clone tool. To select the clone tool (press the letter N) then on the Clone tool options (press the letter O to view options panel) choose a brush size of 30. Right click on an area to define the source point (or hold down the Shift key and click), left click on a destination point and paint in the cloned area. You may find it easier to view the brush outlines of the clone tool, select this from the 3rd Tab on the Options palette. Tidy up any other areas you can see (there is a top of a ballpoint pen in the picture - see if you can find it!)


Step 3.

The final stage is to give the image a painterly effect. From the menu select Effects > Artistic Effects > Brush Strokes. In the Brush Stokes panel set the following values; Strokes Length 10, Density 25 - Brush Bristles 256, Width 4, Opacity 4 - Softness 4 -Lighting Angle 328, and set the colour to R64, G64, B64. (double click on the colour swatch and select the 3rd Grey swatch down or enter the numbers). Save these settings for use on other pictures by clicking the Save as button and giving it a name. This will be added to the drop down list.

You should now have a picture that would have taken Rembrandt months to do. Unfortunately, it may not fetch millions.

Photographs and text © Vincent Oliver 2002. The main picture is for your use with this tutorial, Please do not reproduce without authors permission.

January 5, 2008

© Vincent Oliver 2008
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