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Video Training Review: A Celebration Of Art! Wild About Animals With Fay Sirkis From NAPP

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A Celebration Of Art! Wild About Animals is the latest in the video training series from Fay Sirkis. This series of DVDs is for those who want to take their digital painting techniques to the next level. This video builds off of the instructor's prior DVDs , Paint Like A Master, and Weddings Portraits and Faces.

Wild About Animals continues your education in using Painter X and Adobe Photoshop CS4 for creating digital artwork. This time you will learn techniques for painting animals, ranging from dogs, lions, tigers, horses, dolphins, bears, and cats.

A Celebration Of Art! Wild About Animals is contained on two DVDs that run 233 minutes (3.9 hours) and can only be used on a computer-based system. The author goes over the material in 32 lessons that are divided into seven sections and two bonus lessons.

 Wild About AnimalsSection 1, "Retouching and Resizing" (five movies), begins by showing you how to set up your images to get the most out of your pictures. These techniques are all done in Photoshop and in this section the instructor examines how to handle various image resolutions and sizes as well as how to make the most of what you have, even a small image taken from a camera phone.

Next you will learn about the workflow of cropping and setting up your borders as well as the differences between setup if it is watercolor or an oil style painting. You will see how to remove things like tags from the animal as well as how to manipulate the background to make your animal stand out. You will also see how to work with the new CS4 Mask Panel to better enhance your image.

Section 2, "Painting in Photoshop" (four movies), focuses on painting entirely in Photoshop. You begin by setting up your brushes and you will learn how the shape dynamics and other dynamics affect your painting. Next you will take an image of a lion and create a painting in Photoshop. You begin by making some image adjustments to get a more 3D look to the image and other techniques that you will do to most of the images that you will work with.

Normally at this point the instructor would take the image in to Corel Painter to finish it up, but this time she shows you how to apply painterly strokes within Photoshop CS4. Here you will begin to use those brushes that you set up earlier to give the lion a painterly feel. She also talks about creating a definitive foreground, background, and main subject for creating a truly dynamic image.

Section 3, "The Eyes Have It" (four movies), is all about creating the "windows to the soul" of an image. As with previous DVDs, the instructor goes over the painting of the eye. In prior training, she focused on human eyes. Here she looks at animal eyes. She looks at the differences between the eyes of dogs, fish, cats, alligators, and elephants. Then she looks at more difficult situations such as when there is hair over the eyes, a dog with blue eyes, and the eye of a horse, which has more parts to it, and, of course, the eyes of a lion.

The bonus section "Vibrance" is an additional movie that will show you how to add more of a colorful painterly look. You will see how to give the image more saturation, vibrancy, and acrylic look. This is using the new CS4 Vibrance adjustment features. Here you will use the sponge tool to paint vibrance into your image

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.