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Video Training Review: Painting For Photographers DVD: Volume 1 — Portraits by Karen Sperling

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Before the era of photography, artists used many techniques to try to capture the moment. Most of these included working with light, color, tone, and composition. When photography came on to the scene and did a good job of capturing reality, traditional artists moved toward impressionism and other more abstract movements. As both art forms have now entered the world of digital expression, these worlds are colliding and giving artists many more venues of expression.

To compose and create a photograph feels easy to most people, but when it comes to creating traditional artwork, most photographers feel that to paint from photographs, you must have a specialized talent. Like the book Painting For Photographers, the goal of this DVD to show that anyone who can photograph can paint using photos. The same visual sense that drew you to photography can also help you turn your photographs into digital art work. The first three lessons are the bulk of this training with the remainder a set of bonus features that show you how to work with the Corel Painter Image Hose.

Painting For Photographers - DVD

Lesson 1, “Part I: Portraits – Introduction (17:38 min),” begins with an introduction to painting by looking at how you use light and dark tones to paint an image, how to work with the various tonal controls, the color choices you should make when approaching a painting, and how to work with color schemes.

In this lesson, as with all of the following ones, you will work with both Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter. In this lesson you will examine some of the basic operations such as opening and saving files. You will also learn some specifics you need when working with Corel Painter 11 such as the dialog boxes, using brushes, and working with tracing paper.

Lesson 2, “Part II: Portraits – Painting Eyes and Lips (17:58 min),” begins with what many call the window to the soul — the eyes. Here you will see how to determine the light source so you can make sure to show the catch light You will see the steps for painting eyes, learn quite a few shortcuts that you can use to lift a color, undo, resize, show and hide a color pallet, and more.

Then you will look at how the masters approached painting the lips. In this section you will explore some of the artistic concepts of how to paint the lips. As with the eyes, there are methods to making the lips look realistic through the use of manipulating the light sources.

Lesson 3, “Part III: Portraits – Hair, Background, and Other Things (40:52 min),” covers all of the other things that are to be brought out in a painting. You will start off with the hair and how you are not painting strands, but rather areas of light and dark. You will also learn how to make brush variations as well as how to save and load them.

The rest of this lesson looks at how to paint other things within the image. These include painting jewelry, clothing, flowers, and then, using the color wheel to paint furniture and at the same time employ techniques of color harmony. Finally, you will see how to paint backgrounds to your paintings.

Lesson 4, “Bonus I: Painting with the Image Hose (8:34 min),” takes a look at the Corel Painter Image Hose, what it is, and what it can be used for. Here you will look at the stock nozzles, how to select the category, and how to change size, opacity, and grain. You will then see how it can be used for painting and creating backgrounds.

Painting For Photographers - DVD

Lesson 5, “Bonus II – Creating Image Hose Nozzles (10:22 min),” now shows you how to create your own nozzles. You will see first how to create nozzles from a photo by first going into Photoshop and selecting the items that you want to use in the nozzle, and then importing them back into Painter to create the nozzle. You will also see how to paint the nozzle to create more effects.

Lesson 6, “Bonus III: Using the Image Hose for Portrait Backgrounds (18:56 min),” will have you taking the nozzle technology and creating backgrounds for your painting. Here you will see how to combine figures with backgrounds, create a background and pull it on to the shirt of a girl for a themed effect, as well as other tips on using the nozzle to work with your backgrounds.

Painting For Photographers DVD: Volume 1 – Portraits , like the book, is loaded with a lot of great tips and techniques for creating hand paintings from your images. The only criticism that I could find with this is the mixing between the voice and the music should be more balanced. While I really liked the music that plays during the parts where the instructor was showing technique and not talking, it can come across as a bit too loud.

Painting For Photographers - DVD

Along with the bonus lessons, there is additional bonus material as well. First there are 14 image hose files that are referenced in the videos and included on the disc. There are also a set of nine backgrounds that are available for your use, as well as the images that were used in the training so that you can work along with the video. There is also a sample of the instructors “Artistry Tips and Tricks Newsletter” as well.

I found a lot of great information that will get you on your way to creating portraits from your photos. Even if you have never tried painting before, with Painting For Photographers DVD: Volume 1 – Portraits , you will learn the necessary steps for creating a work of art. You can check out a sample video or purchase this DVD from the Artistry Website for $199. If you want to learn to paint portraits using Corel Painter, then this will give you the first steps down that road.

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About T. Michael Testi

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