How to venture into impressionism

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by bitphotospace, Feb 3, 2019.

  1. Simple - Take any camera with x-trans sensor (costing an arm and a leg), shoot detailed scene, open in Photoshop (CR), crop (x-trans with 24 MP will hide the effect if you view fitting screen/ print small), open in PS proper and sharpen (smart sharpen at 100% with at 1 px radius) - et voila! a van Gogh.

    For a Monet, open in RawTherapee (enable the rather massive false colour at a sensor level), tick tone curve and look table (RT recognises x100T - not sure how accurate this is), port to PS-CR, open in PS proper and sharpen (smart sharpen at 100% with at 1 px radius).

    Would be interested hearing your experience as I am struggling to reproduce a Cezzane. xtransPS.jpg xtransRT.jpg
  2. I'll bet there are cameras out there that have an "Impressionism" art filter. I think one of my P&S cameras does.
  3. An impressionist artist I most admire is Early California Impressionist painter Granville Redmond. He painted mostly poppy and lupine fields in California from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, but also ventured into other subject matter as well.

    I made this photo last year on my iPhone and processed it to the right color temperature and feeling using the iOS app Polarr.

    Carmel, California • ©Brad Evans 2018

  4. You can simulate various painting styles by adjusting settings in Topaz Simplify software. I use it as a plugin in Photoshop CS5. impression sunrise abstract s.jpg
    Impression Sunrise
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  5. Interesting topic! I've only ever dabbled with 'painting effects' but there's a whole lot more you can do in PS, whatever camera/sensor you use.

    Impressionist paintings are - as the name suggests - artists' subjective "impressions" of transient scenes and subjects:
    - painted outdoors quickly with little (= selective) attention to details
    - using colors that expressed their perceptions/feelings rather than being (necessarily) exactly true to life

    So - with the exception of a few well-placed brush strokes to suggest detail - impressionist paintings tend to be 'fuzzy' rather than sharp. This is certainly true of fine details (like leaves, stalks, texture of melons, trees, etc).

    A couple of things you can play around with:
    - image/adjustments/match color (to an opened painting that has the color palette you like)
    - use gaussian blur (or blur tool) to blur fine details (even using different settings for 'subects/background)
    - use Filter/Other/HighPass in overlay blending mode to add some outlines back into the fuzzy image
    - experiment with the many Filter/Artistic effects
    - add patches of subtle colors to blank layers, use gaussian blur to diffuse them and blend them in (for example in skies)
    - add a 'canvas' texture

    I didn't spend too much time on this, but just as an example (which you may or may not like ;)): melons-mike.jpg
  6. There are subjects, atmospheric conditions, lighting to watch out for, and exposure settings that can help to make a photo emulate Impressionism. Using fog, haze, and snow effectively as filters is a start. A bit of intentional camera movement can create an atmospheric blur. Shooting through tinted glass, into rippling water, etc.

  7. One more example. This was a recent photo in the PP postprocessing challenge. Perhaps Cezanne would have painted it something like the image below (think Montagne Sainte-Victoire).


    Village - mike.jpg
  8. I didn't spend too much time on this, but just as an example (which you may or may not like ;)): View attachment 1281504 [/QUOTE]

    Lovely! Thank you - will let you know when this sells (thou shalt be handsomely rewarded) ;)
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  9. Haha! All the credit (location, interest, subject, photo, ...) is all yours, @bitphotospace! As an occasional 'art lover', modern art from the impressionsts onwards interests me (by far) the most . Though I appreciate the amazing skills of the more 'classical' painters, there is something very fresh and vibrant about paintings by impressionists and post-impressionists!

    There are perhaps things you can do in-camera (framing, perspective, selective focus/unfocus, ...) to express your 'subjective impression' more than the factual details . But IMHO, painters (including impressionists, post-impressionionists, etc.) were/are true masters of using color and the subtlely blending colors. This is not somethimg that digital cameras are good at and can be best be done in PP. I live in NL which has a large Van Gogh gallery. Our 'national gallery' (which I recently visited again) also has a number of works by Van Gogh, Gaugin, etc.

    Van Gogh is popularly known for his 'unreal', vivid colors but in the examples of his workthat I've seen, he uses a limited palette of harmonising and contrasting colors per painting. The same is often true of other (post)impressionist painters such as Manet, Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Seurat, etc. The best impressionist painters - while they might not have had the inclination/time to add in the fine details/nuances that a 'classical' painter might have added in his/her studio - were nevertheless experts in using varying color paletes and applying these subtley.

    So I think two keys to emulating an impresionist painting are:
    - color palette (match it to one you like)
    - less detai + drybrush strokes (general/background)
    - selective detail (to 'suggest' detail)

    Lovely! Thank you - will let you know when this sells (thou shalt be handsomely rewarded) ;)[/QUOTE]
  10. _DSC5218-copy.jpg
    Taken through a dirty window during a heavy downpour of rain.
  11. Actually, in At Eternity’s Gate, director Julian Schnabel uses a partially blurred lens as a filter in many scenes, somewhat self consciously IMO, as an impressionistic effect, not to mention the use/overuse of choppy handheld camera, also as an effect.

    Still, a film well worth seeing and a man and his art well worth knowing more about. Dafoe does the role of Van Gogh great justice.

    Very worthwhile are two previous films about Van Gogh, Robert Altman’s Vincent and Theo and Vincente Minelli’s Lust for Life.

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  12. @bitphotospace, thanks for posting this - I really want to see it! I live in NL so there's a lot of interest in Van Gogh (both nationally and locally). We even have a national 'Van Gogh' Gallery. From what I know I know of his life and career, Van Gogh was a dedicated (but increasingely fixated, isolated and lonely) painter. That he increasingly suffered from (bipolar) mental health problems is matter of record.

    Yes, he did during the last years of his life have a very personal way of seeing the world and of expressing this in paintings. He painted for some 10 years but he painted his 'famous' paintings only during the last 3-4 years of his life.

    I think there are two very different (but for the op related) questions:
    1. How to take more 'impressionistic' photos?
    2. How to PP photos to emulate the style of an impressionistic painter?

  13. It was meant to supplement what you said by noting that Schnabel used filters and effects, something you’d commented on relative to the photos posted here.

    Emulating other artists can be a worthwhile exercise, especially if it doesn’t become a dependency, and the visual qualities of Impressionism are important. Venturing into yourself and subjectivity are certainly important here. There are also describable visual aspects of Impressionism which are specific tools or nuts and bolts which can help someone realize an Impressionistic photo and will also aid in seeing Impressionistically. I’m thinking along the lines of focus, color palette, atmospheric light, even subject matter, as well as brush stroke style which can be photographically “translated” in a variety of ways.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
  14. Phil, I wonder whether you have produced any impressionistic photos. If so, could you post a sample?
  15. Here's one I shot within the last several months. I used a Canon 60D camera with a Tamron 15 - 300 lens. Once I downloaded it, I used Silver Efex for the conversion to b&w, and then Photoshop Elements 15 for sharpness and tonal adjustments.

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  16. Interestingly enough, Pictorialism in photography arose out of a desire to emulate painting in order that photography be recognized as a genuine art worthy of display in museums. Pictorialism actually had quite a bit to do with replicating how others saw things, namely the painters of the day.

    Though art is considered, and rightly so, a subjective endeavor and though Impressionism in particular is considered to come from a very personal and subjective rather than objective and representational vision, rarely is there a singularity or purity of subjectivity or personal gesture. So much art is born of homage and building on the visions and ideas of others. Copying, mimicry, historical repetition are all employed in art’s evolution, even in the most personal and subjective art. It’s perhaps part of the never ending sense of irony to art that even the most brazen and new visions often reference art history and others’ visions in some ways.

    This is one of the reasons I think the quest of the OP is of value, even if it suggests directly attempting to mimic some of the great Impressionist painters. My only caution would be that, sometimes, use of a software filter looks more like use of a software filter than like the style it’s actually meant to mimic. To really emulate a painting style generally requires a bit more finesse than a lot of these filters offer when applied without further tweaking or user input. The one thing Impressionist painters had going for them was a refinement of their stylistic techniques and flourishes. Most software filters are less refined than they are crude and inelegant.
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  17. Calm down. It can take any path one wants to take getting there, including being moved by artists who inspire.

    San Francisco • ©Brad Evans 2018

    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
  18. Eschewing all contentious rhetoric on this subject I ventured out to channel some of my favorite Impressionists by modulating the very tenants of the genre; light, color and motion. 859998_2917351349295_787046005_o-copy-copy.jpg
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  19. Photoshop 5 and above have a Filter>Artistic> set of choices, many of which create impressionist-like effects.
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  20. venezia.jpg
    Venezia as felt & as shot
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