Creating Photo-Art: My Thought Process

Here is an example of the thinking that lies behind my photo-art.

Boat Transformation Before & After

The original image in this example is a boat and tackle. I simply love boats of all descriptions and I could easily publish 1000’s of original photo images of boats. However, I try to take notice of many things when I photograph boats. The surrounds and textures that abound in the boat’s environment – for example, old nets, creels, fish boxes, water, sand, people, harbours, buildings. Likewise, I try to remember the day when I took the photograph, my mood, the weather, precious memories…and so on. I often do photo-shoots completely on my own as the way I photograph things is relatively selfish and personal – frankly, my wife would be bored to tears with my obsession for textures. I often limit myself to strict criterion, such as, a single focal length, 16 x 9 format, manual only, only 20 shots – daft things like that to make me think about what I’m shooting. Oh, and by the way – I never carry a camera with me when I am out and about normally – I only do  photo-shoots!

It is from this jumble of experiences that I select ideas to inform how I create my photo-art. Since I choose to make art from photographs, I don’t want the result to look like a photograph.

In order to move away from that look I choose painterly or sketchy effects and ‘all manner’ of textures, in combination to produce an end result.

In this example I started with an unprocessed and rather ‘dull’ image of a boat & tackle. The first step was to convert the image to a more graphic one. The foreground float in the image lent itself to selective masking to be used ‘as is’ or as an ‘inversion’. Next a ‘Rusty’ looking texture was superimposed on graphic one – informed by similar textures that I had photographed at the time. As there were some stray elements showing towards the edges, I applied a ‘Vignette Mask’ effect to clean up the image. An effect that created a strong border and a feeling of age was then applied. I could easily have stopped there, but I was influenced to add yet another effect from a fleeting memory that passed through my head – it was of another rusty texture that appealed to me, but this time it was ‘pitted’.

So, although it is easy to create photo-art in Smart Photo Editor through random selection of effects or pure experimentation (both of which I do too), it requires more artistic thinking to deliberately bring different elements together to produce a result similar to what was in your mind’s eye prior to starting the process of transformation. I’ve told you what was in my mind when I created the photo-art based on the boat & tackle image. The actual process is shown below.

The Process Outlined:

Boat Transformation Process

Love to hear your thoughts.



Congratulations to Anthropics, PortraitPro 12 team on Professional Photographer’s Hot One award for industry innovation, Winner 2014

Transforming an ‘ordinary’ photograph

Smart Photo Editor is great for creating photo-artworks.

Below is shown a ‘before & after’ example of such a transformation.

Statues Before - After

So how was this achieved?

Here is a visual ‘step-by-step’ guide showing the  transformation stages. Note the mask – this was created using a soft edge brush – no attempt was made to be precise as it was not necessary in this instance.

Transformation Process

Let me restate the process of transformation:

  1. Load original image
  2. Crop original image
  3. Apply ‘Vibrance’ effect by Tony
  4. Apply ‘Extreme Sharpness’ by David
  5. Apply ‘Photo-art at a click 049′ by andrewb2012
  6. Create mask at this stage – basically we erased some of the ‘Photo-art at a click 049′ effect to reveal previous stage
  7. Apply ‘Vignette masks 012′ by andrewb2012
  8. Use the ‘Image Treatment’ feature to:
  • Lift ‘Darks’
  • Lift ‘Shadows’
  • Increase ‘Clarity’
  • Reduce ‘Saturation’ a little

This process is typical of how I use Smart Photo Editor.

Hope you find this useful.