Learn from Michelle

Hand Painting in Photoshop

Nothing strikes fear into the hearts of the self-proclaimed "I can't draw stick people" crowd like the words "hand painting". I've been told many times that people feel like they have no other choice but to use a painting filter because they do not possess the skill to paint in Photoshop by hand.

"Hand painting" sounds much scarier than it actually is.

While hand painting does mean that every single brushstroke is created by hand...
It does NOT mean that freehand drawing skills are required.

Wait, what?!

You read that right!  Every brushstroke is created by hand, but with Z.E.R.O. freehand drawing.

If you're asking yourself, "How can that be?" it's actually quite simple.  We utilize "clone painting" techniques in Photoshop.  Basically what that means is we use a photograph to skip the drawing stage of the creative process  🙌

Let's take a look at an example of a hand-painted image...

This is the straight out of camera photograph (SOOC for short):

As an aside, these beautiful flowers remind me of my Nanny's garden ❤️

This is what it looks like when you take this beautiful bouquet of flowers and use the Photoshop Oil Filter to "paint" it.  (This is really NOT painting -- it's a one-click filter -- but many people claim that it is painting 🤦‍♀️).

There are a variety of plugin "painting" options for Photoshop (Snap Art and Topaz Impressions to name a couple). While some are more impressionistic than others, the end result is typically very similar.  It's a mechanical, computerized process that, to date, cannot render anything that could pass for hand-painted brushstrokes to the trained eye (and many times - even the untrained eye realizes that it's nothing more than a computerized knockoff).

Now let's take a look at the same photograph, hand-painted utilizing clone painting techniques...

Learning to paint by hand, to control every part of the creative process creates a far superior product than a one-click filter ever possibly could.  It also gives the painter the creative freedom to expand the canvas, change the background, improve the subject, and a myriad of other possibilities.

The full painting actually has a good bit of negative space that was never in the original photograph.  This is a classic example of the potential of Photoshop painting -- take a simple, ordinary photograph and turn it into something extraordinary!

I concede, painting by hand requires more time than a one-click filter (I have about 2 hours in this painting).

And yes, learning to paint by hand is also an investment of time.

But the results?  The results speak for themselves!

By utilizing clone painting techniques to skip the drawing phase of creation, pretty much anyone can create beautifully unique, hand-painted works in Photoshop just like this.

Yes, even you!

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