Friday, September 27

Testing AlienSkin's SnapArt 4

Got my hands on a beta version of AlienSkin's upcoming SnapArt4 release. It's totally impressive. Went out on my bike last weekend in the vilest light possible. Searing summer high noon glare. Had my Cannon G10 along. Stopped by a traffic light in Columbia, PA a beaten up 30s gangster car caught my eye. It was parked in front of a seedy Tattoo parlor. Here's the reference shot pulled from the flash card....

Now this entire scene could have been cut from the early Depression years intact. There's virtually nothing in it... except for some parked cars there on the right, and that air conditioner in the upper window that would not have found its way into a Daschell Hammit hard-boiled detective mystery, right?  But that lighting .... AAARGH! And the busyness of the scene... no focal point. Well, here's a job for AlienSkin's SnapArt filter that allows the photographer powerful control over any number of media options. I tried a number and frankly, liked a bunch. Still, I wanted the viewer to feel the 30s AND the heat of the day at a time before air conditioning offset summer's worst bite.

Moreover, I wanted the feeling of a street sketch. You know, when an artist grabs at his hip-pocket notebook and scribbles out a scene with fast strokes revealing no more than the essential feeling of the moment. Of course I cropped it tight to cement attention upon the twin objects of imagination... the car and those signs... Here's the result...

Given my objectives, the filter let me nail it. Oh, of course I later added in the sepia tone and worked particularly hard on the signage to erase all ambiguity about their promises. I finished the work with a frame and a vignette to create a nostalgic light-box of depth. Whuddaya think? 


Cedric Canard said...

I like it. A lot. I quite like the original photo too but the final result is brilliant.

The software and your touch has certainly rendered the original scene into a timeless image.

The perspective seems slightly different, is that just an illusion or did you tweak that as well?

I can't draw to save my life but always wanted to so maybe I should get myself this software. (I can live with lying to myself).

Ted said...

This was reeeeely down and dirty Cedric. What's useful about this filter is that the artist has enormous control over the image. And if you want to totally get involved you can use Photoshop layers to lay in brushstrokes. A painter first draws, then fills in that drawing with various tools (brushes, scrapers, spatulas... back scratchers... whuddever. As artists we can supply the underlying drawing than goto SnapArt to lay in the tools. This is not a "Press a button and lookit the results." In fact the user has spectacular control. Try it on the alienskin website, they let you test it for a certain amount of time and keep your results. Not a bad deal. But, hold off on buying since I'm beta testing SnapArt4 which will be out in a few weeks. Its a great update. Much more user control.