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Archive for December, 2013

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 70,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 3 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Today (12/12/13) a new app was published on the app store called Waterlogue.  It is a program that turns a photograph into a watercolor painting.

Painted in Waterlogue

bike original

Nothing before (e.g. photoshop) has done anything like this.

The right hand image is a waterlogue derivative.  It is only one of the many varieties of transformation you can make of a photo.  What is important for me is that one can learn from it.   For example, look at the white vignetting in the trees, around the heads, the arms of the man and women, in the hair of the woman.

John Balestrieri (@tinrocket) one of the developers of this software left a comment below.  Of course, he can’t disclose his algorithm, but there are two things I can say about how the effect is achieved.  First there is a dead-on drawing “equivalent”underneath (derived from the photograph used, of course.)  The app to use for this is “copyIt” which will “square up” a photo so you can draw it on your paper ( see here and here for my posts on the subject of squaring up).   It is  really essential to get a good underdrawing.  Sargent and Homer were excellent draftspersons.  It’s really not difficult if you square up.

Secondly, Balestrieri has somehow mastered mimicking  the “juicy wash”.  The outline of the form is established by the background pigment.  Look at the man’s shirt.  It is established by the dark behind it.   The lightest value is left white within the outline.  The inside is not completely painted.  You need a loaded brush with which you drop colors into the form.  You do not “brush with it”.  Take the woman’s pony tail.  It works the same way as the man’s shirt.  If I were painting it, I would be tempted to describe the curls, but to do that I would have to use the brush as a brush to draw lines with it.  Here the lightest light is white and the rest of color is dropped in.  The darks are rich in color not the dull grays in the photograph.  But detail is there.  The ears are painted.

I’ve actually painting this scene many times in watercolor and oil and have always had problems with it.  For example, I get hung up in trying to paint the rim around the pond.  Here its left white with some pencil markings to hint at the molding along the top.  The mass of trees in the back has also been a problem for me. Using reserved paper as an outline for the forms of the trees works in the Waterlogue version.  The buildings at the top left, I see, can be left in pencil with a light wash over them.  Then there’s this boathouse in a copper roof turned green that Waterlogue doesn’t even color.  I like that.

The photo below is not the same one that I used with Waterlogue, but you can get some idea of how a complicated drawing gets done.

Painted in Waterlogue

flower similar

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