Fay Sirkis: Painting Magic, Adobe Photoshop CS5
The following article includes additional content from Fay Sirkis that had to be edited for length in the January issue of Professional Photographer.
Fay Sirkis presents “The Art of Portrait Painting” at Imaging USA in San Antonio, January 16-18.
A picture's worth a thousand words, a painting is worth so much more!
There is no better way to capture the essence of a person than from photos of the subject, and there is no better way to portray a subject than through a beautiful painting.
From the beginning of art history, there has been a universal fascination with the representation of the human face. Many of the greatest and most endearing works of art ever created are portrait paintings!
When people refer to the history of art, they often mean the history of portrait painting. Many of the most famous paintings by masters such as Leonardo da Vinci, Edgar Degas and John Singer Sargent, were portraits.
Digital artists face two main challenges in trying to simulate traditional art.
1. Achieving the blending of different colors of paint so that in the fine shading it produces soft transitions between colors and tones.
2. Having the brushstrokes look as realistic and as close as possible to traditional brushstrokes, no matter the medium.
In CS5, Photoshop has overcome both of these challenges in a very big way. With the new Bristle brushes and Mixer Brush, backed up by a powerful new painting engine, photo painting has never been as much fun and as accessible as it is now.
What is Photo Painting?
Photo painting, is a simulation of the painting workflow, tools and brushes, based on the traditional painting styles of the Old Masters and the lessons that we learned from art history.
For centuries, artists have been using the photograph as a reference for their paintings, and the camera or some form of lens to capture their image. Photo art, referred to today as photo painting, was and always will be a sought after art form, only accomplished differently at different times, according to what was available at the specific time period. With the introduction of new painting tools in CS5, it is possible to transform photographs into many different styles of art!
Using Photoshop to transform your photos into paintings is similar to how the Old Masters used the camera obscura, or to Norman Rockwell's technique, hundreds of years later. He used the photograph as a painting reference that enabled him to paint with such amazing detail. Using a balopticon, Rockwell would project a photograph of his subject onto a large sheet of canvas, then trace it in great detail, after it was all sketched out, he would begin adding in his paints, and that is how he created his masterpieces!
If you look back and study the art history of the Old Masters, you will see that nothing has changed, and yet everything has. One thing is for sure, we have not reinvented the wheel! Art today is the same as it was hundreds of years ago … we just use the tools available to us today to create it.