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Are these photo to sketch transformations acceptable?

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I've spent a good amount of this year adapting/developing a number of techniques intended to turn a photo into a sketch, or into a painted portrait, or into something resembling a pencil/brush artwork. MJW and I have already discussed this topic some time ago in this thread, where I mentioned a method I used at the time (post #10) which is not the approach I'm using right now (I would say the techniques I'm presently using are somewhat simpler in general terms).


I'm showing here only a few of the results I've come up with after a considerable time of experimentation, expecting to gather opinions as I'm not sure if they are good enough. On the one hand I feel they still need some work to make them look more professional, but on the other hand I feel attached to their rusticity or uncleanliness, to call it somehow. I hope a side-to-side showing of photo/sketch will be fitting for comparison purposes. Anyway, you'll tell me what you think.


First two sketches with some subtle coloring preserved from the original photo (here's a larger version):




Next two turned out rather cartoony, I think (click for a little larger version):




The following couple of pieces resemble stipples to me, especially the second:






And the final two:






That's about all for now, although I do have more pieces to show along these lines. Feedback will be highly appreciated (I'd especially like to know if these works hold any artistic value) Laie_54.gif

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Hello Maximilian


I like the sketch on the upper right hand side of the first set. There is more detail and the colors that were preserved give it some volume to the portrait of the young lady.


I also like the viking that also keeps more detail and color.

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I'm always interested in techniques to turn a photograph into a drawing. That's why I developed Ink Sketch and helped the Dwarf Hoard with Croquis. You can see some of my other aborted attempts in the Plugin Developer's Centeral.

Some of those look really good--specifically Rollo_Sketch_1.

I don't think there is much value in persuing a stipple plugin/tutorial as we already have a really good stipple plugin.

But, I'd like to see a tutorial on Rollo_Sketch_1.

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Good work Maximilian - very interesting results! B)

The first 'Rollo' version seems to have picked up many details that are lost in the original... texture of sleeve and detail in dark areas around the sword.
The colouring in the first version of Hayley Marie Harder works really well too. Very appealing.
Have you tried replacing the pure white background with a subtle rag paper texture?

Good to see you experimenting. I guess it all depends on the effect you are aiming for. If you are trying to emulate a hand drawn effect then do study real hand drawn images and post an example (copyright permitting).
I guess the main difficulty is that human brains create outlines around important features even when obscured but computers (Pdn plugins specifically) are limited to detecting tone or colour changes and re-interpreting them.

As for artistic merit, really don't worry about it! There are only two people to please, yourself and who-ever is paying you. The role of 'artist' has changed drastically since Fox Talbot and Daguerre smuggled cameras out of the artist's studio! :roll:
I would say that now, with the accessibility of digital photography, any image that has been improved by human input has artistic merit. But that's just my opinion.
You have made these photographs more artistically interesting by modifying them but remember that photographs are not infallible... but I can see the difficulty in persuading the models to come over and sit for a portrait! ;)

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Red ochre Plugin pack.............. Diabolical Drawings ................Real Paintings



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I like the two rollo ones the best.

I think I like the first one more, most of it looks "drawn", but it has more detail, and it just has a certain look to me that is really appealing.

However, I will admit that I think the second rollo's armor looks a little more "drawn" compared to the first rollo. Both armors look drawn, both are passable to me, just one's armor looks more drawn than the other.


The only things that I am seeing that might have room to look more "sketched", are the faces don't look quite "drawn", they still kind of look more like photos that had something done to them.


When I was trying to make photos look like paintings, I learned that some techniques were best on some parts of the picture, while other techniques were better on other parts of the picture. For the rollo picture, I would probably make one version of the body, and then a second version for the face, and then I would put the body version on a layer above the face version, and erase the face area on the body version to let the face version show through (I would use a very soft brush for blending purposes).

Edited by Cc4FuzzyHuggles
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Thanks everyone for all the input!


@BoltBait: I'll post a tutorial on sketching Rollo asap. Thanks for the feedback!


@Red: Persuading models has been a real pain for me, enough a reason why I prefer photos of people that don't know me for experimentation purposes (although I'm aware it's true that photo quality has a lot to do with this kind of processing). For example, I once did a sketch of an acquaintance's face, to which she had previously agreed, but she never said a word about the outcome. I assume she didn't like it or didn't care at all. Blah! nea.gif A paper texture sounds like a nice idea for a background. I'll check out the texture tutorials to see if I find something suitable. I've used your Scribble plugin (unbetterable cross-hatching I believe!) for backgrounds in other works unpublished, with much pleasant results —pleasant to my eyes, that is. Thanks a lot for your encouragement and kind words!LaieA_060.gif


@Fuzzy: My thoughts about faces are similar. I like the overall results I've been getting, although faces always leave me wondering somehow. I've been experimenting with different methods, but human faces always give me a hard time. I'll go on experimenting anyway. Thanks for your suggestions!good3.gif

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Yes, I've been taking a look at several. I've found the techniques I've been using work better for some photos than they do for others. Since all of this is mainly about converting a photo, I've found that most of the final result goes down to the quality of the photo I'm working on (too dark photos seem particularly harder to process). That's a bit of a problem because I can't always find a good quality photo, but at the same time it's entertaining because it means I need to experiment further. I suppose there are many techniques I can use which I haven't yet discovered or developed.

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From another thread, a tutorial about turning photos into coloring books was shared via a link. The tutorial uses a different editor, but I think most of what is done in the tutorial might be adaptable to paint.net. http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Coloring-Book/?ALLSTEPS

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