Prints that Win: Bridging the Realism Gap | LexJet Blog
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Prints that Win: Bridging the Realism Gap

Painting photographs with Corel and Photoshop

Ann Naugher, owner of Hopkins Fine Portraits in Tulsa, is sought after far and wide for her artistic portraits of children. They bridge the gap between the realism of photography and what can be the surrealism of painting.

“My clients’ issue with a painting of their child is that it’s their child, and they don’t want to lose the realism of who their child is,” Naugher explains. “This bridges both worlds nicely where it’s an artistic feel but it looks like their child.”

In other words, with a painting, like a box of chocolates, you never really know what you’ll get. The image pictured here, called Windswept, perfectly illustrates this delicate balance. It’s a beautiful and artistic rendering of one of her client’s children, but it retains the character and essence of the subject.

Windswept won a LexJet Sunset Award in the Electronic Imaging category at the PPA’s Southeast district competition, and for good reason. It’s a tasteful, colorful and rich image that takes an ordinary portrait (displayed at the bottom right of the accompanying picture, below the final “painting”) and takes it to the next level.

“I’m more artist than technician, so the end result is based on feel. I retouch the photo so that the portrait starts out as the best possible portrait it can be. In Photoshop I start by drawing what I want that’s lacking in the image into the image. Then, I take the image into Corel Painter and not only paint what’s there, but I’ll add to it in Painter with the different brushes until it feels right,” explains Naugher. “I think it’s important to repeat colors and I tend to like images that have depth to them, so I like to work with the point where light is entering the portrait. In this case, it’s behind her, and instead of a tunnel of light I created a more circular feel to the background.”

Naugher adds that she usually applies oil painting highlights to the canvases that are produced from the digital work, which was not done for this competition. And, most of her competition prints are from actual client work, as was Windswept.

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Regan has been involved in the sign and wide format digital printing industries for the past two decades as an editor, writer and pundit. With a degree in journalism from the University of Houston, Regan has reported on the full evolution of the inkjet printing industry since the first digital printers began appearing on the scene.

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