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Book Review: The Art of Digital Photo Painting; Using Popular Software to Create Masterpieces

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By Diane BerkenfeldSholinLarkBookCover

As a photographer, I can take great photographs, but I can’t draw, sketch or paint, so when I first discovered software that allows you to transform your digital images into artistic masterpieces that have the look of a painting, I was giddy with excitement. Then I saw the great images that professional photographers and Corel Painter Masters have created and thought to myself, “there’s no way I can do that.” And then I read The Art of Digital Photo Painting; Using Popular Software to Create Masterpieces, by Marilyn Sholin; published by Lark Books, (www.larkbooks.com) ISBN: 978-1-60059-101-3.

Author Marilyn Sholin is a professional photographer, Corel Painter Master, and educator. She is known for her digital photo paintings, and has authored a great book for photographers who want to learn how to fulfill their painterly visions of enhancing their own images.

Corel’s Painter XI is such a great piece of software—it’s the best around for emulating the look and feel of a variety of painting/drawing media. It can also be intimidating when you see the amazing photographs that have been enhanced using the software, not to mention the freehand pieces that talented artists have created with the program.

The majority of the book covers Corel’s Painter program, although the author mentions a few other software titles and plug-ins that are great additions to any digital imager’s repertoire. A chapter is dedicated to explaining the basics of Painter, including an overview of the palettes, tools and more.

The publisher created a website with downloadable files that are used as examples in the book, so readers can follow along with the tutorials, and be able to see how the final product should look. It’s almost like being in a class or workshop—you’re doing the work so you’re learning—but you’re going at your own pace.

The author discusses multiple ways of using Painter’s powerful tools, including some great shortcuts. Sholin writes in an easy to understand tone so readers won’t feel overwhelmed. She offers step-by-step instructions for painting from multiple sources, portrait painting, and mixing media in one image. The book includes techniques for digital photo painting of portraits, landscapes, still life, and an entire chapter dedicated to flowers. Dozens of examples, screenshots and tips are included throughout the book.

Whether you want to add a realistic painterly effect or go wacky with color, this book will show you how.

Examples of different ways you can “add to” your images with digital borders—complete with instructions—shows readers a great way to add a little “oomph” to their final images.

Sholin also includes examples of painterly photographs from other pros, which is great, because it shows varied styles and techniques that different photographers specialize in.

I love the look of images that have been enhanced with Corel’s Painter software or other such digital photo painting techniques, and as I photographer, I want to be able to create such masterpieces of my own. After reading The Art of Digital Photo Painting; Using Popular Software to Create Masterpieces, I’m not intimidated anymore. In fact, I’m more excited than ever about working on my digital painting skills.

If you’ve thought that you couldn’t turn your photographs into digital paintings, buy this book—the $19.95 will be money well spent.

To see more of Marilyn Sholin’s work, go to her website at www.marilynsholin.com. To learn more about Corel Painter software, go to www.corel.com.

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7 Responses

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    Tnelson

    September 30, 2009 at 8:11 pm

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    Bill Bartmann

    October 9, 2009 at 1:31 pm


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