View Full Version : Photoshop Gurus: Making a photo look like a black velvet painting

11-14-2007, 08:55 PM
Someone on a graphic design/publications listserve I'm on asked if anyone knew how to take a photograph and manipulate it in Photoshop to make it look like a black velvet painting.

The responses have been amusing (e.g., you can only do this if the photo is of Elvis) but less than helpful.

If any Dopers can provide some concrete suggestions, I will post them to the listserve, giving full credit to SDMB as the most amazing repository of knowledge since the Library of Alexandria.

11-14-2007, 08:58 PM
I think there are some plug-ins that can do this but I haven't tried them.

Google "photoshop plug-in velvet painting". There's one called AKVIS Decorator that looks promising.

11-15-2007, 11:24 AM
Without seeing the subject, I can try to give you a push in the right direction. But first, I'd like to encourage you to attempt this without relying on a pre-canned plugin effect. While they're good for some things (in the experienced hand), most times, if you put the proper effort and patience in, you'll get a better and more convincing result if you do it manually. Taking full advantage of the powerful toolset that makes PhotoShop what it is.

That said, brace yourself ;)

1) Take a look at some velvet paintings (http://www.geocities.com/serenadetx/images/elvis01.jpg) and think about what characteristics make it look so.

2) Now, using this closer look, deconstruct the characteristics, and see if you can replicate that using some of photoshop's tools.

3) The idea is to start with a black canvas, and paint on mid tones, then highlights, and keeping the velvet open for shadow areas.

4) Knowing that, I would start by duplicating the subject layer, and naming it "Template". Then decrease it's opacity in the layer palette to around 30% (or whatever works best for you).

5) Now, create a new, blank layer, and call it "Velvet". Fill this in solid black.

6) If you've got a stylus, this would help tremendously. Not only is it pressure sensitive, to allow for thick/thin strokes, but you can set up the brush to do other tricks like stronger opacity the harder you press down. Frankly, it's the right tool for this job, and using a mouse will make it a lot more difficult, and you'll get horsey results. Anyway...

7) Make a new blank layer and call it "Flats".

8) Pick a nice semi-soft brush (hardness setting at say, 80%? Maybe 90%), and just start painting in flat areas. Using colors close to that of the subject. These will be your midtones. Once you're done, you'll end up with creepy flat shapes that outline and fill in your subject.

9) Now, make another blank layer and call this "Details".

10) Now, using a smaller brush, start by adding in stronger highlights and definitions. Change the brush color as needed, and remember to keep the shadow areas "paint free". Let the black background do that work for you.

11) You'll know you're done when it feels right. ;)

12) Now that you're done, Shut off the "Template" layer and save it as a Photoshop file (to keep the layers for future editing). Now, again, choose "Save As...", but this time, save it as a JPEG. This will flatten all the layers and make a compressed file that can be emailed to the world at large.

Your layer order should look something like this:

Background Layer

If you take all this to heart... feel free to experiment, or add more layers as necessary (like when you feel you got an area just right, and don't want to destroy it by experimenting on another area that might overlap it).