Photo Art with Affinity Photo, iColorama and Topaz Impression.

Working through the Applications

The beginning of story for creating these photo art images is taking the photographs using my Sony NEX 6 mirrorless camera onto different weekend photo trips. The first of these weekends was a visit to Ireland to go and see my son and grandson and the first photograph I used in this Photo art came from a walk in the Deerpark Forest in Virginia. Before I got back home to Catalonia I had worked on a couple of the photos in iColorama on my iPad. It’s a great way to spend the time on the aeroplane and takes your mind off the screaming kids at the other end of the plane. In the iColorama application I used one of the presets within the effect area called Flat. What this effect does is to turn the whole image into small very colourful shapes which looks nothing like the image it started with, unless you reduce the opacity. Bringing the opacity down from 100% to around 20 to 25% gives you a pleasant looking image with pastel colours. Lately, one of the things I like to do with these images is to put it into another affect called Flow and use the various controls to change it to just the way I want it to look.

Fish basket Bridge colour liquid lines

The image above is using the effect called Liquid Lines – Background of the image was made in iColorama.

The second part of the story is a trip to the harbour to take more pictures of the equipment on the fishing vessels. I look for patterns and shapes in the hydraulic machinery, the nets and fishing equipment. When I got back home from the harbour I worked with some of the images I’d imported into Photos Application on my Mac. I have a variety of applications from the developer Macphun and one of them I use quite often is called Intensify Pro. This application has a wide range of effects, settings and presets going from basic photo enhancement to the Strong and dramatic effects With this photo I took of a part of an aluminium fishing basket, I just gave it some basic enhancement to jazz up the photo. I made it sharper and I made the shapes stand out better by adding some structure.

Photo montage directly after work in Affinity Photo – No Effects applied

Fish basket Landscape mix 1

Using Affinity Photo

What I wanted to do was to take two photos and merge them together. The basic idea was to take an image that was metal and ropes with a little bit of grunge and remove the background so I could replace it with a contrasting type of image. I’m still getting used to the controls of the application Affinity Photo and so I had to work out the best way to delete the background. There was one large area of background to remove which was going to be fairly easy using the eraser tool, at least until I got to the edges. Then there were a few small areas that were going to require fairly detailed working. So I needed some practice using the selection tools in Affinity Photo. I used the Flood Select Tool, Brush Select tool and the Freehand Select Tool. The tool with the brush will select areas of colour and I found it too easy to select sections I didn’t want to have selected. This was because the colours next to the areas I actually wanted were not dissimilar enough. When I tried to deselect the areas I didn’t want, it would also deselect other areas I wanted to keep. It got annoying very quickly. It was easier to use the freehand selection tool and especially so, where I was working with straight lines. I also found I could get more control by zooming in much closer to my image and changing the size of the selection brush. The Flood selection tool gives you a crosshair to start your selection area. Then you drag across the image and you can see where has been selected with the lines of marching ants. You just have to keep sliding across the image until it selects too much, back off a little bit to deselect that extra part and then let go. You then move the cursor to another area that needs to be selected and do the same again adding to the full selection. It works pretty well and only needs a little bit of tidying up with the detail work with the brush selection tool to finish. The other problem was sometimes I moved the selection instead of adding or subtracting to it. You have to be careful where you start with the tool.

Detailed selection work in Affinity Photo

With all of the basic selection done, all you need to do is to use the eraser tool and delete what you don’t want. I found it was then necessary to go into some of the edges of the parts of the image I was keeping and tidy thing up. There was a little bit of chromatic edging, this is where you get a blue edge around some parts of the image. Depends on the lens on the camera and the light of the day. I used the selection tools to grab these bits of blue and then to erase them. In a few parts of the selected image the edge was rough and I could see the squares of the pixels. I found that the best way to clear this up, was to use the blur tool at a medium opacity. I ran this tool along all of the edges and it ended up looking pretty good at the finish. When I had zoomed out of the close-up view, the overall effect was still sharp enough.

Adding the background layer in Affinity Photo

The application Affinity Photo which is a fantastic Photoshop alternative at a much lower price, has the layering you’d expect from a top-class photo manipulation app. It was easy to bring in another photograph to put on a layer lower than the one I was working on so it would show through on all the places where I had deleted in the top photo. I experimented with a few different images below the metal fishing basket picture and exported the results out as JPEG files.

One Step Beyond With Topaz Impression.

Topaz have a number of applications for manipulating your photos. Topaz Impression gives you filters and effects based upon artists and artists tools. You can make an image look like it was drawn with pencils and crayons, charcoal or paint. There are distortions of the image and colour effects which are based upon artists such as Turner, Georgia O’Keeffe, Van Gogh, Degas and Monet. There are all sorts of controls available within the application which allow you to create your own painterly effects. You can go for something which will emulate impasto oil colours or you could go for something more delicate looking like a watercolour. I quite like the one called Liquid Lines which does weird things to the shapes within the image. I also the love the one called Psycho which does the same sort of thing but also alters the colours.

Fish basket Landscape mix Georgia