Using Nik and Topaz Filters to Digitally Paint

Ever since I posted the Forever Asheville painting and how I used Topaz filters with it I have been getting a lot of email asking more specifics. So I did another one and this time kept the info on which filters and how I used them. And I did this painting from a drive by shot I took with my iPhone here in Asheville in the beautiful fall foliage.
This is the image straight out of the iPhone 3G

Straight out of the iPhone 3G

Straight out of the iPhone 3G

After resizing it and cropping it I used Nik ColorEfex Pro Complete using the PRO CONTRAST filter which is awesome and lightning fast to fix color on any photos.

Nik Color Efex PROCONTRAST filter

Nik Color Efex PROCONTRAST filter

Next I tweaked the color with NIK BICOLOR filter. I love this set of filters and usually scroll through all the colors until I see the “AHA!” moment where it hits me.

Nik BICOLOR filter to tweak color

Nik BICOLOR filter to tweak color

Next I switched to the TOPAZ Filters to add some more details and tweak it further. This is the TOPAZ DETAILS filter set and I chose the CREATIVE DETAIL setting.

Topaz DETAIL filters using CREATIVE

Topaz DETAIL filters using CREATIVE

Next I switched to the TOPAZ ADJUST filter set and chose SIMPLIFY. This filter set adjust Exposure, Details and Color.

TOPAZ ADJUST filter using SIMPLIFY

TOPAZ ADJUST filter using SIMPLIFY

Now that I had the image prepped in Photoshop I opened it in COREL PAINTER 11 and painted it using mostly a brush I created from the standard Sargent Brush using adjustments to it to my taste to create the Mar SOFT SARG brush for myself. It’s a tricky brush to use but I get great results with it.

Painted in COREL PAINTER 11 with MAR SOFT SARG Brush

Painted in COREL PAINTER 11 with MAR SOFT SARG Brush

After I finished painting, just to be sure I was happy with it I opened again in Photoshop and opened the NIK FILTERS again. I ended up playing and checked the PRO CONTRAST setting again and I loved it. So the final painting was adjusted with that filter and here is the finished painting.

Final Painting final adjusment with Pro Contrast Nik filter

Final Painting final adjusment with Pro Contrast Nik filter

I really like the colors in this one and the details versus the soft background gave real separation to the entire painting. I love using the filters to change my original reference images to make something special out of them. Both of these filters are incredibly easy to use and the best part is you can SAVE MONEY on buying Nik and Topaz filters by using the codes I have for them. Go to TOPAZ FILTERS and when you check out put in the coupon code: msholin

Go to NIK FILTERS and put in same discount code when you check out:  msholin

These codes work for ALL the filters they both sell. To find more of my discount codes and more info on resources check out my blog page RESOURCES for ARTISTS and PHOTOGRAPHERS

11 Responses to “Using Nik and Topaz Filters to Digitally Paint”

  1. Diana Ralph Says:

    What a great idea… and the results are beautiful… so simple and yet still personally painted with your own “style”! I love this wonderful tip! Thanks, Marilyn!

  2. carlos r Says:

    Marilyn, amazing to see what just popped out of your IPhone, you should send it to Apple, thanks for teaching/C

  3. George Hawkins Says:

    How do you find best to get images off iPhone and maintain the metadata and sizing as captured?
    Emailing reduces all and metadata does not go with the email. I hope I am correct: transfer to iPhoto, or upload to a mobile me gallery. Any other? I hate using iPhoto since it adds to internal hard drive space.

    Anyway, a beautiful image.

  4. Marilyn Sholin Says:

    When I connect my iPhone to my computer the images download and I can use them like that resized in Photoshop OR I sometimes do email the photo to myself which does give me a smaller file but works well for small ones. Another way is to email to my Flickr account and it keeps the original size and I can download from there. All sorts of ways to do it! A new post coming this week on more about TOPAZ filters which I am in love with!

  5. Sharron Prickett Says:

    I started using Topaz and Nik filters in July after taking the Mike & Tina Timmons class at PPNC.
    I have been so happy with the results and am always surprised at just how easy and fun it is. The Topaz filters are really a bargain too! Thanks for sharing Marilyn.

  6. Christopher Stillians, M.Photog.Cr. Says:

    Hi Marilyn…! I took your Painter course out here in California in San Diego 4 or 5 years ago, and then again 6 months later in Palm Springs. Remeber I accidentally left my pool ques in the parking lot and called you about it. Anyway, I am totally awed everytime I do a painting now, thanks to everything I learned from you. Your course was one of the very best things I have ever done as a portrait photographer. Your info. on the Topaz filters caught my eye because just yesterday I was at PMA at the Anaheim Convention certer, and in the trade show the Topaz filter booth caught my eye. After watching the demos he did, I thought to myself, this might work good in conjunction with Painter. I have not even loaded the software yet and I come across your recomendation. Sometimes I think a higher power puts us into situations where we need to be for whatever reason. I can’t wait to get into this program and put it to work…Chris

  7. Marilyn Sholin Says:

    Hi Chris…what a great surprise to hear from you! We remember you well especially the story about the Pool Cues! I am so glad you are working on your art and that you are now exploring all the options available for keeping your paintings different from others.
    I find that on every painting now I explore TOPAZ and NIK to see if I’m getting it the best it can be. Both filters are different and very addictive. There is such a feeling of excitement when I finish a painting and see what “cherry” I can put on the whipped cream to make it even more special via the filters. Glad to help out with the discounts too! If you are at WPPI please come by the Millers booth #601 on Monday at 1:30pm for my program and find Michael there also and tell us hi in person!

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  9. peter vogl Says:

    these filters are rather costly though can be replaced by a smart handling of Photoshop CS5 and Camera Raw.
    Please give us some hints how to use those great tools for painting.

  10. Marilyn Sholin Says:

    In the scheme of things Peter using NIK filters is faster, easier, more focused by using the U Point system and gives a far larger variety of instant effects that are controllable than anything done by many multiple steps in Photoshop. I am all for saving money, but even more important to me is simplicity and saving time and effort. That is what I pay for when I use Nik Filter or Topaz filters. I don’t try to be everything to everyone, what I try to do honestly is share how I use technology and my systems with others who want to know what I do.
    I truly appreciate the comments and feel free to post links to other tutorials here that replicate anything I do.
    Sharing information is good for us all.

    best..

    Marilyn

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