What Is PhotoArt?

Examples of photo painting photography by Philip Preston

For those of you unfamiliar with the term 'photoart' or 'photo painting', for me, its simply a digital photograph edited with image editing programs to transform a photograph into photoart, namely paint or drawing effects. There are a number of programs available to do this, but the one I use is Topaz Impressions, who say its function is to "Create authentic digital paintings, sketches, and watercolors using intelligent drawing technology". For people like me who like paintings, but have little skill or capability for producing such work, programs like Impressions are a great way to turn your photographs into works with paint like effects, whether that be specific genres such as watercolour or oil painting, or in the style of specific artists such as Cezanne, Monet or Degas.

The permutations possible with Topaz Impressions are almost endless, with multiple variables available to produce your photoart, these include things like brush type, size, length and width, along with additional controls such as opacity, masking, lighting and textures. My version of Impressions also works as an 'add on' inside Adobe Lightroom, so its easy to carry out additional editing on your Impressions work inside Lightroom should you wish to do so. 

Below, I have shown a few examples of photographs with paint effects applied using Topaz Impressions software, this is a tiny selection of what the program can do, but it will give you an idea of whats possible. The images start with the original photograph for reference, then shows three colour examples and one black and white example. There is also a straight monochrome version of the original photograph produced using Nik Silver Efex Pro2, to compare with the charcoal effect version produced with Topaz Impressions.

Original Image

This colour photograph has no paint effects applied, and is shown as a reference for comparison with photoart paint effects shown in images below.

Paint Effect 1

An example of how the original photograph has been transformed using Topaz Impressions. Here, the output has a rather impressionistic paint effect feeling. Masking has been used to retain some clarity around the people.

Paint Effect 2

An example of how the original photograph has been transformed using Topaz Impressions. Here, the output has a slightly soft but rich colour paint effect.

Paint Effect 3

An example of how the original photograph has been transformed using Topaz Impressions. Here, the output has a 'scumble' type paint effect.


This photograph has no paint effects applied, but has been converted to monochrome as a reference for comparison with the Charcoal paint effect shown in the image below.

Paint Effect 4

An example of how the original photograph has been transformed into a black and white charcoal paint effect using Topaz Impressions.

PhotoPainting - Further Examples

Some further examples of photo painting are shown below.

The original photograph of a man with his pet dog is shown first, then following versions have been edited with Topaz Impressions 2 software. They are not intended to show right or wrong, good or bad examples of processing, or presented in any order of preference, but are simply an indication of the outputs that can be obtained. Some versions have been processed more than once, for example, an initial edit is carried out, then that version is processed again for further enhancements. This iterative process can be carried out multiple times to get effects that are difficult or not possible with a single editing process. Given the different number of variables that can be adjusted with the software, for example, brush type and size, stroke type and size, paint opacity, masking and so forth, the output options available are almost endless.

None of the images below (other than the original photograph) have been subsequently edited with additional image editing software, Adobe Lightroom for example. So what's shown is obtainable directly from Topaz Impressions. However, I do sometimes use Lightroom for further editing as the images dynamic range (black and white points) sometimes need tweaking for my preferences. There are lighting controls with Impressions itself, eg, brightness, contrast, highlights and shadows, but personally I find Lightroom can do these type of adjustments better.

Larger versions of each image (800 pixels) can be seen as a slideshow sequence by clicking on any of the images.



Digital photography fine art prints of landscape, cityscape, architecture and photoart on Fine Art America / Pixels.

Philip Preston Print Store

© Copyright Notice

No images by Philip Preston Photography are in the public domain and should not be copied or used for any purpose unless agreed in advance by Philip Preston Photography. Thank you.

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