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   Beyond the Photo - Corel Paint Software!



Last Updated - 12th August 2013


I have long admired the digital artwork of husband and wife team, Michael and Tammy Rice. They take photographs to a new level and well beyond the digital image captured by the camera or a film negative scanned to a digital form.

Impressionistic Photography - Michael and Tammy write on their web site - "The images are a combination of digital and film. Our post processing includes using Lightroom, Photoshop, and Painter. Some are the result of a combination of images using the HDR process" 

Visit the Twisted Tree Website

Before the photographer can even take this road into 'impressionist art' - he first has to have the 'eye and mind' of an artist - so I am dead in the water before I even start. It is one thing to visualise a scene turned into a photograph (how many do we bin) but quite another to visualise it in an 'impressionist form' either in black and white or colour. In the first place, there is no doubt that the digital or film image captured by the camera has to produce the correct material within the scene; material that can be seen instantly as art in itself before you even fire the shutter and move forward to the computer digital post processing and the final digital paint stages using Corel Painter 12 Software. 

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom software can be used to post process a 'RAW' photo image file (or a film negative which has been digitally scanned) from the camera and convert it to a tiff or jpeg file format (amongst others) ready to be transferred digitally into Corel Painter software to be dramatically altered using 'painting skills' and a digital tablet to apply changes to the image. Alternatively the file could be a jpeg straight from the digital camera, tweaked in Lightroom and likewise sent digitally as a jpeg to Corel Painter for further work. Many cameras come with their own 'bundled' software, so Lightroom might not be required, although the very name 'Lightroom' demonstrates the ability to change light patterns within the image which will suit digital artwork processes.

Dynamic Photo-HDR is a HDR software package that I prefer over Photomatix (I have both). It is relatively easy to use a jpeg, tiff or RAW image file and convert it to HDR, either as a single file conversion or by blending three files (of different exposures) together in the software to create a single HDR image. For HDR work and to open up the dynamic range, a minimum of 3 separate (bracketed) images of a scene shot from a camera on a tripod, each with - 0 + exposures are the best way to obtain 'optimum' results in HDR blending. This is where you can deliberately lift up the colours and tonality to create a digital art image which can then be transferred into Corel Painter or back into Lightroom and then into Corel Painter for further alteration using the tablet.


The above images  were originally single 'RAW' versions (not bracketed) and after some colour saturation, brightness and contrast tweaking, I cheated and made 3 tiff files from each in Adobe Lightroom with +/- exposures and used Dynamic Photo-HDR software to blend them together and edit the final colour, light and rendering. They were finally converted to re-sized jpegs for the web. Neither image was ideal for impressionist art work but I 'hacked' them about in post processing to see what could be achieved in a very short time for this blog. The combined power of Lightroom and Dynamic Photo-HDR software is very powerful but for the final 'paint' effects I would require to purchase Corel Painter 12 and a good sized A3 tablet.

You will never see the 'optimum' effect of my images above, unless I printed them at A3 size or larger, put them on a wall and stood back to view them. I cannot achieve the same effect by re-sizing them down to 1,000 pixel length size for display here!

I mess about with 'impressionist art' but to properly do it justice, I would have to spend a great deal of time in developing the photographic and software skills - I am still not sure that it is a road I want to take?

'Impressionist Art' Tools (* some I already use) -

  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Software * 

  • Adobe CS6 Photoshop Software

  • Corel Painter 12 Software

  • Dynamic Photo-HDR Software * 

  • Digital Tablet

Check out this HDR Tutorial

From the Corel Site
- "Expand your possibilities! Painter is a powerful addition to your existing digital art software, providing a high-performance brush engine and the most realistic digital painting tools in an environment that so closely reproduces the look, feel and results of traditional art, you may forget you're using software! With Photoshop support, you can correctly preserve colors and layers when transferring files between Photoshop and Painter. Plus, the Painter 12 workspace offers brush blending, layers, libraries, docking panels, shortcuts and image set-up options that will help Photoshop users feel right at home" ..........Corel Website

From the Corel Site - "All of the fun, none of the mess or smell! With 12 new tools, the Real Wet Oil category offers the perfect solution for blending and painting flowing colors. Add solvents to the canvas for even more control. This new brush category gives artists that heightened sense of realism that only Painter 12 can deliver"


From the Corel Site - "Support for the entire Wacom product line, including Cintiq® interactive pen displays and Intuos® pen tablets, gives you the most responsive digital painting software and the best digital art experience. Enjoy exceptional freedom of movement and comfort as you paint in the most natural way possible"



The idea of editing your photographic images and turning them into a paint art form using a standalone Wacom tablet on your lap on the train, on the plane or out in the field is very appealing!

More at the
Corel Website

Associated articles -



If you have enjoyed this article - please donate to my Charity of Choice   -   The Sick Kids


Richard Lawrence
United Kingdom


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