Project Description

Learn how Snap Art’s Lighting controls can be used to emphasize the texture created by the build-up of paint.

Photo: Dylan Howell & Sara Byrne


With the image open in Snap Art, let’s start the transformation with a preset on the Left. I’ll choose something with a lot of texture such as thick Oil Paint, or Impasto. What these presets have in common is that the Paint Thickness slider is set fairly high. This produces significant highlights on the brush strokes. We’ll be using these highlights to create texture on the image.

Let’s make a few changes to the painterly look on the BG panel--I’ll turn the photorealism slider all the way up. Normally I suggest that you don’t use the very ends of the sliders because it can look a little weird, but I have a plan in mind, so I’ll break the rules this time--so to speak. While we’re here, let’s change the brush style to ‘Fine Bristles’. This simplifies the detail in the highlights, which I think will look better for this shot.

Now let’s make the highlights look the way we want them to. I think they’re a little crispy right now. On the Lighting panel, let’s focus on the Lighting controls. I’ll tweak the Highlight Brightness to make them blend a little more. Next, I’ll adjust the Highlight Size until the lighting texture looks like it covers 20-30% of the image or so.

I can change the direction and the angle of the light, too. This makes the texture seem like it takes on new characteristics. Let’s change the direction to the top, like the image is being lit from the ceiling above.

Another adjustment--the Angle. This radically changes the look of the highlights, so you may have to experiment until it looks right in your eyes. Extremely high angles will flood the image with the highlight color; very low angles will make the image dark. I’ll use the up and down arrow to change the angle amount one degree at a time. If that’s not aggressive enough, hold down Shift and use the arrows. This changes the value 10% with each click. That looks good.

Last tweak--I’ll change the highlight color. Right now it’s white. I’ll click on the eyedropper tool and grab a color from the image I’m working with, let’s use a yellow green from the background. I’ll press the Spacebar to view the original image when I’m inside of the eyedropper tool, this way I’m sure that i’m getting the value that I’m after. Okay, now I think the highlights integrate with the photo and produce a nice looking texture.

I’m going to make some fine-tuning tweaks to the Brightness and the Size of the Highlights until I’m happy with the look. Perfect.

Now that I’m happy with it, I’m thinking twice about the texture on the bridge. Let’s see what it looks like if we take that out with a Detail Mask. I’ll open the panel, make a new area, and set it to No Change. I chose this because I only want to adjust the Brush Size and the Paint Thickness for the Detail Mask. I’ll take them both all the way down. Now, it’s just a matter of masking out the bridge…Yeah, that looks better to me.

Now I’ll save this look as a preset. I’ll press ⌘+S/Ctrl+S or the plus button on the top of the presets pane on the left. I’ll give the new preset a name and category, and I’ll list a few comments so that I know what I did.