Creative Misuse of Topaz Impression | Joseph Francis | Skillshare

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Creative Misuse of Topaz Impression

teacher avatar Joseph Francis, Check out my classes!

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (17m)
    • 1. Lets Find a New Use for Topaz Impression

    • 2. The Plugin In Action As Intended

    • 3. Can We Make Simple Textures Interesting?

    • 4. Simple Drawings? Type?

    • 5. Motion Graphics? 3D CG?

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About This Class

Topaz Impression is a Photoshop plugin designed to turn a photograph into a drawing or painting. So that's the last thing we are going to do with it. Lets see if we can't come up with some new things for it to do. I'll show you a few of my "creative misuses" for it. Then it's your turn.

If you don't already have Topaz Impression you can get a free trial of it here.

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Joseph Francis

Check out my classes!


I started in New York at what is now called RGA Digital Studios, but was then called R/Greenberg Associates. I've worked at many of the top motion graphics and title design companies including yU+Co and Imaginary Forces, and with top creative directors including Kyle Cooper (Prologue).

Visit my LinkedIn profile here.

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1. Lets Find a New Use for Topaz Impression: Topaz impression is a popular plug in that lets you take photographs and turn them into works of art. One of the things I like to do is take software that has one purpose and see if I can apply it to something different. We're going to be looking at applications of Topaz impression to things other than photographs. In fact, if you're a three D computer graphics user, you'll even be able to use Topaz Impression to make things like this and roll, see what it's all about. 2. The Plugin In Action As Intended: So what is the actual purpose of Topaz Impression? Well, what it does is it takes a photograph, and it applies various algorithms to make it look like a painting or drawing or charcoal sketch, and it does a pretty good job of it. In many cases, there's an interface here where you can switch through a bunch of, um, presets, and you can also adjust any of the presets further. So here would be an example of one. And let's say I click this button here and brush size. It's quite quite versatile. Just with that one setting paint volume. Not sure what they all do sometimes, um, pain, opacity, stroke rotation. That's kind of interesting, stroke length stroke with, and you can also change the actual brushstroke that's being used. So here I'm using this one here. Are you going to use this ring shaped one? And it's not entirely obvious when the ring is being used, or one of one of these other are being used until you start playing with some of these other settings as well. When you start to see the various aspects of it come through. This is a mannequin head that I photographed once, and I found that it actually responds in an interesting way to the Topaz plug in. So let's see what that does kind of creepy. That looks pretty good. And then, if you click on these, you can actually adjust the algorithm. See right now that the lips are being well contained. But I think if I adjust this thing called Spill, it's But yeah, there you go. It's bills out of it doesn't contain itself in the outlines as well, so there's a lot of kind of crazy things you could do. Stroke rotation. Get a sense of what that does. UM, color variation. That's if you want to make every stroke distinct from its underlying photograph length with . Like I said, you can get pretty crazy with it. But there's a lot of rather sensible presets. A swell it 3. Can We Make Simple Textures Interesting?: this class is about experimentation, and the first thing I'd like to experiment with is to see if we can take a simple texture that's easily produced by Photoshopped and use this plug in to turn it into a more complex texture. So let's start with an image, maybe 10 24 square, and I'm going to hit de on the keyboard or this little button here in order to get the colors to be black and white. Default D for default. And then, let's say you could say filter, filter gallery. It's all kinds of interesting stuff here. The last thing I was playing with was this one called the Reticulated in Filter. I actually like it a lot. Um, let's see what that does. So if you have ah, on image, then you can use the articulation filter to make it seem like it's made of dots and things like that. But I'm just going to use it to make a kind of a sparse star field. Maybe something like, I don't know like that not too much in it, and I'm gonna say OK and anonymous. A controller command I to invert. It not really looks like a star feel. That's probably a good way to come up with one. And let's say filter, Topaz Impression. That's what we're here for. And again, the Topaz Impression Filter has a number of presets. Edward Hopper. That one's kind of interesting. Let's see what that does. So if we accept Edward Hopper and we press this button with these little sliders on it, we get to these additional controls. And if I turn that down, turning down brush size, you can see that it's taken that image full of dots, and it has turned them into connected lines. Stroke with stroke length player. On another minute, let's see painting, um, impressionistic, and we can find something interesting here. Monet That looks kind of surprising. Let's see, we can play with that. A little bit stroke, rotation stroke with stroke length. So the general idea here again, is to just play around and to see what's possible. You never know. You might come across something that is useful for other purposes. These air textures that might be good for I don't know, floor tiles or something like that. Let's have a look at some other ones that I came up with earlier. Now let's move on and see what it does to typography 4. Simple Drawings? Type?: actually, before I play around with some type, I want to see what I could do with some geometric shapes. This is a Q with some shaded sides. Got some variation in the shading thes air, three flat colors. This is a white outline, hand drawn cube, and this is a darker, gray one filter topaz impression. And so what I'm kind of hoping for is to get that overshot architectural line drawing kind of look. So let's see what DaVinci sketch looks like. Play with the options brush size. Actually, I can see that the brushes air all these curved lines and so fact there pairs of curved lines. It's this brush right here, so I'm going to Let's try a straight one and a single one, and we'll make it long. But we'll make it not very wide and increase the length. And, you know, I'm just kind of playing with different options here. I like the overshot lines that go past the corners, but there may not be a way to separate those from these internal lines. You can see that when the color is flat, the internal lines go straight up and down, and when the color varies. It looks like they go crossways to the direction of the Grady int in the color. So that kind of at a diagonal here because I think the shading on these curves cubes might go diagonally this way. Um, so again, I'm just kind of playing with options. One of the things that's kind of cool and we'll talk about this a little bit later is that there's the possibility of generating animations from these things that are kind of unique . The software doesn't lend itself to animation directly, but if you could, you know, right out different individual key frames, then you could animate that in another program, like possibly after effects. We're gonna look at that with tight in a little bit, so that's kind of an experiment. This is variation in the rotation so that it makes it kind of crazy. What I'm really hoping for is no variation so that we get thes lines that are all going in basically the same direction. So it has kind of an architectural, um, drawing look to it. Um, we could play with a different thing, just briefly. Let's see painting chiaroscuro. Now the funny thing is these all have very different looks. But it's the nature of this program that every look that you see is a function of these sliders being in one position or another position with the brush dab being one of these things or another. So you can go from any look to any other look in this program by, um, moving sliders around so they're not fundamentally different. Kind of interesting in the way that it's bold looking spill has to do with how much it retains the original drawing. I could imagine this might be an interesting treatment for on animation that's drawn with lines. See, it pulled it all the way down. I got it to look like these line drawings again, so it's kind of a limited set of things you can do. But there are some interesting looks in there that you could use to generate some interesting animation or some interesting still frame designs. Let's look at type for a bit 5. Motion Graphics? 3D CG?: Finally, I just want to look at some effects that lend themselves more to animation. First thing I did was I took some type and I processed it in Topaz and the plug in. And one of the things that's, you know, good about the plug in is that you can turn the dials different amounts. And the more you turn it, the more extreme the effect ISS. So what I did was I wrote out a few key frames on this animating letter. I made it very extreme. And then I did some intermediate ones, and I created them animated GIF in photo shop that we're looking at right now, which cuts from the undistorted letter to the most distorted letter and then kind of ramps back. So it has a kind of an impact. Like Pau. I also colored it using a Grady and map because I worked in shades of black, white and gray. So I mapped white to yellow, and I mapped the grays to various shades of orange, and I let the black stay black. The next thing that I tried, which is quite interesting, I think, is, um, I took very simple shapes in this case a blurry circle on. I applied the same kind of distortion from Topaz Impression, and I was able to produce an image which looks like this in black and white. It's it looks like this and one of the things that's useful about that. If you have access to a three D computer graphics program and you know your way around it, you could do things like make a displacement map, which is what this is. I used the Maxwell render in order to produce this image, but you could use mental ray any other kind of a computer graphics program that has good displacement mapping, so you can see that the actual pieces of sort of gray. Here's a kind of a hunk of gray there, and you can see there's a divot there that matches it. So this there's one there, and there it is there, um, so it's useful for making really detailed kinds of holes and things like that, but you kind of have to play around with it and see what you can do with it. Here I was testing to see what would happen if I just took noise, just sort of the noise function and blurred it and made a kind of subtle and then apply that same painterly process to it and then turn it into a displacement map, and it looks like a bunch of overlapping squares. You can kind of see the the program's brushstrokes in it, but I think it has a kind of an interesting look could be useful for mm, I don't know rock formations or maybe ground or maybe even walls of some kind on a aged building. So these are the kinds of things that I'm trying to do with Topaz impression that are not just a matter of taking a photograph and making it look like a painting. I'm curious to see what you come up with if you get a chance to play with it, and I look forward to seeing what you do in the gallery.