The plan developed by "painting" on the computer.


For those of you unfamiliar with my “COLORED UMBER LAYERING” technique, I am going to post process photos as this painting is developed. But, my beginning steps are always ones of PHOTOGRAPHY. Many items are considered for (in this case a still life) and tried in various arrangements until both the camera and I are satisfied with the composition. Mentally using the Rule of Thirds, the center of interest is determined during the set up. Lighting (I use LED lights) is then played with from various angles, heights and directions until that too has achieved the most dramatic effect possible.


My camera is usually set to Aperture priority ( I usually start with a setting around f22 to get a sharp tracing photo) with both the ISO and White Balance on auto. 3 shots are taken from different heights, eye level, below eye level and above eye level. If I am tethered to my laptop, I can immediately see what the camera saw and decide the best height for the rest of the shots. If I am not tethered, I remove the card from the camera and go to my computer and check for the same thing. Often the camera saw tangent lines, uncomfortable negative spaces, lack of color flow in an area or an unbalance of negative spaces.

Tracing Photo with strong detail

Using these first photos as my guide, I make any of the necessary changes  and re-shoot.


When the camera and I are finally both in agreement, I then  take more shots at larger apetures that will produce both the blurred  backgrounds and the soft edges as the composition moves away from the center  of interest. Making sure that my point of focus in the camera is always on  my determined center of interest, I will shoot at f16, f11, f8, f6.3 and f5.6.  Going any wider open will cause too little of the composition to be in focus  and not make for a good painting plan. I then choose the shot that best represents my vision for the completed composition and change it from a photograph to a painting thru the use of Lightroom, Photoshop and the Nik Plugins.  Those processes are best explained in another post!

The plan developed by "painting" on the computer.
The Plan

With my plan created in color, I then convert the photo using both Photoshop and the Nik plugins to one that resembles my “Colored Umbers”. This is what I will use for my beginning layers reference.

Composition changed to Colored Umbers
Composition changed to Colored Umbers


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