If you’re not familiar with “Fauve Fine Art,” then perhaps this description from Wikipedia can be of some help:
“Fauvism is the style of les Fauves (French for “the wild beasts”), a loose group of early twentieth-century Modern artists whose works emphasized painterly qualities and strong color over the representational or realistic values retained by Impressionism. While Fauvism as a style began around 1900 and continued beyond 1910, the movement as such lasted only a few years, 1904–1908, and had three exhibitions. The leaders of the movement were Henri Matisse and André Derain.”
My grandfather was a wonderfully talented artist. He excelled as a painter in both watercolor and oils. I always loved his work, especially his watercolors. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized (through reading the Photoshop Fine Art Effects Cookbook) that his watercolors very much incorporated a Fauve Effect. It’s no surprise then why I was instantly drawn to this Photoshop Fine Art Effect.
Since I didn’t inherit my grandfather’s painting gene, I was very excited to learn that I could apply a Fauve Effect to my photography in post production. It was just a matter of learning the steps, which I’m happy to outline for you here.
Once you’ve selected the image you’d like to transform, the Photoshop steps are pretty straightforward. Note: For this image, I used Photoshop CS4. The filters and blending modes discussed below all come with Photoshop right out of the box.
So let’s get started. Here’s what I did, step-by-step, to create the Fauve Fine Art Effect shown above.
- Open your image in Photoshop and duplicate the image layer. Name the layer “Find Edges.”
- Convert the Find Edges layer to a line drawing by selecting Filter>Artistic>Poster Edges from the Filter Menu at the top of the screen.
- In the Layers palette, click on the “Create new fill or adjustment layer” icon (the half black/half white circle) and select Threshold from the menu that opens. Drag the slider until all of the color disappears and the line drawing looks how you wish it to be.
- Once the line drawing is to your liking, duplicate the original layer and then drag the new layer to the top of the layer stack and rename it “Multiply.” Now switch that new layer’s blending mode to Multiply, and slightly reduce the opacity. The image should now look like a line drawing that has been colored in.
- Now apply the Median filter to the Multiply layer by selecting Filter>Noise>Median. The purpose of the Median filter is to blend nearby pixels, therefore select a radius that is high enough to significantly distort the image in Preview. Note: For this image I used a radius of 20 pixels.
- With the Multiply layer still selected, activate the Move tool by clicking on it. Now hold down the Shift Key and use one of the arrow keys to gently shift the Multiply layer a few pixels in one direction. The goal is to produce a slight mismatch between the color and black lines so that it appears the image is slightly out of registration.
So if you have the artistic heart of the great masters, but not their innate painting skills, don’t give up on your fine art dreams. Photoshop just might help you create a few digital masterpieces of your own.
Note: Prints of this image are available at my gallery on Fine Art America.
And in case you are wondering, here is what my original image looked like before its artistic transformation back in time.
I must say that while I’ll never be a great painter like my grandfather, somewhere I do believe he is smiling.
~ Liz Mackney