Monday, May 3, 2010

CS5 Painting: The Crookedest Street in the World

Click to view larger

I've been testing out and tweaking my Artists' Brushes for Adobe® Photoshop® CS5. This image is a recent result. I shot this image several years ago in San Francisco. This is the famed Lombard Street, otherwise known as the Crookedest Street in the World. I shot it from several blocks away using a telephoto lens to get the compressed perspective to flatten the imagery. It seemed like a perfect subject for my brushes.

I recently hit upon a technique that enables painting from an image source without the source visible (Tim Shelbourne has independently arrived at the same technique, which has led us to conclude that we were separated at birth!). The result is akin to funneling a photograph (or any source material) through CS5's Mixer Brush and Bristle Tips to a destination layer (or layers). Using this technique, it is easy to build up an image with varying degrees of detail in the same spirit as traditional painting. Be sure to click on the image to view the detail at full scale.

This creative cloning technique will be included in the tutorial videos that ship with the Artists' Brushes. The Artist's Brushes for Adobe Photoshop CS5 are $24.95 and will go on sale within the next 2 weeks. As an introductory offer, they will be available for $19.95. This special offer will be limited to a 30-day period starting the day the brushes go on sale.

If you would like to be notified when the Artists' Brushes for Adobe Photoshop CS5 go on sale, email me at


  1. John,
    Awesome work. Very nice. I am looking forward to the release of your brushes as well as the training tutorials on I am especially interested to learn how to create the impasto effect in PS CS5 such as shown in this image where the brush strokes and the canvas textures appear and disappear in a very natural way. I wonder if you would care to provide some pre-release training tips on how to achieve that effect with CS5?
    Thank you.

  2. Sure..the apparent varnish is created by painting on a layer with a specific Bevel & Emboss Layer Effect setting. With the layer's Fill is set to 0%, the brush appears to be painting only the glossy highlights and shadows of the strokes. The remainder of the strokes are transparent, allowing the underlying image to show. The resulting visual effect is a texture consistent with a painted surface. The Eraser is used to modulate the texture's appearance throughout t5he surface.

    I'll cover this in detail in the Artists' Brushes tutorial.