Become the modern Leonardo DaVinci, through your keyboard

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How would you like to be a writer who quickly learned how to make beautiful oil paintings, pencil sketches, pen and ink drawings, and more? You already know how to illustrate your articles and books with good photographs Why not take several more steps farther along the creative path by making your graphics really stand out and impress yourself and your readers? It's easier than you think.

Attributed to some unnamed Chinese artist of many centuries ago, the saying that one picture is equal to 1,000 words will be tested for its accuracy within this short article. Virtually all of the article consists of pictures.

The main image is a scenic photograph used as the image building block for the other “art” illustrations. Using the computer tool (to be described with the remaining images) that one scenic photograph will be caused to simulate different art renderings of the original scene.

I hope that you enjoy the scenic view presented here as simulated art of different types. I hope that the usefulness and versatility of the easy-to-use computer program used to do the renderings is understandable from the captions accompanying each of the "how-to" screenshots.

The computer used for all of this is a very ordinary desktop computer, probably very much like the one you are using to read this article. The software with which the art simulations are produced is available under open source license for downloading from sourceforge.net. The name of the program is FotoSketcher. If you install the program in your own computer, I predict that you will be creating “art” from ordinary photographs in an hour's time or less from the time you begin employing it.


Let's start by viewing some results

Original photo
Original photo | Source
FotoSketcher cartoon rendition
FotoSketcher cartoon rendition | Source
FotoSketcher colored dots rendition
FotoSketcher colored dots rendition | Source
FotoSketcher "Emergence" rendition
FotoSketcher "Emergence" rendition | Source
FotoSketcher oil painting rendition
FotoSketcher oil painting rendition | Source
FotoSketcher oil pastel rendition
FotoSketcher oil pastel rendition | Source
FotoSketcher pen and ink sketch rendition
FotoSketcher pen and ink sketch rendition | Source
FotoSketcher pencil sketch - No. 1 rendition
FotoSketcher pencil sketch - No. 1 rendition | Source
FotoSketcher pencil sketch - No. 4 rendition
FotoSketcher pencil sketch - No. 4 rendition | Source
ForoSketcher vintage photograph rendition
ForoSketcher vintage photograph rendition | Source
FotoSketcher Watercolor painting rendition
FotoSketcher Watercolor painting rendition | Source

Now let's finish up by viewing screenshots of FotoSketcher in use

Toolbar - icons L to R - Open photo; Save drawing; Copy drawing to clipboard; Paste clipboard image;  Undo arrow; Redo arrow; Crop to selection; Modify source image; Drawing parameters; Add text; Print;; Abort; Help; Coffee; and Zoom (-,100%.+)
Toolbar - icons L to R - Open photo; Save drawing; Copy drawing to clipboard; Paste clipboard image; Undo arrow; Redo arrow; Crop to selection; Modify source image; Drawing parameters; Add text; Print;; Abort; Help; Coffee; and Zoom (-,100%.+) | Source
FotoSketcher working image panel in action. This panel shows parameters selected for production of a color pencil sketch from an original photograph. When you are happy with the sketch in the frame, you "click" your art into the finished image panel
FotoSketcher working image panel in action. This panel shows parameters selected for production of a color pencil sketch from an original photograph. When you are happy with the sketch in the frame, you "click" your art into the finished image panel | Source
FotoSketcher full working screen. Original photo is on the left. Rendered art is on the right. Task panel is in the center with progress frame showing in the lower part of the panel.
FotoSketcher full working screen. Original photo is on the left. Rendered art is on the right. Task panel is in the center with progress frame showing in the lower part of the panel. | Source

Pretty good results for Gus-The-Non-Artist

The nice thing about all of this computer art stuff is that you, I, and the new Pope in Rome can all produce pleasing graphic art results using this FotoSketcher program. In addition to the examples shown above in this article, there are 13 additional rendition selections you can make. (I used 10 of the 23 currently provided by the program.)

If I were to make a suggestion to any and all who write articles and books, it would be that you avail yourselves of a copy of the FotoSketcher program. There will come a day when you will want some artwork other than plain photographs to accompany your writings. Now is a good time to download some computer program insurance against the day when you don't have the time or the ability to do the drawing by hand.

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Comments 18 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hey Gus...of one thing that I am sure...it is that the new Pope will want to have access to this graphic art application. Ha! Now...for the rest of us...this is interesting stuff! Thanks for the introduction and illustrations of what it can accomplish. Up, useful, interesting votes and will share.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA Author

Hi Neighbor Peggy (Peggy W) -

It is fortunate for the bunch of us that this piece of software is a freebie. There likely are others that can do such things as can FotoSketcher, but I will have to say that any program that can help an artistic illiterate like me make pseudo-art out of photos is quite a program. This one is super easy to use. If a person knows about art, I guess it would be a big plus, but I have to skip on something. This time it will be real art. This will make it for me.

Thanks for those nice votes and for sharing. That was a very nice round of things to have done.

By the way, I looked at my "statistics" (account)page this afternoon. I got a big chuckle out of the thing. It noted that I had something over 8-BILLION (No kidding) hits on my hubs for the past 30 days. Do you think that t here may be a glitch in the HubPages' tally program? :-)

Gus :-)))


torrilynn profile image

torrilynn 3 years ago

Gus,

i've always liked orginal paintings it took alot

more work and there was more creativity in that

than there is in computer generated art work

thanks for the hub

Voted up


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA Author

Hi Torri Lynn (torrilynn) -

I am with you on your liking the real stuff more than that which is simulated. There are those of us who are very art-reluctant (if not "ant-art-ic"). We depend upon the art being in the photograph. We like to swizzle around with our photos so as to change their stark realism into things that the observer's minds have to rearrange - quite like those minds must do when looking at a painting or drawing. Hiding some of the reality, by use of the computer, we can do the job. Otherwise we cannot.

In other words, the first part of the art begins with whatever it is the photograph shows. Then, just as do painters and other graphic artists, we remove some surface details to display the picture we want displayed.

Like you, I'd prefer to be able to express art without intervention of paint, brushes, pencils, or computers - but being art-challenged, I have to hang onto those computers. :-)

Thanks for the read and the very appropriate comment.

Gus :-)))


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

What amazing software this is, Gus, and free to boot. I dub you the daVinci of Hubpages. We are fortunate to have you instruct us. Truly!

I love to draw but my drawings are far from realistic. When I draw a cat, for example, folks say, what a cute pig! I'm sure you get the drift. So FotoSketcher is a miraculous addition to my artistic arsenal. Thank you!


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA Author

Good Doctor bj (drbj) -

Yes. This is nifty software. It does interesting things and is easy to use. Free is just a big, big bonus.

I don't know about your cat drawings that get to look like little pink piggies, but I would comment that you probably do not have to sweat much about pictorial image things. Your words paint more than adequate pictures without you having to use actual pictures...

Gus :-)))


Fossillady profile image

Fossillady 3 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

It's fun to toy with those programs isn't it . . . and you make it sound even more fun by your delightfulness! I mean that, now, no joke! Kathi :O)


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA Author

Howdy Kathi (Fossillady) -

I am going to make a suggestion to my doc when she gives me a health consultation today at my unwelcome appointment -

"Get a computer program like FotoSketcher to use with those doggone medicine prescriptions you lay onto us. I would like to change them into ice cream sundaes and big peanut-butter-chocolate candies."

How's that grab you, Kathi?

Gus :-)))


Fossillady profile image

Fossillady 3 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

Sounds delicious, Gus, and a better prescription for health any day! :O)


jhamann profile image

jhamann 3 years ago from Reno NV

This is AWESOME! Thank you. Jamie


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA Author

Hi Jamie (jhamann) -

I hope that what made its way onto this page is of help to you. Thanks for your kind comment.

Gus :-)))


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

Wow, this is amazing. You make it look so simple, Gus. THis would make me look like a professional artist for sure. Thanks for the information and examples on this useful software. Voted up.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA Author

Hi teaches 12345 -

I really would not want to lie to you about anything. Normally I simply tell the truth, but in 7 or so different ways. Actually the program, FotoSketcher, IS very simple to use. You just have to be able to recognize the point of having gotten your working conversion to look the way you want it to look. Then you click on the "Draw" button and take a look at what you have rendered. If it is not where you want it to be, you bring back the working panel (click on the easel up in the toolbar) and do some more until you are happy with the results. Can't be more simple than that, can it? Check out the next hub where I did some portraits of people - not just landscapes.

Have fun.

Gus :-)))


SilentReed profile image

SilentReed 3 years ago from Philippines

Any program or application that's a freebie always attract cheapskates like me :) Thanks. I do have a question. Can one be accuse of plagiarizing another person's work with these simulated art renderings of an original photograph?


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA Author

Howdy Silent Reed -

I am not trained in copyright law, either of some particular nation or in international dealings, but I know for certain that any person can "accuse" another person of doggone nearly anything, legal or illegal. My understanding of the copyright to a work that a person has created (a writing, painting, statue, photograph, etc.) belongs to that person until and unless they convey that copyright to another person or entity, or until they declare their work as being in the "public domain." Therefore, if someone uses a work, "whole cloth," as the foundation of their own modification of that work, the original copyright (or public domain status) would remain in the work. I believe, therefore, that the subsequent "publisher" would need permission from the copyright holder to modify and display any work that is merely modified in some way, but retains the major elements (the "image") of the copyrighted item - like a photo - the derivative work in which the original still exists. No such usership restraint would likely exist for derivatives based upon public domain or permission-obtained works as nearly as I can see, but it is professionally and personally proper to provide attribution for your use.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA Author

Silent Reed -

I need to clarify one aspect of image ownership. There would be a question of the actual conception and production of a derivative image of the contents of a computer screen. There would be a question of who created a "screenshot" image that contained the original copyrighted image in recognizable form either in whole or in part, and whether that image was provided a form of permission-to-use in the way of "fair use." I believe that a screenshot image would be within the "fair use" situation. Were I accused of plagiarizing a copyrighted image by re-publishing it as an "identified" screenshot of that image "for some legitimate reason" in my new work, I might be accused of plagiarism, but I would claim fair use provided my use was really "fair use." For example, I can't alter a few pages of a book or a few sentences in an article and call it my own work. Why could I change the outward appearance (oil painting, cartoon, etc.) of a photo and think it avoided copyright of the original? No way, right?

Gus :-)))


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 3 years ago from North Carolina

That is amazing! I didn't realize that was possible. There are so many things I could do with that. I love learning something new!


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA Author

Howdy Tammy (tammyswallow) -

You are 100% correct about that "amazing" deal. Would you consider gaining the belief that this FotoSketcher program is not only teaching me some "art" stuff, it is also teaching me a modicum of the French language. When I am in there working on photos within the program, all of the screens are in English. When I screw up on something, I get an error message in French. I have to then do a couple of clicks and hop on over to my multi-language translator to find out what I did wrong. Gradually, I make enough mistakes such that I am learning what those error messages are telling me now without my having to look them up all the time.

The program is worth downloading, so you might want to do that.

Gus :-)))

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