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How To Make Art Using Beginner Photoshop

Updated on March 12, 2013

A simple snapshot becomes something special

'THE TAKE OFF GULL'  a snapshot becomes a work of unique art by using image software, Photoshop basic skills
'THE TAKE OFF GULL' a snapshot becomes a work of unique art by using image software, Photoshop basic skills | Source

The Starting Point

Getting A Great Snapshot

On a beautiful sunny afternoon a gull floats into view, 'snap'! The moment is captured, deliberate and graceful, 'The gull taking off'. The brown sandy wall of stones behind the gull brings texture and shadows. The gull itself offers motion and form. Configuration of the action and subject fall where they should while the sun glances nicely from the gulls tail feathers. All making this simple snapshot a very interesting starting point for something special.

Where Is ArtBorn

Starting from a very touchy-feely place in our artistic being is where real art is born. The talent must be present or the skills and techniques just won't matter. So,we must get centered emotionally to search for the feelings that can show the artistic mind just how to take a snapshot to a place called, "art."

Today we will explore the skills and techniques that help us answer the requirements our talents demand. Technology is a fascinating thing to be a part of. But, before technology can help you create real art, you have to find where your talent lands within the measure of the technology available. Understand the artistic emotions living within you, and true art is just a few clicks and layers away.

Turning a Snapshot into Something Special

Three Steps To A Masterpiece

If we are going to turn a snapshot into something special, starting with a great shot like The Gull Taking Off , is essential. The three most important things to turning this snapshot into an emotion evoking piece of art are;

  1. What does an image make you feel
  2. Which style suits the artwork subject matter
  3. Keep the digital art interesting


A good original snapshot is the first step to creating a work of digital art. This is the original snapshot for the "The Take off Gull" artwork above.
A good original snapshot is the first step to creating a work of digital art. This is the original snapshot for the "The Take off Gull" artwork above. | Source

Making Art With PhotoShop

1. What An Image Makes You Feel

When determining the 'feel' of your work, recall the moment in which it was conceived. The gull spreads her wings lifting gracefully from earth. This would be something to highlight within the work. It brings us wonder, energy and is emotionally invigorating. So, bright warm colors are used to depict this energy. In this case, the color orange is used in contrast with the black and greys. Which is why the bright white tail feathers of the gull draws the viewers eye first thing. This also causes the gull to 'POP' center stage within the work. It seems that we feel the gulls energy through the color pallet. Like the gull, we are energized by the take off moment.

What Will You Do?

Are you going to try to turn your snapshots into a piece of digital art?

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2. Which Style Suits The Artwork Subject Matter

Looking at the snapshot and past the subject itself (the gull) we see many layers and textures. The shape of these create motion in the background of the shot. By seeing, not just looking at these qualities, we begin to imagine what the piece can become. By seeing what can be eliminated and what should remain we discover an imaginary outcome that feels natural.

In this case, by creating negative spaces (removing a portion of the snapshot) within the texture of the sandy hills, the natural shapes of light and shade bring movement and depth to the background of the work. We can see the layers of the hillside have now become an interesting look at how contrast brings movement and depth. The gull still remains the subject, only now we have stimulated the onlooker with both subject and depth. This style would seem to suit our subject in this particular artwork.

3. Keep Digital Art Interesting

The use of bright colors and textures keep the viewer engaged. The subject appears to be breaking free from the earthly connection. We have created many interesting points within the artwork. We found energy and movement when looking at the original snapshot. By using image software we have enhanced the brightness and contrast, removed portions of the picture to give it depth, and we have added layers to create motion. All-in-all we satisfied our need to create something special without compromising who we are within the digital artwork.

Big Cat Snapshot To Big Cat Artwork

Captive Lynx Big Cat - from snapshot to art image2
Captive Lynx Big Cat - from snapshot to art image2 | Source

Where High-Art And Technology Meet

High Art From A Digital Snapshot

With all of the image software and techno gadgets available to today's beginning digital photographer, it is difficult to keep up. These programs can get quite expensive. But, if you are beginning to take interest in digital photography the most important thing to remember is that with just a few techniques you can begin to satisfy the artistic technoid in you. If you want to save a few dollars, I have added a couple links to sites that offer free graphic design software. Keep snapping those shots and imagine how they fit into your artistic mind.



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