Snap Art Overview


Filters and Smart Objects


Lesson Info

Snap Art Overview

And we're gonna talk about another third-party product and it's Snap Art. Now here's why I wanna talk about some third-party products. I love Adobe. I absolutely love Adobe. I think their filters are amazing, but I think there are some other folks that do it better. So there's a third-party plugin called Snap Art by Alien Skin and it gives you some painterly effects. We're gonna take a look at these real quickly, and I'm gonna open up a file. And I just feel like it's done so much better than the... I wanna say cheesy. I shouldn't say cheesy. The maybe overused Photoshop filters for this. So I spent a tiny time talking about the Photoshop version of it. But that's fucking Snap Art, 'cause Snap Art's really cool. All right, Snap Art, why I love the. Let me count the ways. Let's take a look at this and let's talk about file construction and how you build it and why you build it. The why's and how's. All right. So here's an image of the chicken lady. I like the chicken lady. I like chicke...

ns, I happen to have chickens. Don't we all have chickens? All right, so this is the straight up image, and this is her retouch. So it's just a little body shaping and a little highlight and a little retouch, it's not much. It was an editorial piece. All right, so I did a Snap Art effect called Comics, and I think it's really groovy and fun. Do you guys notice that this Snap Art effect says Comics and it says modified? Kind of fun. It tells you nothing. It tells you 100% nothing. So this is one of those times where what I'm gonna suggest you consider doing is using your Control key, convert your file to Smart Object, and then go to your Alien Skin and go to Snap Art. Now, with Alien Skin, you can download trial versions, so you can try this out and see if you like it. And in fact, I still have mine set as a trial. I'm gonna go ahead and activate that. Actually, excuse me, we don't want to activate that. Here we go. Okay, so let's take a look at Snap Art. So the one I'd used before was I had used their halftone. They have a Color halftone. They have Large Features. They give you a bunch of presettings, which is kinda cool, so you can check them out. I like the Color one here, and I'm gonna zoom in over here. Like most of these plugins, if you Command + Space bar, you can zoom in. And I'm Space baring off and on, do y'all see that? So you can take a look at what you're getting. You can change your Feature Size. Smaller, larger. You can do a black and white mode. You can do an Edge Strength. I'm gonna turn that back to Color. And I just think this is really handy. Now, if you're not going to do the Smart Object, you're gonna have to figure out a way to communicate to whomever, either yourself or someone else, all these settings. Now, it used to be, in the day, that I would say, "Oh, just take a screen capture of that "and then you'll have it, and put it in the file." But do you see all these settings? What are you gonna do, have 17 settings in your file? I don't think you're gonna wanna do that. So I'm gonna suggest, especially with this product, that you work in a Smart Object form, okay? 'Cause then you can keep 'em, 'cause what are you gonna do otherwise? All right, I'm gonna cancel that for one second. Discard changes and go back. Do you guys understand that, why I'm saying that? 'Cause if you need to reproduce. So let's say you come up with art, and I think this happens to me all the time with work, people will come up with something that's groovy and cool, but then they can't reproduce it. And then, "Oh, we really love that, and that is awesome. "You did that six months ago? Great. "We have 17 other characters or people, "or we have the whole company, and we want you to do that." And then you have to reproduce it and you don't know how you did it. Trust me, it happens. It happens all the time. So I'm gonna go ahead and go into the Snap Art Impasto, because I really like this one. And I'll show you why I think it's better than the Oil filter. All right. So what I found with the Oil Paint, and they do have an Oil Paint tool, but what I found in the Impasto, do you guys see how this looks a little more... The word I think I'd like to use is variegated. It just looks a little more natural and a little less automated. And I find that the Photoshop filter, it's got that... Photoshop Artistic filters, for me, have this kind of cheesy, automatic way of rendering, and it looks robotic. And there's something about, I don't know what it is about the algorithms that they have in Snap Art, but it just feels so much more natural and, I don't know, believable? Maybe that's a good way to say it. You could change your Paint Thickness. That's higher, that's lower. You can change your Color Variation. That's a little crazy, cray-cray. Now I'm gonna go over here to Oil Paint for just a second. Now, one of the things that I really like about the Snap Art presets. Okay, I'm in the one preset called Oil Paint, and inside there, they have Abstract, they have Colorful, they have Detailed, they have Dry Brush. This is just one. One, it's Oil Paint. They have Thick Paint, and then they have Vignette. That's one, one preset. In the Crayon, they do the same thing. So do you see how this is so much more powerful than the one Oil Paint filter from Photoshop? Now, and even though they have this preset, so here, let's take a look. We're on the Abstract, and they have a brush size. Even then, all of this is still malleable. Do you see that? So we can change the Paint Thickness, we can change the Stroke Length. Again, I have to say, I'm also a really big fan of this Space bar, off-on. Did you notice that when we did the changes on the Oil Paint, and I was waiting for the preview, and I'm like, "Oh, did I do that change? "Wait, I'm not sure. Is that change done?" Here, you click and drag, and you change the Stroke Length, you can see it. You can see it right away. So I find that the engine works really well. Do you see this? Here's another change. Default Brush, Soft Brush. I feel like I can feel out there some heads exploding about choices. I have an analogy I like to make, and here it is: When I lived in Italy and I moved back home to California, I was at the grocery store, and I was buying toothpaste. There's a lot of toothpaste in America, and I end up standing in the aisle, staring at the toothpaste going, "Sweet Jesus, which toothpaste do I pick?" And it became overwhelming. I'm going to say, already, if we just stop for one second and take a look, Holy Jesus, we have: Color Pencil, Comics, Crayon, Impasto, Oil Paint, Pastel, blah, blah, blah. Look at all these, it's fantastic. Now we're inside that. Now we have Abstract, Colorful, Detailed, Dry Brush, Thick Paint, Vignette. Okay I'm gonna pick one. (Lisa exhales dramatically) All right, I'm feeling good. Okay. Oh, Sweet Jesus, look over here. Now what do we have? We have Background, we have Detail Masking, we have Color, we have Lighting, we have Canvas. And at this point, what do you do? It's so much! So what I want to say is play. Now, one of the things you might consider doing is creating a Smart Object where you use Abstract and you change one or two of these things. You make a new Layer, you use Colorful, and you change one or two of these. And if you do that, you can take a look individually, at each one of them. All right, so let's say, for example, we use Abstract and we do Canvas Cloth, hot press paper. I'm gonna hit okay. It's gonna take a minute. I'm trying to make this into something manageable for your brain to handle how many changes there are. All right. (Lisa dramatically exhales again) There's one. Now I'm gonna Command + J it. Command + J, I'm gonna double click on that Smart Object control. Gonna continue my trial. And now, I'm gonna say, "Okay, wait. "Now we have some paper choices. Oh my god." Brick Wall, Cardboard, Closet Weave, Cloth Press, Drawing Paper, Hot Press, Leather. Okay, you can understand, it's getting a little crazy-town, right? Thickness. Oh, well, there's some other textures in there too. Would you like to add some other textures in there too? Sure I would, I would love to do that. Would you like to change the color? No, 'cause I'm only gonna change two things. I'm gonna hit Apply. Can you feel me? There's a lot of choice. This gets really overwhelming, and I'm gonna be honest, when I first looked at this, I was like, "Oh my god, this is great!" And then I looked at this and I went, "Oh my god, this is too much. I'm having some trouble here." So then I sat back and went, "All right, I can handle this." I just changed two little things. Let's take a look. All right, I'm gonna zoom in. I think this is a high res thing. Okay, now I'm starting to understand. Now it's giving me paper texture, and it's either high or low res, height, map. She looks a little sad, doesn't she? A little sad face there. Anyway, do that. Do one image, change a few things and go through it. And don't have one file that has Oil Paint, Impasto, Studio Color linked with all these changes. Make one file that is just Oil Paint. One file. And do these different changes. Then make one file that is Snap Art Color, and make some changes, and then that way you can kind of grasp what you're dealing with. And then, as I said before, this is kind of the... Let's have a play station. Let's have a play day and try something. Try this on a picture of a dog, try it on a landscape, and then put it in a bag of tricks that you save on your hard drive, and then when you get a job and you think this might be good for, you can open up that file with all those presets. And then, I'm gonna show you something. It's gonna take a minute because of the redraw. I made the same artwork out of the same Smart Object. Do you remember I just did Command + J? So what that means is if I double click on that original, I can now change this art. This is gonna look a little weird, but I'm gonna just paint, excuse me. Double click on her. I'm gonna just paint a giant X on her to illustrate my point. So I just drew a giant X on her. I'm gonna close that. I'm gonna hit save. What it's gonna do is repopulate every one of those Smart Objects that was made from the same original, and it's gonna apply the same filter. So I could effectively, on a Saturday, make a bunch of these files, make 'em out of Smart Objects, it's gonna take a minute, we're gonna let it do its thing, and then, when I get a job in, or I have another image I want to work on, just drag that image right into your Smart Object. Close it, hit save, go get a cup of coffee, 'cause it is gonna take a minute, maybe a sandwich. And what will happen is it will repopulate all of those that are linked. Do you understand? I'm gonna take that one out 'cause it's not linked. That way you can see the same effect. So you're effectively making a master version, like a paint box if you will, and you stick your cards in there, and then you come in and you repopulate it. You go away for a minute, you come back and you go, "Oh, I like the X on that one. "Oh, I like the X on that one." Capeesh, you guys understand? Excellent. Now, so, I'm gonna recap for just a minute. There are far too many choices. That is the good news and the bad news. So compartmentalize. So you can take a look, save these files. Have your Oil Paint folder, your Color Pencil, your Photo Sketch, and then when you're working do not not Smart Object. That was a double negative. (audience laughs) Make sure you use a Smart Object for this. I do want to tell you that on the Color Pencil treatment, it doesn't look good with a solid background, in my humble opinion. So you'll notice when I made those X's, do you see how she's got an X on her, but this gal down here doesn't? It's 'cause she's not a linked Smart Object. She is a separate Smart Object because I needed to mask her out, okay? And what's nice about the Pencil Sketch is you can do a super crappy mask. Look at that. Doesn't matter because with the effect, the rougher the edge, the better it looks. Cool? So Snap Art, give it a try. Do not, please, I beg of you, do not get overwhelmed by the amount of choices. That's actually the good news. Just try to morsel it out, if you will, okay?

Class Description

Learn how filters and smart objects can enhance your images when you incorporate them into your retouching workflow. Make adjustments to your file without overwriting your original image. Professional high-end retoucher Lisa Carney will show you the many tools within filters and how to use them to improve and speed up your post-processing workflow. You’ll learn about:

  • Transforming edit functions
  • Camera Raw Techniques
  • Understanding Liquify
  • Blur and distort techniques
  • Adding textures and stylized looks
  • Incorporating third party plugins into Photoshop® like Alien Skin Software and Nik

Gain more control over your portraits or product retouching by understanding and incorporating filters and smart objects.


Pat Saizan

This is one of the best courses I have taken on Creative Live. Just amazing. This is geared towards intermediate to advanced Photoshop users. So happy to see an advanced class!! Very happy to see Alien Skin being used as a part of this course. Highly recommend this course.

a Creativelive Student

I can't say enough about this class. I am looking forward to watching this again and applying all I have learned at my leisure. Lisa Carney is am amazing instructor and I loved Simon as well, they did an awesome job! Just the handouts alone are well worth the price of the class. Thanks for another class filled with excellent content and lots of laughter. I own all of her classes and will certainly purchase any other's she instructs. Way to go Lisa! Well done and Exceptional!

Jeph DeLorme

Great class presented in a way that keeps your attention. This class is packed full of fun ideas with a ton of great take-aways for your 'bag of tricks! I would recommend this class 100%!