Turning CG into Paintings a Filterforge tutorial by colinfizgig@gmail.com

Here is the original image captured in SecondLife, a 3d online community that allows you to create objects and build sets in a social world. This picture was captured at a spot that had a recreation of Mt. StMichelle. The avatar was created by me along with her accesories using the tools in Second life Photoshop to paint her texture maps and Zbrush to model the accesories.

The avatar is based on a character from a stopmotion animation called Madame Tutli Putli. You can see the animation here.. http://vimeo.com/17081933

I wanted to capture shots of this character traveling around the world and have complete or almost complete control over the sets, so Secondlife afforded me plenty of options for backgrounds and environments as well as a way to easily modify, create and dress characters.

Here are some other shots from SL and this series...

 
In photoshop I'll duplicate the image in layers 3 times, 1 as an 20-50 percent opacity overlay and the other as a 20-50 opacity transparent screen, sometimes I'll even blur these layers slightly to create a film like blur to the images. The amount of transparency depends on the image. Play around till you have something you like.
The top image is the effect after this overlay/screen procedure. The effect will almost always give a cg image or digital photograph a more filmlike look. You don't have to do this step but it will usually help with contrast and creat a more striking effect in the later steps.
 

Creating the layers for the paint effect.

Now I start using Filterforge and more layering to create the final look. Here is an image of the shot above with Sketchy Painting applied.

Cool looking but not very readable. So I duplicate the original image and apply the Sketchy Painting filter to that and use a 50 percent opacity Multiply effect for the layer.
The image looks OK now but is too dark. So I duplicate the 50 percent opacity multiply
Better, but now the image is too washed out. To add a little punch to the edges and bring back some of the detail I like to add a layer that has the "Old Book Illustrator" Filterforge filter applied. By itself it looks like this...

But as a 35 percent opacity Soft Light composited over the other layers it looks like this...

The effect isn't too much different from the previous composite without the Old Book Illustrator effect on it but it really helps to bring back some outlines and sharpness to the image without ruining the effect of the paint strokes. By itself the image is fine now but it can use a little more work to make it pop.

To really bring out the brush strokes I'll take the Sketchy Paint layer mentioned above and duplicate it in the stack. I set its overlay to something like a 40 percent opacity "Overlay" which looks like this...

Thats pretty much the whole process. For this particular image I thought the sky was a little even toned and could use some color so I creating a more colorful contrasty version of the original cg using overlay effects and saturaton.
Here's a picture showing the final layer stack..