Art

These artists in a Kerala photo studio lend a human touch to digitally drawn oil paintings

A digital portrait of actor Mohanlal

A digital portrait of actor Mohanlal   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

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V Suresh, managing director of Paramount Photographers, says a good work of art stands out as a skilful artist can enliven them

Krishnaprasad AS zooms in on a tiny detail of a portraiture and meticulously applies another deft “stroke”. The photographer and artist then moves his ‘brush’ to the eyes, something that, he says, needs “careful attention to breathe life into them” as the ‘oil painting’ gradually comes alive. However, there are no easels or colour-splattered palettes anywhere: the work of art takes shapes on a computer monitor.

The digital portrait painting technique introduced at Paramount Photographers at Ayurveda College Junction attempts to marry technology and art to lend a painterly touch to photographs, rendering them to resemble vivid oil paintings.

“We live in an age when everyone is a photographer, thanks to smartphones. But a good work of art stands out as a skilful artist can add that human touch to a portrait,” says V Suresh, managing director of Paramount.

Actor Mohanlal

Actor Mohanlal   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The digital portraitures bear the depth of colours of an oil painting, with impasto strokes bringing out sharpness and contrast. “The only difference between the digital method and a normal oil painting is that paper and pen are not used in the former. The rest of the procedure remains the same. Instead of painting brush, a digital pen is used on a sketchpad. Certain stroke-specific brush tools are integrated into the software for added effects such as lighting and depth colouring. I would say it’s 25% (Adobe) Photoshop and 75% artistry,” says Krishnaprasad, adding that an artist’s interpretation and finesse can make a realistic digital painting appear a cut above the original photograph.

Krishnaprasad says it takes practice to master the “delicate skill” of using the digital stylus as a paint brush. “The challenge is to keep the original proportionality of the face, which is divided into three areas – eyes, nose and mouth – for a methodical representation. They have to gel well with the overall painting,” the artist says.

He worked on a trail-and-error basis on the technique for three months before he started attempting it professionally.

A photo of filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan juxtaposed with its digitally painted version (right)

A photo of filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan juxtaposed with its digitally painted version (right)   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Each work takes about seven to10 hours to complete depending on the photo, and Suresh says two other artists – Jeffy Charles and Rahul R – are also being trained in the technique. The works are printed on cloth canvas bearing wooden frames of choice to mirror authenticity of an actual oil painting. The minimum size of the painting is 15X12 inches while the largest version comes at 24X36 inches.

Suresh says photographs from any source, whether digital cameras, mobile phone camera, scanned photos or taken at the studio, can be used as far as they meet minimum resolution requirement to enable digital enlargement.

Krishnaprasad AS working on a photograph

Krishnaprasad AS working on a photograph   | Photo Credit: Harikumar J S

Suresh points out that many of the orders he receives are from friends and relatives seeking portrait paintings of their loved ones no more with them. “Perhaps, it’s about the life-like feel of oil paintings,” he says.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 7:05:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/artists-at-kerala-photo-studio-lend-a-human-touch-to-portrait-snaps-with-digitally-drawn-oil-paintings/article30106691.ece

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