Photo to Cafe Art

One journey from camera to cafe art

As my friends here know, I love creating “cafe art” from photos. It occurred to me that the journey of an image from the camera to my gallery site may make an interesting story.

Sometimes I have nothing special in mind and just start playing around. The results of such doodling around I call “photoodles”.

At other times I have an idea in mind even before I take the source photo. This wasn’t quite the case with the story I am telling here. Our daffodils came up and were a cheery sight in the drab collection of fallen leaves. I decided to record the progress of the first one with my iPhone and to use my other two cameras for a series of photos to illustrate a flower photography seminar.

One of the iPhone photos seemed especially appealing and I decided to use it for a cafe art creation. Here is its story.

as it came out of the iPhone

This is the photo as it came out of the iPhone. My phone has the OneDrive app installed and each photo is automatically uploaded to my Microsoft OneDrive online site. Since I subscribe to Microsoft Office I get one terabyte of storage there.

From there I downloaded the photo to my laptop where Photo Gallery is my primary photo management tool. By now I already had in mind what I wanted to do with it.

I dragged it over to ON1 Photo RAW and used the HDR effect to bring out more detail in the petals.

with a bit of HDR effect applied

Then back in Photo Gallery I cropped the image as I wanted to present it in its final form. I next dragged it over to Topaz Sharpen AI for making all parts of the blossom tack sharp.


Next came making the background less busy. For this I dragged the image over to PaintShop Pro. There I used the smart selection brush to select the blossom in not much more than one stroke, and made a layer of the selection. Then I inverted the selection and made a layer of that. I applied Gaussian blur to the layer of the background and used blending mode to bring back just a little of the original until I was happy with the image as still a photograph.

I saved two versions, the finished “photograph” and one with the more heavily blurred background which was destined for manipulation.

daffodil photo in PaintShop Pro

Now came the fun. I have always liked DeepDream and what it does with images.

daffodil in DeepDream

The illustration here does not use the style that I had in mind for my cafe art version, but shows a more graphic effect.

Although DeepDream comes up with neat graphics, the downloadable images are rather small. For my daffodil it was just 693 by 520 pixels.

I used Topaz Gigapixel AI to enlarge the DeapDream image to the same horizontal pixel size as the daffodil photo. Here it is:

Daffodil from DeepDream

The background is what I was after. The blossom not so much.

So this image was loaded back into PaintShop Pro. I copied it as a layer and placed it right under the blossom selection.

daffodil and DeepDream in PaintShop Pro

Now I blended the clean blossom image with the DeepDream layer to get my final cafe art version:

Click the image above to see it in my Silver Canvas site and the image below for the photographic version in Gallery Ludwig.

As you can see, I spend quite a bit of time and use most of my arsenal of tools to make a simple piece of cafe art. In fact, there were a few more steps, and missteps, in making this manipulation. If you really like it, twist my arm, and I will add it to my Pixels catalog.

Such is life in the cafe art lane …

.:. © 2020 Ludwig Keck

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