Before and After Bob's PhotoSynthesis
Intro by Skip Cohen
As I've written so many times in the past, the best thing about our industry has nothing to do with photography, but the friendships that come out of everyone's love for the craft. Well, one of those great friendships over the years is with my buddy Bob Coates.
Based out of Sedona, while there's pretty much nothing Bob hasn't photographed, his passion is definitely in the fine art arena. I've shared a number of his images along with his never-ending support for education over the years.
Recently I completed a pretty amazing project with Panasonic's LUMIX Ambassadors and Marathon Press. We created an oversized Bella Art Album featuring double page spreads from all twenty-five ambassadors. It's a stunning presentation since each Ambassador has a different profile and core specialty. The book was first shown in both the Panasonic and Marathon booths at the recent WPPI convention.
One of my favorite images is part of Bob's double-page spread in the book. It's the image the leads off today's post, but I wanted to share more about the technique.
by Bob Coates
I have been working at building images that hopefully transcend photography and call this process PhotoSynthesis. Just as the sun helps flowers transform into the beauty they ultimately become, multiple layers of texture, color, blend modes, shadow and highlights move a base image into another form. Adobe Photoshop is my main tool of choice for processing images. Additionally, I may use plug-ins such as Luminar and NIK filters to help with the enhancement.
Starting with a subject I usually make an extraction to enable applying different effects selectively throughout the image. Using masks on texture layers make for more fine tuning of various additional color and texture effects.
Take a look at the Photoshop’s Layers Palette for this image to get an idea of the process. Shuffling the layers and changing Blend Modes or adding Adjustment Layers add to the infinite possibilities. I’ll usually end up with anywhere from three to ten variations with different color and tonal ranges.
Note: I've spent a lot of time over the years with Bob, usually when he's on the road teaching. He's built an extensive archive of texture shots, specifically for the purpose of his PhotoSynthesis technique.
Check out more of Bob's work on his fine art website and to keep tabs on all of the LUMIX Ambassadors put the LUMIX Facebook page on your radar. This is one of the most talented and diverse groups of artists in professional photography!
And, if you're looking for some great help in marketing, business as well as technique, check out Bob's blog, Successful-Photographer.com.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.