Tuesday, April 30, 2019


This is the first time I have shared what I sometimes do with my photo editing software, beyond just fine-tuning my images. Sometimes I take my images outside the realm of "photography" and into the arena I call either "hybrid photo art" or "digital mixed media."

This is no longer photography. It starts with a photograph, the way many canvas painters use a snap shot as their starting point then build from it. For this reason, I don't refer to it as my photography, or my photography skills. It's a different type of art done via computer software. If I had an exhibit of my art, I would have a different section labeled either Digital Mixed Media or Hybrid Photo Art. 

With that introduction, let me share some fun things I do in my downtime when I have extra time to just play around and have fun with it. 

My goal is to encourage some of you to experiment with whatever software you have. If you don't consider yourself a good photographer, you might try converting some of your photos to digital mixed media. Or, even if you are a good photographer, some of your images might also look good in this format.

Hot Springs, Arkansas is known for its natural hot springs. There is one hot springs where you can actually soak in them, like in old Greek fashion. I photographed a group of bathers, then took my photo and used an application called Artistic Cut Out. It gives a photo image an interesting painterly effect. 

                                                           "The Bathers"

I found this surreal abandoned manufacturing plant in Laramie, Wyoming. One of the exterior walls was riddled with graffiti. I liked the image, but this also looked interesting. I applied what's called Poster Edges, which posterizes adjoining pixels to give it this effect. Before photo editing software, it was used to create posters. It's the most-used application in my repertoire.

This old fire truck in Colorado was done the same way (poster edges). Although it's the same application, the results are different, depending on the subject, lighting, etc. There are also three different sliders to which you can adjust three different variables, which also varies the final results. 


Here is what Poster Edges looks like when applied to photos of people. The original photo to which this was applied was a double exposure, thus the "double" feel to it. 

This is a more severe application, with very dramatic effects. It's called a Solarize filter, which I think is a misnomer. I see it as a computer-generated application, not a filter. But, hey, I didn't design the software. 

This next effect is for intentional distortion. It's called Spherize and distorts the image into a sphere shape. You can control for the degree of distortion. The original image is a photo of plants. As with any art, it all depends on which application you prefer and the degree of that application. Sometimes I try a certain effect and reject it immediately as an experiment that just didn't work for me.

Here is another example where I applied the Solarize filter, like the butterfly above, but I liked the effect on this particular image better. I like what it did to the sky on the original photo of a sculpture. 

I also applied the Poster Edges effect to the following example, but, again, different results on these tulips.

These next two examples have the same application, but, as you can see, it too also has different effects on different subjects. This application is called Plastic Wrap.

Here's the second Plastic Wrap example--a totally different feel to it. I really liked the effect it had on this kite. For this one, after I applied plastic wrap, I converted the sky to black & white and left the kite in its original color. Kites have come a long way since I flew them as a kid!! 

I'll leave you with one more application--Glowing Edges. This is nothing other than a close-up of a large light bulb. 

I shared six different computer-generated applications. So, as you can see, you can have a lot of fun with the medium of Digital Mixed Media, aka Hybrid Photo Art. Take any photo and start experimenting. You might surprise yourself and discover a new form of art! 

Follow me on Facebook (Eli Vega Photography). All images shared on my blog and on FB are available as fine art prints. 


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