Did I mention I love Dynamic Auto Painter!
If I haven’t mentioned Dynamic Auto Painter, also known as DAP, in a while then shame on me. This amazingly fun, creative and seemingly effortless software application for creating artwork from photos is without doubt one of my all time favourites. Straight out of the box, you’ll be able to create realistic art simply by choosing a preset and pressing start. Delve into it’s inner workings and you’ll be able to perfect your “paintings” to the point where it becomes difficult to tell the difference between your work and that of a professional artist.
This isn’t an advert for Dynamic Auto Painter. I am simply a user, albeit a very satisfied user. Dynamic Auto Painter though is not perfect, it does take a little effort on the part of the artist to push it where you want it to go. Left to it’s own devices it creates good results. Nurture and work with it and the results improve dramatically.
Working with Dynamic Auto Painter (DAP)
The image above was created with a preset made by the Dynamic Auto Painter user community called QuickstrokeLite. There’s no information on the creator sadly, and this preset, like all of those in the Cafe Preset Selection, was created some time ago. I don’t know why Dynamic Auto Painter no longer appear to accept user submitted presets but they really should, some of them are excellent. Fortunately there are about a 100 user submitted presets available and while I haven’t tried them all, I have been very impressed with many of those I have tried. In fact, I often use these in preference to the Dynamic Auto Painter supplied presets even though these can be very good too.
Is Dynamic Auto Painter Worth Buying?
Is Dynamic Auto Painter worth the money? It costs about £106 here in the UK, cheaper in the US, about $89 plus tax which means it’s not cheap. There are a variety of add-ons too which increase the functionaility, and the price. Mediachance Reactor is one such example which the Dynamic Auto Painter supplied presets often use. It’s also useful if you want to create presets yourself. It adds about £80 to the total although I have never needed it nor used it. You can of course find various vouchers to apply against this cost and if you use a VPN service, accessing the US site from the UK brings massive savings, particularly if you use a zip code / address for a tax-free state. I’m guessing that using this approach you can get the core price down to around $89 which is currently about £79. Since it’s delivered electronically, this will generally work OK.
Product Update Cycle
Dynamic Auto Painter itself doesn’t seem to be updated very often. Initially I was using the trial version of Dynamic Auto Painter6 and it was months before a new version was released. It’s possible then that there could be a couple of years in-between releases. I am currently using Dynamic Auto Painter7 which is the latest release and which has become my “go to” editor for creating art although I have to say, Topaz Studio; I use the free version, is also excellent.
Using Batch Editing to Check Suitability for each Preset
My personal approach to creating photo art has been to create examples which I can later use to help guide me in choosing the best preset for a particular job. For example, I have categories for landscapes, portraits and objects and within these, sub categories for good, bad or indifferent results. To build up an understanding of which presets worked best for which subjects I created batch processes which applied multiple templates to a single image, a portrait for example. This resulted in let’s say, 50 individual portaits of the same subject. This made it easy then to say good, bad, indifferent for each result. Remember though, a bad and indifferent result can always be improved by “getting involved” during processing which is why it’s a good idea to keep the results available for analysis.
Approach & Workflow – Creating Your Artwork
The image above, whch I created especially for this article, used QuickstrokeLite as mentioned earlier. In my view, the final result was excellent but I did put a lot of my artistic skills into the final result. Typically my approach is as follows:
- Choose the preset
- Choose the palette you think best suits the image
- Modify the various settings (to taste basically) eg level of realism etc
- For portraits (optionally) define a mask that tells Dynamic Auto Painter to focus on a particular area eg face and body
- START the process
- Watch carefully and STOP the process when you think you’ve achieved the best start point for the next step. This is the point where your involvement starts in perfecting your edit
- Use, as required, the various post-processing options available in Dynamic Auto Painter eg Retouch, Canvas, Colour Adjust etc to “fine tune” the result. These are hugely important in refining your artwork
- Export either as a TIFF for printing or as an sRGB for web use
- If necessary, edit using ON1, Photoshop etc to fine tune the image still further and as needed
The image created above followed this process more or less. I hadn’t use the QuickstrokeLite preset before so I wasn’t sure of the likely result but I have to say, with a little help it turned out really well. In truth I stopped the process early on once the basic subject had emerged, and then I took over to bring out the details where I thought they were inportant. There are some areas I am not 100% happy with, for example along the line of the lower right arm, but I can revisit this image later to resolve this if needed. Overall though, I am very pleased with the final result, I can see this printed and hanging on my studio wall.
Before I got to grips with Dynamic Auto Painter 7 I think I actually preferred the results out of Topaz Studio. Now though, I generally prefer what I am able to do with Dynamic Auto Painter. That is not to say that Topaz Studio is not worth a look, it really is and it’s a great way to “play around” with photo editing as art. The artwork both applications create can be truly excellent, especially if you put some effort into fine tuning the results.
If you like this article please leave a comment below. Please also feel free to share it to your webspace as well as to your facebook, twitter accounts etc. Publicity helps me hugely and makes it possible to create similar articles. If there is something in particular you like to see me work on or try-out, again please let me know.
Note: The Portrait is of musician David Youngs who performed at the Guitar Fingerstyle Festival at the Exeter Phoenix earlier in September, 2022