Longtime Lensbaby photographer, Anita Kram sometimes likes to enhance her miniature macro scenes with a little extra magic using Procreate. She explains how she uses the post-processing software below.
The idea of using Procreate to enhance my images came from an Instagram friend. She asked if she could use a few of my pictures as backgrounds for her drawings. She can actually draw the little fairies that seem to have escaped my lens!
I love to capture a bit of magic in my pictures and Lensbaby lenses do that so very well. By using a shallow depth of field, large parts of my images consist of bokeh or blur and form a nice canvas for imaginary flowers, leaves or anything else I come up with. I also sometimes like to add sparkles or some extra bokeh. There are several apps I have used but Procreate is the best by far. Procreate is a drawing app for iPad or iPhone (Procreate Pocket). I find it works best on my iPad with an Apple pencil.
Instead of starting with a blank canvas, you can import an image. It does import and save tiff-files (and JPEG, PSD, PNG, and PDF). If you are familiar with photoshop, then you will find it easy to work with. You can also access tutorials on their website and YouTube that quickly teach you the basics. You work in layers, making selections, changing contrast or colour, and blending in different ways. It’s also possible to import more than one picture, for instance, to add texture layers. There are many brushes to choose from and you can paint, smudge, or erase. You can even create your own brushes! The brushes themselves have many options for rendering.
I use what is already there and just let it happen naturally. You can always undo what you don’t like! I tend to start with the smudge tool. This way I can use the colours in the image. When I am satisfied with the basic shape I love to add some light. For this, I use the paint tool and the luminance brushes. The luminance brushes contain a Lightpen, Bokeh Lights and Glimmer, amongst others. With all the brushes, you have control over the size and the opacity. These brushes really add the extra magic! I also love spraypants! When you want to change the size or shape of part of the image, it is possible to select and warp. When I am happy with the result I change the contrast a bit, add some light to my main feature and save it as a tiff-file.
One of the fun things about Procreate is that it records a time-lapse video of every step you made while making your artwork.
If you want to try this I suggest you watch a few tutorials and start drawing on a blank canvas. This will give you an idea of how to use the brushes, how to change the colour, and undo and redo quickly. Just play with it! The app is not expensive. It works best with a stylus or pencil that allows you to use pressure to control the strokes, but if you first want to try it you can even use your fingers.
Below are a few examples of my original Lensbaby pictures, and the afters with the edits. I love to create light and let my imagination take over!