Family photos are one of the biggest treasures that most people have.
They help remember some of the most precious memories with the people closest to us, allowing us to go back in time and revisit the good times and important occasions.
Because of that, many people want to turn their regular photos into digital portraits that will give new life to the memories and make them a true work of art.
And the good news is, there are many ways you can do that, even if you don’t have any previous experience.
Let’s look at some of the best ways to convert family photos into a digital portrait.
How to Create a Digital Portrait at Home
Usually, companies that offer various digitization services, such as a VHS to digital service or photo digitization, can help you with digital portraits as well.
But if you don’t want to hire a company that offers a portrait-making and photo digitizing service, there are ways how you can create digital portraits on your own.
But to do that, you’ll need to have a good understanding of the required tools, the software that should be used, and the process that should be followed.
Let’s look at each of these below.
The Tools That You’ll Need
Creating a digital portrait from photos is not an easy process. In fact, you’ll need to have complete control of the brush and the touches that you add if you don’t want the photographs to end up looking unnatural.
Even with the right equipment, mastering the process will take time, although the right tools to make a huge difference and will make the task much more manageable.
While you could theoretically create digital portraits on your computer, the amount of detail you can add with a mouse is quite limited. So, your best bet is to opt for a drawing tablet and an art pen.
That way, you’ll be able to mimic the process of painting, guiding your hand through even the most delicate details and adding little touches that will take the digital portraits into a whole new level.
In fact, you might even want to use an airbrush if you want to give your family photos more complex shades and hues.
The Software You Should Use
When it comes to photo editing software, Adobe Photoshop is hard to beat in terms of the vast array of features that it offers. When you need to retouch your family photos or prepare them for the digital painting process, having Photoshop will make your life much easier and produce much better results.
However, when it comes to creating a digital portrait, many artists find Corel Painter software to be a better option.
It provides more tools, has a more intuitive workflow for painting, and is generally thought to be better suited for the task of turning photos into beautiful digital portraits.
It offers a wide range of brushes, effects, and tools that make it easier to realize your creative vision, no matter what direction you want to go in.
Now that we’ve looked at the tools that you should get and the software that you should use, we can start going through the actual process of turning the photos into beautiful digital portraits.
Preparing the Photo
Before you can get to painting, you will need to get the photo prepared to be worked on. If you use a professional photo digitizing service, you can ask them to digitize your family photos and remove anything that you don’t want to be included.
Some things that you might want to remove are items that aren’t necessary, obstructions to the image, hard-to-paint objects, or anything else that would diminish the result.
You should seek to make the painting process as simple and convenient as possible, so removing any obstructions or things that could make the painting look unnatural is an essential step that you should go through.
If some areas or details are not fully present in the image, you might also be able to include them using editing tools.
If you want the portrait to be in black and white, you should also remove the colors before saving the image for painting.
Creating the Digital Portrait
At this point, you’re finally ready to get started on the fun part, which is the painting of the digital portrait on top of your family photo.
As mentioned before, Coral Paint software is an indispensable tool for the process, and having a tablet and an art pen is also very helpful if you want to achieve the best results.
First, set up a color palette depending on the types of colors that you want to use. Usually, you should base the colors on the original ones on the image, but you can also choose to enhance the digital portrait using different shades and even new colors altogether.
Then, set up the transparency level on the overlapping image and your painting project, so that you always see the image you’re working off while still clearly seeing what you’re doing.
It’s a good idea to create one additional layer to play on before you begin. You should try out different colors, test out ideas, and get familiar with the project so that you know exactly what works best and have a clearer vision of what you want to accomplish.
There are countless brushes that you can choose from, which can be overwhelming at the start. Try not to get overwhelmed and pick a few options to get started.
Look for which brush strokes and patterns best recreate different parts of the portrait, and start going through different details, filling out the photo and turning it into a beautiful digital portrait.
Finally, decide what type of background you want to use, experimenting with various patterns until you find something that enhances the portrait and makes it stand out.
Make sure that the background patterns don’t become overwhelming, as you want the portrait itself to be the focus. It’s usually better to keep the background less busy and more neutral, as that allows the primary colors of the portrait to really pop.