I love my pets and I love getting creative. Nothing allows my creativity to escape and really capture painterly portraits like Topaz Labs Impressions 2. Being able to recreate the look and stokes of some of my favorite painters — Rembrandt, Cezanne and LaSala, just to name a few.

Prepping your image

The first step, of course, is selecting your image, make sure it is well lit and focused and then using your preferred method mask out the background. In Photoshop, I like to use the Quick Selection tool and then select and mask to define the edge details.

I then bring in a texture. I used Moody Serenity (from my Paper Daisy Collection), and use that as my new background. Make sure it is below your pet picture’s layer.

Then make a new layer and paint in some shadows. Set the blend mode to Multiply and drop the opacity as required. Make another layer and paint in some highlights and set to screen mode. Make sure your pet layer is still on top.

Finally, merge everything onto a new layer and open in Topaz Labs Impressions 2 by accessing through the filter library.

Using Topaz Labs Impression 2

Once your image has opened in Topaz Labs Impressions 2, you can then select a style you like. Try Painting, Impressionists and Pencil for some great variations. I personally really like Oil Painting by Jim LaSala for this image. You can then make subtle tweaks to the settings by clicking settings in the middle.

Finishing touches

What you do to enhance your image further is really up to you. I like to apply a mask to the pet’s eye, so I can see the real eye, maybe add a highlight, vignette and possibly some contrast as well. You could even add another subtle texture over the top to finish it off.

Check out my step-by-step of how I created this sweet portrait of Dexter in the video below.