AB Friday. Making an Abstract.

I have missed the past few AB Friday Forums due to my schedule. It has been a bit hectic so I thought I would make an abstract that reflected my life lately: hectic, full of color and a bit blurry.

To do this, I started with a picture taken on my recent trip to Jamaica. It shows some local paintings of various Jamaican scenes. They are in vivid colors with stark black contrasts.

AB 22 May Michelle Lunato Before

To make an abstract, I have no set list of steps. It is just what the name suggests – a difficult to explain process. According to dictionary.com, abstract art is “of or relating to the formal aspect of art, emphasizing lines, colors, generalized or geometrical forms.” I am not an art major or even well-versed in the different types of art, but to me, taking a normal pictures and distorting it is MY way of making abstract art. 

I just keep playing around with different filters and steps until I like what I see. Sometimes I revert a few steps if I don’t like the direction it is going, or if the next attempt is just too much.

As you can see, it is not a prescribed list of steps that would work on any given photo. It also depends on the photographer’s style and mood. Assuredly, not all viewers will like all abstracts as well. Just like any photography, sometimes it really speaks to people, and sometimes…not at all.

As a summary of my recent activities, this abstract reflects my life.

AB 22 May- Michelle Lunato After

To get this look, here are the steps I took in Photoshop CS5:

  • Created another layer of the photo. (This way I could go back to the original as needed and discard my attempts if I got to far and didn’t like them.)
  • Applied the Poster Edge filter with an edge thickness of 7, edge intensity of 5, and posterization of 5.
  • Added the Liquify option. (All I can say for this part is that I ran the mouse all over the photo in random lines and swirls as I wanted. This pulls parts of the photo here and there.)
  • Applied the Paint Daub filter with a brush size of 7, sharpness of 6 and a type of wide blurry.
  • Flipped the edited layer horizontally over the original. Now, only a part of the photo was showing.
  • Applied HDR Toning to the photo (this merges the two layers together, which doesn’t mater as the original was hidden behind the top distorted layer anyway) that included these settings: details -100, saturation -27, vibrance +63 and strength +1.27.

And bam, you have an abstract.

To me, this photo screamed bold color for the fun I had. However, the colors are somewhat muted, showing some restraint on the fun due to some issues. The haphazard lines of the photo are very symbolic for my thoughts over the last few weeks. They were all over the place.

What do you see when you see this? Or, what would you have tried with this photo?

If you are not familiar with the AB Friday Forum, please go to Stacy’s blog, Visual Venturing. She posts a ton of great photos, and on forum days, she includes some great videos tutorials on how to do a variety of edits. It really is wonderful.

For the AB Friday Forum, she lists all the links of the contributors, with their after-before photos as well. And once a month, the photographers in the AB Friday community, edit the same photo. This is a special treat as we all get to see a number of interpretations of editing on the same photo.

It truly is a great challenge so I urge you to check it out. Just click on the badge to go to Stacy’s post for this week.



18 thoughts on “AB Friday. Making an Abstract.

    1. You hit the nail on the head Ben. I think this is where I am going with my OK shots. If they don’t impress me, I make them “art.” Then, I don’t feel like a wasted the shot I may not otherwise show the public. It’s like photographic repurposing, lol.


  1. I really like this! I don’t know why but I see frogs in this… looking at the before it’s palm trees and people dancing, so I don’t know what that says about my state of mind. Haha. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. It is fun just totally creating a new photo from something. Watching the colors and textures blend…it is kind of like painting but less messy. (And I am not a good painter so a lot more pretty this way, lol.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m sorry your life is such a hectic, crazy place right now, Michelle, but I love the visual representation of it! It’s a great abstract filled with wonderful colors – who would have thought your original photo could be turned into this??

    By the way, that liquify option is really awesome. I definitely need to get into those PS menus and just play. And another P.S. – thanks for all the wonderful things you said about ABF/1PF – best.community.ever 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Stacy. It is starting to calm down some, but hey, such is life:) It could always be worse so I am thankful for a lot.
      Yeah, I am not really skilled with the liquify options. But I can make some wackiness for sure. Maybe with practice I can liquify portraits and have people lose 10 pounds like they always ask, lol.
      Oh, no problem on the nice words. They are the truth so they needed to be said:) Since I started blogging your forum has been so welcoming and nice to me. I appreciate that so much as I was a bit afraid to start my blogs. Now, I wish I would have started sooner.

      Liked by 1 person

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