Painting Machines:

Open any image to start with. this could be a jpeg photograph or a
drawing. try to choose something with not too much white in it. this
can cause problems though once you're comfortable with the process
you can fill the white with a colour of your choice. look for
something that has several colours. it can be people, buildings,
gardens - anything. we're not going to be precious here because this
will just be the base for our start image.

Under image>image size turn off constrain proportions but check
resample. set the resolution to 180 ppi and the dimensions to 20" x
20". choose bicubic smoother and click OK. yes we are distorting the
image but that doesn't matter for our end result.

At this point you need the actions palette. click on the small arrow
to the right and from the drop down menu choose new set and name it
painting machines. in the actions palette click on this set to
highlight it and again from the drop down menu choose new action and
name it "your name painting machine source" click ok.

Now select that action in the action palette and click on the record
button (the round icon). we will now start recording.

The first thing to do is break up our image and it can be done two
ways. you have to choose one of the following

1. the first is to choose filter>artistic>cutout. set the sliders to
levels 8, edge simplicity 6 and edge fidelity 1. click OK.

2. the scond choice is filter>distort>wave. choose these settings:
number of generators 3 or 5. wavelength min 392 max 987; amlitude min
604 max 999; horiz 100 vert 76. now you can choose the type. look in
the preview window and choose one of the three that appeals to you:
sine, triangle, square. and for now choose wrap around in the
undefined areas. later when you make more machines you can play
around with all these settings. click OK

Now we are going to add more colour and lines to our image by
choosing filter>brush strokes>accented edges. choose a fairly small
edge width say 1 or 2. choose edge brightness closer to 40, and
smoothness of 6. click OK

We will stop recording now. click on the square button at the bottom
of the action palette.

Save your image as a photoshop document and call it source image 1.
from this image you will be able to choose several images to continue

Choose the crop tool. in the tool bar set the size to 20" high x 20 "
wide and set the resolution to 180 ppi.

Look at your source image and with the crop tool drag over a section
that appeals to you. you can later come back and choose another
section and run that through the second painting machine again.

Hit enter when you've found your crop. save as a photo shop document
with a name like painting 1 or something more inventive. don't worry
about how this looks though sometimes you want to quit right here
because it does look good.

Now for our second painting machine.

On the actions palette highlight the name of your set. from the drop
down menu choose new action and name it "your name painting machine 1
final" click OK

Highlight your new action. click the record button (the round one) at
the bottom of the actions palette.

The first step is to break up the image a bit more by running
filter>artistic>cutout with the settings 8, 6, 1. click OK

Next we want to change the edges or even the whole thing a bit. from
the filter menu choose one from any of the artistic, brush strokes,
distort (glass or ripple) , pixelate (crystallize, mosaic,
pointillize) or texture (craqueleur, mosaic or stained glass). play
around and then click OK

Now we will add some texture to the flat parts of the image. go to
filter>distort>diffuse glow and use the following settings:
graininess 5, glow mount 7 and clear amount 15. click OK

Duplicate the background layer by dragging it to the icon at the
bottom of the layers palette or from the layer menu choose new>layer
from background.

Here comes the fun part:

Go to filter>distort>shear. you see a vertical line unless you've
used this recently. anywhere you click in the line you can drag out a
curve. you can reposition the top and bottom of the line. make an
interesting curve. but don't make it too extreme. watch your preview
window. make sure to check wrap around in the undefined areas box.
then click OK

We are going to repeat this three more times rotating the layer. you
can choose to keep the same settings in which case you will have a
definite centre bit to your final painting. or you can change the
curve each time.

We want to rotate the layer we are working from. there are two ways
to rotate. from the image menu you can rotate the whole canvas but we
want to rotate only the layer so do it from the edit menu. choose
transform>rotate 90 degrees cw.

Now repeat the shear. filter>distort>shear if you want to change your
curve. or just choose shear from the top of the filter menu to repeat
the same shear as last time.

Rotate the layer as before edit>transform>rotate 90 degrees cw

Again filter>distort> shear

Rotate edit>transform>rotate 90 cw


From the layers palette set the blending mode for the layer we've
been working on to difference

From the layers menu choose flatten image

Duplicate the background layer as you've done before.

With the background copy layer active choose filter>sylize>emboss.
use the settings angle -90, height 3, and amount 200. click OK

Set the blending mode for the current layer to overlay

Flatten your image from the layers palette.

Stop the recording by clicking the square button at the bottom of the
layers palette.

This is almost your final image. if it is too dark you might want to
adjust the levels from image>adjustments>levels by moving just the
centre slider to the left a bit. play around until you like what you
see. and click OK. you might want to change the colours by using
image>adjustments>hue and saturation. in this window you can do
global colour changes or just change one colour.

Click on your image with the magnifying glass until you are viewing
at 50%. look at the magnification in the bottom left corner of your
image window. this will give you an indication of how your image will
print. viewing at 12.5, 25, 50 % gives you the most accurate views.
any others are dithered and can look blurry or pixelated.

Save your image.

Now you should click on the name of your set to highlight it and
from the dropdown menu on the actions palette choose save actions.
you can now trde your action set with others and mix up the source
actions and the final painting actions.