The combined shot above was part of a hand held 3 exposure shot. But you can use any sort of shot to get a painted or almost illustrated effect using any photo editing program and Topaz plug ins.
So here is the original which really doesn't look very much like anything I'd like to save.
Above is the final edited version.
My advice is if you are thinking of any Topaz products, use their 30 day free trial first. I use Adjust, Simplify, Clean, and Topaz BW Effects 2, along with ReMask.
I'm not sure I need all of their products, but these ones suit me well and work with Elements, CS2, and Corel Paint Shop Pro.
I usually start out with making a duplicate layer of the original and then take that layer into Adjust 5.
I used the setting called Black Rose for this particular shot. Then edited the sliders until I had what I wanted.
I decided a while ago that these particular settings were useful enough for certain kinds of nature shots.
So I used the 'save' button and labeled this for my own use.
Back into the editing program...
Next step was to take it to Simplify.
Now with Simplify there are a lot of options also. I play with the slider until I get a slightly 'flatter' less detailed look but with 'enough' detail to make things look interesting.
You have to experiment with this.
You are editing here for the edges that will be produced in Clean.
I try to keep my layers seperate and labeled always duplicating what I just did. This way I can change the opacity of one of more layers, or even erase something to bring out texture from the layer below.
Next I do something a bit different. Clean seems to work best for this effect with photos that have 200 pixels per inch, not the normal 300. So I change that and then take it into Clean.
When done with this step I study it for a bit and then resize back to the original size.
Sometimes this can be tricky, but worth the effort.
Here is a sample of what I did while photographing and writing one of the latest books I did about Morris and his toy adventures.
I used some very heavy handed editing to make the photo look as if it were an illustration.