Painted Peacock


Painted Peacock art. First thoughts on Photoshop CC and exploring a creative technique using Photoshop Actions.


Hi there, just a few miles away in Sheffield, we discovered a delightful animal sanctuary: The Tropical Butterfly House – Wildlife And Falconry Centre. On the day, I photographed a variety of animals, and got some really fab pics! My featured friendly peacock was happy enough to pose for me, and I felt this would be a great subject to test some Photoshop Actions.

Now, I have used Photoshop Elements for many years, it is easy to use and brilliant for most techniques I personally use to create my art. However, I have been longing to try out some of the more complex actions which sadly, don’t work with Elements. Temptation won out, and I purchased a couple of art actions from Graphic River along with the subscription version of Photoshop Creative Cloud to enable me to use them.


Original Photograph – Amanda Lakey
Painted Peacock Art – Amanda Lakey

Photoshop Actions are designed to speed up the creative workflow and achieve certain tasks within a few minutes. In essence, they perform a series of recorded steps to achieve an effect without having to manually apply each process.

Wouldn’t it be so magical if I could turn photos into art just like that! I was excited at the prospect of this huge timesaver, but unfortunately I did NOT get the results shown in my final artwork.  It’s no hardship really as I love to play with design, but actions are supposed to take minutes, and I spent many hours on this work going back and forth – back and forth.

  • I needed to turn many of the action layers off due to blur.
  • I had to experiment a lot with blending modes and opacity on each layer.
  • I used layer masking to bring back areas of my photo for sharpness.
  • I added several of my own textures to the mix.
  • Finally I used Topaz plugins to achieve the art result shown.

If you have viewed my Portfolio, you will notice that my preference for photographic art is to achieve a high level of photo realism. I found that the PS action reduced the clarity and sharpness of my original photo too much for my preference. It’s fair to say that without using the action, I could have created a very similar look using my regular method in Photoshop Elements.

However, I am very satisfied to finally have a go! The action was inexpensive, and it was a fun learning experience for me. However, I’m not sure I will be rushing to purchase more art actions at this point in time.

As for Photoshop Creative Cloud, It’s true it has quite a steep learning curve, but being familiar with Elements helps a lot, and it really does seem more user friendly than desktop versions I have trialled over the years. I am enjoying using it and discovering new ways of doing things and have decided to keep the subscription – which incidently also includes Lightroom, an online Portfolio and a few other benefits yet to explore.

Although I don’t especially need all of the benefits over and above Elements, I have already found that some features are definitely worth the subscription. The Puppet Warp tool is truly amazing! That tool alone will really help with my design work, although not necessarily my texture work. I am definitely hooked and looking forward to discovering more of the features in Photoshop CC.


This artwork is available, you can view the Portfolio project here.

Thank you for visiting today…

©  Copyright Protected – Published 2018 by Amanda Jane.



5 thoughts on “Painted Peacock

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.