Oil Painting Time-lapse: The Jade Pond

This is something I've been wanting to do for some time now: record a time-lapse of me doing an oil painting.

Usually I use a set of painting knives to lay the paint on the canvas. However, this time I decided to use brushes since I have not used brushes in a long time. First, I start with a ground of burnt sienna on stretched canvas. The burnt sienna sparkles through the semi-transparent layers of paint, adding a vibrancy to the finished painting. I then draw in the shapes of the lily pads. Next comes the water. I finish the painting by embellishing the lily pads, adding the lily flower, and signing the painting. I did it all in one day. There is something about painting that makes you forget the passage of time.

The time-lapse was taken with my Canon 5D Mark II. I used a 24-70mm f2.8 L lens. In retrospect, I should have stuck with using one of my old manual Nikor lenses so as to avoid flickering between shots. I attempted to use LRTimelapse to deflicker, but something went wrong that I could not figure. Oh, well... I continue to experiment with it. I love the idea of documenting the development of the paintings I do. It helps me to remember the process I used for each painting. Having a record of the creation of the painting would, I think, also enhance the value to my customers who purchase the painting. They now have a record of how it was created, adding an additional connection with the artist.

Below is the finished painting. Yes, it's for sale. Contact me by email if you are interested.

Update on Monday, January 30, 2012

I rendered another version of the time-lapse, this time bypassing the use of LRTimelapse. I adjusted the exposure for one image in Adobe Bridge Camera Raw, and pasted that setting into all the images. And now there is very little flicker. One advantage of shooting in RAW is the lattitude you have in adjusting the image. I still haven't figured out what is happening with LRTimelapse. People are swearing by this app as the end-all in deflickering, but so far my results have only worsen the end result. I must be missing something in the workflow.

Update on Tuesday, January 31, 2012

OK. I've got it now. It's not LRTimelapse. The key is to open your RAW sequence first in LRTimelapse, allow it to create the meta-data files, save, and then open in Adobe Bridge. In Adobe Bridge, you then Select All the thumbnails and open in Adobe Camera Raw. Select the first image, make whatever adjustments you need, and then click Synchronize. Finally, open the last thumbnail and adjust as needed (say for instance you want the white-balance to change over time - LRTimelapse is going to allow you to keyframe that). Click Done and you're, well, done. Go back to LRTimelapse, which should still be open and reload. Now you can deflicker and save.

The video tutorials on RAW workflow for time-lapse using Adobe Bridge and LRTimelapse appear to have this wrong, and also leave out some key details. I'll try to do a video tutorial soon that is more accurate.

VideoCarl Olson