Adobe Photoshop CS6’s filter gallery is a popular technique for making your screenshots look artsy, but it’s not quite as effective when dealing with NPCs because it mostly just blurs their faces. Still, I’ve found it’s remarkable how much mileage you can get out of ordinary screenshots when you apply the right filter.
This is just done with the standard CS6 oil paint filter. I just played around with the sliders until I got the desired result. I also noticed if you raise the SHINE slider you get pure nightmare fuel, so I’d advise against doing that.
Of course, rather than mess around with the filters, it’s always easier to just install a plugin. Right now I’m trying out Topaz Simplify, and it’s pretty fucking boss. For instance, the picture at the top of the post is Meresine approaching a Giant Camp, done with Dynamic Boost plus some additional saturation to bring out the colors.
However, I think it’s with these pictures that the plugin really shines, and best of all, they require little to no adjustment. This shot of Anum-La‘s tree is just a standard PAINTING IV setting. The picture below is the same with added brightness.
The Talos Shrine where you meet Meresine is above. Given it was night it required raising the brightness slider a ton, but the plugin really brings out the colors when you do. Riften’s fairly bright so there was no need to brighten or saturate the other one. It’s a shot of Lurgok watching over the bones of his offering to Malacath.
Topaz also has a watercolor filter, but it requires some additional brightness and saturation to get it to look right. I still prefer the PAINTING II and PAINTING IV settings overall, but it’s always good to experiment and see what comes out. This shot of Viranya was done with the WATERCOLOR II setting.
In any event, if you have Adobe Photoshop CS6, it’s a pretty cool plugin to have. Works well with Skyrim screenshots anyway. It’d be interesting to see how it does with real life photos, but that would require going outside.