Digital Nature Study


Using Pixelmator, you can enhance any picture you get your hands on. But if you tried enhancing pictures or compositions drawn by hand, then it gets a lot more exciting.

I drew and painted a bougainvillea using watercolours, and I decided to see what I could do to it.

Here is what I drew, and I transferred it to my Mac using a Nikon 5100. My scanner wasn't big enough, so I had to use a DSLR.

Original Image
The latest version of Pixelmator with it's very convenient new Effect menu(command-3), it is extremely simple to apply filters.

Image in pixelmator

Before applying any filters, try to enhance the image first, and make it look natural. I increased the exposure so that it was slightly brighter than what I had taken a picture of initially.

I started applying a variety of effects, and sometimes also combining a few of them. But as you'll notice, your drawing and painting skills do play a large role in applying the various filters. A DSLR will pick out even the most minute details and every shade will be visible. So, a well painted drawing will be a better candidate to apply the filters on.

The advantage of drawing and painting by hand is that you can control the end result, and control it till the very end. It is a lot easier than clicking a picture of a plant, and having to include some unwanted elements in the photograph. While painting, you can also odd some unique strokes and play with brush styles so that when editing on the Mac, you can bring out some beautiful details and strokes with the various filters. So a lot of hard work has to go in the drawing and painting part. Watercolours is the best medium to work with, as it gives the best rendering and is mostly water, so it doesn't have too much pigment to ruin the rendering.

Here's what I ended up with,



Line Dye
(One of the best looking ones)

City Lights


Colour Control


As you may have noticed, every single stroke of the brush, and the pigment which gets collected at certain areas makes a huge difference when the filters are applied. These are some stunning wallpapers that you can create yourself. I also tried similar effects with another drawing. Those looked uniquely interesting as well.

Colour Invert+Threshold

Colour Invert+Comic

Colour Invert with Luminance

City Lights

Line Dye

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what do you think?