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Turning a photo into a painting or a drawing

The Oil Paint filter turns a photo into a quasi oil painting. You can’t vary the size or direction of the brush strokes in different parts of the image, but it does produce some rich textural effects—and it’s a fun filter to play with. Note: For this filter to work, Use Graphics Processor must be checked in Preferences > Performance.

To turn a photo into an oil painting brown-star.jpg

  1. Duplicate an image layer in an RGB image, then right-click the duplicate and choose Convert to Smart Object. Keep the Smart Object selected. A


    A This is the original photo.

  2. Choose Filter > Oil Paint. In the Oil Paint dialog, zoom in on the preview so you’ll be able to examine the shape of the brush strokes.B
  3. Under Brush and Lighting, adjust the sliders:

    Stylization controls the smoothness of the strokes.

    Cleanliness controls the purity of (amount of color variegation in) the colors.

    Scale controls the width of the strokes.

    Bristle Detail controls the visibility of bristle marks in the paint strokes.

    Angular Direction controls the position of the highlights on the paint surface.

    Shine controls the intensity of highlight reflections on the paint surface. This slider has a strong impact.

  4. Click OK C (and AD, next page).

The Oil Paint Filter Plus the Palette Knife Filter and Adjustments


A In this image, we converted a duplicate of the Background to a Smart Object.


B To the Smart Object, we applied the Palette Knife filter (Filter Gallery), then the Oil Paint filter (settings shown above).


C We lowered the Opacity of the Smart Object to 66%, then used a Levels adjustment layer to boost the contrast and a Vibrance adjustment layer to boost the color intensity slightly.

In these steps, you’ll turn a photo into a watercolor by applying a series of filters. Try devising some of your own formulas, too!

To turn a photo into a tinted drawing

  1. Duplicate an image layer in a high-resolution photo.A

    A We duplicated the Background in this original image.

  2. Choose Filter > Stylize > Find Edges.B

    B We applied the Find Edges filter to the duplicate layer.

  3. Choose the Brush tool.brush.jpg Choose a large, Soft Round brush, Normal mode, and an Opacity below 50% on the Options bar. Also make the Foreground color black.
  4. Click the Add Layer Mask button add-layer-mask.jpg on the Layers panel, then with the layer mask thumbnail selected, apply strokes to the image to reveal areas of the underlying layer.
  5. Do any of the following optional steps:

    Lower the Opacity of the duplicate layer.

    Change the blending mode of the duplicate layer (try Lighter Color, Color Dodge, Hard Light, Pin Light, or Luminosity).CD


    C This is the Layers panel for the final image, which is shown at right.


    D We applied brush strokes to the layer mask to reveal some of the underlying image, and chose Hard Light as the blending mode for the duplicate layer.

    Intensify the contrast via a Levels adjustment layer.

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