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Creating Watercolor Photos

Friday, March 30th, 2007 by | Filed Under: Digital Photography

Did you know that even you, the non-artist, can turn an ordinary photo into a beautiful watercolor painting that looks something like this? It’s no longer a dream. Today, you’ll learn how to make it come true for your photos!

The Watercolor filter in Photoshop is part of the artistic family of filters in the Adobe Photoshop program. The Watercolor filter produces unbelievable results that resemble a watercolor painting, just like one created by a professional artist.

Before applying the Watercolor filter, it is important to create a copy of the original image. This is a good idea, just in case you don’t like the results (which come on, is pretty much unlikely with this beautiful filter!)

To create a copy of the original image, you need to create a Duplicate Layer. Go to Image and select Duplicate. Name the duplicate image something that you can easily remember.

Now you’re all set to become a watercolor artist (don’t worry, your secret is safe!)

Since this photo is a little dark and intense, it needs to be adjusted. There are different ways to decrease the intensity of the photo before it is put through the Watercolor filter.

This way is easy, because you can control the results better.

The Brightness/Contrast box will pop up, allowing you to change the image in real time. To lighten the image, increase the brightness. You can see how light it will be before you save the changes.

Once you like what you see, click OK.

Once the image is to your liking, you can now go in and start playing with the Watercolor filter. Go to Filter and select Artistic.

From the Artistic menu, click on Watercolor.

The Watercolor menu gives you, the watercolor artist (wink, wink), a couple of different options to help you get the painting just the way you want it.

You can control how the brush looks, the shadows and even the final texture of the painting.

To make the image look like it was painted with a wide or round brush, use a larger number for the Brush Detail.

Here’s an example:

Or, make the image look like it was painted with a smaller brush, which shows more detail.

You can also change the Shadow Intensity to remove any dark portions.

Use the Texture feature to make the image look like it was painted on smooth or rough paper.

Voila! You just made a watercolor painting, without the drying time!

Now, remember to experiment with the different settings to best personalize your photo to a watercolor image!

~Veronica West

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