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How A Photograph Becomes A Painting - GIMP Photo Art Tutorial

Updated on August 15, 2014

Open GIMP 2.6 Open Photo With GIMP

I have used photos from Pixabay.com which have Commercial Public Domain License.
I have used photos from Pixabay.com which have Commercial Public Domain License. | Source
This is the popup which will appear when you click on Filter --  Artistic --  Apply Canvas.
This is the popup which will appear when you click on Filter -- Artistic -- Apply Canvas. | Source

Apply Canvas

We will apply a canvas filter to make the image appear to be on a canvas filter.

  • Look at the tab bar and find the word “Filter” then click on it.
  • Next scroll down to “Artistic” and another list will appear. Slide over and click on “Apply Canvas”


A pop up will appear with a preview. On this preview you will want to make the settings match this screenshot.

  • Direction is “top-right”
  • Depth is set to 4
  • NOW click OK

Now You Have A Canvas Photo

At this point you have created a photograph with a canvas texture. You might like this effect for several kinds of projects. This is often a stopping point for me when I am creating a graphic banner for Facebook, Twitter, or Websites.

At this point you have learned to:

  • Retrieve an Image from Pixabay.com with public domain commercial license.
  • Open GIMP
  • Open the licensed photograph in GIMP
  • Find the Filters tab.
  • Scroll down the dropdown menu to the Artistic section.
  • Select the Apply Canvas tool.
  • Read the popup to select canvas tool settings.
  • Transform your image.

Be sure to save your image at each step of the process!


Adjust Brightness and Contrast

Adjusting the brightness and contrast will create a less photo real palette of colors and intensity.
Adjusting the brightness and contrast will create a less photo real palette of colors and intensity. | Source

Adjust Brightness and Contrast

The Brightness and Contrast settings can be found under the tab bar section called "COLORS"

  • Click on Colors
  • Scroll down and click on 'brightness and contrast'

The pop up will show you the setting options.

  • Slide the selector or type into the field -33 for brightness
  • Slide the selector or type into the field 33 for contrast
  • Click on the OK button

Now your image has changed a bit more to create a less photo real image.

But... there is one more step before we are done.

Be sure to save your image again before moving to the next step.

The Next Step We Will Apply The Oil Paint Filter

This may be my favorite filter of all when it comes to creating photo art. In some cases this step is where you may want to stop. But I've added one more step to give your transformation a professional finish.
This may be my favorite filter of all when it comes to creating photo art. In some cases this step is where you may want to stop. But I've added one more step to give your transformation a professional finish. | Source

How To Oilify

Take a look across the tab bar again and find Filters.

  • Scroll down and select 'Artistic'
  • Slide your mouse over and scroll down to Oilify.
  • Click on Oilify and you will see another popup.

Set the Mask and Exponent settings to 4

Save Your work!

One More Step

This is the last step in creating Photo Art.

This step will be familiar as it was step one in the process.

  • Find and click on "Filters"
  • Select "Artistic" from the dropdown menu
  • Select "Apply Canvas" from the next menu that opens.

Save Your Image Again.

Below is what I have using the original Daffodil image (shown in the introduction summary) and the completed step by step process.

The Finished Photo Art Design

This is the image I have after following the steps provided above in this tutorial. Now I will display a few other images which I have created as well.
This is the image I have after following the steps provided above in this tutorial. Now I will display a few other images which I have created as well. | Source

How Can These Photo Art Images Be Used?

Now you have a photo art image and you may be wondering what to do with it.

I have used photo art many ways. Each of these options must be photos you own, have permission license to use, or are public domain with commercial license.

These are a few:

  • Creating Zazzle products (be sure the image is the suggested ppi for each product you create. When images are too small or have too few pixels per inch the finished product will be a low quality image print).
  • Creating graphics for webpages, social media banners, or printable graphics (such as book covers for example).


Let's Look At The Before and After Images

This is the original before image I downloaded from Pixabay.com which is a public domain commercial licensed image.
This is the original before image I downloaded from Pixabay.com which is a public domain commercial licensed image. | Source

After

This is the After Image. The primary steps were Apply Canvas, Adjust Brightness and Contrast, Oilify, Apply Canvas again.
This is the After Image. The primary steps were Apply Canvas, Adjust Brightness and Contrast, Oilify, Apply Canvas again. | Source

Was This Tutorial Helpful?

5 out of 5 stars from 4 ratings of GIMP Photo Art Tutorial

© 2014 Deb Bryan

Let's Chat About GIMP

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  • MarleneB profile image

    Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from Northern California, USA

    It's amazing what we can do through technology. This is a very helpful tutorial for using GIMP to turn a photograph into a painting.

  • GypsyOwl profile image
    Author

    Deb Bryan 3 years ago from Chico California

    Thank you, Pam.

  • Pam Irie profile image

    Pam Irie 3 years ago from Land of Aloha

    This was a wonderful tutorial!

  • GypsyOwl profile image
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    Deb Bryan 3 years ago from Chico California

    Thank you, Annie!

  • annieangel1 profile image

    Ann 3 years ago from Yorkshire, England

    great hub Debs

  • GypsyOwl profile image
    Author

    Deb Bryan 3 years ago from Chico California

    Hello, Brian. Thank you! Yes the GIMP is a free photo editing program. All the details are at GIMP.org. Have a great weekend. Deb

  • BrianRS profile image

    Brian Stephens 3 years ago from France

    Looks like GIMP is a great photo editing tool and I believe it's free. Nice effect as well.

  • GypsyOwl profile image
    Author

    Deb Bryan 3 years ago from Chico California

    Thank you, William! I am delighted it is helpful. Have a great weekend, Deb

  • GypsyOwl profile image
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    Deb Bryan 3 years ago from Chico California

    Thank you, Favored and Homeplace Series! I hope you have fun using GIMP. Thanks for dropping by and saying 'hello'

  • Homeplace Series profile image

    William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

    Oh, my! Great tutorial, for sure. Thanks for sharing this great information. Very useful! ;-)

  • favored profile image

    Fay Favored 3 years ago from USA

    This is something I'd like to do, but simply didn't understand it. Thanks for the information and lesson.

  • GypsyOwl profile image
    Author

    Deb Bryan 3 years ago from Chico California

    HealthfulMD The image is set as tiled and it is 640 x 426 with a 322KB files size. I don't know what the maximum image size is for the HP background. There may be something about it in the help files.

    Thank you, Everyone! I've been offline a few days visiting my daughter and granddaughters. I'm so delighted the tutorial is helpful and will spark your imagination.

  • HealthfulMD profile image

    Kirsti A. Dyer 3 years ago from Northern California

    Great tutorial. Very nice that you used it for your background profile image. What was the size? I was having problems figuring how what size to use for the profile background. Thanks.

  • Richard-H profile image

    Richard 3 years ago from Surrey, United Kingdom

    Thanks for the very useful tutorial, Deb. I have GIMP on my second laptop, but not this one. Need to download :)

  • SusanDeppner profile image

    Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

    Nice tutorial on a subject that I'm pretty shy about tackling. That's a beautiful picture!

  • colorfulone profile image

    Susie Lehto 3 years ago from Minnesota

    This is so cool. I still have not tried this myself.

    Great to see you on HubPages.

  • GypsyOwl profile image
    Author

    Deb Bryan 3 years ago from Chico California

    Thank you, Linda Jo. Yes this would make a fabulous book cover design. Make sure you use a photo with the required ppi (or dpi) and set the proper ppi with GIMP in the 'advanced' settings (YOU will see this option when you are saving the image).

  • Linda BookLady profile image

    Linda Jo Martin 3 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

    What a great idea! I will try this - maybe I could use it for one of my book covers.

  • GypsyOwl profile image
    Author

    Deb Bryan 3 years ago from Chico California

    Thank you, Brenda. I have a transfer pending to move lenses into hubs. I'm looking forward to revising them when they get here to fit the layouts here. All the best to you, Deb

  • TreasuresBrenda profile image

    Treasures By Brenda 3 years ago from Canada

    Great tutorial, Deb. May it be the first of many successful hubs here at Hubpages.

  • GypsyOwl profile image
    Author

    Deb Bryan 3 years ago from Chico California

    Thank you, Sherry! I love GIMP and I love to teach about how to use it. HEART HUG

  • profile image

    Ibidii 3 years ago

    Your GIMP tutorial is great Deb!

  • GypsyOwl profile image
    Author

    Deb Bryan 3 years ago from Chico California

    Thank you, Ana! I am delighted you enjoyed my GIMP tutorial. Thank you for the warm welcome to HubPages. I'm looking forward to learning more about it.

  • erorantes profile image

    Ana Maria Orantes 3 years ago from Miami Florida

    Thank for teaching how to make the art painting on the screen miss gypsyowl. It is wonderful to do art. Life is pleasant and beautiful . You are good. I like your hub.