How to Make a Photo Look Like a Painting in Photoshop
Other Photoshop Tutorials
Make a Photo Look Like a Painting
It is really easy to take one of your favorite photos and make it look like a painting in Photoshop. With just a few very simple steps you can begin turning all your photos into images that look like paintings. Many people like to do this, because they prefer to hang stylized paintings in their home rather than realistic photos. Many people feel a painting has a much more gentle and artistic feel that suits most home decor. Plus, I need to mention that this tutorial is a lot of fun.
We will be using Photoshop CS4 for this tutorial; you may need to make adjustments to this tutorial if you are using a different version of Photoshop.
Step 1: First you will need to open a file to work with. I recommend using a photo of a landscape like the one in this tutorial. This technique doesn't work will with portraits in my opinion.
Step 2: Once you have selected a file to work with you will need to create a duplicate layer of the original layer. You can do this by right clicking on the original layer and selecting duplicate layer. You should now have two layers. One should say "background" and the other should say "background copy" assuming that you did not change the names manually. We will want to work off the layer called "background copy" so make sure it is highlighted blue.
Step 3: Now we need to blur this layer using the Gaussian Blur filter. The Gaussian Blur filter is located in the menu bar located at the top of your screen. You should select Filter -->Blur --> Gaussian Blur. This will cause a new window to appear.
Step 4: The new window will have a slider and a preview of your image, but zoomed in. In this window you will need to choose how blurry you would like your photo to be. You want it to look blurry, but still be able to determine what the picture might be. I recommend that you use a setting between three and ten. When you have decided upon a setting you can click the OK button.
Step 5: Lastly you want to change the blending mode of the layer you just blurred. Be sure you have the blurred layer selected. Now change the blending mode from normal to darken. The blending mode setting can be found in the top left corner of the layers box. Once you have changed the blending mode your photo will be complete.
Turn All Your Pictures into Paintings
Yes, it is that easy to make all your pictures look like a painting. Now that you know this really simple method, you can start having fun and turn all pictures into paintings. Before you get started I want to tell you a few optional tips to improve your pictures that you turn into paintings:
- When you are done with this tutorial try making a Vibrance adjustment. Often times the blur and darken blend will cause your colors to appear more dull. A quick Vibrance adjustment should boost your colors and make the picture look more painterly.
- You may also want to make a levels adjustment to get rid of the gray haze that can sometimes appear over the photo.
- I like to sharpen each image as well using the "Smart Sharpen" option. You may find that you need to use lower settings than normal when dealing with pictures that have this painterly effect.
- Lastly, make sure you choose the right photo for this method. I personally feel that landscape photos work best with this tutorial.