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The Best Watercolor Painting Effect

By Thursday, May 10, 2018 (MDT) 10 Comments

Creative Team Member, Viv Halliwell, shares her techniques to The Best Watercolor Painting Effect.

The Best Watercolor Painting Effect

There are many ways to create a watercolor effect in Photoshop.

I have searched for the best results and I believe I have found the best work around,  based on Marty at Blue Lightning’s Youtube Tutorial.

1. Select your photo.

Choose your image carefully.

  • This technique works best with a landscape image.
  • Select a high definition image with plenty of prominent features and color i.e. buildings seascapes etc.

I wanted my image to be full size. 

  • Save your photo as a new document and close your original photo.
  • Change it’s name to PHOTO .

Go to Image > Image Size

I kept my resolution at 300 dpi, and in the top box (pixel dimensions), I changed the width to 12 inches (3600 px) this automatically changed the height to 9 inches (2700 px).

The Best Watercolor Painting Effect

2. Layer Duplication

Duplicate and rename the photo layers.

  • Press CTRL/CMD + J twice.
  • Name the top layer ‘PENCIL LINES’
  • Turn off the visibility of the layer.

3. Add Filters

Apply the Smart Blur Filter.

  • Name the middle layer ‘SMART BLUR’
  • Go to Filter> Blur> Smart Blur
  • I used a Radius of 10, Threshold 30 and Quality High.

Apply the Glowing Edges Filter.

  • Turn on the visibility of the ‘PENCIL LINES’ layer in the Layers Panel.
  • Go to Filter> Filter Gallery> Stylize> Glowing Edges.
  • I chose an Edge Width of 1, Edge Brightness 12, and Smoothness 15.
  • ( If you want a sketchy effect increase the edge width and brightness).
  • Go to Select> Inverse (CTRL/CMD + I).
  • Then Image> Adjustments> Desaturate (SHIFT + CTRL/CMD +U)
  • Apply the MULTIPLY Blending Mode at an Opacity of 80%.

5. Add BrushWork

Use brushes and Blending Modes on duplicate layer to a create visual interest.

Apply Color Dodge to a Copy Layer:

  • Select the ‘SMART BLUR’ layer in the Layers Panel.
  • Duplicate the layer to create a copy (CTRL/CMD +J).
  • Rename the layer ‘BRUSH’.
  • Invert (CTRL/CMD + I) the layer.
  • Change the Blending Mode to Color Dodge.

Load Legacy Brushes:

  • Go to your brush library and load the original PS brushes (Legacy brushes).
  • To access , open the Brush Panel and click on the gear icon (top right) to activate the fly-out menu.
  • Select Legacy Brushes.

Apply Dry Brush:

  • Choose the DRY BRUSH with an Opacity of 10% and reduce the Flow to about 50%.
  • Brush lightly and randomly all over your image.

Apply Wet Media Brush:

  • Select the WET MEDIA from the Legacy Brushes
  • Choose WATERCOLOR TEXTURE SURFACE at 50% Opacity and Flow.
  • Lightly brush all over your image – You will find if you over-brush, you will get a really authentic watercolor look.

6. Refine Watercolor Effect

Add color:

  • Go to Image> Adjustments> Vibrance
  • Move the slider to the far right.

Add Texture:

  • Go to Filter> Filter Gallery> Texturizer
  • Choose SandstoneScaling 100%, Relief either 2 or 3, Light from the top.

Merge Layers:

  • Go to Layer> Merge Visible, or create a composite (CMD+ALT+OPT+ SHIFT +E).
  • Move merged or composite layer to a New Document.
  • I created a 12 x 12 layout at 300 dpi document to continue the artistry.

7. Blend with DigitalART

The Best Watercolor Painting Effect then use a variety of DigitalART supplies to create artistry:

  • Select Artsy Paper from the ArtPlay Palette Scenic.
  • Open, move and place ‘painting’ onto the Artsy Paper foundation.
  • Duplicate the image 4 times and turned off the visibility of the layers in the Layers Panel.
  • Open and randomly position multiple FotoBlendz Overlays, each on a different areas of your canvas, and beneath each of the ‘painting’ layers.
  • Turn on the visibility of the duplicate layers and clip each one to a FotoBlendz Overlays using the Clipping Mask Function in Photoshop.
  • I duplicated each image one more time, to create 2 layers in the Clipping Set, and applied a Darken Blending Mode to the copy layers.

Create a Watercolor Painting Effect

  • Transfers were added from ArtPlay Palette Scenic to blend the hard edge of the photo and to add texture.
  • Finally, I added WordART, an ArtStroke, elements and a title onto the little tag.

Create a Watercolor Painting Effect

DigitalART Supplies:

Click on the image to access complete list of supplies.

Try This:

Create the Best Watercolor Painting Effect of your own.

Have even more fun with this technique by modifying as preferred:

  • Experiment with different BLending Modes.
  • Apply different Filters or change the properties of the filters in the Filter Gallery.
  • Vary the brushes you use to apply visual interest.
  • Select various DigitalART supplies.
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Lindy Krickbaum

Author Lindy Krickbaum

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