Learn How to Create a Watercolor Photo Effect in Photoshop

In this tutorial by Blue Lightning TV, Marty demonstrates how to transform an ordinary photograph into a stunning hand-painted watercolor painting using Photoshop. This method surpasses the built-in watercolor filter in Photoshop by allowing users to hand paint the image, offering greater nuance and control. The process begins with setting up the document at 1280 by 720 pixels with a resolution of 72 pixels per inch, then renaming the initial layer to “base” and creating a copy named “smart blur”. Applying the Smart Blur filter with specific settings, Marty prepares the image for further transformation.

The next steps involve creating and manipulating several layers to achieve the desired watercolor effect. Marty duplicates the base layer, names the copy “pencil lines”, and applies the Glowing Edges filter to create a sketched outline. This layer is then inverted, desaturated, and set to Multiply blend mode with 80% opacity. By duplicating the “smart blur” layer and renaming it “brush”, Marty inverts the selection and changes the blend mode to Color Dodge. Using the Brush Tool with different presets such as Dry Brush and Wet Media Brushes, he paints over the image, building up the watercolor effect with varying brush sizes and opacities to simulate the overlapping strokes of real watercolors.

To finalize the transformation, Marty creates a composite snapshot of the layers and enhances the image’s vibrance. The last touch involves adding a watercolor paper texture using the Texturizer filter with settings for sandstone, scaling, and relief. By following these detailed steps, viewers can transform their photos into authentic, hand-painted watercolors, each unique due to the individualized brush strokes. This tutorial empowers users to explore their creativity and produce beautiful, personalized watercolor paintings from their photographs.