When working with Photoshop, paint effects can often help to create colorful and interesting results. In this post we'll look at some inspirational resources for working with paint splatters, watercolors, and brush strokes. We'll look at some tutorials, exemplary website designs, artwork, and Photoshop brushes that you can use for your own work.
Create Cool Watercolor Effects in Photoshop
This Psdtuts+ tutorial from Fabio shows how your can recreate a realistic-looking watercolor effect with Photoshop brushes. Fabio demonstrates how the hair can be re-made with the popular watercolor brushes from Bittbox. The entire tutorial is only 14 steps and only about half of those are used to create the watercolor effects. You can complete this tutorial quickly.
Spray Paint Text
PSD Learning has a nice tutorial for giving text a spray paint effect. The tutorial starts by using some splatter brushes on the black background, and then some texture is applied. Later colors are added and layer styles are applied. In the end you wind up with a colorful spray paint effect on the black background.
Stunning Watercolor Effect
PSDFAN also uses watercolor brushes in this tutorial. The image is set on a grungy paper texture. The majority of the steps to the tutorial are used for working with the model in the image, and the watercolor effects really only require a few steps to create.
Create an Awesome Paint Explosion Image
Another tutorial from PSDFAN, this one creates more of a splattered paint effect on top of a photograph. The tutorial uses images of ink splatters, although you could use any number of splatter brushes for the same effect. Watercolor brushes and a textured image for the background are also used.
Simple Watercolor Tutorial
This tutorial from kidchan on deviantART starts with some lineart and shows you how to add simple but attractive watercolor effects to the image. It's a shorter tutorial but the end result is a nice watercolor image.
Dynamic Recessed Watercolor Typography in Photoshop
Fabio has another excellent Psdtuts+ tutorial on watercolors, this one features watercolor and typography. Fabio creates a colorful, soft typographic image on a textured background. Again, he uses the watercolor brushes from bittbox. Some floral art purchased from iStockphoto is also used.
The website of Dreamten Studios demonstrates an unusually creative use of paint in design. The picture of a hand painting a wall blends in to create a vibrant background color for a portion of the page. The image immediately grabs your attention, and it's something that you're likely to remember. The light-colored text on top of the paint also works very well.
Web Designer Brad Candullo takes a different approach, as compared to Dreamten, for using paint in his design. Instead of covering a large section of the page, he uses some smaller spatters on the header. The body of the site also has some smaller grungy paint strokes and splatters. The wood background gives the site a dark feel, but the small splashes of colorful paint give the design plenty of life without being overwhelming.
The Seen is another design studio that uses some splattered paint to complete a grungy look. The background of the site is dark and textured, and paint of a few different colors is used. The dark paint adds even more to the texture, and a small splash of red paint adds some color behind a paper note.
Dimension Streetboards also features a grunge-style design (which obviously fits with its industry/niche), but the splattered paint really stands out because of its color. The red paint becomes more of a focal point because the rest of the site makes use of neutral colors that don't compete for attention with the bright red.
Freelance designer Matt Dempsey uses a large background images with paint strokes of various shades of orange and a more neutral-colored stroke behind the text. By mixing in some different shades, directions of strokes, sizes, and textures, the site has a memorable and artistic background.
High Res Messy Spray Paint Brushes
When it comes to Photoshop brushes you can always count on Bittbox for some high-quality freebies. This set includes 10 brushes, most at 2500 pixels. The spray paint effect will give you a slightly different look than some of the other splattered paint brushes. Bittbox also has several other paint-style high res brushes, including watercolor sets 1 and 2, and grungy watercolor.
This set of 25 brushes from The Shoreways is rather unique. Brushes with the acrylic style are not as common as splatters or watercolors. There is a lot of variety within this set, and as you can see from the sample images on their site there is plenty of potential with these brushes.
Splatter and Watercolor Brushes
Smashing Magazine and Qbrushes provide three sets of brushes. The first includes 11 splatter brushes, the second set includes 6 watercolor brushes, and the third includes 4 watercolor stroke brushes. All are high res, 2500 pixels.
Spray Paint Brushes
Through deviantART, Go Media gives us a set of 7 high res spray paint brushes. Most of them are 2500 pixels, or very close. These spray paint brushes are dripping, so the have a different look than the ones featured earlier from Bittbox.
This is a very large set of 83 watercolor brushes. The resolution is about 700 - 1200 pixels for each. The resolution isn't as high as some of brushes featured here, but if you don't need a huge resolution, these brushes will give you plenty of choices. The creator of this set, env1ro, has many other sets of brushes also available on deviantART, including a nice set of watercolor smudges.
Pictures and Artwork:
Designer and illustrator Angel D'Amico's portfolio features many different pieces of work with paint splatters, strokes, and watercolor effects. She does a lot of work for magazines, and if you're interested in the use of paint effects in design, it's a must-see portfolio. Even the portfolio site itself fits into this category.
Nike by Laura Alego
Laura Alego's colorful design of a Nike shoe splattering some paint is an excellent example for inspiration. The orange paint gives the piece a very colorful and vibrant look. Smaller amounts of other shades of paint are also used, such as blue and yellow.
Suicide by Rubens LP
Suicide by Rubens LP is certainly an unusual usage of splatter paint in artwork. The multicolored paint splattering from his head opposite the gun are set off very well by the black background. This piece is on display at Designflavr but is not available for viewing at the artist's online portfolio, which does feature a number of other interesting pieces of work.
Paper Plane by jellyfishenroyale on deviantART is another excellent example of splattered paint in a piece of abstract art. The entire deviantART portfolio of jellyfishenroyale is full of other quality pieces with splattered paint and watercolors, including abst20 and EEEP.
Watercolor by exclusive1337
Watercolor by exclusive1337 on deviantART appears to be inspired by Fabio's watercolor tutorial. This piece uses several different colors to create the end result. Another interesting piece in the deviantART portfolio of exclusive1337 is Still Dark..Waiting for Color.
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