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How to Create a Charcoal Drawing from a Photo (With a Photoshop Action)

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Welcome to our Photoshop in 60 Seconds series, in which you can learn a Photoshop skill, feature, or technique in just a minute!

Photoshop in 60 Seconds: Charcoal Effect

Traditional art takes years to master, but you can create a beautiful charcoal effect for any photo or background using a simple to use Photoshop Action. In this quick video below, I'll show you how to use this Charcoal Photoshop Action to transform any photo fast and easily.

Learn how to modify your initial result, and browse the incredible selection of Photoshop Actions available through GraphicRiver and Envato Elements for more wonderful effects.


How to Create a Charcoal Effect Using an Action

First open your photo into Photoshop. I'll be using this Football Athlete Stock at 2000x1333 pixels.

Football Pixabay Stock
Football Athlete Stock

Now go to Window > Actions and load your Charcoal Photoshop Action into the Actions palette. This action also requires a set of brushes, so select the Brush Tool (B) then go to Replace Brushes under the gear icon to replace your current ones with the new set.

New Brush Set For Actions

Create a New Layer and name it "brush." Use a Soft Round Brush to Fill your subject and any area where you would like the action to occur with color. When you're ready, select one of the action styles from the list (Style 5) and press Play.

Fill Your Subject with Color

The action will take a few seconds to fully play out. Once it's done, modify your result by experimenting with the Adjustment Layers in the new action Group created. I decided to increase the Opacity of the Photo Layers to show the athlete more, and use the brushes from the original set to add more random brush strokes.

Paint More Brush Strokes

Here is the final result below.

Charcoal Photo Effect Photoshop Tutorial

Want to see this in real time? Check out the video above to see this lesson at work!

A Bit More Detail

Learn more from our Photoshop experts. Check out the following tutorials below:

60 Seconds?!

This is part of a series of quick video tutorials on Envato Tuts+ in which we introduce a range of subjects, all in 60 seconds—just enough to whet your appetite. Let us know in the comments what you thought of this video and what else you'd like to see explained in 60 seconds!

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