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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Photoshop Actions
Design

How to Convert Photos Into Paintings Fast With Photoshop Actions

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:ShortLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial you will learn how to create an amazing painting effect. I will explain everything in so much detail that everyone can create it, even those who have just opened Photoshop for the first time. 

The effect shown above is the one I will show you how to create in this tutorial. If you would like to create the even more advanced painting effects shown below, as simply and quickly as possible, then check out my Painterly Photoshop Action.

Action final results

What You'll Need

To recreate the design above, you will need the following resources:

1. Let's Get Started

First, open the photo that you want to work with. To open your photo, go to File > Open, choose your photo, and click Open. Now, before we get started, just check a couple of things:

  1. Your photo should be in RGB Color mode, 8 Bits/Channel. To check this, go to Image > Mode.
  2. For best results, your photo size should be 2000–3000 px wide/high. To check this, go to Image > Image Size.
  3. Your photo should be the Background layer. If it is not, go to Layer > New > Background from Layer.
Checking image size and mode

2. How to Create a Painting Effect

Step 1

In this section, we are going to create a painting effect. Press Control-J on your keyboard to duplicate the Background layer. Then, go to Filter > Stylize > Oil Paint and enter the settings below:

Adding oil paint filter

Step 2

Now name this layer Painting Effect. Then, press Control-J on your keyboard to duplicate this layer, go to Filter > Sharpen > Smart Sharpen, and set the Amount to 500%, Radius to 1.5 px, and Remove to Gaussian Blur.

Adding smart sharpen filter

Step 3

Name this layer Painting Sharpening.

Renaming layer

3. How to Add Textures

Step 1

In this section, we are going to add some textures to the design. Go to File > Place Embedded, select the texture from the first texture link, and click Place. Then, set the Width and Height of the texture to 530.02% as shown below, and name this layer Texture_1.

Placing texture

Step 2

Now change the Blending Mode of this layer to Soft Light.

Changing blending mode

Step 3

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Black & White to create a new black & white adjustment layer, and name it Texture_1_Desaturate.

Creating new black and white adjustment layer

Step 4

Now press Control-Alt-G on your keyboard to create a clipping mask.

Creating clipping mask

Step 5

Go to File > Place Embedded, select the texture from the second texture link, and click Place. Then, set the Width and Height of the texture to 75.28% and the Angle to 90°, and name this layer Texture_2.

Placing texture

Step 6

Now change the Blending Mode of this layer to Soft Light and drag it just below the Texture_1 layer in the Layers panel.

Changing blending mode

Step 7

Select the Texture_1_Desaturate layer and press Control-J on your keyboard to duplicate it. Then, drag this layer just above the Texture_2 layer in the Layers panel.

Duplicating layer

Step 8

Now press Control-Alt-G on your keyboard to create a clipping mask. Name this layer Texture_2_Desaturate.

Creating clipping mask

4. How to Make the Final Adjustments

Step 1

In this section, we are going to make final adjustments to the design. Select the Texture_1_Desaturate layer, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves to create a new curves adjustment layer, and name it Color Look.

Creating new curves adjustment layer

Step 2

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and in the Properties panel enter the settings below:

Adjusting curves

Step 3

Set the Opacity of this layer to 81%.

Changing opacity

Step 4

Now go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Vibrance to create a new vibrance adjustment layer and name it Overall Vibrance/Saturation.

Creating new vibrance adjustment layer

Step 5

Double-click on this layer thumbnail and in the Properties panel, set Vibrance to +34 and Saturation to +20.

Adjusting vibrance and saturation

Step 6

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels to create a new levels adjustment layer and name it Overall Brightness.

Creating new levels adjustment layer

Step 7

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and in the Properties panel enter the settings below:

Adjusting levels

Step 8

Press Control-Alt-Shift-E on your keyboard to make a screenshot, and then press Control-Shift-U to desaturate this layer. Then, go to Filter > Other > High Pass and set the Radius to 2 px.

Adding high pass filter

Step 9

Now change the Blending Mode of this layer to Hard Light and set the Opacity to 38%. Name this layer Overall Sharpening.

Changing blending mode and opacity

You Made It!

Congratulations, you have succeeded! Here is our final result:

Final result

If you would like to create the even more advanced painting effects shown below, as simply and quickly as possible, then check out my Painterly Photoshop Action.

The action comes in two versions: regular and quick. The regular version of the action needs about 10-20 minutes to complete because it creates real paint strokes. It also requires a little bit of work from your side (the video tutorial guides you through the whole process, making this part easy and fun). The quick version of the action simulates a paint stroke effect, producing a less realistic effect than the regular version, but it runs in less than a minute. The action includes canvas and paint crack textures and creates ten different color looks that you can choose from.

It comes with a detailed video tutorial that demonstrates how to use the action and customize the results to get the most out of the effect.

Action final results

If you like artistic photo effect actions, then you may also like Aquarelle Photoshop Action.

Action final results
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