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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Photoshop Actions

How to Create a Palette Knife Photoshop Action

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:MediumLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Create a palette knife Photoshop action to transform any photo into a palette knife painting. I will explain everything in so much detail that everyone can follow it, even those who have just opened Photoshop for the first time.

What You Will Learn in This Adobe Photoshop Action Tutorial

  • How to create a palette knife Photoshop action
  • How to create a palette knife Photoshop brush
  • How to create a palette knife painting effect
  • How to make Photoshop painting effect adjustments
  • How to save a Photoshop action

Take It to the Next Level!

Palette Knife Photoshop Action (ATN, ABR, PAT)

Palette Knife Photoshop Action

This painting Photoshop action will transform your photo into a Photoshop painting effect in no time! Simply open your photo, brush over your subject, and play the action. It’s really that easy! The action will do all the work for you, leaving you fully layered and customizable results that you can further modify.

What You'll Need

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

1. How to 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 2000–4000 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 mode and size

2. How to Start Recording a Photoshop Action

In this section, we are going to start recording the action. Go to Window > Actions, and in the Actions panel, click on the menu icon in the top right-hand corner, choose New Set to create a new set, and name it Palette Knife. Then, click on the same menu icon again, choose New Action to create a new action, and name it Palette Knife.

creating new action

3. How to Create the Photoshop Painting Effect

Step 1

In this section, we are going to create the palette knife painting effect using an improvised Photoshop palette knife brush. Press Control-J on your keyboard to duplicate the Background layer. Then, choose the Art History Brush Tool (Y), pick a soft brush, set the Diameter of the brush to 100 px, and use the following settings:

adjusting art history brush tool settings

Step 2

Now we are going to pause the action recording. Go to Window > Actions, and in the Actions panel, click on the rectangle icon in the bottom left-hand corner to stop recording the action. Then, in the same panel, click on the menu icon in the top right-hand corner and choose Insert Stop to add the Stop command. After that, brush over the whole photo.

creating photoshop painting effect

Step 3

Choose the Art History Brush Tool (Y) again, and pick the Wet Brush 60 pixels brush from the default Natural Brushes 2 Photoshop brushes set. Then, go to Window > Brush and, in the Brush window, set the Size to 250 px, Spacing to 1000%, and Angle Jitter to 100% as shown below:

adjusting palette knife photoshop brush settings

Step 4

Now brush over the whole photo. Try to brush with quick and long movements.

creating photoshop painting effect

Step 5

Repeat the previous step several times to create various brush strokes using different Size and Spacing brush settings. Here's my result:

repeating process

Step 6

Now go to Window > Actions, and in the Actions panel, click on the circle icon at the bottom to resume recording the action. Then, name this layer Background painting and press Control-J on your keyboard to duplicate it.

duplicating layer

Step 7

Choose the Art History Brush Tool (Y), and pick the Wet Brush 60 pixels brush from the default Natural Brushes 2 Photoshop brushes set. Then, go to Window > Brush and, in the Brush window, set the Size to 30 px, Spacing to 50%, and Angle Jitter to 100% as shown below:

adjusting palette knife photoshop brush settings

Step 8

Now stop recording the action and insert the Stop command again. Then, brush over the whole photo. Again, try to brush with quick and long movements.

creating painting photoshop effect

Step 9

Go to Layer > Layer Mask > Hide All to add a layer mask that hides the whole layer. Then, set the foreground color to #ffffff, choose the Brush Tool (B), pick a soft brush, and brush over the area of your subject where you want more details to appear.

adding layer mask

Step 10

Now resume recording the action again. Change the Opacity of this layer to 60% and name this layer Subject Painting.

changing opacity

4. How to Reveal More Details

Step 1

In this section, we are going to reveal more details. Select the Background layer, and press Control-J on your keyboard to duplicate it. Then, drag this layer to the top of the layers in the Layers panel.

duplicating layer

Step 2

Now press Control-Shift-U to desaturate this layer. Then, go to Filter > Other > High Pass and set the Radius to 20 px.

adding high pass filter

Step 3

Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Overlay and set the Opacity to 27%. Then, name this layer Reveal Details_1.

changing blending mode and opacity

Step 4

Now select the Background layer, and press Control-J on your keyboard to duplicate it again. Then, drag this layer just below the Reveal_Details_1 layer in the Layers panel. After that, go to Layer > Layer Mask > Hide All to add a layer mask that hides the whole layer.

duplicating layer

Step 5

Now stop recording the action and insert the Stop command. Then, set the foreground color to #ffffff, choose the Brush Tool (B), pick a soft brush, and brush over the area where you want more details to appear.

brushing into layer mask

Step 6

Now resume recording the action. Then, change the Opacity of this layer to 67% and name this layer Reveal Details_2.

changing opacity

5. How to Create the Emboss Effect

Step 1

In this section, we are going to create the emboss effect. Select the Reveal_Details_1 layer, and press Control-Alt-Shift-E on your keyboard to make a screenshot.

merging layers

Step 2

Now press Control-Shift-U on your keyboard to desaturate this layer. Then, go to Filter > Stylize > Emboss and set the Angle to 135°, Height to 2 px, and Amount to 250%.

adding emboss filter

Step 3

Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Overlay and set the Opacity to 50%. Then, name this layer Emboss.

changing blending mode and opacity

6. How to Make the Photoshop Painting Effect Final Adjustments

Step 1

In this section, we are going to make Photoshop painting effect final adjustments and save the action for future use. 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

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 4

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, set the Vibrance to +20 and Saturation to +14.

adjusting vibrance and saturation

Step 5

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 6

Now change the Blending Mode of this layer to Hard Light and set the Opacity to 50%. Then, name this layer Overall Sharpening.

After that, go to Window > Actions, and in the Actions panel, click on the rectangle icon in the bottom left-hand corner to stop recording the action. Then, in the same panel, click on the menu icon in the top right-hand corner and choose Save Actions to save the action.

changing blending mode and opacity

You Made It!

Congratulations, you have succeeded! You've learned how to create palette effect Photoshop action. Using this Photoshop palette plugin, you can now transform any photo into a palette knife painting effect. Here is our final result:

final result

Take It to the Next Level!

Palette Knife Photoshop Action (ATN, ABR, PAT)

Palette Knife Photoshop Action

Transform your photo into a palette knife painting with just a few clicks, and get an original piece of art! Simply open your photo, brush over your subject, and play the action. It’s really that easy! Using the palette knife painting Photoshop action, creating a Photoshop palette from an image has never been this easy and fun.

Like photo effects, Photoshop actions, and Photoshop effect tutorials? Then, you may also like these tutorials for creating various artistic effects for pictures and Photoshop portrait actions:


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