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Design

How to Turn a Photo Into Art by Creating a Painting Photoshop Action

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:ShortLanguages:
This post is part of a series called Learn Photoshop Actions.
How to Make a Photoshop Action to Create a Photo Art Effect
How to Create an Action in Photoshop
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial, you will learn how to turn a photo into art. I will explain everything in so much detail that everyone can create the effect, 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 photo art effect shown below, using just a single click and in only a few minutes, then check out my Paint Photoshop Action.

Action final result

Follow along with us over on our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:

What You'll Need

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

1. How to Start Creating an Action

Step 1

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 2000–3500 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

Step 2

If you have changed the image size in the previous step, in the History panel, click on the camera icon to create a new snapshot. Then, set the Snapshot 1 as the source of the history brush tool.

Creating new snapshot

2. How to Create the Painting Effect

Step 1

In this section, we are going to create the painting effect. Go to Layer > New > Layer to create a new layer and name it Painting_Large_Details.

Creating new layer

Step 2

Now choose the Art History Brush Tool (Y), and set the Area to 500 px, Tolerance to 0 px, and Style to Tight Long. Then, pick a soft brush, set the Diameter to 20 px, and brush over the whole photo.

Brushing into layer

Step 3

Go to Layer > New > Layer to create a new layer and name it Painting_Large_Details.

Creating new layer

Step 4

Now choose the Art History Brush Tool (Y), and set the Area to 500 px, Tolerance to 0 px, and Style to Tight Long. Then, pick a soft brush, set the Diameter to 10 px, and brush over the whole photo.

Brushing into layer

Step 5

Go to Layer > Layer Mask > Hide All to add a layer mask that hides the whole layer.

Adding layer mask

Step 6

Now set the foreground color to #000000, choose the Brush Tool (B), pick a soft brush, and brush over the area where you want more details to appear. Feel free to use different brush sizes.

Brushing into layer mask

Step 7

Go to Layer > New > Layer to create a new layer and name it Painting_Small_Details.

Creating new layer

Step 8

Now choose the Art History Brush Tool (Y), and set the Area to 500 px, Tolerance to 0 px, and Style to Tight Long. Then, pick a soft brush, set the Diameter to 5 px, and brush over the whole photo.

Brushing into layer

Step 9

Go to Layer > Layer Mask > Hide All to add a layer mask that hides the whole layer.

Adding layer mask

Step 10

Now set the foreground color to #000000, choose the Brush Tool (B), pick a soft brush, and brush over the area where you want more details to appear. Feel free to use different brush sizes.

Brushing into mask

3. How to Create the Emboss Effect

Step 1

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

Making screenshot

Step 2

Go to Filter > Stylize > Emboss and set the Angle to 135°, Height to 3 px, and Amount to 200%.

Adding emboss filter

Step 3

Now change the Blending Mode of this layer to Hard Light, and name it Emboss Effect.

Changing blending mode

You Made It!

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

Final result

If you would like to create the even more advanced photo art effect shown below, using just a single click and in only a few minutes, then check out my Paint Photoshop Action.

The action will create amazing, realistic painting photo effects from your photos with no work at all from your side! You just open your photo and play the action. It’s really that simple! The action will do all the work for you, leaving you fully layered and customizable results that you can further modify.

The action also creates ten preset color looks and five overlay textures that you can choose from.

The action 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 result

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