photoshop creative

Create the van Gogh style in Photoshop (part 2)

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Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
August 30, 2015

Part 2 of our birthday tutorial…


11. Twirl


The Twirl filter is applied to gradually to sections of the image. Use the Marquee selection tool to select part of the picture. To better judge the effect, choose an area that includes some edges. Go to Filter>Distort>Twirl and set the Distortion angle to 90 degrees, then apply. Move the selection over other parts of the image and apply. To reapply, press Cmd/Ctrl+F.

12. Paint daubs


Go to Filter>Artistic>Paint Daubs and try the following settings: Brush Size: 1, Sharpness: 5, Brush Type: Wide. Set the preview screen to 100% to fully see the effect. Let your eye be the judge of how strong the effect should be.

13. Brush


Select the Brush again. Click on the Tool Presets and select Texture With Brush. Now open Brushes and set the different parameters to design your brush. Set Mode to Multiply and activate Wet Edges.

14. Beaming lights


Apply the Glass effect for the van Gogh-like streaks around the circles. Use the Elliptical Marquee tool while holding Shift to draw a circle. Click the Quick Mask move icon, go to Filter>Distort>Glass. Set the Texture to Frosted, Distortion to 5 and Smoothness to 3. For Scaling, try 185% to maximum.

15. Colour build up


Continue to build up colour in the image, referring continuously to the original. Follow the van Gogh style, which consists of a multitude of brush strokes. Go back to the first area covered, change Colour mode to Darken and apply strokes to the ends of previous ones. This helps create the illusion of depth.

16. All in the stroke


Another van Gogh signature is the direction of strokes. There is movement in the painting with strokes at different areas, collectively heading in a particular direction. Apply the strokes with this in mind while constantly referring to the original for inspiration. Note that some of the strokes are short while others are long and curved.

17. Shining lights


With dark and light areas covered, move to the circular light sources. Note the motion in van Gogh’s application as strokes are applied in circular motion going outwards. A circle is made of one dominant colour, in various shades, in addition to odd strokes of a different colour.

18. Tree highlights


The last item to colour is the tree. Here, the strokes are very long and the application is not as intense as in other areas. Sample shades in the original and apply strokes over the existing green photo. Start with greens, and build your way up through brown and black. Note that there is less layering here and each stroke is made of one colour.

19. Fully covered


Apply paint to thoroughly cover the image with the distinctive strokes. Follow the direction and flow of the original as you sample colours and apply. If you’re using a graphics tablet, vary the angle and pressure sensitivity according to need. Note that van Gogh’s brush is loaded with colour giving a 3D-like effect. We will re-create this effect using filters.

20. Texture and depth


Select your main painting layer containing the complete painting, and go to Filter>Lighting Effects. Apply an overall lighting effect to bring out the picture as a whole; it’s up to you which one!

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