photoshop creative

How to make custom paint effects in Photoshop, part 1

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
November 22, 2013

Here’s how to add a splash of excitement to your portrait images with this groovy custom paint effect

Download all the files you need for this tutorial here

Custom brush paint effect


Open the image ‘start.JPG’ in Photoshop. Duplicate the background layer by dragging the layer to the new layer icon. Now choose the image menu, adjustments, desaturate to turn the image black-and-white. Press Ctrl & L to access the levels and drag in the black and white inputs as shown.


Use the Magnetic Lasso tool to select the man’s shoulders and roughly around his hair. Once you have the selection go to select, inverse. Now use a paintbrush with white as the foreground colour to paint out all the grey areas in the background of the image so that we can focus clearly on the man.


Press Cmd/Ctrl+D to deselect then go to the filter menu and choose artistic, dry brush. Set the brush size to 7, the brush detail to 7 and the texture size to 2, then click OK. Press Cmd/Ctrl+L to open the Levels and adjust once more as shown.


Turn off the visibility of the background layer and add a new layer below this, naming it ‘white’. Fill the area with white using the paint bucket. Open the file ‘paper1.jpg’ and drag it above the white layer. Name this layer ‘paper 1’ and set its opacity at 60%.


Add the file ‘paper 2.jpg’ and name this layer ‘paper 2’. Change the blending mode to Multiply and position this layer above ‘paper 1’. Go to the layer menu and choose new adjustment layer, Color Balance. Set the Color Balance as shown here.


Add a new layer and name it ‘paint’. Download this great of brushes from Brusheezy, or locate similar painterly brushes, and drag them into your Photoshop Brushes folder. Load these brushes in Photoshop and start painting using dark red colours. We will use a combination of burnt reds, oranges and purples.


Keep alternating the brushes and colours so that you start to build up the effect. It’s also useful to change the opacity of the brush and the blending mode to ‘multiply’ occasionally. Eventually you should have an image as shown. You can turn the visibility of the ‘background copy’ layer back on again now.


Choose edit, transform and scale then scale up the man’s face to around 112%. Double click to apply the scale, then go to select, colour range. In the preview window click on a black area of the image to select the black colour, then click okay.