photoshop creative

How to turn a photo into a painting in Photoshop, part 2

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Tips & Tutorials, by The Photoshop Creative Team
May 12, 2014

If you can move a mouse you can create a digital painting – welcome to the wonderful world of Photoshop’s Smudge tool

Follow part 1 of this tutorial


Another new layer, this time called Water. Keeping with the Rough Flat bristle, move across the water in horizontal strokes. Keep it horizontal to suggest the movement of water. Start by sweeping along the shoreline and then use smaller strokes for the rest.



Guess what happens now – that’s right, a new layer. Call this one Conifer and start making marks over the conifer, adjusting the brush size and following the form. The Rough Flat Bristle still works for this, and is particularly good for dragging out the edges for a leafy effect.


New layer again for the foreground rocks. You know the drill by now – adjust the brush size and follow the form of the objects. Keep the light and shadows as in tact as you can as this is what gives the rocks their mass.


To stop the rocks looking like they have be plonked in the scene (which of course, they were),  drag out slightly at the edge of the water to give the impression of shadow. This anchors them down.


The final area is the flowers and grass. Create a new layer for this and use a choppy movements to smudge the detail. To suggest grass, use a small size brush and swoop up and out. Look for any areas that are a bit messy from the photo comp. If you see any, just do a general smudge to cover it up.


For the final touch of realism, add some texture. There are various ways of doing this (the easiest being the Filter>Texture>Texturizer option, but we want to give the impression of buttery oils. Have a peek at the boxout to see what we came up with.


One downside of using the Cutout filter is that it does dampen the colours. To fix this, press Ctrl/Cmd+Alt/Opt+Shift+E. This creates a single layer but keeps all the other layers in tact. Go to Hue/Saturation and move the Saturation slider to suit.