photoshop creative

Paint a watercolour (Part 2)

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
August 23, 2015

Part 2 of our watercolour city tutorial…


10. Erase as you go


Just as you can use white as the Foreground colour to paint over your image, use black to erase as yo go along, to fade certain parts of the image out and create hazy, realistic watercolours.

11. Show trees layer


Click the eye icon of the trees layer to show it again. We masked away most of where the buildings cover so that the trees don’t show under the watercolour, but just touch that up even further with a black brush on the layer mask.

12. Watercolour the trees


Go to Select>Colour Range for this trees layer and remove all the white from the picture. Make sure that only your Current Layer is selected. Place another watercolour texture over this layer and then apply a clipping mask again.

13. Mask the trees


Select the Blur tool and blur the trees slightly. Now, in a similar process to the skyline, merge the watercolour texture with the trees and add a mask. Use black watercolour brushes to erase some detail out of the picture and reduce the Opacity to 50%.

14. Touch up


It’s time to create some adjustment layers, setting clipping masks for them so that they only stick to the tree layer. Change the colour, saturation, even the brightness of the trees to five them a nice contrast against the skyline. Darker trees work well.

15. Start creating wash


Place your original texture over the picture. This is going to be the wash for the picture. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+U and adjust by roughly 10-20 in either the Hue, Saturation and Lightness areas. This colour change is only to give a new tint.

16. Mask again


Create a mask and invert it to hide the whole texture. Now get a white watercolour brush, with an Opacity of 20-25% and brush through the texture to create a wash. Move just above the background layer but below the skyline, and lower the Opacity to 70% when finished.

17. Touch up building edges


This is an optional step, but it can be a nice effect to use the watercolour brush on the original Threshold layers and not just the masks. Grab a black brush, lower the brush size and just touch up the edges of the buildings in order to give them a more realistic finish.

18. Place paper texture


Paste a canvas texture – or any kind of paper texture – onto the picture. Change the blend mode to Multiply and reduce the Opacity to somewhere between 10% and 20% to give a realistic background for this piece.

19. Add finishing touches


Up the saturation with a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. Create a new layer and add a cyan/Orange Gradient, set the layer to Screen, and reduce the Opacity to 50%. Create a snapshot (Cmd/Ctrl+Opt/Alt+Shift+E) and add a Gaussian Blur (10px). Lower the Opacity to 25% and set the blend mode to Lighten.