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Photo to painting


Hi beedyb220,

Here is a wonderful tutorial on how to take a photo and use it as the basis for a painting.


People who really get into painting photos often use Corel Painter which is uniquely created for performing that task. There are also free actions floating around the web which will turn images into various types of 'paintings' but the results frequently look as though someone used a filter or two. Google 'Photoshop photograph to painting actions'.

If you want to try in Painter techniques in Photoshop you basically take your image and use it as the bottom layer of the layer stack, reduce the opacity to something like 50%, lock it and use that as your template. You could also duplicate the original and leave that at the top of the but make it invisible. Then you would have an instant reference layer always available at the toggle of visibility.

Once your are set up, experiment with using brushes of various types and settings on new layers. At this point specific directions become problematic because the variables approach infinity. If you have a Wacom tablet you would benefit greatly in painterly undertakings. Serious study of the Brushes palette would be a must. As you use brushes, have one hand on the option key so you can keep sampling the colors of your template and be able to keep painting without interruption.

A big clue to painting is to make your brush strokes conform to the curves and planes (the geometry) of the various elements in the underlying image.

Remembering to use blend modes and multiple layers would be advantageous. The dodge, burn, sponge, and blur tools could become important.

Experimenting with the built in Photoshop filters in the Filter Gallery will give you some ideas as well and maybe an effect that you like. A combination of artistic and sketch filters might do a reasonably good-but-quick job.

Above all, remember that creating a really good painting will take time to do, although once you have built up the skill, it can go very rapidly compared to traditional media.