How to Make a Watercolor Effect in Photoshop

Watercolour is one of the most beautiful effects in digital imaging, and it is especially effective when capturing natural outdoor scenes. It is one of the most appealing aspects of many images, especially those taken with digital and SLR cameras. Many online tutorials will teach you how to achieve the effect, but the first thing you need to know is that painting with watercolour is not the same thing as other forms of digital painting. 

Watercolour effect images have a softer, less defined look than photos shot in RAW or JPEG format, but they can be tweaked to make them look exactly like traditional watercolour paintings. Do you want to make a watercolour effect in photoshop?

How do you create that stunning watercolour effect?

Watercolour techniques have been around forever and have become extremely popular in the last few years with the introduction of Photoshop’s “Swatches” tool. But, while it’s fun to dip your brush in the pigment and then start painting, sometimes it’s nice to have a watercolour effect without mixing (or cleaning up) a bunch of paint. 

Check out the following steps on how to make a watercolour effect in photoshop:

  1. Open the image. In Photoshop, the first step to making your watercolour image isn’t opening up an image; it’s opening up the image file. From there, we’ll run through applying layer styles, texture, brushes, and filters to create a watercolour effect – which, of course, will happen in the next steps.
  2. Convert the background layer into a smart object. Right-click the background image layer to open up options to select “CONVERT TO SMART OBJECT.” Doing this conversion will allow you to make quite a few changes to your watercolour image without affecting the original. 
  3. Select brush size and texture. Knowing how to make watercolour effects in Photoshop can come in handy. You can apply the same skills to digital art pieces you create in Photoshop or Adobe Spark. To get started, go to the Filter menu and choose Filter Gallery. Browse through the Artistic category and choose Dry Brush, then change the settings to Brush 10 Size, Brush 10 Detail, and 1 Texture. Select OK to apply the filter.
  4. Select the Filter Gallery menu option for the cutout filter. After going to the FILTER GALLERY, choose the CUTOUT FILTER. This will then help you to configure settings for these options: 1 EDGE FIDELITY, 4 EDGE SIMPLICITY, and 5 NUMBER OF LEVELS. The Cutout filter in Photoshop is an easy way to create an eerie black-and-white effect. 
  5. Change the blending mode into a Pin light. To learn how to use a blending mode, you simply click on the blending mode icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. The blending mode you choose determines how the layer blends with the next one. There are several blending modes: Normal, Screen, Multiply, Overlay, Pin Light, and Soft Light.
  6. Work on the Smart Blur options. Smart Blur allows you to adjust various settings such as Radius, Threshold, and Quality. From FILTER MENU > go to BLUR > then to SMART BLUR. Edit the settings to 5 RADIUS, 100 THRESHOLD, and then select QUALITY to HIGH.
  7. Go to BLENDING MODE to reduce the OPACITY. Do this by double-clicking the settings to find the SMART BLUR effect > SCREEN > decrease OPACITY by 50%.
  8. Make the background transparent by selecting FIND EDGES. Find that option by navigating to FILTER> STYLIZE > FIND EDGES. Selecting this option will render the effect of pencil sketch lines. 
  9. Add in the Paper Texture. You can try the IVORY OFF WHITE PAPER TEXTURE that you can find on the layer options. To apply it, just copy+paste the texture into the document. Don’t forget to scale it to make sure it certainly fits into the canvas. Also, change the BLENDING MODE to MULTIPLY.
  10. Install the WATERCOLOR PHOTOSHOP BRUSHES set. Add them to any image to make them appear as if a watercolour painting was splashed on it. The effect is created by applying a layer mask to the background image, then using the ALT+Backspace shortcut to fill the mask with black to erase the entire photo. Select the Brush tool and choose a watercolour brush, then paint over the picture. 
  11. Change the image’s foreground colour. You can do that by selecting the colour white from the toolbar. Adjust the size of the brush using the SQUARE BRACKET keys. Just click around its canvas if you want to restore the image’s watercolour-style bleeding around its edges.
  12. Avoid repetition by changing the brush to the watercolour option. After doing several clicks, you can change the brush into a different watercolour option. Then, proceed to restore the photo using a variety of watercolour tones.
  13. Click on the SMART OBJECT LAYER icon to save and close the file. The watercolour effect in Photoshop can be a little tricky to achieve. However, setting up a Smart Object and using the Photoshop watercolour effect tool is the best way to achieve a watercolour effect.

Making a watercolour effect in Photoshop is one of the most accessible and easiest tricks to master. It’s a fun, easy, quick way to turn a regular photo into a more artistic, vintage look.







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