Photoshop Oil Painting Appearance Effect

Are you interested in using the Photoshop oil painting effect? In Photoshop, you can transform an ordinary photo into an oil painting.  This is a relatively simple process that mostly involves piling on a bunch of effects. Depending on the resolution of your photo, you may need to adjust the intensity of each filter, but the steps will be the same.

Step 1: Increase Saturation

Oil paints are generally very rich in color, so adjust your photo to mimic this. Go to "Image", "Adjustments", and "Hue/Saturation". Slide the saturation bar over to the right in order to increase the color intensity. Get your image as rich as possible without it becoming bizarre.

Step 2: Get Rid of Resolution

Paint brushes are much thicker than the pixels of your digital camera. You need to distort the perfection of photography. The first filter can be found in "Filter", "Distort", and "Glass". Set the texture to "Canvas", and move your preview window to a place where you can see the effect. Lower the amount of "Distortion" and bring down the "Scaling" in order to get a more authentic feel to it. When you are satisfied, hit OK.

Step 3: Paint Strokes

You need to mimic the pattern with which painters apply the colors. Go back to "Filter", find "Artistic", and choose "Paint Daubs". Pull down the "Brush Size" and "Sharpness" to around a 4. Keep an eye on that preview window and adjust according to your eye. Make sure that the "Brush Type" is set to "Simple", then hit OK.

Step 4: Mimicking an Artist

Photoshop has done everything perfectly uniform. So, to add a human feel, revisit the "Filter" drop down, go into "Brush Strokes" and select "Angled Strokes".  The "Direction Balance" should be decent at 50%. Reduce the stroke length in order to simulate the application of oil paints. Then, bring down the sharpness to make the texture more natural.

Step 5: Add a Canvas

Now that the paint has been applied, you need to create a canvas to put it on. It seems backwards, but it is possible when you are using a computer. Go to "Filter", "Texture", and choose "Texturizer". Set the "Texture" to "Canvas".  Adjust the "Scaling" and "Relief" down so that the effect is not too obvious. For "Light Direction", select "Top Left".

Step 6:  Crispen the Texture

There is one more thing to do before the illusion is complete. Duplicate the background layer by right clicking on it and selecting "Duplicate Layer". Remove the color from this layer by going to "Image", "Adjustments", and "Desaturate". In the layer window, use the "Blend Mode" drop-down to "Overlay" this layer onto the background. Now, return to "Filter", go to "Stylize", and choose "Emboss". Bring the "Height" all the way down, and crank the "Amount" all the way up. Finally, adjust the "Opacity" of this layer down to about 40%. 

These effects may need to be fine tuned on a case by case basis depending on the photo you start with. When finished, you are the only one who needs to know that this oil painting was once a photograph. 


Popular P&S Cameras for High Quality Photos: