Photoshop Tutorials
The Design Center, DT&G / Photoshop Department / Photoshop Filter Effects - Artistic Watercolors  

Sooner or later, you're going to have a photograph that suggests an artistic treatment. Photoshop filters offer a wide array of effects and techniques that mimic traditional media -- like the Watercolor filter. Here, we welcome Mr. Roger Pring, Photoshop expert to give you some starter points on...

Photoshop's Artistic Watercolors

Roger Pring writes...

Watercolor has long been a defining Photoshop filter, though the crucial illusion of one color running into its neighbor is only partly achieved. Use the Smudge or Healing Brush tool to help the illusion.

Original Photograph If you're looking to imitate gouache painting, however, search no further -- the slight darkening around the edge of each patch of color perfectly reproduces the effect of this more opaque pigment.

How it works

1 The dialog box offers three sliders. Though Brush Detail can be invoked across the whole scale, the remaining controls usually make a color image impossibly dark once pushed past the halfway mark.

The Watercolor Palette

2 Settings of 14, 14, and 1 will produce a reasonably painterly result.

3 On a monochrome image a "stippled" appearance results from setting Brush Detail at 14, and both Shadow Intensity and Texture at 3.
(Click the image above for the before/after enlargement.)
     

Using the Watercolor Filter

Although it's tempting to be gentle with this filter, often what's required is bravura painting.

1 The ocean scene and distant prospects provide scope for brushwork. (Click to see original)

2 Testing: Apply the filter to test the waters. Here, we've used Brush Detail 14, Shadow Intensity 1, Texture 1.

Photoshop watercolor filter

As you can see, the initial application is excessively dark.

3 Try another approach

It's a good moment to retreat and try another approach.

Go back to the original, and this time use Blur > Motion Blur with a Distance of 6 pixels to break up the image details.

Motion Blur - Diffuse

4 Continue with the Diffuse filter from the Stylize menu.

Choose Lighten Only and apply the filter several times in succession by selecting Filter > Diffuse (or Ctrl/Cmd+F).

5 Apply Filter again

watercolor filter
      View the final masterpiece!

Finally, apply the Watercolor filter again but with Brush Detail 14, Shadow Intensity 0, and Texture 3.

The result is not a bad approximation of a watercolor painting.
     

Learn more crafty filter tricks-- download this chapter called: Crosshatch Brush Strokes & Stylize Trace Contour (PDF Format) excerpted by permission from Roger's book Photoshop Filter Effects Encyclopedia

Special thanks to Roger Pring and O'Reilly for sharing this article, excerpted from ...

Photoshop Filter Effects Encyclopedia

coverThe Hands-on Desktop Reference for Digital Photographers
By Roger Pring

Photoshop Filter Effects Encyclopedia explains and decodes the settings of every filter that Photoshop CS2 has to offer. And, unlike many reference books, it is filled with easy-to-follow, step-by-step recipes for creating truly amazing effects using Photoshop filters. Packed with hundreds of full-color photographs, clearly written instructions, and practical tips, this book is the ultimate, no-nonsense Photoshop CS2 Filters reference for creative photographers, designers, and artists.
      The best part is that you don't have to be a Photoshop expert to create sophisticated, professional-looking results-the recipes take the guesswork out of the process, so you can work quickly and efficiently. Packed with hundreds of full-color photographs, clearly written instructions, and practical tips, this book is the ultimate, no-nonsense Photoshop CS2 Filters reference for creative photographers, designers, and artists. Check out Photoshop Filter Effects Encyclopedia today!

 

Adobe Photoshop CS2
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