Anyone Can Photoshop - Oil Painting Effect | Aaron Bartlett | Skillshare

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Anyone Can Photoshop - Oil Painting Effect

teacher avatar Aaron Bartlett, Motion/Graphic Designer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      ‘Puter Painting


    • 2.

      Picking the Photo & Cutting It Out


    • 3.

      Filtering for Effect


    • 4.

      Painting Technique - The Fun Part


    • 5.

      Creating a Background


    • 6.

      Different Style Options


    • 7.

      Congrats, You’re a Painter!


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About This Class

Ever wanted to create a digital painting in Photoshop? This easy to learn technique will allow anyone to convert a picture into a painted effect that looks beautiful and stylish!

This lesson will apply to Photoshop CC and most prior versions.

Music Credit:
"Chipper" Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

Meet Your Teacher

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Aaron Bartlett

Motion/Graphic Designer


I'm designer who works in LA and I've spent much of my career in entertainment marketing creating promos and ads for TV, movies and video games. I've got a fairly broad background in a variety of media. I love cartoons and comics books.

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1. ‘Puter Painting: turning photos into different forms of art is a photo shop specialty. Converting a photo into a painting is something that anyone can learn, and it yields some very stylish results. I'll show you how to optimize a photo and then the painting techniques that will turn it into a unique piece of art. When we're done, I'll show you some ideas for different styles. You can pain, let's get started. 2. Picking the Photo & Cutting It Out: So the first thing we need to do is pick out a photo. I'm gonna be using a portrait style photograph, so I'd recommend you do the same thing. I'll include my photo so you can use that if you want to. But feel free to use any photo that you like. We'll start with this emotionless self portrait that I took and the first thing that I'm gonna do is crop it. So I'll grab my crop tool. I'm not gonna be needing any of the background, so I'm just gonna crop to the subject. Hit Enter. One of the interesting things about this technique is that you usually better off working with a low rez image. This image is about 4000 by 4000 pixels. If I zoom all the way in, you can see that there's a lot of detail. My end goal is 1200 pixels tall, so I'm gonna shrink it down to 1/3 of that 400. I'll go up to image size, change the height to 400 pixels, then go up to image size again and change it to 1200. Normally, you wouldn't want to do this because as you can see you're losing resolution, but after we apply, the paint technique will be getting the detail back. Go ahead and save this file is a PSD and be sure to save as you go. So I'm going to duplicate the background layer by dragging it onto this icon. Then I'm gonna delete the background and rename this original. Then I'm gonna duplicated again and rename it cut out. We're going to get rid of the background by adding a vector mask so you go upto layer vector mask review. Long a mask is just a way of hiding and showing different parts of a layer. We're going to use the pen tool to draw paths, which are vector shapes that we can change. First, I'll zoom out a little bit and then dragged this window so I can click outside the image area. Then I'll zoom back in. If you're not familiar with the pen tool, you have two options. When you're making paths, you can draw straight lines by clicking once, or you can draw curved lines by clicking and dragging. I'll undo those now we're just gonna draw some pads around the contour of the subject. These don't have to be to perfect, because the painting process is going to get a little messy. After you've drawn a path, you can hold down control or command on a Mac to bring up the arrow tool and then use it to tweak thes handles to change the curve shape. The main thing we're trying to do is eliminate the background, so it's better for the pads to be just inside the subject. You can hold down the space bar to click and pan around your image. When you get to the hair, you don't have to be too precise. In fact, if there is any little wispy hair sticking out, you may want to clip them off. Another way you can manipulate paths with the pen tool is by holding down alter option On a Mac, you'll see the cursor changed this little triangle shape. Then you can move each handle independently. I'll zoom back out, drag this window out, hold down control or command. I'll just drag this point down to here, then click to connect. Now if I turn off the original layer, you can see that it cut everything out. You can click the mask wants to hide it. I'm gonna duplicate this layer. Turn this one off. Then. If you right click on the mask, you can choose Rast Arise vector mask that turns it into a layer mask. So it's based in pixels and not in vectors. Then if you right, click it again and choose Apply layer mask it permanently deletes the background area. Now we're ready to move on to the next step. 3. Filtering for Effect: The first thing I'm going to do is rename this layer toe filters. We're going to make some edits to the image that'll get it ready for the painting phase. I'll zoom to 100% now. Normally, when you're working with a photo like this, you might want to do some retouching to get rid of blemishes. The painting method I'm using well, actually blend those out. But if there's anything you'd like to take care of before you do the painting at recommend using the spot healing brush tool, you can just paint over these little areas to get rid of them. The next thing I'm going to do is adjust the levels to increase the contrast under image adjustments levels. This graph is showing us all the value data for the image we can see. There's a lot of darks and some mids and lights. I'm going to drag the dark side over to the edge of the graph just to make sure that the darkest parts are black, and then I'm gonna move my mid to dark in the middle tones even further. Then I'll pull my brights up. So there's a fair bit of contrast it might look like I'm over doing it, but it will make the values in the painting more dynamic. Now we're going to add some filters. If you're using a recent version of CC, you can go up to filter filter gallery. If you're using an older version, you should be able to find artistic in this list and under that paint jobs. So I'm gonna click, filter gallery, then move this over so I can see it. Then click paint jobs. We're going to use this filter to put more detail into the image. I'm going to set the brush size lower so we don't lose too much detail, and I'm gonna turn the sharpness down as well. I think that brushes still smoothing things out more than I want. So I'm gonna set it really low. You won't necessarily use exactly the same settings I have. You may want to play with the settings a little bit and create something that smooths out the detail and enhances the edges. Now I'm gonna go to filter, sharpen smart sharpen. If you're using an older version and you don't have this filter, you can try using uncharged mask instead, the default settings will probably work. We're just trying to create a little bit more sharp detail. I know it makes it look like we just made the image messier, but we're actually just giving ourselves better detail to work with. Now we can start the painting process. 4. Painting Technique - The Fun Part: first will duplicate this layer, rename it paint and turn off filters, then select our smudge tool. This much tool does just what it sounds like. If you click and drag, it smudges things to get a little bit more texture in our smudges. We're going to choose a different brush. You can right click to choose one. If you look through these default brushes, you should see this collection of speckled brushes, this last one number 59 you can pick. That's what I'll be using, then hit Enter now, this much to looks a little bit different. It has all these little streaks in it that look more like a paintbrush texture. The important thing about this technique is using the right size brush at the right strength. Now you'll see appear that there's a strength setting at 50%. 50 is the strongest will use and will be going all the way down to 30. Basically, if an area has more detail, will use a smaller brush with lower strength. If it's a bigger, less detailed area, will use a larger brush with higher strength. While you're using this technique, one of the most important things is going to be following contours. If you were painting the top of the eyelid, you'd follow those lines. You always push the smudge tool in the same direction that you'd push a paintbrush. I'm going to zoom in a little bit here and show you how this works. If I use this larger sized brush with 50% strength, when I click and drag, it's much is a lot. No. By comparison. If I set it down to 30 and smudge again, you can see it's left more of the detailed because it doesn't smudges heart. The one thing we need to know is that since we're using this smudge tool, if we're not careful, we can actually change the shapes of things. For example, if I drag the smudge tool across this contour at the side of the nose, it actually messes up the shape. But if I smudge along the line, it doesn't change too much. That's an important technique we're gonna use now if we want to see less detail implying that we were using bigger paint strokes, I could set this back to 50 and then go over this area a second time, then make a few more passes and that looks like I'm smudging. Paint together. It's easy to do in an area like this big section of skin because there's not really any detail to ruin. I'll undo. Those now will focus in on the eye for some detail work. You can use the left and right bracket keys to change your brush size. You can see the current brush size up in the top left corner. I'm gonna shrink the brush size all the way down to 10 and then change the strength to 30. My goal here is to blend these pixels together so they look more like paint and to lessen the number of unique colors we're seeing. So I'm going to start by following contours. I'll go along this line. You'll be doing yourself a favor if you click more often. Which is to say, rather than clicking and dragging back and forth and back and forth, you should click and drag, then let go, then click and drag again and let go that we'll make less mistakes if you have to undo another. Part of this technique is that sometimes you want to do a pass in one direction then another pass in the opposite direction. That way of the smudge tool displaces things a little bit. You put them back in place when you go the other direction. Now I'm gonna continue what I did on the top of the island. Go back the other way and one more time. Now I can click to take care of smaller areas I might have missed at this level. It's very easy for us to see how picks allies the images. That pixel ization is gonna be an easy way for us to tell whether we've painted everything or not. Now I'm gonna continue with some small contours for small round shapes. I can just move in a swirl. Do the eyelashes move around the outside of the iris. They don't get these highlights. The pupil and the iris. This is another area to think about. Which way a paintbrush would move for the iris. I'd be radiating out from the center. Clean up those pixels. That's pretty good. Now, the one thing I noticed is that the pupil ended up being lighter than it should have been because I blended so much, I'm gonna click over here and select the burn tool. This just darkens color. I'll click here a few times to darken it. It wasn't very effective, so I'm gonna set the exposure up to 100. And I'm also gonna change it from mid tones to shadows. Since I'm working on something that's really dark, that's good. Now I'm gonna go back to my smudge tool and continue working on the other parts. Since the White of the Eye is a big area that doesn't have a lot of detail. I'm not as worried about making mistakes. Continue following contours do the bottom eyelid in the lower part of the eye. Now I'm gonna make my brush a bit bigger and continue in a circular pattern around the eye following obvious contour. Then I'll do the top clean up these spots, and that's looking pretty good. Now I'm going to zoom out and continue this process on the cheek. I'm gonna make the brush a bit bigger, change the strength up to 50 and then continue what I was doing. Circular pattern. A little bit of back and forth. Fix this spot I missed and just continue. I'm intentionally leaving the edges alone because I'm gonna come back and do them later. You want to follow edge contours the same as you do internal ones. I'll just follow this contour around the outside of the mouth and then blend in some in the cheeks. Now I'm noticing there are a lot of perfectly straight lines just above the eye That doesn't look very realistic. So I'm gonna shrink this down and then stir things up a little bit by moving up and down gently, and I'm gonna do the same thing on this part of the eye. I'll go over one more time with a slightly larger brush. I like that better. So there's one other kind of detail to consider, and that's hair. I'll show you how to do it with the eyebrow. First, I'm gonna leave it at 50% strength and make it a little bit bigger. This part's kind of easy because it's the same thing. We've got these nice patterns of curved lines, and we're just gonna follow them, so smudge in the direction of the hairs you see, just like you were tracing it. If you're smudge, tool gets too big, just shrink it down a bit. Fill in some gaps. And there we go. We can do the same thing on the hair. Bigger brush. Follow the contours. I want to make sure I don't accidentally give myself a receding hairlines. So I'm gonna push it back the other way a little bit. Now you can see how I pushed out and then back in, and that's giving me a nice hair texture. I'm gonna do the same thing down here. Push and pull, push and pull, Push and pull. That's a nice effect. We'll shrink it down, do the same thing Now we'll do the other side, then just a little bit more for the top. You can already see how this is turning into a painting. I'm gonna show you a couple more detail areas that will do a time lapse of me finishing the painting. We can look at the nose smaller brush, and I'll knock the strength back down to 30 and I'll just follow those contours Looking at . The lips will go to a smaller brush, followed the outside contour. Follow this interior line, and since there's these obvious lines in the lower lip, I'll move the brush in a vertical direction. I can do is many years, few passes I like, depending on how much detail I want. All right now for the time lapse. But you'll notice I'm doing the same thing. Shrinking the brush size and lowering the strength or small, detailed areas, making the brush bigger and stronger. For less detailed areas and always following contours, - you may have noticed that I kind of messed up the contours around my neck. When you're dealing with the outside edges, you probably want to lower the strength so that that doesn't happen. So now are subject has turned into a cool looking painting. All we have left to do is to add the background. 5. Creating a Background: I'm going to zoom out so I can see the entire image and I'm gonna make a new layer. Then I'm gonna choose my Grady int tool. It's under the paint. Book it. I'll make sure my color swatches air set to black and white by clicking here and then click here to reverse them. Make sure it's set to a radio. Grady int. You can see the options up in the top left. I'm gonna click in the center, then drag out to the corner and I'll get kind of a vignette. Look, then I'll make another new layer and go up to filter render clouds. I'm going to set the blending mode of this layer to overlay sent out blends in with the Grady in. Then I'm gonna hit control or command e for merge down and I'm gonna move it behind my paint layer. Now we'll go back to the smudge tool, make sure the strength of set to 50 and make the brush really big. Using a large smudge brush can cause a bit of lag. Just so you know. Now I'm just gonna smudge out from the center to make it look like a bunch of huge brushstrokes. Once we like the look of that will go up to image adjustments. Hue, saturation will check colorize and then move this slider to change the color. I'm gonna go for a bluish tint to bring out my eyes, boost this saturation slightly and then hit. Okay, I'll rename this layer BG for background. Now there's one more thing we can do if we want to make it look more like a real painting at a canvas texture. So I'm gonna make a new layer on top and call it canvas. I'm gonna choose 50% gray and then hit alter option backspace to fill. Then I'll go up to filter go down a texture in the old version or filter gallery, then choose texturizing her. The default settings for canvas should be good, but you can always play with it. If you want to get a different look hit, okay, and then we'll set this layer to overlay. I'll zoom to 100% so you can see clearly. Now it looks like it's painted on canvas. If you think it looks too intense, you can always set the layer opacity to a lower number, and with that you finish your painting 6. Different Style Options: I wanted to show you a couple of the versions I did, just to give you a feel for the different styles you can use. The one we did hear had kind of a medium level of detail on this one. I skipped the initial step of scaling it down and then scaling it back up. By doing that, I left more detail and it looked like I was working with a finer brush on this one. I went the other direction. I still use the scaling step and I used a bigger brush. I did a lot more smudging and that got me a step closer to an impressionistic painting you can replicate. Any style you can think of is just a matter of what brush you use and how you use it. One fund exercise could be trying to do the same portrait several different ways, like I did. Be sure to upload your work so we can check it out 7. Congrats, You’re a Painter!: I hope you had a much fun painting as I had teaching. Another fun idea to consider is creating a photo collage of different portrait sor images. Then, using the painting technique, you could assemble a family portrait or put someone into a fantasy, setting a blood your project so everyone can check out your work. I'm here if you have questions, and I'll see you next time.