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Quick Paint Effect

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With this lovely new tutorial tag, it's perhaps about time we added a few. So i thought i'd share a few tips on turning a mediocre, dull coloured photograph that you might otherwise discard and do little with, into something a bit more exciting, using Photoshop. I'm new to tutorials so i thought i'd start with something short and easy! I'll write some others that are a lot more aqua and UI related in their products later. If the way i say things sounds a bit simplistic, well, it's meant for anyone :)

Step One

Find a photograph. If you are on a slower machine you may want to shrink it so that it is both easier to work with, and much quicker when applying filters. Select all (Ctrl-A), and paste a copy of it (Ctrl-V) so that we keep the original layer untouched. Leaving the picture on the clipboard means it is easy for us to create a new layer with the image and apply another filter.

Step Two

With this new layer, from the menu bar at the top go Filter --> Artistic --> Cutout. Play around with the settings, but on the whole keep the numbers fairly small. In this case i used:

No. of levels: 4

Edge Simplicity: 4

Edge Fidelity: 2

Now select the layer you just applied this filter to, and double click to open up the blending options. From the Blend Mode dropdown box select Overlay, and set the opacity to about 35%.

Step Three

Hit Ctrl-V again to create another layer on top of the original image. Now we're going to use the coloured pencil filter. Go, in the menu bar again, Filters --> Artistic --> Coloured Pencil. Again, play around with the settings to suit your image, but in this case i used:

Pencil Width: 9

Stroke Pressure: 12

Paper Brightness: 50

Bear in mind that the results of the coloured pencil filter can be affected by the foreground and background colours that you have selected. Now, in the same way as before, set the blend mode of this layer to Soft Light, and the opacity to 25%.

Step Four

Ctrl-V again, and this time we're going to use the Find Edges filter, in Filters --> Stylize --> Find Edges. Once it is applied, set the blend mode to Multiply, and the opacity to 50%.

Step Five

Curves are very handy tools. Go Layer --> New Adjustment Layer --> Curves to create the layer. To enhance the tones of a picture that hasn't got a lot of contrast, i would suggest adding one point to the line, near the bottom left corner, and dragging it down a bit, then add another point towards the top right corner, and drag it up a bit, creating a smooth "chicane" curve.

That's it!

Be prepared to alter the blending modes and opacities, as different setting will work better depending on the picture. Click here for a before and after example.

I hope it works well for you :)

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