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February 27, 2011 / arthill

Making a photo look like a painting

I cannot draw or paint.  I love photographs of course but sometimes a painting just looks better.  I think one of the cool things about digital photography is that you can convert your photograph into a painting.  Regardless of which image editing program you use it probably has menu items called watercolor or oil painting or paint daubs or dry brush.  I suggest you try these out; sometimes the effect is quite nice. I have found though that it often takes a bit more to get the effect that you want.

Here’s an original photo of the Portofino Hotel in Orlando.

In a few very simple steps I converted it into this.

The series of steps to accomplish this are spelled out at

One caution: You need to decide ahead of time whether you’re going for a “painting” to display on the web or something you want to print.  If you’re just going to display on the web you should resize your photo before you apply the painting effects.  If you work on an original large image the effects get diminished when the resulting painting is, inevitably, shown at a much smaller size.  Put another way, you’re used to having the screen and print versions of your photograph look the same.  Once you start with these effects, they don’t.

So, try out the built-in stuff in your photo imaging program and if that isn’t enough try this series of steps.  Here are a few other pictures I’ve liked with a painting effect.

I have more at Paintings and Special Effects.  Maybe something there will inspire you.

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