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Watercolor Painting Effect

There is a trend going around where you turn your images into something that appears to be a watercolor painting. I’m not a band-wagoner but I’ve seen it so much lately, I decided to jump on and see what all the fuss was about. After searching, I saw all sorts of things you can buy to make your images look that way. I didn’t want to buy anything. I know Photoshop well and wanted to see if this type of effect was feasible to do on your own. It most definitely is!! It's FREE and only takes a few short steps too.

STEP 1: Go to and download these FREE awesome high resolution Watercolor Splatters brush pack. It also includes 3 photo textures. Save this file in an easy to remember place.

STEP 2: Find the file you just downloaded, unzip if necessary, and load the brushes into Photoshop.

STEP 3: Go to Photoshop.

STEP 4: Open the image you want to apply the watercolor effect too.

STEP 5: Flatten your image if necessary. Rename this layer BACKGROUND.

STEP 6: Go to FILTER > FILTER GALLERY > ARTISTIC > DRY BRUSH and change the setting to Brush Size 10, Brush Detail 10 and Texture 1. Click OK.

STEP 7: Open the Water Paper Texture that you downloaded with your brushes.

STEP 8: Move it to your image. Make sure it’s the top layer. Adjust the size as needed to fit over your entire image. Change the blending mode to MULTIPLY.

STEP 9: Navigate back to your BACKGROUND layer and put a layer mask on this layer.

STEP 10: Invert BACKGROUND’s layer mask. Making it black.

STEP 11: Make sure your FOREGROUND COLOR is set to WHITE.

STEP 12: Go to your BRUSH SETTINGS PANEL and choose one of the Watercolor Splatter Brushes you just downloaded.

STEP 13: With the BRUSH SETTINGS PANEL still open you can change the size, angle and roundness of the brush to get different effects.

STEP 14: Take the brush and paint on your image. For mine, I use several different brushes.

The finished products...

It is fun to learn new things. It's a technique I will forever use. I think if you were to sneak a few of these bad boys into your clients galleries they would be quite pleased.


Don't forget to share your finished images with me in my Inspiration and Education Facebook group. Join me on Facebook at Amanda Colgan Photography Inspiration and Education

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