A Rembrandt, yeah right, shut up, that’s, never going to happen
Okay aim lower, how about a hand painted art effect? inspired by the colour palette of Rembrandt. He used a technique called chiaroscuro. Its an Italian word that basically means that you use dark shadows with bright light. The theory is the contrast gives a painting an intense depth that draws the eye into the painting.
No photoshop filters required
I don’t use many adobe ps filters, turns out most are total crap. Try the art effects, they are shockingly bad, nothing like what I would expect anyway. Rant over, I’m using ps cs5 to get this oil painting effect, but its so simple you could do it with any version.
You don’t need any fancy filters (apart from sharpen), no graphics tablet, and to be honest very little skill to achieve nice results from your photo. I’m sure there are third party filters that would get you close to this oil painting effect but I’m not using them here.
Oil painting in photoshop
First off you need a good photo, the higher the resolution the better. This won’t work so well with a tiny 72dpi image, so get a good hires photo to start with. It’s also best, if you have your subject in the middle of the frame, looking at the camera. You could do this oil painting with any subject matter, but for this tutorial we’ll keep it simple.
Sit and watch the time lapse video of me working, the oil painting technique is very easy. The basic premise is that we are brushing over the top of the original image with the smudge tool. Its all in the brush work or in this case the mouse work – and goes something like this.
Lets break it down
- Pick a big art brush (fan brush is good)
- Select the smudge tool
- Duplicate your photo layer
- Follow the contour of the face and smudge very roughly at first
- Use long flowing brush marks (the aim is to smudge everything, eventually)
- After you have smudged each area, like the ear, flatten with the layer below
- Adjust the Strength of the smudge tool to get different effects.
- Duplicate the layer and smudge again
Oil painting in photoshop tips
Change your paint brush, and brush size often, so the brush marks are not all the same. The eye for instance will need a smaller brush, the forehead a bigger brush.
The fan brush is good for blending. I’ve used it to blend the edge of the person to the background, to give that blurry, misty painting technique.
Push the paint around from dark areas to lighter areas and vice versa. Use long and short brush strokes. Don’t worry if you make a mistake, just undo or smudge the paint over the mistake.
Change the strength of the smudge tool, 80% is good for strong bold brush marks, 40% is good to blend the paint rather than smudge it. Less than 40% produces very delicate results a bit like the blur tool.
You could use blur filter to blur the edge of the figure, so it looks a bit more dreamlike. Be careful not to over do it.
Just to recap:
- Change the brush size often
- Use the fan brush
- Push colour around
- Change the brush strength
Sharpen the image to get realistic brush strokes
Once you have finished your smudge painting, you need to sharpen your image to reveal the brush marks. This really brings the painting to life, it makes it pop, and looks like real brush strokes – it goes something like this.
- Duplicate your paint layer
- Use filter/smart sharpen
- Set Amount to 500% and radius of 1.8 (depending on your photo resolution, adjust)
- Look good? now knock back the opacity a bit.
Optionally add a texture layer
Finally I’ve added a kind of paint overlay to my whole image and knocked it back. I just wanted some extra texture in the background to give it a kind of aged look. You don’t need this, but I liked it.
This technique might sound complicated but trust me its not, anyone can create an oil painting in photoshop.
After the oil painting effect
Get me to do the oil painting for you
If you don’t have time to do your own oil painting in photoshop then you can hire me to do it for you. I now offer this as a service, but be warned it’s not cheap. It can take well over 5 hrs work to create the oil painting effect.
I’ve proved that its not that difficult but it does take time. Cost depends on your picture, the more complex the more it costs. I generally charge around £150 for a print ready piece of artwork.
If you are interested you’ll need
- A high resolution photograph (nothing shot on your mobile phone)
- A well lit photograph
- A head a shoulder shot
Feel free to mail me to talk about your project.
That is all.
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