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Create a Watercolor Effect in Photoshop

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Tutorials Photo Effects 71103 Views August 27th, 2012

Learn how to create a watercolor effect in Photoshop using some simple filters and adjustments from this easy to follow tutorial. Your watercolor art is ready in just a minutes. Photoshop watercolor effect can be obtained in many ways and using different techniques. For example you can use watercolor brushes or splatter brushes instead of using watercolor textures.

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Let's find out how to create a watercolor effect in Photoshop using some simple Photoshop filters and textures, especially watercolor textures. I am not going to add splatter brushes but you can experiment with brushes if you want.

In the first step I wll add a corkboard texture in the first layer that will act as background for the watercolor that we are about to create. Just copy this corkboard texture in Photoshop. Reduce the saturation of this texture using the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer.

Now I am going to add this beautiful stock image that we are going to transform. Place it in the center of the canvas and crop it like in the image below.

Go to Image, Adjustment menu and choose Threshold and set the threshold level to around 135. You might have to adjust this level for other images that have a different brightness/contrast balance.

Go to Filter, Stylize menu and choose Diffuse. From the options list I am going to ckeck Anisotropic. As as result you see that the image has a much smooth look.

Free Watercolor Textures and Backgrounds

To create this effect we have to use a realistic watercolor texture to make the watecolor paint effect look authentic.

For this watercolor effect I will use this watercolor texture; place it above all the other layers. Change the blending mode of this watercolor texture layer to Lighten.

In a new layer above all the other layers, copy this splatter texture, resize it to around 30% and change its blend mode to Multiply. Use the the Brightness/Contrast to adjust the splatter and to blend it perfectly with the rest of the image.

Add a Color Balance and a Hue/Saturation adjustment layers, and make the following settings for the splatter texture. Make sure to check the Click to Clip to Layer button so that the adjustments to affect only the splatter texture. The initial image had way too saturated colors and different color tones. The adjustments help us blend the two textures together.

You can copy this splatter, rotate, resize and place in different areas of the image if you want. You can even experiment with splatter brushes.

Now let's add this rough paper texture just to change a little the paper texture for this watercolor painting. Set the blend mode to Linear Burn. If you want to make it darker and more visible, simply reduce the brightness a little and increase the contrast of the rough paper texture.

For the final touches I have added another watercolor splatter texture this time it is a texture with different colored splatters. Set the blend mode of this new texture to Color Burn, 50% opacity level. Add a simple signature and your watercolor effect in Photoshop is ready.

You can merge all the layers and add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer if you want to obtain different color effects. You can check the Colorize option for monochromatic effect. Here are some samples of watercolor effects that I have made. I am really waiting to see your results so upload them on our comments section :)

Watercolor and Sketch Photoshop Action

You can try our brand new Photoshop action for creating sketch drawing with watercolor effects out any photo or image. The result is fully customizable.

Coffee Stain, Watercolor, Ink and Water Photoshop Actions

You can try also these Photoshop actions for creating different stain effects like coffee, watercolor, ink, water, wine or blood out any photo or image. The result is fully customizable.

If you're looking for amazing textures and backgrounds for Photoshop, explore Textures4Photoshop where you can find 1000+ unique images. You can download all these textures and backgrounds for free to use in personal or commercial projects!

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10 comment(s) for "Create a Watercolor Effect in Photoshop"

PSDDude
9:54 AM Monday, August 27, 2012
I am glad you like it Andrei, I never thought you could learn something from me...you have better Photoshop skills :)

reply
PSDDude
12:44 AM Tuesday, November 06, 2012
Upload your result :) we are always curious to see works inspired by our tutorials! reply
manaspattnaik
8:40 AM Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Thanks a lot for the tutorial.
Loved it
Reagrds reply
Madeleine
Madeleine
10:24 AM Saturday, March 30, 2013
Thanks for the inspiring tut! Learned a lot in doing it!
reply
Sandra
Sandra
12:47 AM Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Thank you very much for the detailed and inspiring instructions :-) I enjoyed the tutorial very much. reply
John
12:51 AM Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Wow, this is a very beautiful Photoshop watercolor artwork. I am glad that my tutorial helped you! reply
John
3:36 AM Tuesday, August 13, 2013
I have just found this cool Watercolor Photoshop Action Creator that you can download from graphicriver

DOWNLOAD Watercolor Photoshop Action reply
John
7:38 AM Thursday, August 15, 2013
Or you can try my Stain Photo Effect Photoshop Creator. This is a cool Photoshop action that allows you to create different stain effects like: coffee stain, wine stain, paint stain, colors stain, ink stain, watercolor effects and blood stains.

DOWNLOAD Stain Photoshop Action Generator reply
Khays
1:30 AM Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Great tutorial! I am experimenting with this tutorial on some pictures I have taken on my camera. The tutorial is simple and easy to follow so I am having some fun with my Photoshop right now. Thanks for posting this PSDDude! reply
Andrei Oprinca
10:37 AM Wednesday, June 03, 2015
Aww that was sooo cool. I never used the threshold for this effect but looks like it's very effective. reply

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