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Create a Watercolor Effect in Photoshop
Tutorials Photo Effects 69088 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.


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.

Part 1Part 2

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"

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

12:44 AM Tuesday, November 06, 2012
Upload your result :) we are always curious to see works inspired by our tutorials! reply
8:40 AM Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Thanks a lot for the tutorial.
Loved it
Reagrds reply
10:24 AM Saturday, March 30, 2013
Thanks for the inspiring tut! Learned a lot in doing it!
12:47 AM Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Thank you very much for the detailed and inspiring instructions :-) I enjoyed the tutorial very much. reply
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
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
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
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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