How to Make a Color Photo Look Like a Watercolor Painting

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Adobe Photoshop contains many interesting filters you can use to alter your photographs or artwork. One filter allows you to use a photo to simulate a watercolor painting. The process is easy, and you can adjust your settings to achieve the specific look you like.

  • Launch Adobe Photoshop and open your color digital photo file. Any file format will work with the Watercolor filter. It is usually best to start with a photo in RGB format to achieve the best color manipulation and digital quality. Then, your format can be changed to CMYK if you are going to be printing the photograph. You may also want to perform standard color correction on your photo before you apply filters to give it the best color and contrast balance. The simplest method for quick color correction is to choose Image > Adjustments > Levels from the Photoshop menu. Click "Auto" and "OK" in the dialog box. This feature will correct any lighting or color balance issues.

  • Duplicate your original photo onto a new layer. This step will allow you to keep a copy of your original photo in tact until you are satisfied with your filter settings. Select your entire photo using the rectangular marquee tool. Choose copy from the Edit menu. Create a new layer by selecting Layer > New. Paste your photo into the new layer.

  • Add a Watercolor filter to your photograph. With the photo copy layer selected, choose Filter > Artistic > Watercolor from the Photoshop menu. You will see a preview of your filtered photograph in the dialog box. You may change the scale of the preview by clicking the "+" or "-" boxes in the lower left corner of the preview box. Experiment with your preferred settings for Brush Detail, Shadow Intensity and Texture using the sliding scales in the right of the dialog box. Click "OK" when you are satisfied with the look of your "watercolor."

  • Flatten and save your filtered photo. Now you are ready to use your digital image or print it.

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