A regular photo can be turned into something that looks like a painting on most graphic programs. Adobe Photoshop, one of the most common programs, can transform the photo in a few simple steps.
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Open the picture in the graphics program.
Right-click on the default background layer and select "duplicate."
Click on the "Filter" tab at the top of the page. Select "Blur" and then "Gaussian Blur."
Change the value of the pixels in the window that pops up. Put in 20 to start, but the number can be changed as necessary.
Click on the drop down box in the top left corner of the "layers" palette. Use the "normal" or "darken" tabs to change the look of the photo.
Readjust the Gaussian Blur pixel value and other functions as necessary.