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Photography

How to Create Paint Art Style Images With Photoshop Photo Effects (Actions)

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Photoshop actions can be a great way to achieve an arty effect without having to learn to draw or paint. They're perfect when you want something a little bit more out of your images. We're covering pencil-and-watercolour, grungy street art, and acrylic stencil styles in this tutorial.

Pencil n Watercolor Photoshop Action
Pencil n Watercolor Photoshop Action

All of the actions on this page are included with a subscription Envato Elements, where you can download creative resources for a monthly subscription.

Pencil Sketch and Watercolour Effect: Pencil n Watercolor Photoshop Action

Transform your photographs into a pencil sketch or watercolour in a few clicks with this Photoshop action set. There are ten colour presets to apply and each composition is layered and easy to edit.

Before You Start

You’ll need to install:

This is the image I'll be working with:

Photo by Cody Hiscox on Unsplash
Photo by Cody Hiscox on Unsplash

Run the Action

Create a layer called subject making sure it's all lowercase. On that layer, brush over where you'd like the effect to be applied.

brush over your subject
Brush over your subject

Hit run!

action with layers
After the action has run you'll see the layers it breaks down into

This does a really nice job, I loved it just the way it was. You can change the colours – there are a number of different presets – and also remove some of the texture (splatter as it’s called in the layers), but for this image I think it’s just the right amount.

Finished Effect

Grunge Effect: Street Art Photoshop Action

Street Art is full of grungy style and character. Each action has 11 graffiti tags, five wall texture styles and ten colour options to choose from.

Before You Start

You’ll need to install:

Photo by David Villasana on Unsplash
Photo by David Villasana on Unsplash

Run the Action

Create a layer called area and paint over your subject.

brush over subject
Brush over your subject

Run action and wait a little while for it to finish up.

after the action has run
This is the result when the action has run

I think there’s quite a bit we can do to this to improve the result.

Make Adjustments

Firstly, in the Colour and Contrast Settings folder, make Add Original Colours visible again.

Ignore the colour options and background choices for now – those ideally should be finishing touches once you’ve got the image the way you want it. I found the black outline distracting – so if you want to get rid of it, you’ll find it in the Colors and Layers folder under silhouette lines.

I didn’t cut out my subject particularly neatly, so to remedy that, I popped a layer mask over Colors and Layers and brushed around the obvious edges.

the adjustments so far
The adjustments so far

Once you have the subject how you want it, start working on the colour and texture. I opted for Colour 8 as I liked the subtle purple it brought in. I chose Concrete Wall for the texture, with the opacity reduced.

adjustments so far 2
After further adjustments

I don’t feel like there was enough of the background left to give the image any context, so I added a mask to Background Elements and brushed around the building with a low opacity brush until enough of the original background was showing through.

Finally, I selected all of the folders and put them into one folder so I could lower the overall effect opacity to 80%.

bring back some background for context
Bring back some background for context

 Finished Result

Finished Result
The finished result

Acrylic Stencil Paint Effect: 8 Watercolor and Acrylic Painting FX

Can’t decide between watercolour and acrylic? You don’t have to with this Photoshop action set. There are eight options to choose from and they run non-destructively.

Before You Start

You’ll need to install:

Forest scene at sunset
Here's the image I used from Unsplash, if you'd like to use the same one.

Run the Action

The great thing about this download is there's a 'play all' option. They won’t appear as separate folders in the Layers panel though, you’ll have to look for them in your History panel.

the results appear in history rather than layers
The results appear in history rather than layers

When you choose one, you’ll then see the relevant folders and adjustments layers in the Layers panel. In the example below, I selected Stencilled Acrylic.

Stencilled Acrylic
Stencilled Acrylic

This uses a gradient overlay, so you can always change the gradient to adjust the colours. I changed this one from blues and greens, to pinks and blues.

Stencilled Watercolour Splatter
Stencilled Watercolour Splatter

You can see from the layers that there isn’t actually much adjusting you can do to the result, which is a shame, but then you do get quite a few options within the pack, so there should still be plenty of choice.

 More Great Photoshop Actions

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