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How to Create an Artistic Watercolor Background Effect (With a Photoshop Action)

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Welcome to our Photoshop in 60 Seconds series, in which you can learn a Photoshop skill, feature, or technique in just a minute!

Photoshop in 60 Seconds

You can create awesome backgrounds for any of your graphic design projects using a Photoshop Action. And in this quick video below, I'll show you how to transform a simple photo with a creative watercolor action.

Browse the incredible selection of Photoshop Actions available through GraphicRiver and Envato Elements for more effects.

How to Create a Watercolor Background Effect

Open your photo into Photoshop. Here I'll be using this Boy Portrait at 2000x1304 pixels.

Boy Portrait From Pixabay
Boy Portrait

Then load this Artist Photoshop Action into the Actions palette as well as the brush set that's included.

Load the Action and Brushes

Create a New Layer and name it "brush." Select the Brush Tool (B) and use the brush to Fill in the areas where you'd like the effect to take place. Here I painted the boy and a little of the background. When you're ready, hit the Play button to play the action.

Fill the Brush Layer with Color

Earlier on, you may be prompted to make some manual adjustments. So adjust the Threshold Levels before continuing the action.

Adjust the Threshold Levels

Finish the watercolor effect by experimenting with Adjustment Layers in the Sketch and Watercolor folders. Hide some layers or add a beautiful brown #4a1905 and white Gradient Map for a nice color. Then use the brushes included with your action for more texture.

Add a Gradient Map

Here's the final effect.

Watercolor Background Photoshop Action Tutorial

Want to see this in real time? Check out the video above to see this lesson at work!

A Bit More Detail

Learn more from our Photoshop experts. Check out the following tutorials below:

60 Seconds?!

This is part of a series of quick video tutorials on Envato Tuts+ in which we introduce a range of subjects, all in 60 seconds—just enough to whet your appetite. Let us know in the comments what you thought of this video and what else you'd like to see explained in 60 seconds!

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