In this tutorial I'm going to show you what I think is the most realistic technique to achieve the look of watercolor paintings from photos. The technique used in this tutorial allows you to actually hand-paint your image, which gives it extraordinary nuance and a spectacular result.
How to turn your image to watercolor paint using photoshop
Ok, now you can follow this steps. If you like this photoshop filter start with me. Open a photo you'd like to use for this project. I downloaded this one from google. To ensure your results will look similar to mine, Check your photo's resolution by going to Image and Image Size.
The photo I'm using has a resolution of 72 pixels per inch. To ensure your results will look similar to mine, type in this amount for Resolution. The Width and Height can be any amount. Make 2 copies of your image by pressing Ctrl or Cmd + J twice. Name the top layer, "Pencil Lines".
Click the eyeball next to that layer to temporarily hide the layer. Name the middle layer, "Smart Blur". Go to Filter, Blur and "Smart Blur". Make the Radius: 10, the Threshold: 30 and the Quality: High. Then, click OK or press Enter or Return.
Make the Pencil Lines layer visible and active. Go to Filter and Filter Gallery. Open the "Stylize" folder and click "Glowing Edges". Make the Edge Width: 1, the Edge Brightness: 12 and the Smoothness: 15. Then, click OK.
Invert the image by pressing Ctrl or Cmd + I. We'll remove its color by pressing Ctrl or Cmd + Shift + U. Change the Blend Mode to Multiply and reduce the opacity to 80%. Make the "Smart Blur" layer active and make a copy of it. Name it "Brush". Invert it and change its Blend Mode to "Color Dodge".
We're ready to paint over our image, which is when the magic begins. First, let's zoom out a bit, so we have more room to paint. Press Ctrl or Cmd + the minus key of your keyboard. Open your Brush Tool and Brush Picker. Click the gear icon and click "Reset Brushes". When you see this message, click OK to replace the current brushes with the default brushes.
Click the gear icon again and click "Small List". Scroll to the bottom and click "Dry Brush". I'll make its size 140 pixels, but feel free to adjust its size depending on the size of your image. Make its opacity 10% and press Enter or Return. Loosely brush over your image.
Open your Brush picker again, click the gear icon and this time, click "Wet Media Brushes". Again, click OK to replace your current brushes with the Wet Media Brushes. Click "Watercolor Textured Surface" and press Enter or Return. Make its Opacity 50% and press Enter or Return. To make your brush bigger, press the right bracket key on your keyboard and make sure your "CapsLock" key is not on. Brush over your image and adjust the size of your brush accordingly.
Notice, when the brushstrokes overlap eachother, the areas gets darker as the color builds just as actual watercolors do. If you want to hide some of the pencil lines or minimize their appearance, make the Pencil Lines layer active and click the Layer Mask icon to make a layer mask next to the Pencil Lines. Increase its opacity to 100% and brush over the pencil lines that you want hide.
If you want to just lighten some of the pencil lines and not completely hide them, just reduce your brush's opacity and brush over those lines. Next, we'll make our colors more vibrant by clicking the Adjustment layer icon and clicking "Vibrance". Drag the Vibrance slider all the way to the right.
The last step is to add a paper texture. To do this, make the Smart Blur layer active and go to Filter and Filter Gallery. Close the Stylize folder and open the Texture folder. Click "Texturizer". Choose "Sandstone" for the texture. Make the Scaling 100%, the Relief 2 or 3 and the Light from the Top.
Thats it. You are done. You can add diffecet values to change quilty of this effect. This is the easy method to make watercolor effect. If you have any questions contact me or commet below. Share my tutorial with others Thank you.
Video tutorial below