watercolor-effect-in-photoshopWatercolor is one of those effects that can be difficult to replicate digitally, but with a little practice and experimentation I think you’ll find it can be rather fun.

This tutorial will be based around creating a really cool watercolor effect, but this technique works just as well when creating paintings in Photoshop.

TUTORIAL DETAILS

  • Program: Photoshop CS6
  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Estimated Completion Time: 40 Minutes

Step 1

The first step here is actually the first step in all my projects. I look for references images based on a sketch that i have in mind. This research and planning process is intertwined. It allows me to look through various elements and plan the direction to follow. Of course, I can change the direction during the creation as this process is fluid.

Step 2

Create a new document in Photoshop, I used a wallpaper size of 1920 pixels by 1200 pixels.

Download this old paper texture pack, and place the Paper 2.jpg in your document.

paper-texture-free-download

Step 3

Now let’s use some brushes, in this case the fantastic Bitbox set of watercolor brushes. Go ahead and download these watercolor brushes. Bitbox has some other amazing watercolor brushes as well, so feel free to test different ones as well.

Create a new layer and  select the Brush Tool (B) and blue for the color. Create a new layer, then with just one click paint place some paint on the layer. Select a different brush and use red for the color. Also you can try different Blend Modes, in this case I used Normal but you can try Multiply as well. Repeat this steps with different colors until you achieve something similar like int the picture below.

paper-texture-download

Step 4

Group all the layers with watercolor brushes and duplicate the group. You can hide one. With the other layer go to Layer > Merge Group. Rescale the layer and make it bigger, as in the image below. Then go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur, and use 250 for the value. Now change the Blend Mode to Multiply.

watercolor-blur

Step 5

Select the Eraser Tool, then select a big round brush and erase some areas from that layer, mainly in the center.

watercolor-background

Step 6

Now let’s add a nice texture on top of this layers. You can use the image of your choice, it could be parchment paper for example. I’m using the image below:

wallpaper-texture-old-paper

Place the image in the document on top of the other layers. After that, change the Opacity to 70% and the Blend Mode to Darken (you can try different Blend Modes).

Step 7

Now let’s place an image in our document. I’m using a photo of a girl in a field from deviantART, you can get it here.

Select the image and go to Filter>Artistic>Dry Brush. Use 0 for the Brush Size, 9 for the Brush Detail and 1 for the Texture.

girl-dry-brush

Step 8

Select the image layer, after that go to Layer>Group Layer. The layer of the image will be inside a folder in the Layer Palette. Select the folder and go to Layer>Layer Mask>Hide all.

girl-in-the-field-with-backgr

Step 9

So now, let’s use some Watercolor Brushes. The ones I use are from Brusheezy and you can download them here http://www.brusheezy.com.

So select one of the watercolor brushes and them white for the color and paint on the layer mask of the group. You will notice that the image will start showing.

first-paint

Keep painting untill you can see the image without losing the brush splatters.

painted-girl

Step 10

Now add another layer, this time beneath the Folder that the image is in. Then again using the watercolor brushes paint over the layer using familiar colors of the picture. Use the images below for reference.

girl-with-backgr-painted-explained

girl-with-backgr-painted

Step 11

Let’s just adjust the color of the image. Select the image and go to Image>Adjustment>Photo Filter. Select Warning Filter (85) and 20% for the Density. Also select the Preserve Luminosity option.

watercolor-effect-in-photoshop

Conclusion

The idea of this tutorial is to show how to create a design from multiple reference images, a simple sketch, and your own ingenuity. Just place your logo and that it you will have a really cool effect and super simple to achieve. That can be used for website headers to create a simply awesome design, and, of course to create posters.


Download the Photoshop .psd File





About the Author: Alex Roman

I’m a 23-year old independent graphic artist based in Romania, Bucharest. I design beautiful, engaging user experiences and intuitive user interfaces for the web. I really love what I do. Want to hire me? Follow me on Facebook or Twitter.