How to turn a photo into a painting in Photoshop? If you do not have strong drawing and pencil skills, this tutorial will be interesting for you. If you’re not a good painter, but you take good photos, the good news is that you can easily turn your photos into drawings using Photoshop software. In this article, we will teach you step by step how to convert a photo to a drawing in Photoshop.
First of all, we must say that the steps of this tutorial are not complicated, but it is better to have a basic understanding of this software. If this is one of your first encounters with Photoshop, then pay close attention to the descriptions and photos.
It should also be noted that in this tutorial we have used the 2020 version of Adobe Photoshop CC. Different versions of this software may be slightly different, but these differences are not misleading at all.
Let’s start by turning a photo into a painting in Photoshop with a portrait
We start by selecting a portrait image. You can select any image. We use the Photoshop version of Windows. But the same thing can be done with a Mac.
Also, note that you are using an 8-bit image. Otherwise, some filters in Photoshop will not be visible to your photo.
First, we change the image layer to a Smart Object. Converting a photo to a smart layer allows you to make changes to each layer.
Before doing so, use the Quick Select tool embedded in the left panel of Photoshop. When you are on this tool, you will see the Select Subject option in the top bar of Photoshop.
When selecting this option, Adobe Photoshop software uses its own intelligence technology and selects only the subject in the image, and it usually does this very well. In our photo, the subject is just that person.
Tip – If this tool fails to separate the subject well for any reason, we recommend that you do it yourself. To do this, search the Internet for instructions on how to separate the subject from the background.
Cover the subject with a mask
To do this, while still selecting only the desired subject, go to Layer> Layer Mask> Reveal Selection. Of course, you can also do this on the Layer Mask icon embedded in the Layers panel.
Clean excess masked areas with a brush and black paint. You can also do this through the Select and Mask tool. The Select and Mask tool is similar to previous versions of the Refine Mask function, but this new feature works better. You do not need a full mask layer to turn a photo into a painting in Photoshop, as long as it is smooth and clean.
Note – Note that when working with Mask layers, white means showing the image under the mask and black tint means covering the image under the mask. You can also use simple pencil and brush tools and white and black colors to select white and black areas.
Once you are satisfied with the mask layer, it is time to reverse the selected volume (Invert Selection). To do this, press Control + shift + i in Windows or Command + shift + i in Mac OS. By doing this, you have now selected the background of the photo. Click the Delete button to clear the background and make it disappear. Now click on the layer and turn it into a Smart Object. You can also do this from the Edit menu in the top bar of Photoshop.
Turn the base image into a Smart Object
Now duplicate the layer you converted to Smart Object and rename the new layers.
Since our layers were previously a Smart Object, all duplicates are the same as the Smart Object and are attached to the main layer (we’ll talk about that later).
So so far we will have 5 layers. Name the main layer in this tutorial (this layer was created by converting the original Background layer to a Smart Object). We have nothing to do with this layer and only work on the top layers.
Name the next layer Base and write the name of the top layer Pencil Outline. The fourth and fifth layers are named Shading and Lines / Edges, respectively.
Layering naming makes it easier to track their settings and you do not feel confused in the later parts of the tutorial.
Using Smart Objects increases the size of files. But on the other hand, it makes changes non-destructive, reversible and editable.
Create multiple layers of Smart Object
In the previous section, we explained about the layers, their number and naming. Now create and name all these layers using Duplicate the main layer.
Edit the Pencil Outline layer
In the following tutorial on converting a photo to a drawing in Photoshop, whenever we talk about working on a layer, turn the other layers off and on and only work on that layer. To turn each layer on or off, in the Layers panel (usually bottom and right), click the eye icon next to the name of each layer. In this case, layers without eye icons are not displayed.
Turn off all the top layers of Pencil Outline. Now we want to invert this layer. To do this, press the Control + i buttons (on Mac Command + i) to reverse layer.
When you have done this, from the Blending Mode section (located at the top of the Layers panel), select the Color Dodge mode to create the initial effect of the crayon design.
Add some Gaussian Blur
The next step in the process of converting a photo to a drawing in Photoshop is to add some Gaussian Blur to the photo. We do this to improve the appearance of the previous crayon effect. To do this, go to Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur. In the page that opens, select Blur rate. The larger the number, the blurrier your photo will be.
Set the Gaussian Blur value you want. By setting this value, you will see a color version of our pencil drawing appear. Set this value to your liking. But keep in mind that the result should be such that you can see the subject clearly.
However, we have to make this image much more beautiful and better by creating shadows and emphasizing some lines.
Make the image black and white
At this stage, we are currently working on the Pencil Outlines layer. Add a Black and White Layer through the Adjustments panel. This new layer should be on top of the Pencil Outlines layer.
If you can not find the Adjustments panel, go to Window> Adjustments via the Photoshop top menu bar to activate the panel for you. When the panel is activated, select the Black and White (option. We do not need to manipulate the settings when blackening the photo, and the same default values of Photoshop software for black and white photo are suitable for this exercise.
Remember that if the top layers of the layer we are working on are on, you will not see any change. In fact, the higher the layer, the more layers it places, and the higher the display priority.
Start shading the painting
When converting a photo to a painting in Photoshop, you will probably want to add more action to the photo using shadows. However, pencils are usually shaded with texture and composition.
You can also create this look using Photoshop, and in this step we are going to teach it.
Select the Shading layer (keep the top layers off).
To improve the effect of the photo, it is better to change the color of the Brush tool from pure black to gray and choose white as white. By doing this, we want the background color to be dark gray and the background to be white.
While on the Shading layer, open the Filter Gallery by going to Menu> Filter> Filter Gallery. On this page, select the Charcoal Filter option from the Sketch Group subset. Set the Charcoal thickness to 1, the Detail to 5 and the Light / Dark Balance to 50.
In the next step, from the Blending Mode section, select the Multiply option for this layer. This allows the bottom layer to merge with the current layer, creating details and some shadows.
Change the transparency value of the layer
Change the Opacity value of the Shading layer to your liking. This adds texture to the image and makes it very similar to a pencil and shadow design. For example, we select the value 62 برای for our file. But you play with this small amount and choose a number that you think is more appropriate for your image. Decreasing the transparency of a layer causes the underlying layer to be displayed as well. In fact, when a layer is 100% transparent, you only see that layer. But when set to 60%, you see 60% of the top layer and 40% of the bottom layer. Like a glass surface that shows itself below.
Improve the outer edges
Most pencil drawings have strong edges. Since we are going to turn a photo into a drawing in Photoshop, the photos have a lot of detail and the edges are not as bold and clear as the drawing. To do this, we need to work on the lines / edges layer at this point. This layer is actually the top layer we created in the previous steps. Select the layer and invert the image using the Control + i keys (Command + i on Mac OS).
After doing this, go to Menu> Filter> Filter Gallery again and select Glowing Edges. This option is located in the Stylize folder.
We use this filter to make the edges of the painting. Do not worry about the color of the edges. At the moment, we want our work to have clearer and more colorful edges, like a painter’s paintings.
When done, set the Blending Mode of this layer to Multiply.
Make the last layer black and white
In this step, we are going to make the Lines / Edges layer black and white. But this time, instead of adding a black and white layer, we want to make the layer black and white. To do this, go to Menu> Image> Adjustments> Black and White.
The important point is that any filter that is below another filter will not be displayed. Now that we have added the black filter to this layer, the Invert filter is no longer displayed.
Since all the layers we used are all Smart Object, you can easily go back each step and reset the values you selected. In fact, all the changes are non-destructive.
The end result of turning a photo into a drawing in Photoshop
By going through all these steps step by step, you will surely succeed in turning one of your photos into a lovely painting. Of course, there are other ways to do this through Photoshop, but the main advantage of this method is to add different shadows. In fact, a painter probably paints himself in the same way and with the same shadows.