Oct 07, 2011

From Portrait to Painting

In today’s episode we turn a portrait into a wonderful work of art using Photoshop custom brushes, various filters, and mixing blending modes. The first and most important step is to start with a photograph you love because this tutorial is a bit more in-depth than a few in the past. The reason I decided to post this tutorial is because of a recent job I used these techniques for. It was a lot of work, a lot of fun, and a lot of phlearning. You can use this processing technique as we do in today’s episode, or apply it to your own images such as graphics and action shots. This can be used in a way to spice up a portrait that needs that extra kick.

We started by using filters such as cut-out to take away from the original to make it look more like a graphic image. Then we used a custom brush to create a splatter pattern, and using the colors within the image we created a pattern that can be incorporated over the portait to look like paint. Then we created a vignette using various blending modes to achieve the desired effect.


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    Hello Aaron… I am completely new to Photoshop and thanks to u I have learned a lot… I love your tutorials and PHLearn.. After going through this tutorial I tried the same techniques on one of your sample images I had in the Pro tutorials. Have a look and give your views for improvement..

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    Thank you so much, very interesting. will try this out and a couple of pictures and see what happens. :-)
    have been looking at the Deviant art website and been downloading several FREE brushes and having a lot of FUN,FUN. :-)

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    I am completely new to Photoshop and I have learned so much from you… I love your tutorials and i have tried a little something on one of your sample images… Have a look and let me know areas to be improved… Thanks.. :) :)

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    Christine Reeves

    Here is a sample of a photo I would like to duplicate the style of. It’s very subtle, but there is some type of filter on it. I’ve gone through the filter gallery and cannot seem to match the outcome. Can you help?

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    Robert Waldman

    I loved this tutorial. How do you discover these amazing techniques? I would have never figured this out on my own. Thank you. BTW, I can’t find the brushes to download. Where can I find them?

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    Radek Lát

    In the beginning, I didn’t believe that the result could be what I saw in the preview. But then you pulled out some real tablet/brush magic! I’m not sure that any of the filters got much in effect in the end (I noticed just a little bit of the square brush), but at least it’s good to know you can stack them up (I didn’t know that). And this really convinced me to get a tablet. Doing this kind of work with a mouse would take ages and I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t look half that good. Actually, I also appreciated the speed of the tutorial. The latest ones tend to be too slow for me.

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    Mike Fendt

    here is my attempt I hope you like it. 
    I used Aaron’s idea but at the end I added a white layer added a mask and painted in a the image to give it a border and a painted feel. 
    Thanks for inspiring me and im going to make a few more of these. 

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    Aaron, Do you think you could do an episode on different types of printing techniques like giclee, metallic print etc and what are the advantages and disadvantages of using those ? 

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    Here’s my attempt.  I most definitely do not have the patience to work on something like this for hours. lol  So, this is as good as it gets for about an hours worth of work. =)

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    Robert Kronqvist

    Hi Phlearn, after you changed to a new videoformat (or vimeo did) i can no longer watch it on my computer. I have no problem with youtube 480p fullscreen or vimeo non hd fullscreen.. but with this new videothing, it lags alot on my small 10″ computer. I mostly use it while laying in bed watching your videos.

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    Wow… Val here… that was intense but so worth it.. Here is my meger attempt at the techniques.

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    Mariah Texidor

    Aaron you saved my life. I have been stuck with an assignment from school that I have to illustrate a childhood memory, and I think this technique will help me so much!! Especially since it’s about children! If they come out good enough after the first few tries ( most likely after Monday) I’ll definitely post them! =D  TY!

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    Andrea Peipe

    Crazy episode Aaron! I just tried it on the side but it looks awful because I think you need to have the right image to work with (I was just playing around). Thanks for showing us, really creative what you did there! Will try again at the weekend… 

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    Beth Duri

    Here is my attempt at using those splatter brushes on a self portrait that I took yesterday. I definitely need to work on this technique. Not sure if I succeeded or not but I had fun trying :)

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    Mark ODo...

    This is exactly why I am addicted to Phlearn.  Once again your technique is something I would have never thought of.  I need to stop being so conservative with the use of layers.  Thanks man!
    BTW what time is the meeting tomorrow?  I have a fun Halloween shoot scheduled but would love to catch some of the meeting if it’s early enough.