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2,862 Tutorials

How to create watercolour effects

Digital painting in Adobe Photoshop Elements and Illustrator

Watercolour is one of the most popular forms of painting - mistakes can be easily corrected and you needn't be particularly precise in your strokes. This somewhat impressionistic medium is ideal for a first foray into digital painting.

Go back to black: Photoshop Elements provides a black-and-white image option. We've used it here to get a higher contrast. Hit Ctrl, Alt, B to open up the black-and-white box and select a style that uses different channels. Boost the contrast and, when you're happy, flatten the layer and save a copy.

Go back to black

Experiment with texture: Open your texture image in Elements. Set the image size to 800x1,200 at 300dpi to match the portrait. Nudge the texture into place using the Move tool and the arrow keys. We've set the blending mode to Lighten at 100 percent. Flatten the image (go to Layer, Flatten Image).

Experiment with texture

Diffuse and erase: Next, we need to erase part of the texture using the opacity slider above the thumbnail image. Select the Erase tool and bring down the opacity to about 75 to 85 percent. Make sure the erase area is reasonably small, then slowly erase around the eyes, lips and nostril area. Now flatten the image.

Diffuse and erase

Diffuse: From the Filter menu select Distort and choose the Diffuse Glow option. Raise the glow level to between 3 and 5 and bring down the clear amount to about 19. Press Ctrl, A to select the entire image then Ctrl, C to make a copy. Paste this into a blank document in Adobe Illustrator.


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