How to Make an Oil Painting Effect in Photoshop?

Back in the day, paintings were only created by men of skill or professional painters. Now things have changed. Using advanced smartphone apps and editing software, anyone can get their portrait.

Here we will focus on transforming the image and giving it an oil painting effect in Photoshop. You don’t have to be a photoshop expert to get your oil painting. You can easily do oil painting effects with a basic understanding of Adobe Photoshop.

Just follow these simple steps and you will get your oil painting in just a few minutes. However, things can get a little tricky when you don’t have an oil paint effect in Photoshop.

Compatible Version of Photoshop

Most likely you will not face any problems related to the Windows version. Still, it is always better to check, just to be on the safe side. Your PC should have the following specifications to run the Photoshop oil paint filter smoothly. Here are some points for it:

  • Your system should have a 64-bit OS with the 64-bit version of Photoshop.
  • Make sure that your image document is RGB. The Photoshop oil paint filter doesn’t work on other colors.
  • Make sure your video card supports OpenCL v1.1 or higher.
  • Make sure you have the latest version of Photoshop.

What Does Photoshop Oil Paint Effect Do?

Photoshop added an oil paint feature in Adobe Photoshop CS6 2012. The oil painting Photoshop feature will help you transform your image in oil paint. This will give an oil paint effect in Photoshop to your painting.

This feature provides you with various controls that will help you to fabricate the original image into an oil painting image. We will learn more about these controls later in the article.

Photoshop oil paint filter

How To Use Oil Painting Filter In Photoshop?

The first thing you will need is, obviously, an image. You can get an image from stock images in Photoshop or click it from your camera or phone.

Once you have selected the image that you want to transform, follow these simple steps to render your image into a realistic oil painting.

Step 1:

Open the image in Photoshop and make a copy/duplicate layer of the background layer (original image). You can go to Layers -> Duplicate Layer or simply press ‘Ctrl J’ after selecting the background layer. Just so you preserve the original picture.

Step 2:

Photoshop will name the new layer “Layer 1” by default. Rename it into something meaningful. I would like to go with “Oil Painting”.

Step 3:

Convert the new layer (oil painting) into a ‘Smart Object’ by right-clicking the new layer and then selecting ‘Convert to Smart Object’.

Step 4:

Once you are done, select the new layer (Oil painting) and select ‘Filters’ from the menu bar then click on ‘stylize’ and select ‘Oil Paint’ (Filters -> Stylize -> Oil paint).

Step 5:

This Photoshop oil paint filter option will provide you with various control bars. Let’s learn about each one of them and what changes it does to the image.

Hence every image is different, you have to struggle to adjust different controls to get a perfect Photoshop oil paint effect. 

Just make sure you are using a high-resolution image, with this you can easily notice the changes made by different controls.  

  • Stylize

This bar lets you control the length of strokes. The lower its value, the lower will be the length of strokes and the image will appear sharper and more detailed.

For example, decrease its value when you want finer details like in eyes and lips. Increase its strength (stroke length) to make an image appear painting-like or smoother.

  • Smoothness

As the name goes, here you can control the smoothness of the image. It is similar to the Smudge tool. The only difference is, it is automated and gives a more paint-like effect.

  • Scale

This bar will help you control the thickness of strokes on the image. More its value, the thicker the strokes will appear.

  • Bristle Detail

Bristle Detail will help you control the softness and sharpness of an image. Lowering its value will help make strokes appear lighter, made with light-hand, soft, and increasing the value will do the opposite.

  • Lighting

Here you will find two options, ‘Angle’ and ‘Shine’. ‘Angle’ will help you locate the direction of the light and with ‘Shine’ you can set the intensity of the light falling into the image.

oil painting effects in ps

How To Give Oil Painting Effects If Your Photoshop Version Doesn’t Have An Oil Paint Filter?

Here it gets a little tricky. When you don’t have an oil paint effect in Photoshop, you can still give it an oil painting effect but it can be a little confusing. Just follow the steps mentioned below as it is and transform the image into an oil painting with Photoshop.

Step 1:

Open your image with Photoshop, and duplicate the original image (background layer)

Step 2:

Select the new layer and click on Image from the menu bar then perform the following actions (Image > Adjustments > Shadows/Highlights). Once you have selected the Shadows/highlights options, you will see two bars of shadows and highlights.

Increasing the value of the shadow will brighten the darker areas in the image. Increasing the value of the highlight will decrease the brightness of bright areas in the image.

You have to adjust it according to your image. If you already have a bright and sharp image then it's not necessary to make many changes, just make sure your image is contrasting, sharp, and detailed as a painting cannot have incomplete details. Just don’t make it too sharp, that will make halo lines way too apparent, and the image may look like an unreal painting.

Step 3:

Go to Image > Adjustments > Layers, this too depends on your image. The goal is to sharpen it a little more.

Step 4:

Create a duplicate of ‘Layer 1’ and select the new layer, (default name - Layer 1 Copy), and follow these steps: Filters > Others > High pass. Keep the value in the range of 2-5, it will highlight the edges.

Step 5:

Change ‘Layer 1 Copy’ to ‘Overlay’ from ‘Normal’ and Merge it will ‘Layer 1’.

Step 6:

Go to Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask, and just the bars so that your image looks more contrasting.

Step 7:

Go to Filters > Stylise > Diffuse, and select the Anisotropic option.

Step 8:

Then go to Image > Image Rotation > 90 Degrees Clockwise then go to Filter > Diffuse. Repeat the above step 3 more times so your image gets back to its original form.

Step 9:

Go to Filter > Noise > Reduce Noise. Set the values to the following Strength - 10 and rest all to the ‘0’.

Step 10:

Again go to Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask. set the values according to your image, the goal is to make it more detailed and highlight the edges.

Step 11:

Again make a copy of Layer 1 (Ctrl J) and go to Filter > Other > High Pass. (The value should be the same as the first time.) And merge it with ‘Layer 1’.

Step 12:

Perform the following action Alt + Ctrl + Shift + E to get a flattened version of the existing layer. Then Select the new Layer and go to Image > Autotune.

Step 13:

Create a new layer and select a brush and desired color. Keep lights on both sides of the image and color it with a desired color. Overlay it with a new layer.

After this, you will get an oil painting effect on your image without a Photoshop oil paint filter. If you didn’t get the desired picture. Repeat the following step and eventually, you will reach your goal.

Wrapping Up:

Congrats if you followed till the end. Hopefully, you have transformed the picture into your desired oil painting in Photoshop. Make advanced changes in the image from the 15-In-1 oil painting photoshop action bundle from Artixty.

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