Home  >  Tutorials  >   PSP 8 Tutorials  >
Making an Oil Painting from a Photo
E-mail this tutorial to a friend Email to a Friend

Making an Oil Painting from a Photo
Created by: Prof

We will use a photograph to which we will apply various effects and create a very nice oil painting. The techniques illustrated can be used on any image or photograph.
Download File Download File
For this tutorial you'll need a photo. If you haven't one of your own at hand, you can download the photo that I used for this tutorial, with the zip file on the left.

Select a Photo

Open up a photo in PSP and go to Window || Duplicate (Shift+D) so you can work with a copy of your photo. The photograph I use here is one I received from a photo newsletter to which I belong.

Notice that this photograph has a drop shadow along the right and bottom edges. You might want to crop the photo to remove those shadows. However, I am choosing to leave them as they do add a nice touch to the end result.


Apply a Brush-Stroke Effect

One very nice effect that can be applied to images and photographs is the Brush-Stroke effect. There are a number of presets and it is worthwhile experimenting by using each one on a photo you are enhancing. The result of a preset is based upon the photo being used, so an effect with one preset in one photo may not be the same when used on another photo.


A very simple way to convert a photo to an oil painting is to just apply a Brush Stroke of your liking. In this example, I will start with the preset "Oil" and then enhance it.

First promote the "Background" layer to a raster layer: Go to Layers || Promote Background Layer.

Then go to Effects || Art Media Effects || Brush Strokes and select the preset you want (I used the "Oil" preset).

If you want to give some more depth to the oil effect, go to Adjust || Sharpness || Sharpen More. The result in and of itself is a nice oil effect from a photograph.

You could even stop at this point and add a frame or a border and have a very nice oil painting.

Duplicate Layer     Layer Visibility Off     Selection Tool

New Raster Layer   Materials Palette - Materials Box  Materials Solid Color Option

Flood Fill Tool     Layer Visibility On

Create a Vignette

In this next step, we will create a vignette of just the bird area.

First duplicate the layer and turn off the bottom layer. Activate your Selection tool and set it to "Ellipse".

Center your cursor in your canvas. (In my photograph the center point is 205x154.) Draw an ellipse just around the bird.

Go to Selections || Modify || Inside/Outside Feather and set these values:
– Both = checked
– Feather Amount = 100

Then go to Selections || Invert, and delete once by hitting the Delete key.

Keep the selection active and add a new top layer. Set the foreground color to a tan (#DCBF98) or color of your choice which will appear as the background color for the photograph.

Flood-fill the new layer and deselect (Ctrl+D), then turn on the bottom layer.

The result is a nicely centered image of the bird on a branch with the oil effect fading into a solid color background.


Enhance the Photo

In this step we will use a Sculpture effect and then apply the Brush Stroke used earlier to create a very neat result.

Activate the top layer in your Layer palette, then go to Effects || Texture Effects || Sculpture and use the "Gold" preset.

Then apply the same Brush Stroke effect used above: go to Effects || Art Media Effects || Brush Strokes and just click on OK.


Finishing Touches

In the final step, we will use some additional PSP effects and features to finish our oil painting. First merge the layers: Go to Layers || Merge || Merge visible.

Now we'll clarify the image. First make sure your Photo toolbar is visible; if it's not, go to View || Toolbars || Photo. Open the menu at the left of that toolbar and select "Clarify", use the default settings.

If it's not open yet, open your Script toolbar now: go to View || Toolbars || Script. Then select the script "Simple Caption" from the drop-down menu at the left of that toolbar, click on the little arrow on the right of the drop-down menu to run the script, and give your oil painting a title.

On the bottom layer ("Page Surface"; click on it in your Layer palette to activate it) you can change the page's color by going to Adjust || Hue and Saturation || Colorize:
– Hue = 24
– Saturation = 128
Then, on this same layer, apply the Brush Stroke effect again with the "Oil Painting" preset like before.

Finish up by adding a frame: Go to Image || Picture Frame and select a frame of your choice. I used "Edge Smudge 01" with the option "Outside the frame" checked. I then used Effects || Distortion Effects || Punch with its default value and applied it twice to narrow the outside frame.

You can now merge your layers, then save with a filename of your choice and you are ready to display your oil painting.


These techniques (Brush Stroke Effekt, Vignette, Photo Toolbar || Clarify, Simple Caption Script and a Frame) can be applied to any photograph. Experiment with different settings and presets. Even experiment with different values in the Brush Strokes settings to enrich the result.

Most importantly, have fun. – Prof –