Feb 25/20 Brush and Filter

This session will be about altering images towards the “Artistic” with the aid of a brush and filter tool in Photoshop Elements. Sometimes you want the subject to stand out more sharp against a more blurry background. At other times you would like to remove flaws and smooth colours. And then you might want to alter an image to look like t water colour or oil painting. All of this and more can be done with layers and a variety of brushes and filters. It is not as hard as you think.

If you would like to practice on the examples below, click here for the source files on my Google Drive Directory. To be able to edit them, you need to drag and drop them on your computer.

Below the basics for Photoshop Elements – Brush Control

Click on the link below to view the full resolution image. Use browser backbutton to return here
Click on the link below to view the full resolution image
Click on the link below to view the full resolution image

With the basics it is not easy to create a satisfying image. Luckily we can use the basics together with the sampler dropper to make a simulated painting very easily. It is just a matter of learning three easy to remember keyboard controls with your left hand while you do the painting with your mouse left button.

Click on the link below to view the full resolution image

One important keyboard shortcut to remember is “Ctrl” – “Z” to undo your last paint stroke. By repeating this shortcut you can go further backwards and remove a series of paint strokes. However most often it is easier to fix the problem by re-sampling a colour that you are not happy with and then changing the colour slightly as shown below.

Finished – Hi-Res – Painting


Another interesting brush style in Photoshop Elements is the “Impressionist Brush”
This tool can create beautiful “Watercolours” for suitable images. This especially true for flower close-ups.

Original “High-Key image taken inside a “Light Tent”
Cropped image
Final Result


Another interesting tool is the facial feature and distortion filter that can make stunning changes to a face or make interesting caricatures

Side by side comparison


A more serious painting experience can be achieved with Photoshop proper or with a dedicated electronic painting program like Corel Painter. I will not cover the latter but here are some notes on how to successfully start “painting” with Photoshop.

Start with an image that is reasonably high resolution. Most cameras these days have a high resolution sensor and produce images in the (L) or large format.

Start with a reasonably simple image before tackling more complex images.

Work your “Paint Magic” on a duplicate layer.

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