Aquarel effect in Photoshop

Now we slightly digress from the original path our tips tend to follow. It’s time for a bit of creative work! The procedure below doesn’t really belong to the topic of enhancing digital photos, it is more of a “how-to-touch-up-a-boring-picture-when-nothing-comes-to-mind” thing. We try to make an aquarel-looking picture out of a photo. Of course, we rely on layers once again, as such creative effects in Photoshop are rather boring in themselves.

This is a part of a photo that is about to become an aquarel-ish image.


Make two duplicates of the original layer on the Layers palette. Use Layer/Duplicate Layer twice. Call one 02, and the other 03, for the sake of easier identification. Click layer 02, and set Opacity to 50%. Now select layer 03 and do the same. This doesn’t bring any visible change in the picture but it is ready now to receive the effects.


Select layer 02 again, and click Filter/Sketch/Photocopy. In the appearing dialog, set a medium Detail and a low Darkness value. We have used 10 and 3, but of course, set anything you find good. Take care, though, to not make too much contrast. The result should mostly look like a bleached picture.


Now select layer 03 and click Filter/Artistic/Watercolor. Set the values as you like, but you’re advised to keep Shadow Intensity and Texture low for a more aquarel-ish general effect.


All you have to do is to merge the layers by clicking Layer/Flatten Image. Or perhaps you can adjust Opacity for the layers 02 and 03 further if necessary.

Here’s the final picture: