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watercolor filter for a large image?
Posted by: Mr Downtown
Date: February 03, 2022 10:48AM
I want to give a large aerial photo a watercolor effect in Photoshop, but my initial tries were not what I envisioned, and the recipes I find online seem overly complex, usually starting with converting the image to a Smart Object and then 40 more steps after that. Because this is a 30 meg image, I'm hesitant about anything that will double or triple the file size.

I'd assumed it would be a fairly straightforward and simple application of a Filter. This is for a paying client, so I'm willing to buy a premade Action or Filter if anyone has recommendations.
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Re: watercolor filter for a large image?
Posted by: datbeme
Date: February 03, 2022 11:18AM
Not a lot of experience here, but all-in-one "watercolor effects" are underwhelming at best, which describes your disappointing results using automated PS filters...and the complicated steps you've found online to try make custom tweaks to improve the results. You're trying to turn pixels into simulated strokes.

Hopefully, someone else will post something helpful. Photoshop's intelligence has gotten pretty amazing, and the aerial nature of the image may make it easier to simplify, but to get even a passable result, it's probably going to take a lot of manual involvement.

Either way, the size of the file shouldn't matter. Presumably you'd be flattening and optimizing it after you've created the effect.
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Re: watercolor filter for a large image?
Posted by: jdc
Date: February 03, 2022 12:10PM
Creative market has an excellent selection of PS and LR presets for just a few $$. No "work" needed, just install and apply.

Many include dozens of options in a bundle, worth a look.

Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: watercolor filter for a large image?
Posted by: JoeM
Date: February 03, 2022 12:16PM
I've done quite a few digital watercolor images from photos. As datbeme mentioned, the available Photoshop plugins can be hit or miss depending on the base image you're using. I"ve tried a number of watercolor actions for Photoshop and the ones I find most useful are Splatter and Climate, both available on the graphic site. More often than not, I need to use both on separate versions of the image and composite the parts that work best together. I never just use the resultant watercolor effect as created by the actions. Alter the action runs I always alter what has resulted in the layers that are created by the actions.

I also find I need to hand paint portions of the image myself in addition to using the actions as they primarily only get me partially where I want to go with the digital paintings I do. I use a Wacom tablet and a set of custom brushes from Grut brushes for the parts I hand paint in Photoshop.

You can check out the watercolor actions here:



and brushes here:

If you'd like to check out some of the digital watercolor paintings I've done with the above add-ons:

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Re: watercolor filter for a large image?
Posted by: Harbourmaster
Date: February 04, 2022 12:42PM
Studio Artist from Synthetik Software is Miles ahead of PS when it comes to this sort of thing!

They have a fully functional free trial (images are watermarked and there are some restrictions on canvas size) that should let you see if it will work for your project.

Aloha, Ken

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