The best thing about Photoshop is the huge selection of special effects called filters. But the real genius comes when you learn to mix them into new and even more amazing effects, like Fresco and Paint Daubs together, or Poster Edges with Watercolors. The purpose of this article is to present, explain and show examples of these amazing features.
What are Photoshop’s artistic filters?
In short, Photoshop Artistic filters are computerized, artistic techniques (or special effects) that allow you to create images that simulate artistic styles such as crayons, watercolors, chalk pastels, charcoal, pen and ink, crayons, and dozens of other artistic media. The current version of PS has over 225 special effects filters.
Six filter categories are available in the filter gallery: artistic, brushstrokes, distortion, sketch, stylization and structure, with dozens of filters in each category. There are also 16 additional filter categories under the Filter menu, with even more filters within these categories.
How do Photoshop’s artistic filters work?
Each filter creates one or more artistic effects with several custom settings per effect. They are all different. The filters are located under the Filter tab in the PS main menu. There must be an open image for this menu item to work.
For Artistic filters, select Filter > Filter gallery > Artistic filters. Browse the 15 filter options and choose one that suits your project, or browse the rest of this article to learn more about these features.
Note the formats: The settings (name and range) are defined once at the beginning of the first paragraph. The following example shows the user’s selected range (in parentheses). Images are identified as (TL = top left), (TR = top right), (BL = bottom left) and BR (bottom right).
All about the artistic filter Crayons
The colored pen filter works best on images with several bright colors. Select an image and then select Filter > Filter gallery > Artistic filters > Colored pencils. The customizable settings include pen width (1 to 24), stroke pressure (0 to 15), and paper brightness (0 to 50). Notice the examples in the figure 01 Colored pencils.
The first image (TL) shows the original photo. The second image (TR) has darker colors with a thin, lighter line (5, 15, 10). The third image (BL) turns off the colors and increases the stroke slightly (6, 10, 20). And the fourth image (BR) maximizes stroke and brightness / contrast (10, 15, 50). These are all effective for artistic purposes; but if combined with other filters, the results are amazing.
If you need an overview of your image, most artists use it Filter > Stylize > Find edges. If that solution is unsatisfactory; increase the contrast of your image (e.g. Picture > Adjustments > Light contrast > Contrast 75), then use the crayons filter (15, 15, 50), which gives a more defined line throughout the image.
Then remove the colors using Image> Adjustments > Desaturera. If the contours are still minimally defined, then add the effect Filter > Stylize > Find edges and the contours should then appear.
All about artistic filter called Cutout
The cutout filter works best on images with nice backgrounds, bright colors and simple images. Select an appropriate photo and then select Filter > Filter gallery > Artistic filters > Cut out. The customizable settings include the number of levels (2 to 8), obviously how many cutout levels you want based on colors and brightness; edge simplicity (0 to 10) adjusts the angles of the corners; and edge fidelity (1 to 3) affects how smooth the edges become. Notice the examples in the figure 02 Cut-out filter.
The first image (TL) shows the original photo. The second image (TR) has several cutouts with minimal edges (8, 1, 1). The third image (BL) has maximum cutouts with several to maximum edges (8, 8, 3). And the fourth (BR) has spacer cuts with middle to minimal edges (5, 8, 1). If your project includes creating posters, patterns for linocuts (printing) or silk screen designs, this filter is a good choice.
All about artistic filter called Dry Brush
Use the Dry Brush filter to create the illusion of a painting. All photos, drawings or even a scanned painting work. Select an image and then select Filter > Filter gallery > Artistic filters > Dry brush. The customizable settings include brush size (0 to 10); brush detail (0 to 10); and consistency (1 to 3). Notice the examples in the figure 03 Dry brush filter.
The first image is the original photo. The second image (TR) changes the structure only minimally (0, 0, 1). Then (BL) has intermediate registers to minimum brush settings and maximum structure (5, 1, 3). And the last (BR) only maximizes the structure (0, 0, 3). If you have ever painted with a dry brush, this filter is a decent match.
All about the artistic filter called Film Grain
Excess film grain creates the wonderful “vintage photo” look, especially when the image is in black and white or sepia tone. This filter also emulates the “grainy” function that you get when using high speed movies with ISO settings between 400 and 800, or when you overdevelop or wonder expose movies or use infrared movies.
For this illusion, all pictures or illustrations are enough. Select an image and then select Filter > Filter gallery > Artistic filters > Film grain. The customizable settings include Grain (0 to 20); Selection range (0 to 20); and intensity (0 to 10). Notice the examples in the figure 04 Film filter.
First the original photo. Then (TR) has minimal grain (18, 12, 3). Then (BL) has a little more (20, 1, 8). And last (BR) has even more (20, 11, 10). The grain results with this filter are subtle and look very different based on the image you choose.
If you prefer more grainy images with higher settings, try using the effect Filter > Sound > Add noise > Uniform (or Gaussian) from 0.10 to 400, in monochromatic or codochrome. Or you can also try Filter > Filter gallery > Texture > Cereals (this one has 10 grain types to choose from).
All about an artistic filter called Fresco
Photoshop’s Fresco filter (which simulates the warm, saturated effect of a wet plaster painting method best known from examples in the ruins of Pompeii and the murals of the Italian Renaissance) works especially well with photos with bright colors and high contrast. Select an image and then select Filter > Filter gallery > Artistic filters > Fresco. The customizable settings include brush size (0 to 10); brush detail (0 to 10); and consistency (1 to 3). Notice the examples in the figure 05 Fresco filter.
After the original photo (TL), the (TR) image has minimal brush settings with maximum consistency (0, 0, 3). Then (BL) has maximum brush, minimal consistency and no detail (10, 0, 1). And lastly, (BR) has maximum brush and structure with zero detail (10, 0, 3). Notice how the image goes from a simple night landscape to a nocturnal explosion that resembles a blue and white volcano.