I have both Lightroom and Photoshop. Is there a tutorial that explains how to make pictures look like paintings? I'm mostly interested about impressionism, but other styles are definitely in my horizon too.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ There are lots. Photshop has built-in filter, there are plugins, you can use "smudge" brush techniques to do it by hand... A web search will reveal thousands of sites. This is Photography Q&A site though, so not really on topic here \$\endgroup\$
    – MikeW
    Commented Jun 21, 2013 at 22:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MikeW - Photoshop work on photographs is generally on topic. It might be too broad of a question, but I think it is probably answerable since he mentions a particular style. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson
    Commented Jun 21, 2013 at 23:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ There's a line somewhere where it stops being photography and "a thing you do which happens to have a photograph as an input". For what I think would be a clear example, collage is (I hope) obviously off-topic. I reluctantly think that taking a photograph and post-processing it into a fake painting is probably within the bounds of on-topic, if not necessarily in the bounds of being in great taste. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Jun 22, 2013 at 2:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mattdm If taste were relevant HDR would also be off-topic! \$\endgroup\$
    – user3739
    Commented Jun 22, 2013 at 15:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Poldie HDR does not have to mean a picture that looks like technicolored rainbows of vomit. The best HDR images are those that make it hard to tell they are HDR. They don't even have to be digital. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. All that dodging and burning that Ansell Adams did was HDR processing in the darkroom. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Jun 23, 2013 at 9:16

2 Answers 2


The Palette Knife tool with a fairly large size, medium detail and softness should generate a very impressionist look. You can additionally apply an oil paint filter before or after and it may augment the look. You can find it in the Artistic section in the filter gallery in Photoshop CS6.


Duplicate the layer with the photo, then try different filter effects. In Photoshop CS6 go under Filter > Filter Gallery and try the different effets. Dry Brush and Watercolor are both good ones (dry brush is my favorite). Click on the Brush Strokes tab in the dialog box to try Ink Outlines. That works better with some photos than with others. After you choose an effect or two, you can make that layer semi-transparent for a milder effect. Here's a tutorial on the Dry Brush effect: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iD7dNJUIpnM


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