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Free Download: 3 Awesome Actions to Create Watercolor and Acrylic Painting Effects

Turn any photo into a beautiful painting with these Photoshop actions by SparkleStock! To create the realistic painting effects, these actions combine Photoshop filters with seamless textures created from real watercolor and acrylic paint. These actions will work if you have Photoshop CS3 or newer so download and try them out now!

Realistic Watercolor and Acrylic Painting Effects

You can turn any photo into artistic painting effects with just one click. Simply load the actions into Photoshop, play an action, and you’ll get a painting effect. And for the professionals, you can adjust every layer. The effects are nondestructive and they won’t merge your layers.

Lite vs Pro

The free Lite download will give you three painting effects (Modern Watercolor, Stenciled Acrylic, and Neon Watercolor on Black). You can upgrade to the Pro version to get all eight effects.

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Examples

These actions combine seamless textures made from real acrylic and watercolor paint. The download comes with two files, a Photoshop Actions file and a Photoshop Patterns file – both need to be loaded into Photoshop before you can use them.

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Download Watercolor and Acrylic Painting Effects

To install, simply doubleclick the ATN and PAT files. The actions will appear in your Actions panel (Window > Actions). For more help, read our article on how to use Photoshop actions.

  • Modern Watercolor
  • Stenciled Acrylic
  • Neon Watercolor on Black
  • Complementary Watercolor
  • Stenciled Watercolor Splatters
  • Pen and Watercolor
  • Grunge Acrylic
  • Neon Acrylic on Black

The post Free Download: 3 Awesome Actions to Create Watercolor and Acrylic Painting Effects appeared first on Photoshop Tutorials.



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How to Create an Apocalyptic Sci-Fi Photo Manipulation in Photoshop

Learn how to create this cinematic scene in quick and easy steps! This Photoshop tutorial will show you how to blend images to create an apocalyptic scene and add flying meteors with premade Photoshop brushes. You’ll also learn several different ways to add lighting effects and create a strong atmosphere.

Preview of Final Results

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Tutorial Resources

Step 1 – Creating Background

Create new document in Photoshop. Download photo of the sky listed in the beginning of the tutorial and drag it into your new Photoshop document. Name this new layer SKY. It’s a great habit to name all your layers because once you create something more complicated it saves you lot of time finding some layer you want to adjust.

Grab the Marquee Tool (M) and select down part of the sky without the rooftops. Press Ctrl+C to copy the selection and then Ctrl+V to paste it.

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Place this new layer under SKY and name it BACKGROUND. Go to Edit > Free Transform or press Ctrl+T on your keyboard to activate the Free Transform Tool. Drag the bottom part of BACKGROUND to the bottom part of the image. On the photo below you can see what I mean.

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It’s just a base over which you put the skyscrapers so you don’t need to worry that it looks weird. Add new empty layer  on the top of all layers and name it RETOUCH. Grab the Stamp Tool (S) and clone out the rooftops. After this step your image should look similar like the one below.

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Step 2 – Adding City

In this step I’ll show you little trick how to add photo of a city to this photo manipulation very easily and seamlessly without some complicated and time consuming masking.  Download picture of the city listed in the beginning of the tutorial and drag it into your photo manipulation. Place it on the top of all layers and name it CITY 1.  Right click on this layer and select option Duplicate layer. Name this new layer CITY 2 and place it on the top of all layers. Now let’s move on blending. You created two layers of the city because each one of them you’ll blend bit differently to achieve the best effect.  Make CITY 2 invisible to be able to see only CITY 1 (click on the eye icon left to the layer name).

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Click on the layer CITY 1 and lower its Opacity on 50%. You can find this option in top right corner of Layers palette.

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As you can see there is harsh transition between CITY 1 and rest of the image. To blend it better add layer mask to CITY 1. You can find the button Add layer mask on the bottom part of the Layers palette.

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Grab the Brush Tool (B), select some soft round brush and lower its Opacity on about 70%. Pick black color. Make sure the layer mask is activated (click on it) and paint over the upper part of CITY 1 to create smooth transition between this layer and the rest of the image.

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You should blend the layer similarly as on the following picture.

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As you can see the city is barely visible right now. Here comes the second layer with city in play. Make CITY 2 visible again and change its Blending Mode on Overlay. Below you can see how this additional layer affects the photo manipulation.

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There is the harsh transition between CITY 2 and the rest of the layers. Add new layer mask to CITY 2, grab the Brush Tool (B) with the same settings as before and blend it properly.

Step 3 – Darkening City

In this quick step you’ll make city little bit darker. Add new adjustment layer Curves above the layer CITY 1 and set it as on the following image.

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To affect only CITY 1 and not all layers under this adjustment you need to create Clipping Mask from it. Right click on the adjustment layer you’ve just created and simply select the option Create Clipping Mask. You can see result of this step on the following image.

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Step 4 – Adding Meteors

Download Meteor brushes listed in the beginning of the tutorial and install them into Photoshop. Create a new layer on the top of all layers and name it METEORS. Grab the Brush Tool (B) and pick meteor brush from the set of brushes you’ve just installed. Let me give you three tips to make the meteors realistic looking:

  1. All meteors should be in the same or very similar direction.
  2. Make some meteors bigger and some smaller to create an illusion of space.
  3. Don’t use white color. Pick some light cyanish color instead to get more realistic result.

On the following picture you can get the inspiration where you should paint the meteors.

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Step 5 – Adding Lights and Shadows

In this step you’ll start creating more interesting lights and shadows to create more dramatic atmosphere. You’ll continue with this process in some of the following steps. Add new empty layer on the top of all layers and name it e.g. LIGHTS 1. Grab the Paint Bucket Tool (G). Pick mid grey color (#808080) and fill the layer with it. To blend it well with the rest of the image change its Blending Mode from Normal to Overlay.

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Grab the Brush Tool (B), select some soft round brush and lower its Opacity on 15%. Pick white color and start painting over the areas which should be lighter:

  • clouds around meteors,
  • clouds from the side where the sun shines,
  • parts of building which are facing to sun.

After you’re done pick black color and darken bottom part of the image and top left corner to make the image more balanced looking.  If you’re not sure where to paint look at the picture below for inspiration.

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Step 6 – Adding Vignette

In this and some of the following steps you’ll focus on color adjustments. Let’s start with adding gentle vignette. I really like adding vignette to my pictures because it’s a great way how you can lead viewer’s eye in the center of the image. Grab the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M) and select center of the image.

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Now you want to make the selection smoother. To do that you need to feather it. Go to Select > Modify > Feather… (path may differ in different versions of Photoshop, this one is for CS6) or press Shift+F6 to activate the Feather Selection window. As Feather Radius set about 40pixels and press OK.

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Go to Selection > Inverse or press Ctrl+Shift+I to invert the selection you created. With the mask active add new adjustment layer Curves on the top of all layers and set it as on the following picture.

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Because of the active mask the adjustment layer makes only the edges of the picture darker and the center remains same as before.

Step 7 – Creating Stronger Atmosphere

When I was creating this photo manipulation I had some big, polluted city from the future in my mind. For me this mood can be captured by adding red tones to do the image and by darkening it. You’ll do both in this step. First add new adjustment layer Curves on the top of all layers and set them as on the following image. This way you add red tones to shadows of your image and cyan tones to highlights.

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Change the Blending Mode of this layer from Normal to Color for better effect.

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Now you make the image bit darker. Add another adjustment layer Curves on the top of the layers and set it as on the following picture.

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On the following image you can see the adjustments you’ve made in this step.

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Step 8 – Darkening the Sky

Sky on the image should be bit more darker to create more balanced feel. To fix that add new adjustment layer Curves and set it as on the following image.

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You want to adjust only the upper part of the image. To do that first you need to grab the Paint Bucket Tool (G), pick black color and fill the layer mask of this adjustment layer with it.

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Grab the Gradient Tool (G), pick white color and select Linear Gradient.

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Fill the upper part of layer mask with this gradient. You can get the idea where to use the gradient on the following image. I highlighted it with red color.

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Step 9 – Adding Smog

Another color that comes in hand with pollution (according to me at least) is green. In this step you’ll add green smog on the horizon to add even more atmosphere. Add new empty layer on the top of all layers and name it SMOG. Grab the Gradient Tool (G) and this time select Reflected Gradient.

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Pick some green color (I used #6c7345) and create gradient as on the picture below.

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To blend it well with the rest of the image change its Blending Mode from Normal to Overlay and lower its Opacity on about 65%.

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On the following photo you can see how your photo manipulation should look like so far.

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Step 10 – Red Cars

I believe that the the bottom part of the image where streets of the city are is quite uninteresting right now. You’ll add interest by creating red lights around the roads. It would look like there is lots of traffic down there. Add new empty layer on the top of all layers and name it CARS. Grab the Brush Tool (B), pick some soft round brush and lower its Opacity on about 40%. Pick some reddish colors and start painting over the roads. Look at the following picture to get the idea where you should paint.

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To blend it with the rest of the image change Blend Mode of this layer from Normal to Overlay.

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Step 11 – Darker Sky

Sky should be even more darker. You’ll change it in this step. Add new adjustment layer Curves on the top of all layers and set it as on the following picture.

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To adjust only sky and not the rest of the image grab the Paint Bucket Tool (B) and fill the the layer mask of this adjustment layer with solid black color. Grab the Gradient Tool (G), pick white color and make linear gradient from the upper part of the image to horizon similarly as you did in one of the previous steps. You can see where to put gradient on the following photo. That area is highlighted with red color.

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After this step your photo manipulation should look similar as the picture below.

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Step 12 – Lighter Center

In this step you’ll make the center of the image lighter. It will create more dimension and drama in your photo manipulation. Human eye first looks at the bright parts of the image. You can use this fact to lead viewer’s eye on the parts of the image you want. Add new adjustment layer Levels and set the Input Levels on 0; 1,00; 175.

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Grab the Paint Bucket Tool (G) and fill the layer mask of this adjustment layer with solid black color. Grab the Gradient Tool (G), select Radial Gradient. Pick white color and create gradient in the center of the image.

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On the following photo you can see where to put the gradient. That area is highlighted with red color.

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Step 13 – Adding Lens Flare

In this step you’ll continue with highlighting the center of the image and creating more interesting light. Add new empty layer on the top of all layers and name it LENS FLARE. Pick the Paint Bucket Tool (G) and fill this new layer with solid black color. Go to Filter > Render > Lens Flare and set it as on the following picture. Press OK.

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To blend this layer properly with the rest of the image change its Blending Mode from Normal to Screen.

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On the following photo you can see how your photo manipulation should look like so far.

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Step 14 – Adjusting Lens Flare

As you may notice lens flare doesn’t look realistic right now. You’ll fix it in this step by blurring and desaturating. Click on the LENS FLARE layer and go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation and set the value Saturation on -100.

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To blur the lens flare go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set the value Radius on 3,0 pixels. Press OK.

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On the following picture you can compare how the lens flare looks before and after this step.

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Step 15 – Darkening and Adding More Contrast

In this step you’ll make your photo manipulation bit more darker and contrasted. Let’s start with darkening. Add new adjustment layer Gradient Map and use same gradient as on the following image.

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Change the Blending Mode of this layer from Normal to Multiply. This way you’ll not only make shadows darker but also add blue tones to them.

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To increase contrast of your photo manipulation add new adjustment layer Curves and set the curve as on the following image.

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Step 16 – Adding Light on the Skyscrapers

To make the image even more interesting and also realistic you need to add more light on those parts of the skyscrapers which are facing to the sun (=lens flare you’ve added in step 14). Add new empty layer on the top of all layers and name it LIGHT ON SKYSCRAPERS. Grab the Paint Bucket Tool (G) and fill the layer with mid grey color (#808080). To blend it properly with the rest of the image change its Blending Mode from Normal to Overlay.

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Grab the Brush Tool (B). Select some soft round brush and lower its Opacity on about 20%. Pick white color and start painting over the areas where sun hits. On the following image you can see where you should paint. I highlighted it with red color. Take you time and build lighting slowly to get the most realistic result.

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After this step your photo manipulation should look similar to the following picture.

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Step 17 – More Contrast

From now on you’ll focus on color adjustments to create much stronger and sci-fi like atmosphere. Let’s start with increasing contrast of your photo manipulation even little bit more. Add new adjustment layer Curves and set the curve as on the following picture.

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As you may notice it’s the same shape as when you increased contrast for the first time. This “S curve” is always used for increasing contrast. By moving the upper square you make light lighter and the down square makes dark tones darker. Depending on how far you move these two squares you increase contrast more or less. If you make reverse “S curve” you decrease contrast.

Step 18 –  Bluer Tones I

In this and following step you’ll make colors of the photo manipulation bluer. Add new adjustment layer Gradient Map on the top of all layers and set the gradient as on the following picture.

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To blend it well with the rest of the image change Blending Mode of this layer from Normal to Color and lower its Opacity on 45%.

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On the following image you can compare how the photo manipulation looks before and after this adjustment.

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Step 19 – Bluer Tones II

To add even more blue tones add new adjustment layer Color Balance and set the values as on the following picture:

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On the following image you can compare how the photo manipulation looks before and after the adjustment.

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Thanks to the more vibrant colors the photo manipulation is more eye catching, isn’t it?

Step 20 – Increasing Contrast

According to me the photo manipulation would look more interesting if there is more contrast. To increase it you use two adjustment layers in this step – Gradient Map and Curves. Let’s start with Curves. You use this adjustment layer to to make lights lighter. Add new adjustment layer Curves on the top of all layers and set the curve as on the following picture.

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To make shadows darker add new adjustment layer Gradient Map on the top of all layers and set it as on the following picture.

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To blend this adjustment layer properly with the rest of the image change its Blending Mode from Normal to Multiply.

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Step 21 – Sharpening

To create an illusion of more details you’ll gently sharpen your photo manipulation in this step. Press Ctrl+A on your keyboard to select the whole image. Then go to Edit > Copy Merged (or press Ctrl + Shift + C) to copy merged image. Paste it by pressing Ctrl+V. Place this new layer on the top of all layers and name it SHARPENING. Go to Filter > Other > High Pass and set the value Radius on about 1,7 pixels. Press OK.

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To blend this layer with the rest of the photo manipulation change its Blending Mode from Normal to Overlay.

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Final Results

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Download the PSD

Tutorial by Jarka Hrnčárková

image064Thank you very much for reading this tutorial. Hope it was useful for you and you’ve learnt something new or found some inspiration for your next photo manipulation! If you want to read more tutorial from me visit my blog and follow me on facebook!

– Jarka Hrnčárková

The post How to Create an Apocalyptic Sci-Fi Photo Manipulation in Photoshop appeared first on Photoshop Tutorials.



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