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Watercolor Tutorial

Last update:  12-31-1969

Submitted by Antonio Guevara

Simulating a combination of wash, glazing and dry brush technique in Photoshop.

This tutorial is Copyright © Antonio Guevara, who has sole responsiblity for its content.
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Overall Recommendation

Fairly

Rating
 

5

 

Expertise     7.3
Utility     3.1
Clarity     3.9
Relevance   4.4

Introduction

There are various real world watercolor techniques: wash – produces light pastel colors; Glazing (wet on dry) - puts colors upon colors; Wet on wet - self explanatory; and dry brush – produces heavy and solid colors. What we’ll simulate in this tutorial is a combination of wash, glazing and dry brush technique.

Starting image


Click to view full-sized (1.1 meg)

Directions

1. Duplicate background layer (Layer>Duplicate Layer).

2. Apply Image>Adjustment>Invert on top layer.

3. Set blend mode of top layer to Color Dodge. You’ll have an almost white image but don’t worry, it’s still there.

4. Apply Filter>Gaussian Blur of about 2-4. You’ll get a faint outline.

5. Convert the whole image to grayscale (Image>Mode>Grayscale, select Flatten when prompted) to simulate a sketch to guide your brush strokes.


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6. Erase extraneous lines in areas of the image you intend to leave white.

7. Convert back to RGB (Image>Mode>RGB).

8. Using the Art history brush tool, select an appropriate brush tip (watercolor 1) and size. Turn brush dynamics on and use a graphic tablet if you have one. Paint roughly over the image. At this point everything is blotchy and the colors are muddy.


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9. Change the tool to History brush, Normal blend mode, low opacity, and start to put back some of the definition on the image. When painting:

  • in areas where the image is too dark, change the Mode of the History brush tool to Screen (in the top options menu) when painting to lighten it;
  • in areas where the image is too light, change the Mode of the History brush tool to Multiply (in the top options menu) when painting to darken it;
  • change the opacity for effective use of the brush.


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10. (This last step is optional. Instead of running unsharp mask I use this method to bring up sharpness and add some texture.) Duplicate the layer (Layer>Duplicate Layer). Set top layer to Filter>Stylize>Emboss. height = 6 amount = 76%, angle = 74, opacity = 25%.

11.  If you are so inclined, put down your signature on another layer. Flatten.

Final image


Click to view full-sized (1 meg)
Here's a smaller version