Port Sanilac Lighthouse Oil Paint

Using the Oil Paint Filter in Photoshop for your Nature Photography

Photoshop has a built in Oil Paint filter that nature photographers can use to add a painterly feel to their images.  The filter is easy to use and gives a lot of flexibility in customizing your painting.  In this blog, I’ll show you how to use the filter and show you a photo that I’ve painted using the filter.

Once you have a photo launched in Photoshop.

  • Convert the layer into a smart object by right clicking on the layer and selecting “Convert to Smart Object”.  This will allow you to change blend modes and opacity after the filter has been applied.
  • Next select “Oil Paint…” from the Filters Menu.

There are a variety of sliders on the right pane of the Oil Paint filter window that will give different effects to the oil painted image.  You may want to zoom in on some of the sliders to see the effect of the slider.  Zoom can be accessed with a right click on the image in the Oil Paint Filter window.  The first 4 sliders are associated with brush strokes and the last 2 are related to lighting.

Slider Descriptions

Oil Paint Sliders
  • Stylization – Moving the stylization slider to the left will give smaller, more detailed brush strokes while moving it to the right will give less, longer brush strokes.
  • Cleanliness – The cleanliness slider controls a detailed vs. a smooth look.  Move the slider to the right for a smoother look.
  • Scale – The scale slider controls the width of the brush strokes and allows you to control how much the brush patterns stand out.  Zoom out and move the slider back and forth to see the overall impact on the image.
  • Bristle Detail – controls the depth of the brush strokes.  It is a fairly subtle slider.  Zoom in to see the effect.
  • Angular Direction – Controls the direction of the light and brush strokes.  It basically changes the pattern.
  • Shine is a powerful slider.  Moving the slider to the right significantly intensifies the pattern.  Use this slider to control how much of a painted look you want to apply to the photo.

Click OK to close the Oil Paint Filter window.

You can now change the opacity and blend mode to adjust the affect of the Oil Paint Filter on the photo.  To launch the window to adjust the opacity and blend mode, double click on the slider icons to the right of the filter name.

Oil Paint Blend Modes

The Oil Paint Filter in Photoshop CS6 is fun and easy to use.  Experiment with this filter to add an artistic look to your photographs.  Here is a picture of Port Sanilac lighthouse in Michigan that I’ve processed using this filter.

Written by Martin Belan

Related Blog Posts
Use Topaz Studio 2 to Add an Artistic Look to your Nature Photographs
Add the Photoshop Select Subject tool to Your Nature Photography Workflow to Make Your Images Stand Out
How to Easily Add Textures to your Nature Photographs using Photoshop

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