Photoshop Tutorial: Best Way to Transform a Photo into the Look of a Watercolor Painting

Photoshop Tutorial: Best Way to Transform a Photo into the Look of a Watercolor Painting


Hi. This is Marty from Blue Lightning TV. I’m going to show you what I think is the
most realistic technique to achieve the look of watercolor paintings from photos. This is an update of a tutorials I’ve done
in earlier versions of Photoshop. The technique used in this tutorial allows
you to actually hand-paint your image, which gives it extraordinary nuance and a spectacular result. Open a photo you’d like to use for this project. I downloaded this one from Dreamstime.com. To ensure your results will look similar to mine, Check your photo’s resolution by going to
Image and Image Size. The photo I’m using has a resolution of 72
pixels per inch. To ensure your results will look similar to
mine, type in this amount for Resolution. The Width and Height can be any amount. Make 2 copies of your image by pressing Ctrl
or Cmd + J twice. Name the top layer, “Pencil Lines”. Click the eyeball next to that layer to temporarily
hide the layer. Name the middle layer, “Smart Blur”. Go to Filter, Blur and “Smart Blur”. Make the Radius: 10, the Threshold: 30 and
the Quality: High. Then, click OK or press Enter or Return. Make the Pencil Lines layer visible and active. Go to Filter and Filter Gallery. Open the “Stylize” folder and click “Glowing Edges”. Make the Edge Width: 1, the Edge Brightness:
12 and the Smoothness: 15. Then, click OK. Invert the image by pressing Ctrl or Cmd + I. We’ll remove its color by pressing Ctrl or
Cmd + Shift + U. Change the Blend Mode to Multiply and reduce
the opacity to 80%. Make the “Smart Blur” layer active and make
a copy of it. Name it “Brush”. Invert it and change its Blend Mode to “Color Dodge”. We’re ready to paint over our image, which
is when the magic begins. First, let’s zoom out a bit, so we have more
room to paint. Press Ctrl or Cmd + the minus key of your keyboard. Open your Brush Tool and Brush Picker. Click the gear icon and click “Reset Brushes”. When you see this message, click OK to replace
the current brushes with the default brushes. Click the gear icon again and click “Small List”. Scroll to the bottom and click “Dry Brush”. I’ll make its size 140 pixels, but feel free
to adjust its size depending on the size of your image. Make its opacity 10% and press Enter or Return. Loosely brush over your image. Open your Brush picker again, click the gear
icon and this time, click “Wet Media Brushes”. Again, click OK to replace your current brushes
with the Wet Media Brushes. Click “Watercolor Textured Surface” and press
Enter or Return. Make its Opacity 50% and press Enter or Return. To make your brush bigger, press the right
bracket key on your keyboard and make sure your “CapsLock” key is not on. Brush over your image and adjust the size
of your brush accordingly. Notice, when the brushstrokes overlap each
other, the areas gets darker as the color builds just as actual watercolors do. I’m doing this quickly, but you can still
see how effective this technique is. If you want to hide some of the pencil lines
or minimize their appearance, make the Pencil Lines layer active and click the Layer Mask
icon to make a layer mask next to the Pencil Lines. Increase its opacity to 100% and brush over
the pencil lines that you want hide. If you want to just lighten some of the pencil
lines and not completely hide them, just reduce your brush’s opacity and brush over those lines. Next, we’ll make our colors more vibrant by clicking
the Adjustment layer icon and clicking “Vibrance”. Drag the Vibrance slider all the way to the right. To fit your image back onto your canvas, press
Ctrl or Cmd + 0. The last step is to add a paper texture. To do this, make the Smart Blur layer active
and go to Filter and Filter Gallery. Close the Stylize folder and open the Texture folder. Click “Texturizer”. Choose “Sandstone” for the texture. Make the Scaling 100%, the Relief 2 or 3 and
the Light from the Top. This is Marty from Blue Lightning TV. Thanks for watching!

100 thoughts on “Photoshop Tutorial: Best Way to Transform a Photo into the Look of a Watercolor Painting

  • September 26, 2016 at 3:55 am
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    good work!

    Reply
  • September 26, 2016 at 5:06 am
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    This is exactly what I've been waiting for!!! Thank you so much!!!

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  • September 26, 2016 at 6:04 am
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    Marty kick ass! best tut eva!

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  • September 26, 2016 at 6:25 am
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    Gorgeous

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  • September 26, 2016 at 7:52 am
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    Marty!

    Reply
  • September 26, 2016 at 8:11 am
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    thanks, i'll try this effect soon

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  • September 26, 2016 at 10:25 am
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    I love this guys soothing voice,It makes listening and learning so much easier.Awsome effect which i will try out on a forest picture later on today. Thanks Marty

    Reply
  • September 26, 2016 at 2:48 pm
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    Can u create a joker (from suicide squad) tutorial?

    Reply
  • September 26, 2016 at 3:07 pm
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    Why likes and dislikes are disabled? We love you <3

    Reply
  • September 26, 2016 at 3:59 pm
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    Ich bewundere dich. 🙂

    Reply
  • September 26, 2016 at 4:07 pm
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    you're the greatest

    Reply
  • September 26, 2016 at 6:12 pm
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    Şunu kesinlikle söyleyebilirim ki: Siz bir sanatçısınız.

    Reply
  • September 26, 2016 at 9:25 pm
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    Excellent tutorial !!

    Reply
  • September 27, 2016 at 2:20 am
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    Well done! As usual, everything is well explained, the steps are clear, the technique is useful and not too complicated. These are the best tuts for Photoshop on YouTube.

    Reply
  • September 27, 2016 at 3:43 am
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    The tutorial is all fantastic. Thank you Marty

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  • September 27, 2016 at 5:49 pm
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    thanx

    Reply
  • September 27, 2016 at 6:45 pm
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    Your tutorials are by far the best I've seen on Youtube! Your voice is almost cinematic. I felt like I was going into an awesome dimension of learning. 🙂 It was really cool to see your face in this tutorial. I look forward to learning from you & I will donate to your channel for your great work & inspiration. May you be blessed. Thank you Marty!

    Reply
  • September 28, 2016 at 12:42 am
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    Keep it up Marty!

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  • September 29, 2016 at 4:57 pm
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    Looks amazing Marty! I was wondering if you could show us how you could make this picture look like it was stretched around a deep frame ..like a canvas picture on a wall? So you can see the picture looking like it continues around the edges of the frame in real life (stretched around)? and hanging on a wall ..Thanks for ur great vids : )

    Reply
  • September 30, 2016 at 7:27 am
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    Prachtig! Dank u.

    Reply
  • September 30, 2016 at 10:17 pm
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    Great video like usual .. please I want to ask if you can tell me which video recorder you use to make this tutorial. Thank you and waiting new video.

    Reply
  • October 1, 2016 at 7:10 pm
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    Hey could you make a tutorial to Make the color brown in pop art , i got a project at school ?

    Reply
  • October 10, 2016 at 5:24 pm
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    Awesome!

    Reply
  • October 11, 2016 at 1:08 pm
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    Didn't work with me. I followed each and every step, went over it many times. Still not working, help?

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  • October 11, 2016 at 2:13 pm
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    Marty, so kind for sharing this awesome tutorial!!!

    Reply
  • October 19, 2016 at 2:31 am
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    you got a nice voice and perfect sound Marty. It helps in understanding more. Good work Marty..

    Reply
  • October 21, 2016 at 1:25 am
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    Hey Marty this is really cool but I am doing something wrong. When I get to the very last step >filter gallery>texture>sandstone>. All the colors are perfect (water blue, bridge rusty, fog is foggy). But when I click ok and now I am back in the main workspace, all the colors are faded or off – blue is purple, rust is red. I have done it about 5 times now and I mirror you every step of the way – until the last step. Does something need reseting? (Invert is not checked). Thanks

    Reply
  • November 3, 2016 at 9:41 pm
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    Thanks Marty, another fantastic tutorial. well spoken and easy to follow.

    Reply
  • November 4, 2016 at 8:12 am
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    where can i find the brushes you used?

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  • November 7, 2016 at 3:16 pm
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    sir can you send me the link for download photoshop cc 2015 plzz plzz plzz sir

    Reply
  • November 9, 2016 at 4:54 pm
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    dear sir no one can take place of urs really amazing way u tut
    never seen before nd sure not ever step by step fabulous …..
    thumbs up!!

    Reply
  • January 5, 2017 at 12:30 pm
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    aah can you show the tutorial how to put flame in a body. in cs3

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  • January 12, 2017 at 7:42 pm
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    hey thanks! Though as in another tutorial, you need to specify that filter gallery is not available for CMYK and 16 bit channel, so people may need to change those image settings

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  • January 14, 2017 at 8:45 am
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    I had same problem as MaryAnne… Need to set brush to DEFAULT colors b/w!
    THANKS for awesome technique and quick explanation!

    Reply
  • February 7, 2017 at 2:32 pm
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    Hello there sir. Where I can find a website that I can download free photos? (like shutterstock without paying)

    Reply
  • February 24, 2017 at 7:45 am
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    ur a sexy man marty

    Reply
  • February 24, 2017 at 6:17 pm
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    Even before looking at the the video, I knew I was hooked. Informative and patient, didn't rush through the steps or make you feel like an IDIOT. So glad I found this. Be looking forward to digging through the history. I will share this with my friends. Thanks!!!

    Reply
  • March 28, 2017 at 6:49 pm
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    until dry brush poınt my work goes same as ın the vıdeo but when ı apply dry brush nothıng changes on the ımage. my resolution is 300 dpi by the way. how can i fix it?

    Reply
  • April 9, 2017 at 6:22 pm
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    I'm hooked plain and simple. I prefer to make my images (landscape & Wildlife) as natural as possible but this watercolour effect is superb and I will use it A LOT. One little bit near the end doesn't work for me though, I cant get rid of the pencil lines using the method detailed, what am I doing wrong.

    Reply
  • April 15, 2017 at 9:36 pm
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    When you're painting on the brush layer, what color do you use?

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  • April 21, 2017 at 11:08 am
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    absolutely amazing work easy to follow and good quality

    Reply
  • April 25, 2017 at 5:17 am
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    Awesome tutorial. Followed it to the letter and the client loved the end result. Keep up the great work!

    Reply
  • May 12, 2017 at 12:41 pm
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    Good tutorial, Thanks for that mate.

    Reply
  • May 25, 2017 at 2:12 am
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    Keep the great tutorials coming.  These are the best

    Reply
  • May 27, 2017 at 7:16 pm
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    Very cool. This is going to work great in combination with the 'magic slider card' idea when I go to make my Father's Day Card using a photo. Your instructions are so easy to follow too!

    Reply
  • June 1, 2017 at 8:55 pm
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    Thanks for making a great tutorial!

    Reply
  • June 4, 2017 at 6:17 pm
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    you are great big brother i love you soooooooooooooooo much

    Reply
  • June 7, 2017 at 10:35 pm
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    Hey Marty,
    I've followed two of your videos, several times and I keep ending up with a photo that's inverted. I follow every thing exactly as you state but when I go over my picture with the Dry brush and then the wet brush, The trees are always yellow and there's no sky. Why do I need to Reinvert it to see it the way yours comes out without doing that?

    Reply
  • June 8, 2017 at 4:27 pm
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    Hi Marty. Great tutorial!! I have tried this technique on many differnet photos but I'm having a problem. On my brush layer, after I invert and change to color dodge, when I paint I don't get the color values from the original photo. Where there is green I get red and where there is bright red I get yellow, etc. Any idea why this is happening? Thanks!

    Reply
  • June 17, 2017 at 8:55 am
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    Hey thanx Marty … I'm a video producer and workx with Ps to enhance some stuff,and this tut is very cool and technically sound

    Reply
  • June 18, 2017 at 8:47 am
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    Thank you for this lovely tutorial 🙂

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  • June 26, 2017 at 10:35 pm
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    The only guy on Youtube that actually cares about the viewers being able to follow the video

    Reply
  • June 29, 2017 at 7:29 pm
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    This didn't work for me. I followed the instructions and I ended up taking away most of the color and all that was left was some really bright vibrant greens. Wasn't even water color looking, just bright neon greens. Maybe it's the photo I used, I don't know. 🙁

    Reply
  • July 2, 2017 at 2:16 am
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    Great tutorial! Thank you!

    Reply
  • August 7, 2017 at 5:49 pm
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    Great tutorial. You were very easy to understand, and the pace was reasonable. I can't wait to try this technique!

    Reply
  • August 13, 2017 at 1:25 pm
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    Oh maan.. you so old 😀 in my mind It's really spectacular

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  • August 16, 2017 at 2:54 pm
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    Nice tutorial, thanks!

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  • September 8, 2017 at 10:54 pm
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    As always 100 % THANKS

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  • September 9, 2017 at 5:31 pm
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    Fantastic Marty! Thank you sir

    Reply
  • September 22, 2017 at 11:04 pm
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    Great tutorial Marty, thanks a million for the effort you put into this!

    Reply
  • September 30, 2017 at 9:39 pm
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    when i use watercolour texture it does NOT give me colour ?

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  • October 29, 2017 at 11:32 am
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    The best tutorial I ever come across. Step by step, easy to follow, absolute bar none!

    Reply
  • November 4, 2017 at 2:49 pm
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    My smart blur is not available to click on all the rest are but this one 😒

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  • November 4, 2017 at 2:52 pm
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    None of the options your saying to click are highlighted 😲😲

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  • November 5, 2017 at 11:01 am
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    Thank you Marty for this great tutorial.

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  • November 12, 2017 at 5:14 am
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    The best Photoshop Tutorial I have ever seen. Quick, easy and precise.

    Reply
  • November 18, 2017 at 12:23 am
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    awesome, thank you so much!

    Reply
  • November 28, 2017 at 5:33 pm
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    Good

    Reply
  • December 5, 2017 at 1:32 am
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    When I go to reset brushes to default and then hit the gear icon again there is no choice for small list. There are dry media brushes, but unsure which one to choose. I guess things change every time they update Photoshop CC. Suggestions?

    Reply
  • February 1, 2018 at 10:33 am
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    Hello, thank you SO much for this tutorial, you have the ability to create VERY beautiful pictures using the simplest techniques, which is amazing!

    Reply
  • February 13, 2018 at 5:02 pm
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    Hi Marty. I seem to be having a similar problem others are having. I'm using Photoshop CC but for some reason when I go to my brush tool I can't reset brushes. I also can't find the the list that's depicted in your tutorial. I click on "Small List" and nothing changes or looks like your screen shots. Thanks for the tutorial.

    Reply
  • February 13, 2018 at 5:10 pm
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    If you don't see the brushes that I'm using in this video, open the Brush panel open and click the gear icon on the right to open the fly-out list. Click "Legacy Brushes". You'll see the brushes.

    Reply
  • March 2, 2018 at 5:06 pm
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    one question: i think the brush should be black. is there any advantage to changing the colors of the brush? or using color dynamics for the brush?

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  • March 29, 2018 at 4:28 pm
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    Thank you!!! Easiest watercolor tutorial I’ve seen!

    Reply
  • April 10, 2018 at 2:00 pm
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    wou. Helped a lot 🙂 Thank you

    Reply
  • April 18, 2018 at 9:07 pm
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    I love your videos, you explain so conspicuously. Thank you

    Reply
  • April 22, 2018 at 12:33 am
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    Mr Martin if you are not the best you are one of the BEST ever, I have been following you since 2006 I think. so thank you sooo much for the excelent work you share with us every single tut you create is fantastic. is very well explained

    Reply
  • May 21, 2018 at 10:56 am
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    Thanks for sharing this Video 🙂 <3

    Reply
  • June 3, 2018 at 3:23 am
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    When I after the water color texture brush …things keep getting lighter and disappear…

    Reply
  • June 11, 2018 at 3:56 am
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    Awesome tutorial. Very cool effect!

    Reply
  • June 12, 2018 at 10:07 pm
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    Great Tutorial. Hint: Make sure your foreground/background colors are set to Black/White !! Took me ages to figure out why I was not getting results!

    Reply
  • June 29, 2018 at 2:13 pm
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    Thank you!
    This is the best ps video I've ever watched!
    (Brazil here <3)

    Reply
  • July 9, 2018 at 3:40 pm
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    Thank You Blue Lightning TV Photoshop for this valuable Tutorial 🙂

    Reply
  • August 17, 2018 at 4:50 pm
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    this is really helping me, thanks for the tutorials sir

    Reply
  • August 21, 2018 at 10:49 am
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    I like the way you explained step by step procedure and easy to follow. Thank you for sharing your video.

    Reply
  • September 17, 2018 at 3:04 am
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    Wow…amazing results and technique….Many thanks…

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  • October 10, 2018 at 9:19 am
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    For once! A tutorial that isn't rushed. Thank you for an excellent video, Marty!

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  • October 13, 2018 at 2:45 pm
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    Danke für so guten Tutorial, so gut erklärt, man versteht ohne englisch zu können.

    Reply
  • October 20, 2018 at 7:34 am
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    Thanks a lot

    Reply
  • November 16, 2018 at 7:59 pm
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    That's a very detailed and great tutorial! thank you!

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  • December 2, 2018 at 12:45 pm
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    Great, thanks

    Reply
  • December 13, 2018 at 7:00 pm
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    Marty I pray to you every night you are the photoshop GOD

    Reply
  • December 14, 2018 at 6:33 am
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    after the color doge and adding dry water color brush I don't see any color. Nor I see legacy brushes option in the panel

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  • February 7, 2019 at 2:58 am
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    You are the greatest since sliced white bread. THANK YOU

    Reply
  • February 20, 2019 at 2:45 am
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    what app did you use?

    Reply
  • February 26, 2019 at 6:45 am
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    i dont have wet media brushes

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  • May 11, 2019 at 4:42 am
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    Thanks for the tutorial. It's so inspirative!

    Reply
  • May 26, 2019 at 10:20 am
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    Can anyone help?
    I followed exactly till 3:38 and then nothing happens when I loosely brush over the image. No colours, nothing.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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  • August 13, 2019 at 3:47 pm
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    awesome effect

    Reply
  • August 18, 2019 at 1:43 pm
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    Thank you for sharing..

    Reply

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