To really appreciate the effect, you should click on the image and view it larger. I especially like the painterly effect on water, but I also like how the sky was smoothed out.
Last week, one of my friends saw a tutorial for a painterly effect for portraiture. He suggested I try it out on my landscapes, to see how it looks. After glancing at the workflow, I thought it would make my life easier to just turn it into an action.
There are only a couple things to know, when using this action. First, when choosing the radius for the high pass filter, you want to choose a low number, between 1-3, where the details are just beginning to show. Don’t worry about being super precise.
The next window to pop up will be for surface blur. 50 seems to be a good radius, but you can play with it if you’d like. The threshold controls the detail in the painterly effect. A lower threshold will keep it looking more like a photo. A higher threshold will give you more of a blurry watercolor style. If you do try a higher threshold, play with the radius, because it can dramatically change the effect.
The last thing you should know about this effect is the surface blur can take quite a while on larger images. I’ve got 24gb ram on my iMac, and sometimes it takes a few minutes to complete if I’m working on a file that’s about 1gb in size…yes my files frequently get that large.
Go to my dropbox folder here, to get the action for free.
To install the action, go to your Photoshop folder, open the Presets folder, and put the file in the Actions folder. Or you can load it from the actions panel inside of photoshop.