How To 

How To Use Photoshop’s Oil Paint Filter

The Oil Paint Filter, designed to emulate the brush strokes of an oil painting, has become increasingly popular in recent years as way to simply but effectively stylize an image so that it seems more painterly and impressionistic. We can use this effect to transform any image into a faithful imitation of a Van Gogh painting. Here’s how you use it.

1. Open the Oil Paint Filter.
With your base image’s layer selected, you can now open the filter by simply hitting “Filter > Stylize > Oil Paint…”. This will open a new dialog window.

2. Adjust the filter’s brush parameters.
We’ll begin by checking the “Preview” box and dragging the preview window to an area of particular detail to better evaluate the effects of the filter. From there, we have multiple options to adjust the behavior of the brush. The “Stylization” slider ranges from an accurate, daubed application at the lower values to more wild, smooth strokes. “Cleanliness” controls the length of brush strokes. “Scale” denotes the size of the brush and “Bristle Detail” sets the strength of the brush’s grooves.

3. Adjust the filter’s lighting parameters.
f you check this box, Photoshop will apply a three dimensional lighting effect to the brush strokes to make it seem like paint is popping out of the image. The “Angle” setting describes the angle at which light hits the paint and the “Shine” controls the contrast level of this effect. Once everything is set, click “OK”.

4. Apply a blend mode.
To take this effect a little further, we can copy the image’s layer, undo the filter application by hitting Cmd+Z (Ctrl+Z on Windows) and pasting the filtered layer on top of the original. From there, we can apply a blend mode to make the effect seem a little more otherworldly and surreal. In this case, we selected the “Lighten Color” mode to create an effect similar to visuals seen in the movie “What Dreams May Come”.