Making a Photo Look Painted or Hand Drawn

Melanie and I had a wonderful weekend with some friends in St. Augustine.  Part of our time was spent on a costumed scavenger hunt.  After about three minutes of self consciousness, folks eased into their roles and all remarked at the conclusion that the costumes had really enhanced the experience.  Tourists had a blast seeing and photographing groups of decorated people racing around them.  The racers became mini celebrities and none were more famous than our own St. Augustine with his long curly red locks.  He and his wife are pictured below.

While I was reviewing photos from the event, it struck me that the painted background behind these two could be reasonably mimicked in Photoshop with the application of a few filters.  If I worked it right the people and the background would appear to be one painted image.  So I fooled around with the sharpness and color balance of the image then duplicated that corrected layer and applied various filters from the Sketch and Artistic folders.  Then I played around with the opacity of each layer and the way in which each interacted with the one beneath it.  It involved a lot of futzing and fooling around but eventually I came up with something that I think is quite pleasing.  Does it really look like a painting?  No, but it achieves the overall goal of unifying the image and making it look handmade.

The advantage to an image like this is the punchy contrasty color.  The downside is that if it isn’t printed fairly large, the handmade quality is lost and it just looks like a photo.  I’d love to see this image printed at 8″x10″ on canvas to see how effective it is.

Original Image
Cropped, Sharpened, Color Adjustment, Artistic and Sketch Filters Applied
Before Detail
After Detail

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