How to Create Artistic Effects in Photoshop CS6 - dummies

How to Create Artistic Effects in Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

Quite a few Photoshop CS6 filters produce artistic effects. You can find a large collection of them in the Sketch and Stylize submenus. However, the Artistic menu contains 15 versatile filters that you can use to add brush strokes to your images, wrap them in plastic, create posterlike effects, and manufacture other interesting looks.

Many Photoshop users employ these filters to create images that look as if they were painted. What those users might not tell you, unless pressed, is that artsy filters can make terrible photos look better — or, in some cases, pretty darn good. These filters can disguise a multitude of photographic sins, turning shoebox rejects into pretty decent digital transformations.

Adobe has moved the Artistic, Brush Stroke, Sketch, Stylize and Texture filter groups out of the Filter menu and solely into the Filter Gallery. If you would like to have them again reside in the menu, change your preferences to display again. Choose Edit→Preferences→Plug-Ins (Photoshop→Preferences→Plug-Ins on the Mac) and choose Show all Filter Gallery groups and names.


You can improve an image using filters on the Filter→Artistic menu. Try one of the following filters:

  • Poster Edges: A quick application of this filter improves the photo 100 percent. The filter not only gives the picture an artsy, posterlike look, but it also enhances the edges to make the clock’s outline appear sharper.

  • Rough Pastels: This filter gives the look of a fine art piece created with oil pastels.


  • The Dry Brush: This filter can add an even more stylistic effect, reducing details to a series of broad strokes.

  • Colored Pencil: This filter crosshatches the edges of your image to create a pencil-like effect.

  • Cutout: This effect assembles an image from what looks like cut-out paper shapes, which resemble a kid’s art project.

  • Film Grain: This photographic effect diffuses an image with thousands of tiny dots that simulate clumps of film grain. (Think of old home movies.)

  • Fresco: This effect looks (supposedly) like pigments applied to fresh, wet plaster.

  • Paint Daubs: This effect uses smears of color from your choice of a half-dozen different brush types. Very Jackson Pollock.

  • Plastic Wrap: This filter can produce a wet look, particularly when you apply it to a selection and then fade the filter so it doesn’t overpower the detail in your image.

  • Watercolor: This nice pastel effect diffuses an image while adding an interesting, watery texture.

You can find more stroking filters on the Brush Strokes submenu, along with some interesting texturizing filters that can spruce up less-than-perfect photos and add a new look to even your best shots.

Choose Filter→Brush Strokes to find the stroking filters that can provide hours of fun, including, among others,

  • Ink Outlines: Adobe describes this filter as producing the look of a corroded ink drawing.

  • Spatter: This filter generates the look you might get from a sputtering airbrush.

  • Accented Edges: Use this filter to make a subject jump out from its background by emphasizing the edges of all the objects in the picture.

    [Credit: © Image #4010521]
    Credit: © Image #4010521