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How can I create a convincing oil painting from a photo?

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Hello all,

(Gosh first post!)

Firstly I have to say what an amazing forum, I'm very new here and have just started experimenting with paint.net . I have learned tons of tricks reading through the threads, there are some very talented people here! Thanks for everyones input here.

OK, so I have a question.

I am looking to try to make a photograph into more of a convincing painting. On its own the oil painting effect doesn't quite do it. I have been playing around with various effects and have had some better results.

Here are a couple that I did.

From this.


to this


and from this


to this


Does anyone have any hints or tips to help make a convincing painting.

What I'd really like to reproduce would be something as close as I can get to this style of original period painting, (sorry dont know the artist so cant credit it)


Thanks in advance for any help you can give.

Best wishes!

Edited by LaSallian
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You can get a different canvas texture look by adding two top layers.

Fill them both with black/white Trellis fill using the Paintbucket tool.

In Layer Properties (F4) set one layer to Multiply,

the other to Additive and adjust the Opacity of each as you like.


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Thankyou Sarkut, I will play around with that idea for sure.

I found that if I overlay a pencil drawing effect onto the oil paint effect it gives some better definition to the smaller details of the image, like faces etc. I still want to try to improve the effects but I think its getting closer to what I want.

Here is one that I did that is closest to where I am aiming to be


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Thank you both!

I am still a new user of PDN, I can have a go at explaining how I have done my paintings, there is probably a shorter way of doing most of the steps, but this is how I do it!

Firstly I have 2 copies of the picture I am working on, on the first one (my main painting) I apply the oil paint effect, depending on how much detail is in the picture I play around with the oil settings. I usually go for something with a large brush at first as a background with fairly low coarsness.

When I am happy that it looks OK, I go to the other copy of the picture (my working copy) and do another oil paint effect on that, I usually go for a much smaller brush and less coarsness.

When I am happy with the level of detail and can see all the shapes I want in the subjects I copy that picture into a new layer on the first one (main painting). I then play around with the layer property opacity settings to get something I am happy with, I quite like the "overlay" or "normal" settings for this part, but different settings can work. I like to see some of the larger brush strokes with the smaller ones showing on top. It gives a nice effect showing different level of detail in the brush strokes and more of a real painting feel. I then flatten the image

Next I go back to my working copy and undo the paint effect to revert it back to the original photo. Then I apply a pencil sketch. I like to have a large pencil tip size. I play with the range setting until I get all the details I want to see in the finished painting. Sometimes I may need to use a white paintbrush to get rid of pencil strokes in places I dont want them, such as sky or some background things.

Then I paste the pencil sketch in a new layer onto my main painting and again play around with the layer properties. Here I find that "overlay" or "multiple" usually work best for me with opacity at 255. Again I then flatten the image.

I might sometimes add another layer of pencil sketch, depending on what other details I want to see.

Sometimes I want to add a colour wash to certain areas of the painting, to maybe darken a background or discolour something to age the picture, I add a new layer then scribble with a brush in the colour I want over an area then apply a gaussian blur to just discolour the area I want. I dont always discolour.

Then I need to apply a canvas background to give it the full painting effect. I get my canvas and paste it into a new layer. I usually use multiple setting and turn down the opacity to somewhere around 115 so i can see enough canvas through the painting to give it the right effect. The I flatten it.

Lastly, sign your painting and you are done!

I hope that this makes sense, as I said I am a new user and am learning all the time.

Here is the canvas that I use, feel free to use it if you want.


Here are a couple more paintings I did today.



I still am not 100% happy that they look like a convincing painting, but its getting there. I am sure some of the more talented people here can make something far more realistic.

Thanks again,

Edited by LaSallian
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