How to Create Impressionistic Effects Using Deep Paint

I have had a few inquiries as to how I was able to create pictures that had either a watercolor or impressionistic effect. I have found that tutorials can encourage creativity as well as stifle it. I believe that a tutorial should show the users the basic steps by pointing them in a general direction.

The following is a short tutorial on how to create "Impressionistic" Effects using Deep Paint. If after using it, you have any question, please e-mail me at

1 - I compose a picture in an image editing package using Adobe Photoshop 5.5. The picture should not have a tremendous amount of small details but should have areas of bright colors. Photographs containing fall foliage work very well.

2 - I normally work at a resolution of 300 dpi. The smaller the file size, the easier it is to work with Deep Paint. While I usually stay away from drastic resampling, I do use resampling when working with Deep Paint. I have found that a file size of under 5MB works very well. I select from the My machine is a Pentium III 500, with 500MB of Ram, but this file size will work very well on slower machines with less memory.

3 - I prefer to use Deep Paint as a stand alone program. I imagine my methods would work if Deep Paint were used as a plugin filter for Photoshop. Possibly, the procedure would even be simpler. However, I found that I preferred to use Deep Paint as a stand alone and thus, have outlined my system accordingly. In Deep Paint, I open a PSD file and set it up so it is a cloning source.

4 - I create my own set of cloning brushes to mimic the basic texture or shape of an object.


5 - I separate the image into components such as sky,foreground rocks, foreground foliage, etc. and work on each individual section. When I am satisfied with a section, I save it without the clone source (I delete the clone source layer) as a tif or psd file.

6 - In Photoshop, I delete the white background, feather or modify the selection and cut and paste it into the original Photoshop file of the image. It is necessary to resample the original file so that its dimensions are the same as the file created for Deep Paint. Because of the way Deep Paint works, this resampling will not negatively effect the quality of the final print.

7 - I leave this small image as a separate layer. When I have created a new layer for each object in the original picture, I then use tools from Photoshop to make any visual changes that appeal to me. The changes I use most are opacity, sharpening, curves or levels, and blurring.

8 - Lastly, I then merge all the layers together and evaluate the whole file. As can be seen, I only used a portion of the original image. Click on the picture to see more created using Photoshop and Deep Paint.