How to give your photos oil painting effect in Adobe Photoshop [No Drawing skills required]

Give a touch of oil paint on the canvas, and everything on it looks just gorgeous. Your favorite photos are also not an exception. You may think that adding an oil painting effect to the photos is no task for a rookie without previous Photoshop experience. But, it isn’t! In this article, we have shown step-by-step instructions on how to add oil paint effect to your clicked images and give them a completely new look.


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How to paint your photos in Oil Paint using Adobe Photoshop

There are multiple steps involved in the process. So, just follow these easy instructions. Alongside with two main steps, there are tons of optional steps that you may or may not use to improve the photo.


Before you proceed there are some things that you have to download.

Painting Brushes –

Download the Digital Painting brushes. You will need these brushes later on.



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You have to download some textures as well.

1. There are three different textures. Download all of them one-by-one

Tex 1

Tex 2

Tex 3 

Tex 4 


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Once you have downloaded these tools, go to the main process.


Step 1 – Import the photo

You have to import the main photo that you are working on, resize it (if needed), and oil-brush it up.

1. Once you have opened Adobe Photoshop, press the Ctrl+O keys together.

2. In the Open tab, navigate to the photo that you want. Select it and tap “Open“.


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3. You have to make sure that the image size is over 2000 px, i.e. images should be of higher quality.

You can check whether the image is of the prescribed category or not.

4. To do that, tap on the “Image” on the menu bar and tap “Image size” to check the size of the image.


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5. You should check whether both the “Width:” and the “Height:” are over 2000 px or not. If not, then you have to adjust it to over any value of 2000 px.

6. Now, tap “OK” to save it.


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Now, you can use the oil painting effect on your image.


Step 2 – Create the effect

Now, you can create the main oil painting effect.

1. Coming back to the main page, tap on the paintbrush icon on the left-hand pane and click on “Art History Brush Tool” to select it.


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2. Now, click on the paintbrush picker drop-down.

3. Then, tap on the gear-shaped icon and tap the “Load brushes” or “Import Brushes” option.


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4. Now, go to the location of the brush package that you have downloaded. Select it.

5. Then, tap “Load” to use it.


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This way, you have imported the brushes.

6. Select the first brush (“Painting brush 1”)  from the imported brushes.


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7. Then, tap on “Layer” from the menu bar and tap “New Layer“. You can also just press Ctrl+Shift+N keys together to bring up a new layer.


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8. Before you apply the main brush, make sure the “Mode:” is set to “Normal“, and Opacity to “100%“.

9. It is very important that you set the brush “Style” to “Dab” from the drop-down.

Leave all the other brush settings to “0“.


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10. Now, just use this brush all over the image to create the oil-painting effect*.


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Adding details layer – 1

11. Once you have done that, press Ctrl+Shift+N keys together.

12. Then, hit click “OK” to create a new layer.


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13. Now, click on the same brush and reduce the brush size to approximately “150px“.


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14. Now, come back to the image and apply the brush over ONLY the areas where you want to add intricate details (like figures, and structures).

You have to be very patient about this.


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Adding details layer 2 –

15. Now, if you want to portray finer details of some figures, you have to create another layer.

16. Once you have created that layer, click on the history brush once more and set the size of the brush to “50 px“.


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17. Now, just use this brush over only the figures where you want to add more details.


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This way, once you are satisfied with your artwork, you can proceed to the next step.


*NOTE –  If you have altered the picture size in Photoshop or removed any effect from history, you will receive an error message on your screen, “Could not use the art history brush because the current canvas size does not match that of the history state“.


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Follow these steps –

1. Just, tap on the “Window‘ and click “History“.


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2. Now, you have to set the history brush to the actual image. So, tap “Image” to select it from the list.


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Now, you can easily use the history brush on your picture.



Step 3 – Use other brushstrokes [OPTIONAL]

As you may have noticed after importing the brushes package, there are multiple brushes in there. You can use those brushes to freshen up the image more and make it more realistic. This is optional and you can skip it.

Adding Splash effects – 

1. Now, press the Ctrl+Shift+N keys together to create a new layer.

2. So, tap “OK” to proceed.


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3. You have to select the Art history brush again.

4. Now, select the “Splash 1” brush from the list of brushes.


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Now, you can add splash brushes over the photo to add the effect of the horizontal splash brush strokes all over the image.


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Adding Drop effects

You can also add small drop effects to simulate the color drop all over the image.

1. You have to create a new layer again.

2. So, tap on “Layer” on the menu bar and tap “New” and click on  “Layer” to create a new layer.

3. Tap “OK” to complete creating layers.


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4. Now, click on the brush preset picker from the top corner and select the “Drop” effect.


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5. Now, you can add the drop effect on the image as you want. You can also adjust the brush size to gain control over the effect.

The final image will look something like this –


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Step 4 – Adding Texture overlay

This is the final step in the process. You can add a new texture overlay to complete the process.

1. At first, select “Effect” from the right-hand section.

[In older Photoshop, you have to click on the drop-down and select the “Effect” from there.]

2. Now, click on the “File” and tap on the “Place Embedded” option.


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3. After that, select any one of those downloaded textures and tap “Place” to place them over your image.


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4. Now, simply drag the image to the corner of the full image so that this embedded picture covers it completely.


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5. Once you have placed the image correctly, right-tap the image and tap “Place” to place it there.


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6. Now, while the layer is selected tap on the “Filter” option from the menu bar and click “Stylize>” and “Emboss” to use that effect.


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7. You can set the angle to emboss. Set the angle to “145°” and click “OK“.


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This will emboss the image on your oil painting.

8. Finally, tap on the blend mode and select “Overlay” from the drop-down menu.


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9. Additionally, you can use all the other downloaded texture images to create new overlays, emboss those, and use the overlay effect, as we have mentioned in steps 1 to 7, to add more realistic effects.


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This will be the final result –


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That’s it! There is your ultra-realistic oil painting! You can even zoom in and check the brush strokes on it or you can find brush residues if you look closely. This way, you can turn any image into a realistic oil painting using Adobe Photoshop.