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Using the Artistic Filters

One of my favorite activities in Photoshop, and now in Elements, is to turn some of my less spectacular photos into fine art. I am constantly surprised at the effects I can get by combining several filters, or by changing the order in which I apply them. The Artistic filters will enable you to mimic most of the available art media, from oil painting to neon tube sculpture. You can rescue a “bad” picture, or create a real masterpiece from a good one. More to the point, it's fun. Under the general heading of Artistic filters, I've chosen to also include the Brush Strokes, Pixelate, Sketch, and Stylize filters. Each category includes filters that mimic a specific art style or medium.

Watercolor

Elements includes a filter (Filter, Artistic, Watercolor) that gives you one style of watercolor, which is kind of dark and blotchy. There are ways to make this filter work better, and there are other filters that also create watercolors in other styles, but we'll start with the official one. First of all, let's look at the photo that will eventually be a watercolor (see Figure 25.18). As a photo, it's not very exciting. The composition and focus are okay, and it's well exposed, neither too dark nor too light.


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