Final Image Preview
Step 1We have an option Watercolor on Filter > Artistic but i choose to go other way so i can create a more realistic watercolor effect. Start by downloading stock photo that i selected for this tutorial. Open up the photo and use Image > Image size to reduce photo size to 1000px width and 669px height.
Step 2I will start by stylizing photo. Double click current layer thumbnail on layers palette to unlock the layer and after that duplicate layer with Ctrl+J. Apply Filter > Artistic > Cutout with similar settings to these for copied layer.
Step 3Change layer mode to Lighten for this layer.
Step 4Duplicate current layer again (Ctrl+J) and apply Filter > Artistic > Underpainting with following presets:
Step 5Change layer mode on current layer to Screen.
Step 6It´s time to make watercolor effect on the photo. Go to the lower layer with original picture and press Ctrl+J again to make one more copy of it. Move this copy above all the layers, then apply Filter > Artistic > Dry Brush:
Step 7Now we are going to align the gradient levels and contrasts in the photo. Use the Eraser Tool and a soft round brush about 150 px (from time to time we have to change the brush size) and make clear some areas with a sharp transition of colors.
Step 8Reduce Eraser Tool opacity to 30% and edit too saturated color areas.
Step 9Go back to original layer and duplicate it one more time (Ctrl+J). Move this copy above all the layers and apply Filter > Noise > Median for this layer.
Final ImageTo finish this tutorial just change layer mode to Lighten for current layer.