How Photoshop Artistic Filters work, with examples of our favorites

Adobe Photoshop’s huge selection of Artistic Filters can’t possibly be covered in one story, but we can show you some of our favorites to help you get started. The real fun starts when you learn to mix them into new and even more astounding effects, such as Fresco and Paint Daubs together, or Poster Edges with Watercolors.

In this story we’ll introduce, explain, and show examples of these amazing features. Click the links in the list below to get to specific artistic filters: 

What are Photoshop’s Artistic filters?

In a nutshell, Photoshop Artistic filters are computerized, artistic techniques (or special effects) that enable you to create images that simulate artistic styles such as colored pencils, watercolors, chalk pastels, charcoal, pen and inks, crayons, and dozens of other artistic media. In the current version of PS, there are over 225 special effects filters.

Six categories of filters are available in the Filter Gallery: Artistic, Brush Strokes, Distort, Sketch, Stylize, and Texture, with dozens of filters inside each category. There are also 16 additional filter categories under the Filter menu, with yet more filters inside those categories.

How do Photoshop’s Artistic filters work?

Each filter creates one or more artistic effects with multiple, custom settings per effect. They’re all different. The filters are located under the Filter tab on the main PS menu. There must be an open image for this menu option to function.

For the Artistic filters, select Filter > Filter Gallery > Artistic Filters. Scroll through the 15 filter options and choose one that fits your project, or browse through the rest of this article to learn all about these features.

Notice the formats: The Settings (name and range) are defined once in the beginning of the first paragraph. The following examples list the user’s selected range (inside parentheses). Images are identified as (TL = top left), (TR = top right), (BL = bottom left), and BR (bottom right).

All about the Artistic filter Colored Pencils

The colored-pencil filter works best on images with multiple, bright colors. Choose an image, then select Filter > Filter Gallery > Artistic Filters > Colored Pencils. The customizable settings include Pencil Width (1 thru 24), Stroke Pressure (0 thru 15), and Paper Brightness (0 thru 50). Notice the examples in figure 01 Colored Pencils.

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