In today’s tutorial, we will be creating a cool watercolor effect in Affinity Photo. This effect imitates a hand-painted watercolor painting.
Before you start this tutorial, go to the following links and download the images.
First, go to File > Open and select the image of the bird you downloaded.
Second, go to the Tools Panel and select the Selection Brush Tool. We need to use this to get rid of the background. Take the brush and select the surrounding background around the bird. Make sure you’re on the Add Mode and that Snap to Edges is checked.
Note: Use the left bracket key [ to decrease the size of the brush. Use the right bracket key ] to increase the size of the brush.
Note: If you start selecting some of the bird, switch to the Subtract Mode. Then go over the area you mistakenly selected so that it will be deselected.
Next, in the Context Toolbar, select the Refine button. Then click Apply.
Now, go to the Select menu at the top and select Invert Pixel Selection.
Then, go to the Layers Panel and select the bird image. Press CTRL + J to duplicate it. Or, right click on the layer and select Duplicate.
Go back up to the Select menu and select Deselect (or press CTRL + D).
Go to File > Place and select the canvas image and spread it across the bird image.
With the camera image still selected, go to the Toolbar and select Move to Back to send the canvas behind the two images of the bird.
Grab the Smudge Brush Tool from the Tools Panel. Then, go to the Brushes Panel. Now, go to the Painting brushes and select the 64 px Paint 10 brush.
Select the duplicated bird layer in the Layers Panel and rename the layer Smudged Bird.
With the Smudged Bird layer still selected, take the Smudge Brush and go over the feathers of the bird. As you go over the feathers, you’ll see them start to look blurry/fuzzy. That means that the feathers are getting smudged. You can’t really see the effect in the photo, but it is there.
In the Layers Panel, select the canvas layer and drag it between the two bird images.
Select the Smudged Bird layer in the Layers Panel. Click the Adjustments icon and select Levels.
Next, go to the Adjustments icon again and select Black & White.
Select both the Levels adjustment and the Black & White adjustment layers. To select them both, click on one of the layers. Then, press and hold the CTRL key to select the other layer.
Drag both selected layers inside of the Smudged Bird layer.
In the Layers Panel, select the Smudge Bird layer and change the Blend Mode from Normal to Multiply.
Now, go to File > Place and select the first watercolor image and place it over the top half of the bird’s body.
With the watercolor image selected, go to the Layers Panel and drag this layer inside of the Smudged Bird layer.
Select the watercolor image from the Layers Panel. Change the Blend Mode of this layer to Pin Light.
Next, go to File > Place again and select the other watercolor image. Place it on the bottom part of the bird and extend it past the bird image.
In the Layers Panel, select the second watercolor image and drag it inside of the Smudged Bird layer on top of the first watercolor image.
With the second watercolor image selected change the Blend Mode to Screen.
This step is optional. Double click on the Levels adjustment layer you added in the Layers Panel. Set the Black Level to 7% and set the White Level to 97%.
Note: With this effect, you can add as many watercolor images you want to get your desired effect. The images can be assorted colors too.
Congratulations! This tutorial is complete, you’ve created a watercolor effect in Affinity Photo. For more Affinity Photo tutorials, try this one on how to create a polaroid in Affinity Photo.