How To Create A Watercolor Image with Filter Forge And 5 Licenses Up For Grabs

How To Create A Watercolor Image with Filter Forge And 5 Licenses Up For Grabs

For most designers, Photoshop has become the tool we use everyday. There are some effects that are quite impossible or difficult to accomplish just by using Photoshop. That is why an ocean of Photoshop plugins are so easily available to us. Plugins are time-saving tools that are downloaded to support Photoshop and to provide additional effects for your image. Without Photoshop plugins, the world of image editing would be less fascinating.

How To Create A Watercolor Image with Filter Forge And 5 Licenses Up For Grabs

In this tutorial today, we will be using a unique and powerful plugin, Filter forge and Photoshop to turn an ordinary photo into a watercolor painting. It is a simple and effective way to transform an image into another look within minutes.

Step 1: Open image in Photoshop

Launch Photoshop. Press Ctrl+O to open the source image to be modified. This is an image taken during a Chinese opera performance.

Filter Forge-Open Image

Step 2. Adjust Curves

Identify areas of the image that are unexposed.

Click on the elliptical Marquee Tool, set the Feather to 20 pixels.

Select the area of the image that is darker, press Ctrl+M (or Image > Adjustments > Curves) for the Curves window to to open. Adjust the curve of the graph to the one similar below.

Image Curves Adjustments

Step 3: Sharpen the image

Sharpen the image by going to Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask

Adjust the settings to the image below.

Be careful not to sharpen the image too much, it will turn grainy.

Unsharp Mask

Step 6: Apply Filter Forge Filter – Water Color Painting

The plugin can be found under Filter > Filter Forge, after installing.

Filter Forge in Photoshop

To apply the filter to your image, click on Filter Forge to launch the program.

On the top right of Filter Forge window, click on Download more filters.

Filter Forge Download

Open the filter web page – – and click the ‘Open in Filter Forge‘ button.

Watercolour Plugin

Step 7: Fine tune the Filter Parameters

After installing, double click on the preset thumbnail to apply the filter.
Click on the Settings tab shown below. The beauty about Filter Forge is that it gives you a variety of different parameters that allows you to fine-tune the filter. Start experimenting by moving the sliders.

Filter Forge Watercolour

You can also try the ‘Next variant’ button in the Randomizer section, where you can click until you get your desired results.


The variant above seems to be close to perfect.

Before After Settings Adjustments

Step 8: Apply Filter Forge Filters – Water Color Frame, Paper Art Frame and Wood Frame

The next 3 filters I will be adding to enhance the image further are Watercolor Frame, Paper Art Frame and Wood Frame.

Download Watercolor Frame Filter.

Watercolour Frame Plugin

Download Paper Art Frame Filter.

Paper Art Frame

Repeat Step 7, and remember to experiment on the parameters in the Settings tab.

Paper Art Frame Settings

You may prefer your image without the frame. So this step can be optional.

Wood Frame filter:

Woodframe Plugin

Again, adjust the parameters in the Settings tab to create a thick or thin frame .


Once you are happy with your image, click on apply at the bottom right of the Filter Forge window.

Step 9: Levels Adjustments and The Final Result

Let”s improve the quality of the image by adjusting the Levels. Press Ctrl+L, and move the slider as in the image shown below.


This is the final result. These are only a few of the 7276 filters available at Filter Forge. Enter the contest, and try out those awesome filters now! Contest details are below.

Chinese Opera in Water Colour

5 Free Licenses of Filter Forge Up For Grabs!

Filter Forge is a unique Photoshop plugin that comes with a pack of filters that generate textures, create visual effects, enhance photos and process images.

Filter Forge Homepage

Winning this exceptional plugin, lets you create your own filters and get free access to 7276 user-created filters. Anyone can contribute their textures and effects to the online filter collection so it grows with every submitted filter. This means the more people use Filter Forge, the better it gets. Contributors get Filter Forge for free. You submit filters, they get popular with the users, we send you a free copy of Filter Forge.

How To Win

For a chance to win one of five Filter Forge Basic 1.0 – the platform (Mac/PC) could be chosen by each winner individually, all you have to do is post a comment below and tell us how this software could make your life easier with Photoshop. Please enter a valid email.

The competition will run for 1 week. Winners will be announced on this article and will be contacted via email on the 18th June 2010.

The 5 Lucky Winners

We are glad to announce the winners of Filter Forge Photoshop Plugin. These lucky 5 were chosen at random:

  • Linn H
  • Angela Watson
  • James Coleman
  • Brian Lockyear
  • Drew

Winners will be contacted through email. If you are one of them and have not received an email from us or our sponsors within the next 48 hours, please contact us.

Onextrapixel, or more commonly known as OXP is dedicated to delivering useful, comprehensive and innovative information for designers, developers and many others.


  1. / Reply

    Filter Forge would make my life lots easier for creating more compelling weekly graphics for our interview radio show website.

  2. / Reply

    I’m working on a web design an art gallery, and this plugin will help me FINALLY nail the perfect style. Yes please, after quite a few weeks without finding the right look, I think this could make my day! I’m about to go desperate :-)

  3. / Reply

    Great thanks

  4. / Reply

    Filter Forge will help me get the styling spot on for my graphic design blog. Currently the styling is very linear and sharp and could really benefit from a more natural style.

  5. / Reply

    Dig it!

    • Chris DelVecchio,
    • June 11, 2010
    / Reply

    Wow- filter forge would certain help give me some kickass effects. Certainly much faster (and way better looking) than if I had done it myself with this neat plugin.

  6. / Reply

    This would certainly help me with my workflow.

  7. / Reply

    Filter Forge would make my life SO much easier because I have never been really good at painting with watercolors, and I have always wanted to be :) Thanks for the offer… I REALLY hope I’m luck this time.

  8. / Reply

    This Plugin could save many minutes and hours of my life-time :)
    so i could enjoy more holidays!

    • Brian Nolan,
    • June 11, 2010
    / Reply

    A great watercolour effect, very realistic. A lot more realistic than others I have seen which often remain looking like a photo with a ‘watercolour effect’!

    • Andi,
    • June 11, 2010
    / Reply

    as I’m often taking photos of my kids and edit them for print-outs or photo books I’d love to use this magic box of filters :o)

    • Jonathan,
    • June 11, 2010
    / Reply

    I would love to use this plug in to help me illustrate the children’s stories I am working on

    • Sean,
    • June 12, 2010
    / Reply

    I would use Filter Forge to win the hearts & minds of my fellow villagers, conquer my enemies, and bake delicious pies. Maybe at the same time. We’ll see how I’m feeling.

    • Iván,
    • June 12, 2010
    / Reply

    Filter Forge will make me easier making stunning graphics for my print projects and posters.

  9. / Reply

    Love these effects! So glad to get the info on “how to” in Photoshop! Thanks for the useful info.

    • Prakash ghodke,
    • June 12, 2010
    / Reply

    I love water color effect…..

  10. / Reply

    Filter Forge will make my art work look professional and sell more.

  11. / Reply

    I am an architect and fine artist and use photoshop extensively to create architectural imagery. In my work I often layer partially rendered images in photoshop to create the final image. Filter Forge can be used to enhance those layers and the complexity and quality of the result.

    • Drew,
    • June 16, 2010
    / Reply

    Wow, this program seems pretty awesome. It just happens that I have been trying to mess with the water color look. I have been painting (horribly) and scanning in images and trying to find ways to clean it up. The results aren’t as awesome as I imagined. But, I guess its a matter of time right? Well, I think this plug-in would totally help me cut the time when I try to do this look. Thanks for offering…hope I’m one of the lucky ones!

    • Ralf,
    • June 17, 2010
    / Reply

    looks really useful. this could help me out, since i’m a student designer who does some webdesign in his sparetime. if it is as easy as it looks, this would be a huge timesaver, esp. for backgrounds and creating natural textures. nice plugin

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