Transform a Photo into Chinese Painting



Share a photo of White Tiger that I took at Singapore Zoo yesterday. Download it here.

We also need to download three brushes:
Bittbox’s Watercolor Brushes II (download)
Krako’s Chinese Stamp (download)
Midnightstouch’s Grasslands (download)

All rights of these resources belong to their respective owners.


Step 1 – Setting Up Background:

Create a document of size 750 by 550px.

Fill the background with #D7D7D7.


Step 2 – Cropping the Tiger:

Next is to crop out the White Tiger with Pen tool and place it at the center of the document.

You can use one of the extraction methods listed over here.


Step 3 – Apply Watercolor Effect:

Select the tiger layer, go to Filter > Artistic > Watercolor.

Set the Brush Detail to 14, Shadow Intensity to 2 and Texture to 1.


Step 4 – Adding Black Strokes:

Create a new layer under the white tiger.

Load the Watercolor brush that you downloaded from Bittbox and select Sampled Brush 13.

Set the foreground color to #000000 and brush size to 450px, paint the two patches as shown in the diagram.


Step 5 – Adding Red Strokes:

Create another new layer under the black strokes.

Select Sampled Brush 9 with size 250px and foreground color as #cc0000, paint a few patches of red under the black strokes.


Step 6 – Adding the Grasses:

Load the Grasslands brushes downloaded from Midnightstouch’s DeviantArt.

Set your foreground color to #000000 and select Sampled Brush 12 to paint a few strokes of weeds and grasses.

You may do the same with Sampled Brush 13.


Step 7 – Chinese Caligraphy:

This is the time for freeplay. You can add in any chinese texts you think it fits the meaning of the art you’ve done.

Otherwise you can simply add a Chinese Stamp downloaded from Krakograff.


Step 8 – Changing Colors:

We can either stop at the earlier step or adjust the colors like the one I’ve done on the left.

I created a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer at the topmost and set the Hue to 40, Saturation to 25 and Lightness to 0. Followed by another Levels layer and input the values 36, 1.03, 251.

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial. Click here to view the final image.

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37 Comments | Write a Comment

  1. Abby says:

    Thanks so much for this tutorial! It’s amazing and was exactly what I was looking for!

  2. phabloIII says:

    really awesome effect!!

    u rock!!

  3. organzae says:

    Great tut. I am playing a lot with this one. Thanks

  4. Sara says:

    My brush strokes don’t look painterly…what setting am I missing?

  5. Webestools says:

    Nice! The effect is very good!

  6. Lol that’s one way to look at it ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. Mathias says:

    I’m rabbit in the Chinese zodiac so here is my try:

  8. Rocco says:

    hola amigos. excelente tutorial y muy creativo, acรƒยก esta mi resultado,

  9. you took the tiger pic??? awesome!! i like it a LOT!!

  10. Wilson says:

    Can i ask, how do i type chinese letters? ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Johnson says:

    Thanks Auricom. Welcome to 10Steps.SG ๐Ÿ˜€

  12. Auricom says:

    Very straightforward, you can see the progress as you go, easily understandable tutorial. Thank you very much for sharing.

  13. flopie~~ says:

    very nice.. but i don know how 2 turn the black stroke 2 red..
    can u tell me??

  14. Johnson says:

    Thanks for your support, Ross!

  15. Ross says:

    Great tutorial Johnson, really simple and a brilliant result ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Johnson says:

    Thanks guys!

    Hi Daniel, yes. I’m made in Singapore ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. That’s a great work there on this tutorial! Ya from Singapore too ey? ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. exumer says:

    very nice tutorial. thank you for this!

  19. Xed says:

    what can i say – dude – this is insane.

    i cant believe how simple you’ve made it.

    good job dude!!

  20. Michael says:

    I am always fascinated by the chinese drawings. Thanks for introducing the best way to taste their design.


  21. evertt says:

    very nice

  22. Rob del Ar says:

    Very nice! I have been looking for something like this for my Buddhist artwork. Excellent…thanks thanks and more thanks!

    Rob of del aR Films

  23. sadhu says:

    this is nice man…

  24. Johnson says:

    I’m glad you like it ๐Ÿ˜€

  25. Natalie says:

    awesome- this is a really nice effect to use. thanks!

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