Oil Paint was first introduced to us as part of the Pixel Bender plug-in for Photoshop CS5. The Pixel Bender set of filters used the GPU to give extremely powerful effects that weren’t achievable using the standard filter set (it’s still available for CS5 users here: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/pixelbenderplugin). The Oil Paint filter was the main point of interest, as it offered a simple way to create basic painting effects without any painting skills, but with results that far surpassed those of the usual Artistic filters.
Oil Paint has now been incorporated into Photoshop CS6 as standard. It sits in the Filter menu, but separated from the other creative filters, placed at the top of the menu with the Liquify filter. Selecting this opens a new dialog window, where you can edit the effects to your heart’s content to get the look you’re after. It makes a good starting point for painted effects, and you can continue to work with layers afterwards to tailor the look.
The new Oil Paint filter is part of the Filter menu, but it sits at the top separate from the normal filters, setting it apart from them. Click on this and you will be taken to the new dialog window for the filter. There are minimal options down the right, but they are worth playing with.
The first set of sliders controls the brush that is being used, how detailed it is and how smooth the strokes are. If you prefer a grainer effect, then lower the Stylization slider. Use Scale to change the number of brushstrokes, which will determine how heavily the paint is applied.
Step 3: Lighting options
There are two sliders that control the lighting. The first enables you to choose the angle of the shading on the canvas. The Shine option lets you determine the vividness of the piece. We found that turning the Shine right down gave a natural effect, but it depends on the look you are going for.