How to Turn Photo into Watercolor in 3 Easy Steps

Avatar photo Bojan Veselinovikj | April 5, 2024

Changing the appearance of a digital photo was once a daunting task, but thanks to modern editing software and plug-ins, it's now quite easy to do.

It's no secret that technological advances transformed the world of digital art forever, with tools such as AI, plug-ins, and filters helping artists take their inspiration and work to a whole new level. It even allows someone with minimal experience to give a complete overhaul to photos.

In this guide, we'll talk about transforming a regular photo into a watercolor painting, so if you're interested in learning how to do this, whether for work or a fun little project, you've come to the right place.

There's quite a bit to cover, so without further ado, let's get into it.

Why Transform a Photo with a Watercolor Effect?

In one of our previous guides, we've explained how to cartoonize a photo and what the possible benefits of doing so could be. We've also talked about converting a photo into a charcoal drawing.

When it comes to transforming photos into watercolor paintings, besides the obvious desire to do this due to aesthetic reasons if you're a fan of the style, there are a few other potentially interesting benefits that we can get into.

One good example would be adjusting the art style to match the project you're working on. For example, suppose you're making a stylized video game and want to use pictures of a specific location. In that case, you won't be able to implement them in their original style, as it simply won't match the game's aesthetics. Converting them into a watercolor painting first, however, will be a much better way to do it.

turn photo into watercolor

Another example would be the fact that using a watercolor painting effect on your original digital image will make it timeless. Watercolor paintings have a unique, aesthetic style that doesn't go out of fashion. It's the same as with every other stylized content with a specific, unique set of visuals.

Using watercolor filters to transform your photos will also allow you to express yourself uniquely. Every artist has a unique style that others recognize their work by and since modern tools that allow you to convert photos into something entirely different also offer a lot of customizability. You can create a look that has a specific feel to it, marking it as your authentic style.

Last but not least, if you're trying to become better at editing photos, it's important to be familiar with all the possible ways you may need to work on an image. If a client requests such changes, it's much better if you've previously experimented with watercolor effects and are already familiar with the process.

With that said, let's take a look at the next section where you'll learn how to turn portraits, landscape photos, or images of just about anything into watercolor art.

How to Turn a Photo into Watercolor Art with Continuum's BCC Water Color

There are numerous ways to transform photos into watercolor art. With the BCC Water Color filter, you can instantly transform both photos and videos into something completely different than what they originally were.

The BCC Water Color effect is part of the renowned Continuum pack by Boris FX.

Using the BCC Water Color effect, you can turn photos and videos into watercolor art in host software of your choice, like Avid Media Composer, Apple Final Cut Pro, DaVinci Resolve, VEGAS Pro, as well as Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro.

Besides all the above-mentioned products being mainly video-editing programs, you can use them in combination with BCC Water Color (and many other Continuum effects) for images too.

For this example, we'll be using Adobe Premiere Pro.

Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Open Premiere Pro, create a new project, import media, and create a sequence

    Launch the software, then click "New Project".

    Import media by navigating to the "Project" tab, then right-click the empty area and choose "Import".

    Once you import the media, drag it over to the timeline area to create a sequence from it.

  2. Search for the Effect and Apply it to the Image/Video You Imported

    Head over to the "Effects" tab by clicking on it and use the search bar to find the desired effect, in this case, the "BCC Water Color".

    Once you find it, drag and drop it over the example media you've placed on the timeline during the previous steps.

  3. Modify the Settings/Parameters of the Effect Until You Achieve the Desired Look

    Last but not least, although you've already likely seen an immediate and noticeable change to your image, this may not be enough right off the bat.

    The final step is to head over to the "Effect Controls" panel and make the required changes while previewing the results in real-time.

    Once you're satisfied with the results, save and export the image/video.

    That's all there's to it!

Turning a Photo into Watercolor With BCC Water Color: Before And After

Before trusting a product, it's logical to be curious about how it works and what results it can deliver.

Although Boris FX products, such as Continuum, the pack in which the BCC Water Color tool is found have a free version available that you can download and use to learn, that may not be enough, as you could be uninterested in spending time learning something that may not deliver what you need.

That is why we've included this example video that showcases what type of watercolor effect transformations you can do

The main perk of the BCC Water Color tool is that you can use it for video material too, which isn't the case with many other apps that focus on completing this type of task for you.

3 Best Apps to Turn a Photo into a Watercolor

There are quick and easy ways to turn a photo into watercolor that require you to simply upload the images to the service, adjust a few settings, then click save and be done with it.

However, due to the overly saturated search results page, it may be difficult to find the ones that are worth looking into.

This is why we've decided to help you filter out and choose.

Our Choices

  • Waterlogue App

    This is a fun app that's already quite popular on the iOS operating system, made by Tinrocket, and with a desktop version available for you to try if you don't have a mobile Apple device. It works great and is well-rated by the community.

  • Befunky Photo Editor

    Befunky is an online photo editor with a well-designed, user-friendly interface, offering a myriad of effects and filters that you can apply to your photos. It does require you to register an account for the best possible experience but also allows a tryout as a guest.

  • Fotor Online Editor

    Fotor is another popular online photo editing app that you can use for free and for various purposes, including adding a watercolor effect to an image of your choice. The interface is simple and would allow anyone without advanced photo-editing knowledge to complete this task.

Final Words

Knowing how to create artistic watercolor paintings using a watercolor effect inside editing software is so much fun and useful, offering endless possibilities once you know how to do it correctly.

Whether you're working on an art class project or just looking to learn, the methods shown above will help you achieve your goal.

Thanks for reading and we wish you good luck on all of your future projects!