It's easy to snap a picture, but the old art of portraiture makes for a bold new take on the obligatory family picture. Instead of printing yet another boring family photo and hanging it upon the wall, convert it to something like an oil painting or a watercolor drawing. These adjustments preserve the content of the original image, but they convey a hand-made appeal that hearkens to the days when portraits were a big deal and individuals or families sacrificed a lot of time and money to commission a family heirloom piece.
Making Photos Look Like Paintings or Drawings
The easiest way to tweak your picture is to use photo to portrait converter software that's designed for that purpose. Although tools like Adobe Photoshop include filters that help with this process, Photoshop and related professional-grade tools tend to have a high learning curve and often high costs. Specialized convert photo to portrait software makes the process a lot easier and for much less cost. In fact, a program like the SoftOrbits Picture to Painting Converter is designed specifically to handle these conversions. It offers robust tools to customize the way the resulting image looks, so you can get the perfect output.
The SoftOrbits Picture to Painting Converter is a dedicated program for Windows that converts one or more pictures into images that have been modified to look as if they were painted. Through built-in filters that mimic famous artworks, oil paintings, watercolors, and impressionistic pieces, the photo to portrait converter software offers one-click transformations. Many of those filters offer fine-tuning sliders to further personalize the final product. Also, the program offers basic image-editing tools to crop, rotate, and photo-correct the image either before or after you apply your favorite template. You can even apply watermarks to protect your intellectual property or to act as captions.
With the Picture to Painting Converter, transforming a photo is as simple as a drag-and-drop into the program and the selection of an artistic preset from the right-side menu.
Remember, the quality of the output is only as good as the quality of the input. For a painting-like photo that's worth printing and framing, start with a high-resolution image. A photo captured with a smartphone camera might be okay for online work, but professional-grade printed images are best captured with a DSLR camera. And if you wish to print your picture in a keepsake book, most commercial printers require images of at least 300 dots per inch. Although you can always scale-down a photo, scaling up a photo makes it appear pixelated.
How to Transform a Photo into a Portrait Painting
Add portrait into the program
Locate a suitable image and drag it into the application window.
Optionally, add several files at the same time. When you fine-tune your painting settings, execute all of them as a batch instead of adjusting them one at a time.
Preview the painting effect
When it loads, it'll appear in the screen, with a little square overlaying it that shows the preset as applied to what lies underneath. Move or resize the square using the handles to make sure you're seeing a preview of an important or complex part of the picture.
When you open the Presets drop-down box, a sample image appears that shows an example of that preset. When you pick one, the square overlay in the middle of your picture changes to show that preset as applied to the original photo. Some of the presets include additional controls to fine-tune how that preset applies to the image. Adjust the various sliders for your preferred preset to make your picture perfect.
Presets come in four flavors.
• Artistic — a handful of common styles that mimic nine famous artworks, including The Scream and Starry Night, and similar templates.
• Oil Painting — a format that looks like an oil painting, with seven different styles to mimic types of oil-based prints.
• Watercolor Drawing — three different methods of watercolors.
• Impressionism — go abstract with three presets that mimic the great artists of the Impressionist era/
Optionally, add a watermark to the final product
Click the Watermarks button at the top of the application window. Input either a text snippet or upload a logo image using the green plus-sign buttons in the toolbox window. When you add the watermark, you'll see a pop-up window that supports placing, background, shadows, and related configuration settings.
Save a copy of the image both with and without a watermark. If you find you love the final product but never saved one without the watermark, you'll have to re-create it from scratch — and hope you can catch lightning in a jar twice in a row.
Optionally, do image correction for portrait
Adjust brightness, contrast, saturation, etc.
Run photo to portrait conversion
Click the yellow Run button in the toolbox. Running the preset applies that preset to the whole image. From there, you can change the preset, or use the Save As button to save your portrait.
Some of the presets, particularly for oil paintings, require a lot of math behind-the-scenes. It may take a few seconds to a minute for the image to render. Watch the progress bar at the bottom of the screen to see how far along the process is.
Alternative Approaches to Conversion
SoftOrbits Picture to Painting Converter offers a similar range of tools but without a $50 per month subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud. Feature-rich programs like Photoshop absolutely get the job done, but the learning curve and the price may not be worth it for people who just want to convert a few photos without having to learn a lot of abstract theory about image composition. Plus, the hardware requirements to run Photoshop on your computer are much larger than picture to portrait converter software.
How to convert photo to portrait in Photoshop
To perform the same conversion in Photoshop, you must:
- Open the image.
- From the Filter menu, find a relevant photo (e.g., Oil Paint)
- Adjust six different settings (style, cleanliness, scale, bristle detail, lighting angle, lighting shine).
- Adjust or apply additional layers, as needed.
- Repeat for every image you need to convert (no batching!).
In GIMP — the free, open-source competitor to Photoshop — the process is even more complicated, because you must first locate a third-party plugin that performs the desired customizations. The process is similar to Photoshop, but with the added complexity of picking the right extra plugin that's not native to the program.
The power of dedicated photo to portrait converter software lies in its simplicity. Use the right tool for the job, without paying extra for extra, and unnecessary, complexity.
Common Conversion Questions
Convert photo to painting software is generally straightforward to use, but some parts of the process sometimes prove to be a stumbling block, so we've prepared this FAQ to help you as you complete your conversions.
🙋Frequently Asked Questions
• Auto correction — let the photo to portrait converter software automatically determine optimal image-quality settings and apply them for you
• Manual correction — use the sliders to adjust brightness, contrast, saturation, temperature, tint, and gamma
• Sharpen — click to incrementally sharpen the line edges within the image
• Soften — click to incrementally soften the line edges within the image
The Bottom Line
Using picture to portrait converter software helps you turn one or more photographs into beautiful works of art, without paying for the cost of a more complex program and without the complexity of navigating all the extra bells-and-whistles. A program like Picture to Painting Converter by SoftOrbits is the perfect balance of cost and ease-of-use that gets the job done in a way you'll love, and which creates beautiful works of art from your photos — art worth framing and sharing with others.