Turn Your Photo Into An Oil Painting in Photoshop CS5

Turn Your Photo Into An Oil Painting in Photoshop CS5

Oil Paintings in Photoshop CS5

Have you ever wanted to learn how to create hand-painted works of art quickly?  If so, you may have played with the Photoshop filters.  They typically do not net great results.  So, you either learned the art of painting in Photoshop or another program, which is anything but quick or you gave up.

Adobe Photoshop CS5


If you have Photoshop CS5, you can once again pick up the skill, which really takes almost no skill.  And start turning your portraits into beautiful oil paintings in seconds.  The best part, you do not have to pay any additional money, as it is a FREE Extension from Adobe Labs called Pixel Bender. This freebie actually does a lot more than just oil paintings.  Some of the tools seem more useful than others. The FISHEYE filter looks promising and I always have had fun with Kaleidoscope filters too.

Now back to this tutorial.  Go ahead and DOWNLOAD the extension here!

Once downloaded, you will install it using these instructions. Make sure Photoshop is closed until it is installed.  Then, you will open up a photo.  Go under FILTER – PIXEL BENDER – PIXEL BENDER GALLERY.

creating oil painting in photoshop

Next, you will drop down to the OIL PAINT choice. And start playing with settings.  Ideally you want to blend the pixels so that it looks natural and smoothed. Manipulate until you get the desired effect.

Oil Painting Photoshop CS5

Here is my starting image (courtesy of Silvina B. Photography, LLC.)

oil painting in photoshop CS5

Then I used these settings, which took 5-10 seconds:

pixel bender for Photoshop CS5

And created this:

oil painting in photoshop CS5

I liked the smooth, less brush stroked look. But you could play around.  You could also edit further in Photoshop, which I did not do above. I cannot say if I would use this in my personal editing, but if you like “new toys” and you have Photoshop CS5, you might as well grab this free adobe filter.

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  1. November 11, 2010 at 9:21 am — Reply

    That is SO cool! Thanks for the tutorial. Now I just need to get CS5!

  2. November 11, 2010 at 11:08 am — Reply

    This is so cool… thank you for the links and tutorial! I did quick try this out, but I kept getting messages that it’s taking too long to apply filters-do you want to continue? I finally gave up and said no. Does it matter what format your image is in ie-jpeg, RAW, etc?? It did something to my image regardless, but every time I would move a slider, it would take like 5 minutes. What can I do differently?

  3. November 11, 2010 at 1:00 pm — Reply

    This is absolutely lovely. Thank you for sharing the technique.

  4. November 12, 2010 at 6:54 pm — Reply

    This is one of the very reasons why I want to upgrade to CS5. I think I would be addicted to this plugin!

  5. May 22, 2011 at 4:58 am — Reply

    […] Turn Your Photo Into An Oil Painting in Photoshop CS5 | MCP … Nov 11, 2010 … Have you ever wanted to create oil paintings at the click of a button? Now is your chance – easy, … […]

  6. Bev Martinez
    October 13, 2011 at 9:45 am — Reply

    I love your oil Painting.
    I downloaded the pixel bender. But having trouble installing it in PS5. It says,unable to install,requires 64 bit Photo version in range of including 12.0 and 12.0.
    I checked my version and it is 12.0 and 64 bit. I do have Windows 7 and it says to right click on the Ext. Manager and click run as administrator. When I right click on the Ext. Manager, no run shows up. Could you help me please?

    • October 13, 2011 at 9:54 am — Reply

      This is not my product, just one I was letting others know about. Maybe call the developer for support…

    • andy
      January 3, 2013 at 12:14 pm — Reply

      im having the same problem did you manage to fix this problem?
      any one can help please

      • January 3, 2013 at 12:21 pm — Reply

        Since this is not our product, I really am not sure. you may want to contact them directly and see if they know.

  7. December 7, 2011 at 10:01 am — Reply

    Awesome, thanks! Here are some free photoshop cs5 actions I created, on my site:


  8. February 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm — Reply

    THIS is…..OUTSTANDING!! Great job!

  9. Barb
    March 29, 2012 at 6:01 pm — Reply

    Thank You so much for this quick and simple tutorial..
    This is the results on one of my Golden Retriever pups..
    I love the way it looks.. I want to add a little highlight to her eyes to bring them out more, but other then that, I am a very happy newbie to PS cs5.. Thank You again.. 🙂

  10. Erin
    November 25, 2012 at 11:53 am — Reply

    Is this feature available in Elements 11?

  11. Ryan
    December 15, 2012 at 1:16 pm — Reply

    When I tried to install this extension it says… “You do not have the appropriate permissions required to perform this operation. Contact your system administrator to obtain permission.”
    What should I do now? Please help!

    • December 15, 2012 at 9:01 pm — Reply

      It is from Adobe Labs – you would need to contact them.

    • Clark
      April 13, 2013 at 5:33 am — Reply

      run “adobe extension manager” as administrator. then click install then look for the file.

    • Joy
      April 15, 2013 at 3:34 pm — Reply

      This is how you run as an Administrator:

      1. Go to “C drive/Program files/Adobe CS5/Adobe Extension Manager/Inside this folder, find the “Extension Manager icon (gray colored)”
      2. Right click it and choose: “Run as administrator”
      3. You will now find the pixel bender download and install it.

      I use this method to install other Extension files.

  12. jane
    February 26, 2013 at 9:18 am — Reply

    I installed Pixel Bender Toolkit according to the instructions, and it opens as a stand-alone program. Which I dont want, I want what you have here. I have PSCS5 and using a new Mac.
    I hope that you can tell me where I went wrong.
    I re-started PS5, still no Pixel Bender in my fllters, here is an image to show that mine is not there.
    Thank you,

  13. BK101
    March 20, 2013 at 1:48 am — Reply

    Is there a chance that this will work with CS6?

  14. December 12, 2013 at 6:43 am — Reply

    Hi i am trying to add this filter for photoshop but its not happening can you please guide me to get pixel blender in filters please, hope you wil guide me

    Thanks & regards,

    • December 12, 2013 at 11:45 am — Reply

      This was part of Adobe Labs – you would need to contact them for assistance.

    • December 13, 2013 at 9:22 am — Reply

      I had the same problem like u b4.i’m using a Mac.The pixel blender wasn’t appeared.What u can do is download and install Pixel Bender toolkit first, Mac or Win up to ur laptop.And then download and install Pixel Bender plug-in for Photoshop CS 4 or 5(up to what u have) 12. Or 12.1.Try both.Mine is work on Pixel bender plug-in for Photoshop CS5(12.0)(Mac-Win 64 bit).It’s working now by this way.Good luck!

  15. Mangesh
    November 3, 2015 at 8:50 pm — Reply

    I had adobe photoshop 7.0.i wants to give the oil paint effect to my photo but the pixel blender is not available here.so can you help me!

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Turn Your Photo Into An Oil Painting in Photoshop CS5