Jump to content

Pastel Watercolor Effect

Recommended Posts

I recently watched one of @dmstraker Dave Straker’s InAffinity tutorials about “Pastel Colour Grading…” and it gave me some ideas. So, thanks to you for the inspiration, Dave!

I’ve attached another macro for creating a specific Artistic Look – this one called a Pastel Watercolor Effect. The attached file is a macro category (even though it only contains a single macro); you can import it into the Library Panel in the Desktop version of Affinity Photo, and it is compatible with the iPad version as well. (In my own preliminary testing, the macro works fairly well on an iPad, although there are some issues with missing items in the dialog box that appears for setting parameters.)

When you click the macro, it creates a number of layers inside of a group. The group is called “Pastel Watercolor Effect” and it can be turned on and off by simply showing or hiding the entire group. When you invoke the macro, you will be presented with a number of options in a dialog:

1-6] Lighten Color - Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Red, Green, Blue

All of these color ranges are initially set to a value of -200%. As you move each of the sliders to the right, that particular color range will be selectively lightened. If you set any of the sliders all the way to 100% then that color range will go to white.

7] Set Amount of Pastel Blurring

This slider defaults to a value of 25 px. Setting it higher or lower will adjust the amount of “smudging” that the pastel layer displays.

8] Set Intensity of Outlines

This slider defaults to a value of 0.7. You can set it to values between 0 and 2, with higher values giving you darker and more intense outlines. If you set the Intensity slider to 0, the black outlines will effectively disappear.

9] Adjust Brightness

Brightness defaults to a value of 20%. You might want to increase it if (i) you have increased the outline intensity significantly, or (ii) to compensate for changes (particularly decreases) you might make to the Contrast.

10] Adjust Contrast

Contrast defaults to 0%. Adjust this to taste.

I’ve attached 2 photos (below) to show Before and After versions using this effect. Included in the photos are the settings that were used (which are a bit different from the default values).




*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

As with all of the macros I have submitted, please note that I am only one person and have tested this on a limited number of images on a single computer. There is no way to have foreseen every possible scenario. I am hopeful (but obviously won’t guarantee) that you’ll like the results.

If you do like the macro, please keep it and enjoy it. This is “pay it forward software,” the happy result of an abundance of learning gleaned from the members of this forum who are so generous with their time and expertise!

Pastel Watercolor Effect.afmacros

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, @smadell and great job! Really good demo examples, too.

I had a tinker and came up with a couple of thoughts for the 'EdgesLayer' layer development. I don't know how you used the the Black & White conversion after Detect Edges and Invert, but if you turn down the colours in this, the edges get blacker. I tried replacing the Median Blur with a Bilateral Blur, which seemed a slight improvement. It could also be useful to apply a Posterise at some point to reduce the number of colours.

Dave Straker

Cameras: Sony A7R2, RX100V

Computers: Win10: Chillblast i9 Custom + Philips 40in 4K & Benq 23in; Surface Pro 4 i5; iPad Pro 11"

Favourite word: Aha. For me and for others.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, smadell said:

I’ve attached another macro for creating a specific Artistic Look – this one called a Pastel Watercolor Effect.

Thank you. Those give really nice effects!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

very good work as always smadell. I played with your macro on some landscapes and there are many different effects you can get  with your macro just by varying the adjustments. In my playing around I added a paper texture to give it a painting look.  They way I have done water colors is the standard way by going to a black and white adding water color splotches, then adding a levels adjustment and playing with blend modes to get the watercolor effect.  thanks for your work

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

It’s a gift, MxHeppa.

There are only two things I ask. First, remember to give back to the community. As you become more talented and knowledgeable, share your knowledge with others. That is why I call this “pay it forward” software. Second, if you create something wherein these macros played an integral part, attribution would be the ethical thing to do, right?

The answer to your un-asked question is that I don’t expect to send a team of high-priced attorneys knocking on your door if you use the macro to create work from which you then profit.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...

Important Information

Please note there is currently a delay in replying to some post. See pinned thread in the Questions forum. These are the Terms of Use you will be asked to agree to if you join the forum. | Privacy Policy | Guidelines | We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.