Playing with Watercolor Brushes and Masks in Pixelmator

I have already created some tutorials about watercolor effects; however, I also want to create a workflow that is extremely simple but that produces a beautiful result. Therefore, I invented this tutorial, which uses only basic watercolor brushes, a photo, and a layer mask.

This tutorial is part of a series of tutorials I have been writing for Pixelmator and posting over at http://www.pixelmator.com/learn/

Step 1

Open Pixelmator and create a new document. As usual, I’m using 1440×900 pixels. Next, fill the background with #363636 for the color.

Playing with Watercolor Brushes and Masks in Pixelmator

Step 2

Import a paper texture to your design. The texture I used was courtesy of Shutterstock, and you can get it here: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-20845342/stock-photo-old-yellow-paper-background-with-scratches.html

Playing with Watercolor Brushes and Masks in Pixelmator

Step 3

Change the Blending to Multiply.

Playing with Watercolor Brushes and Masks in Pixelmator

Step 4

Duplicate the texture layer (so that there are 2 texture layers). The other layers will be placed between these 2 original layers. For the top layer, use Linear Burn for the Blending.

Playing with Watercolor Brushes and Masks in Pixelmator

Step 5

With the Brush Tool (B), select a watercolor brush. You can download the ones I used here. Next, add a new layer; then, with red for the color, paint a splatter.

Playing with Watercolor Brushes and Masks in Pixelmator

Step 6

Now, use other types of watercolor brushes; paint with two hues of yellow, a dark one and a light one.

Playing with Watercolor Brushes and Masks in Pixelmator

Step 7

Add some more splatters, now with green.

Playing with Watercolor Brushes and Masks in Pixelmator

Step 8

The last spatter should be blue. Try to overlay the splatters, and change their Blending to Lighten.

Playing with Watercolor Brushes and Masks in Pixelmator

Step 9

Place a photo of a girl in your document. The one I used is from Shutterstock, and you can download it here: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-46637950/stock-photo-beautiful-fashiona…

Playing with Watercolor Brushes and Masks in Pixelmator

Step 10

Select the image layer and go to Layer > Add Layer Mask. Paint the layer mask with black so that the photo will be hidden. Then, with the Brush Tool (B) and using white for the color, start painting the mask with the watercolor brushes. This layer belongs on top of the paper texture and the other layers.

Playing with Watercolor Brushes and Masks in Pixelmator

Step 11

Change the Blending to Multiply.

Playing with Watercolor Brushes and Masks in Pixelmator

Conclusion

This is a very easy effect that creates a beautiful outcome. Once again, we used only brushes, masks, and blendings—nothing else. You can try adding this effect to different images as well.

Playing with Watercolor Brushes and Masks in Pixelmator

Another Example

Playing with Watercolor Brushes and Masks in Pixelmator

Download the Pixelmator file

Pixelmator file

Written by

Fabio Sasso

I'm a Brazilian product designer based in Oakland, California currently working for Google as a Staff Designer. I am also the founder of Abduzeedo, an award-winning digital publication about design and a personal project that has become the source of inspiration for millions of designers and enthusiasts.

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