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  3. Turn a Photo into a Painting (Without Painting It)

Turn a Photo into a Painting (Without Painting It)


In this tutorial, you'll learn how to turn a photo into a painting in PowerPoint.

Check out the 3 different painting effects that are available to you in PowerPoint (and you can customize them as discussed below).

The three different photo to painting effects in PowerPoint

The fact that you can do this directly in PowerPoint instead of having to flip to another software program like Photoshop, saves you time, energy and effort, making it fast and easy to create interesting slide backgrounds and special effects for your pictures on the fly for your presentations.

[Video] Turn a photo into a painting tutorial

To turn a photo into a painting in PowerPoint, simply:

  1. Select your Photo
  2. Navigate to the Picture Tools Format tab
  3. Open the Artistic Effects dropdown menu
  4. Choose a painting Artistic Effect
From the pictures tool format tab, select artistic effects and choose one of the painting effects for your image

The 3 painting effects available to for turning your photos into Paintings are Paint Strokes, Paint Brush, Watercolor Sponge (all highlighted below).

Picture of the three different painting effects. Paint strokes, Paint Brush and Watercolor Sponge

You can alternatively use the Painting Syles drop down in the Format Picture dialog box to not only turn your photo into a painting, but also adjust the painting effect options, as described below.

Opening the Painting Styles drop down you get a variety of additional painting effects you can apply to your photo

Adjusting your painting effect

When you convert a photo to a painting style in PowerPoint, you have two different styling options you can play around with to adjust the intensity of the painting effect.

To find these styling options, simply open the Artistic Effects Options at the bottom of the Artistic Effects dropdown.

From the Picture tools format tab, open the Artistic Effect Options for more advanced options

Many people give up on turning photos into paintings (they think that they don’t work) simply because they haven’t fully explored the styling options available to them.

The two main artistic effects options are transparency and brush size


How much of your original photo or image bleeds through the painting effect your applying.

A transparency of 0 means that none of your original picture bleeds through (creating the starkest painting effect), while a transparency of 100 means that the entire photo bleeds through (killing the painting effect all together).

When converting a photo into a painting there is no right or wrong transparently level you should use. It is just a set of options you can play around with to find the painting effect you like the most.

When I want to make a photo look like a painting (or a watercolor), I always use a transparency level of 0 so that I get the maximize painting style effect in my photo.

Intensity or brush size

How neat and tidy the painting effect is in your image. The higher the Brush Size is, the more artistic and blurred the edits will be in your painting.

See side-by-side examples of the different painting effects applied to the same images using the different brush sizes or intensity levels.

Paint strokes photo effect

Notice that as the intensity increases, the darkness of the photo increases as well. When turning a photo into a painting using this Paint Strokes effect, I typically use an intensity level of 0, 1 or 2.

Examples of the paint stroke effect using different intensities

Paint brush photo effect

Look closely at the details within the photo (like the woman’s hair) to see the thickening intensity of the paint brush painting effect below. The effect is more pronounced when viewed in full screen. 

Examples of the paint brush effect using different intensities

Watercolor sponge photo effect

When turning a photo into a watercolor painting, the larger the brush size you use increases the watercolor splotches within the photo.

Examples of the watercolor sponge effect using different brush sizes

Those are your basics for how to make a photo look like a painting in PowerPoint, and some of the picture editing options you have available to you.

Resetting your photo

If you want to turn your painting back into the original photo (removing whatever painting effects or edits you’ve made), simply use the Reset Picture Command.

To reset your photo back to it's original state, from the Picture Tools Format tab select Reset Picture
  1. Select the Photo you want to reset
  2. Navigate to the Picture Tools Format tab
  3. Select the Reset Picture command

Selecting Reset Picture command reverts your edited photo back to the original image, assuming you haven't cropped and compressed the picture.

The reason the Rest Picture command works, is because PowerPoint always keeps two different copies of your photos or images when you add them to your slides.

Photo Copy #1: The photo that you crop, resize, edit and add your photo filters and special effects to.

Photo Copy #2: The original photo itself.

That's why you can always go back to your original photo or image, regardless of what you’ve done to in PowerPoint (or reset a stretched picture that someone has left in their slides).

The only exception is that if you have cropped and or compressed your photo.

Once you’ve cropped and compressed your photo, you can no longer get back to the original image by resetting it.

To learn how to crop images quickly in PowerPoint, see our step-by-step instructions here.

To learn how to reduce your image file size (to make your presentation easier to email), see our guide here.


So those are the artistic effects you can use in PowerPoint to turn your images into paintings.

This is a great way to create new and interesting photo effects for your presentations. Just remember to play around with the intensity options for your chosen effect to find the one you like best.

If you enjoyed this tutorial and want to learn more about our training course and PowerPoint resources, visit us here.

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Updated on July 23, 2019

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