Best turn photos into paintings software [Windows & Mac]

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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  • Eager to have some creative fun? Or perhaps turning photos into paintings is a professional requirement?
  • Whatever the reason, our list will help you make the right choice when it comes to photo to painting converters.
  • Whenever you feel ready to make the difference between a plain photo and a unique work of art, here's our Digital Photography Hub.
  • Check our Graphic Design Tools for more creative solutions to enhance your art projects.
turn photo into paintings

Do you want to transform your photos into paintings, but don’t know how?

Well, you may have found just what you were looking for. And you should be pleased to know that there is no need to search for an artist and pay a great sum of money to do so.

You can apply painting effects to your photos by using software with specifically crafted features that allows you to customize every aspect of the image.

Instead of learning how to paint and then try your best to replicate the photo in oil or acrylic, you can simply use editing software solutions. And this is a far more efficient option.

In this article, we will explore some of the best software options that allow you to easily transform any photo into a professional-looking painting.

How do I turn a normal picture into an oil painting?

Adobe Photoshop (Editor's choice)

This program is one of the most popular tools from Adobe.

Its popularity has increased exponentially because of an incredibly wide range of features that can create images from scratch, apply different professional effects to your photo, and even allow you to transform your pictures into oil and watercolor paintings.

Like what you read but not sure how to proceed? Here’s a comprehensive tutorial on how to use Adobe Photoshop to transform your photos into paintings.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Stroke smoothing options
  • Variable fonts with customizable characteristics
  • Curvature pen tool to easily create curved lines
  • Custom path color and width
  • Unlimited number of effects, templates and guides
  • Digital painting tools – create, use and edit layers
  • Camera shake reduction tool – reduces the blur of your image (especially useful for creating vector art)
  • Cloud storage – gives you the opportunity to access your projects from anywhere while keeping your files secured
Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop

Unleash your creativity with the world’s best imaging software and create stunning painting-like artwork from your everyday snapshots.
Free trial Visit website

Adobe Illustrator

If perfection is a standard requirement for you, then the best-in-class vector graphics software is the go-to tool you need to turn your photos into stunning paintings.

Of course, a huge perk of the Illustrator is that you can reuse your artwork to fit any display, at any scale, and still look crisp and polished to the last pixel thanks to its vector-based editing toolkit.

Boasting a wide array of versatile painting and drawing tools, you will be able to reproduce the oil painting effect with mesmerizing results.

Smooth individual strokes and lines, layered-based editing, and fully customizable brushes that you can load at will – this is what you can expect from the Illustrator and even more.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Scale images to the perfect size with crisp resolution
  • Layered editing for ultra-sophisticated results
  • Your work is automatically saved and stored into the cloud
  • Ultra-fast rendering (to preview your designs in real-time)
  • Seamless integration with Creative Cloud products such as Photoshop, InDesign, or After Effects
  • Compatible with iPad Pro and Apple Pencil
  • Step-by-step in-app tutorials to support all your creative projects
Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator

Transform your snapshots into fully scalable ultra-realistic paintings with the best design software.
Free trial Visit website

Adobe Lightroom

Creating a painted look for your images in Lightroom is just as easy as using this lightweight and user-friendly software altogether.

While Lightroom is generally perceived as a more lightweight alternative to the rather intimidating Photoshop, its powerful photo editing capacities will not fail to impress you.

Simply import the image of your choice, then unleash your creativity and play with highlights, shadows, exposure, contrast, and luminance until you are satisfied with the painting effect you achieved.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Comprehensive toolkit to edit, store, organize and share your photos across any device
  • Versatile tools including sliders and presets
  • Your work is automatically saved into the cloud and updated everywhere
  • Interactive in-app tutorials, plus inspirational materials designed by professionals
  • AI-powered imagery solutions to automatically recognize people and themes
Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom

Light and friendly, this powerful app will satisfy all your editing needs.
Free trial Visit website

Corel PaintShop Pro

PaintShop Pro 2020 open .eps files

Corel PaintShop Pro is a greatly powerful photo editing app that has a great range of photo effects which allows you to easily transform your photo into a painting, by using the automated Pic-to-Painting presets.

The Pic-to-Painting presets can be downloaded directly from the Welcome Tab found in PaintShop and then can be accessed by going to Effects, and then Plugins.

PaintShop Pro has such a wide range of features, that it is hard to choose which of them are worth presenting, but here are the most notable options.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Artificial intelligence processing
  • 360° photo editing
  • Great performance, stability, and features
  • User-friendly UI with easy to access customization options
  • Great set of photo editing tools with layer-based editing
  • Can add different textures, brushes, drawing and painting tools
  • Quick fixes for photos – crop, straighten, resize, retouch, etc.
  • Remove imperfection from your image
  • Support for 64-bit versions of third-party plugins – Topaz Labs, Nik Collection by DXO, Adobe, etc.

Need a helping hand? Here’s a full guide on how to turn your photos into paintings using PaintShop Pro.

Get now PaintShop Pro 2020

Check out these best photo comparison software for Windows 10.

Skylum Luminar 4


With filter controls, neat presets, and countless photo editing features, you can achieve a wide range of creative photo effects in Luminar 4.

Reproducing the painted look is not much difficult than a walk in the part with this amazingly versatile and highly adaptable tool that lays artificial intelligence at your fingertips, allowing you to create stunning artwork that truly reflects your vision.

By further adding layers and textures you can produce dramatically dynamic photography with special effects to dazzle.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Customizable user interface with easily accessible functions and neatly organized workspaces
  • Non-destructive editing and native RAW support
  • Comprehensive editing tools including presets, layers, filters, masks, and more
  • Batch processing, Photo Enhancer, and Color photo editor
  • Extensive library of plug-ins to further personalize  your workspace

Get Skylum Luminar 4

Because we can’t all afford to hire an oil or watercolor painter to manually transform our photos into paintings, you can use good software that allows you to do just that.

If you have the required experience and you also need a wide range of customization options and features, you might want to start with Adobe Photoshop or Corel PaintShop Pro.

This list encompasses software options with batch processing, pre-made templates, and also custom effects racks that will surely cover all your creative needs.

Let us know which software you chose to use by reaching for the comments section below.

FAQ: Learn more about photo to painting software and techniques

  • How can I turn a photo into a painting?

You can turn a photo into a painting by using specialized software like Adobe Photoshop that will give you lots of editing options to choose from.

  • What is the best app to turn photos into paintings?

Most modern image editors provide the tools you need to replicate the painting effect on your photos. If you’re into matte paintings, you can easily transform your shots with these tools.

  • What photo to painting converter is the easiest?

Check out these intuitive tools that you can easily match with your drawing tablet to turn your favorite photos into stunning painting-like artistic expressions.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2020 and has been since revamped and updated in September 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.