Deke's Techniques 441: Achieving Realistic Pointillism in Photoshop

This week's free Deke's Techniques episode should actually be called "Achieving a Pointillism Effect in Photoshop that Doesn't Totally Blow." By layering different instances of the Pointillism filter, and making a few other adjustments, Deke actually turns a photo taken from our amazing table on my birthday dinner cruise along the Thames in London...

Original photo of our dinner on the Thames


...into a work of simulated art worthy of the amazing experience it was.

Achieving a realistic effect with Photoshop's Pointillism filter


(Admittedly, it's not A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, but it's a worthy homage created with a few mouse clicks. Call it A Monday Evening on the Bateaux London's Symphony Thames Dinner Cruise with Unlimited Champagne.)

Funny story, when we first got on the boat, we were thrilled with the view from our table at the front (stern?) with windows on two sides. The staff started filling the champagne glasses of all the other tables, leaving Deke and me looking like disappointed puppy dogs wondering why they didn't come around to fill ours. Answer: they were busy preparing this bucket with the whole bottle for ourselves. Our amazing travel agent, Marci from Escapade Adventures, knew us well enough to book the "endless wine" package. That was only one of the times she read our minds---and hearts---on that trip.

Sigh, anyway...back to work. The trick to this technique is to layer three different smart filter instances of Pointillism, each designed to use a different color as the background. Compare the disappointing results when you use a standard, single application of the filter.

Bad dabs


Oh really, that doesn't look bad enough? Check out Big Ben in all its blobby detail:

Blobby Big Ben


Point made, huh? For members of, Deke's got an exclusive movie this week in which he shows you how to give those tiny points of paint some simulated depth. If you're not a member, you can get a free 10-day trial at to check it out.

Apply an Emboss effect to your Pointillism filter for even better results

Go for the entire bucket of champagne, dekeAdventurers. It's a much more magical experience!


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