10 Best Apps to Turn Photos into Paintings

photo-to-painting

Ever wanted to make a photo look like a painting? Thankfully, here in 2021, there are plenty of great apps that turn photos into paintings with just a few clicks!

This guide reveals 8 of the best apps for iOS and Android smartphones that’ll apply painting styles to your favourite photos.

(We’ve also included a couple of great products for Mac and Windows computer users too.)

Ready to transform your photos into pieces of artwork with the latest watercolour or oil painting effect? 

Let’s dive right in!  

Best Phone Apps to Turn Photos into Paintings in 2021

If you’ve ever wondered how to turn a painting into a picture for free, there are actually several great iPhone and Android apps that can help.

Some of the apps require a small payment to download, while others are free but require payment for additional features.

Let’s have a look at the best options.

1. Brushstroke (iOS)

Brushstroke is an iPhone app that’s ideal for turning your photos into unique works of art. Brushstroke is quick and easy to select an image, and the app will automatically start the transformation.

In addition to this, Brushstroke has a vast selection of filters and creative applications that you apply to your photos. This way, you’ll achieve a truly unique look every single time.

Filters for colour, canvas and effects are all represented via icons you swipe to browse and tap to add.

For an authentic artistic experience, Brushstroke presents a blank section for you to use the touchscreen and sign your name below your painting when completing the photo-to-art process.

With your creation complete, you’re free to share your painting directly on social media. Brushstroke is one of the best products on the app store for iOS.

2. Glaze (iOS)

The Glaze iOS app has been hanging around the App Store for several years now, but it’s still an impressive photo-to-painting app on iPhone.

Glaze provides users with a comprehensive set of image editing tools to apply painting styles to photos and fine-tune the outcomes.

Its best feature is that you can make your custom styles by blending existing Glaze styles in the Workshop mode. Then all you need to do is apply the painting style to your photo and others on your camera roll. 

And for a truly artistic experience, you can edit your portrait photos in portrait orientation and your landscape shots in landscape orientation.

The user interface and menu of Glaze is very intuitive and provides simple navigation from start to finish. At the end of the day, it’s a simple tool for exploring how to make a photo look like a painting. 

3. Waterlogue (iOS)

There are many different mediums to create art – pencil, charcoal, pastels, acrylics and oils. But by far, one of the most mesmerising is the use of watercolours to bring art to life.

Fortunately, Waterlogue for iPhone is an app that does a tremendous job of transforming your photos into watercolour works of art.

The Waterlogue app is comprehensive in its offering of various tools. There are several watercolour painting styles presets that allows you to get the base look of your photos.

Further to this, you can fine-tune the level of detail, size of the file, brightness and finally, how the finished border appears.

The Waterlogue app is super easy to navigate, and the user interface is simple with big icons making it obvious what your next step in the process is.

It’s probably my favourite app out of the lot and I enjoyed using it to convert some of my travel images into paintings such as the one above. I especially like how you can see the clouds blend into the blue sky above the building. 

4. Portrait Painter (iOS)

Portrait Painter is an iPhone app that performs a bang-up-job of turning your portrait shots into gorgeous paintings.

It’s available on all major mobile and desktop platforms and is hugely popular to simulate painted portraits.

The user interface is straightforward and includes an ellipse tool to mask areas. With the ellipse, you control the brushstrokes’ detail within the designated space.

Brushstrokes rendering is very realistic and results in lifelike paintings in oils and acrylics. 

Finally, choose the paint surface so that the finished product replicates canvas types.

Once you’re satisfied with the painting style created you can share your images directly to social media for the world to enjoy.

5. Tangled FX (iOS)

Tangled FX is an iPhone app that transforms even your least liked photos into unique paint-like canvases.

The app uses a straightforward user interface to offer 16 presets to turn your photos into painted scenes. Tangled FX has a large range of effects. I particularly like the fibre effects that use the existing lines within the photo to created fibrous textures across the scene. Here is an example of the app in action that only took a few seconds to complete

While that look may not be for everyone, it’s undoubtedly unique, and many will find at least a handful of images within their smartphone gallery worthy of this transformation.

Tangled FX boasts the ability to render photos within the original native HD format. Also, the app upscales smaller pictures before the transformation process to allow for greater detail.

As with many of these apps, Tangled FX provides flexibility to share your finished works with online content and their community.

6. Prisma (Android & iOS)

Prisma is a remarkable app that’s available on Android and iOS – it even won an App Store ‘App Of The Year Award’ a few years back.

It’s no wonder, given that Prisma has over 300 painting and art-style filters available to transform your photos in countless ways. There’s so much choice here that you could spend a whole lunch break editing and converting a single photo to a painted masterpiece.

Having said that, once you get the hang of Prisma and find your favourite presets, you’ll likely stick to styles that you prefer the look of. But the choices don’t stop there as Prisma releases a new filter every day.

A feature that Prisma offers over other apps is the ability to transform your photos into paintings that adopt the style of histories most noted artists. Add a style like a touch of Dali or even Picasso to your selfie to update your profile pic with style.

The navigation of the app is straightforward thanks to s sensible menu system. It’s a powerful iPhone tool that creates a work of art with the click of a screen.

7. PicsArt (Android & iOS)

PicsArt is one of the iPhone and Android apps that provides a comprehensive toolkit for editing photos on the go. 

PicsArt is incredibly popular, with staggering numbers of downloads to date. Plus, on top of its filters, text options, collage builder and sticker maker, it also features the ability to turn the pictures from your camera roll into paintings.

With PicsArt, you can take a standard selfie and use any of the Canvas effect tools to add hand-painted and drawn finishes around and over the top of your photo.

While it’s a very comprehensive and capable app, there are many options to scroll through to get to the effects you want. It’s often the case with apps that do it all – not a huge negative, but if you wish to turn a photo into a painting, there are more straightforward options.

8. Adobe Paint Can (iOS)

Adobe is a household name for the comprehensive desktop and mobile image editing tools they develop for photographers and visual creators out there.

Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop will instantly sound familiar if you have had anything to do with photography. It turns out, Adobe also creates amazing apps for photo editing on the go.

Adobe Paint Can, the iPhone app, is no exception as it offers a very well thought out and executed mobile app. Paint Can provides you with the option to use existing presets or go manual and fine-tune the brushes’ size and the various styles you can add to your picture.

The best part of the Adobe Paint Can app is that you can spend as long or as little as you like converting your photo to a painting..

Also, you can choose to only convert a portion of your image to the painted render while retaining the details from your photo in other areas.

While it’s only available on iOS, the iPad crowd will love using it on a bigger screen or with an Apple Pen.

Free Desktop Software to Turn Photos into Paintings

If you’re wondering how to turn a photo into a painting online by using your computer, there are a number of free sites that allow you to add realistic painting styles to anything you upload.

In addition, most of the popular photo editing software tools include some kind of portrait painting filter that gives that photo-to-painting effect you’re looking for.

Here are the two recommended options.

Adobe Online Photo To Painting Convertor

Adobe develops software to manage and edit photos and graphic elements. They’re the industry leader who offers renowned software tools such as Photoshop and Lightroom. Adobe provides several free editing tools, including the Online Photo To Painting Converter – part of the Adobe Photoshop Express platform.

If you have any of the Lightroom or Photoshop versions, you can also convert your photos to paintings with the use of the software – but that’s a whole other guide.

The free converter is a simple application. Upload a JPEG or PNG file to the online site and then click the Art Effects tool kit. Then you select from Oil Painting, Cartoon, Colourize, Pop Art, or Stylize. There’s also a list of effects with each showing a preview of your image with the effect applied.

You adjust the intensity of the effect as some of them are strong to begin with. All that’s left is to download your finished painting.

While it’s a free-to-use service, you need to create an Adobe account to access its features – so not entirely no strings attached. 

Tuxpi Photo Editor

Tuxpi is a free online photo editor offering a range of photo editing tools, including adding frames to your existing images.

If you want to use a computer to edit your photos, add text and apply a range of filters, it doesn’t get simpler than this.

Upload your picture and apply any of the 60 photo editing tools. Tuxpi allows you to add multiple effects on top of one another. For example, fade your photo’s edges, then apply the photo to paint process and frame it up. Plus, a preview of each change loads within seconds.

Download and share on your social channels to show your friends just how clever you are.

While Tuxpi is fun, there’s no fine-tuning of the effects’ strength, brush sizes or mask. Here’s a before and after shot with the help of Tuxpi – I’m really happy with the outcome.

Final Words

There’s a bunch of free and paid apps available for either iPhone and Android mobile platforms – many of which can be downloaded to tablets.

Converting your photos to paintings with just a few screen taps may seem a little like cheating to some. But in reality, it’s just another form of digital media that provides creatives with the tools they need to create amazing and interesting works of art.

Download an app and play around with transforming their favourite images into artistic paintings.

What do you think of apps like these? Have you tried making a picture look like a painting for do you have other apps you would recommend? What are the results of your attempts with painting tool apps? Join the conversation below.

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I am a Melbourne based street photographer and blogger. I love to travel and make a regular trip to Japan to photograph and document its dynamic culture.

3 Comments

  1. Scott on March 5, 2021 at 8:39 pm

    Maybe a little different: deepart.io, developed by AI researchers. It proposes preset styles or you can submit a painting to modify your photos. I found this to be great for cards for example. You can have as many free samples with a watermark as you want, and you pay for hi-res files.

    • Greg Cromie on March 7, 2021 at 8:32 am

      Hi Scott thanks for the update. Sound like a handy app. Thanks for joining the conversation. Others will see your comment and take a look at this app too. Cheers. G

  2. Greg Cromie on March 5, 2021 at 10:29 am

    Hi and thanks for checking out my article. Feel free to comment or ask any questions. Also, add a comment about your experiences with apps that convert photos to paintings. Cheers. G

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