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Janee's Online Photoshop Classes

Photorealistic Painting in Photoshop

After you've had Blank Canvas OR my Launchpad Series and Photos into Artwork, you are eligible to sign up for Photoshop: Photorealistic Painting. You cannot take these two concurrently.

Photorealistic Painting in Photoshop (CS - CS2)

If you can see it, you can photograph it. If you can photograph it, you can convert it to pixels. You can create pixels! So if it's pixels, you can paint it!

In this class, you're going to be creating actual digital paintings from photos. You'll begin by learning to look at things, to really see what's there.

You'll be working on several projects in this class -- Flower or Fruit, Buildings, Paper Projects, and a Gadget Painting! Through this journey, you're going to be working with me as I go through similar struggles. I will show you my techniques for organizing and carrying out these projects.

Along the way, you'll be learning even more about Photoshop. Here are some of the learning objectives for this course:

  • Distinguish among photorealism and other art styles
  • Understand some methods used by past/present photorealists
  • Get some understanding for what makes an object look real
  • Understand how we can tell the quality of light and its source
  • Create shadows
    • "Drop shadows"
    • Diffuse lighting vs. harsh lighting shadows
    • Grounding shadows
    • Shadow physics
  • Use the Swatches palette
  • Trace an object with vector-drawing tools
  • Use layers and selections to paint between the lines
  • Use various Zoom techniques
  • Use highlights and shading
  • Find perspective lines in a photo
  • Simulate glass windows
  • Describe methods for adding years
  • Show how to "angle" objects using shadows
  • Create paper effects: old, torn, burned, folded
  • Conceive and plan an illustration
  • Use PS's shape tools and selections to make outlines of an object
  • Use techniques to simulate different surfaces
  • Finish with details

There's no way that a list of learning objectives can prepare you for what you're going to experience in this course. Students who have never painted anything before come out of this class with beautiful hand-painted creations and a new confidence to explore their artistic side!

Prerequisites for this class

  • A registered copy of Photoshop 7, CS, or CS2
  • One of these options:
    • Janee's Photoshop Launchpad A, B, and C or another solid introductory course in Photoshop and Janee's Starting with a Blank Canvas class or the equivalent (Hint: there is no equivalent!)
    • Janee's Launchpad B and Photos into Artwork



I wouldn't believe I would be creating something so realistic 7 weeks ago. Janee offers a high quality course, which gives very professional and current knowledge about the program and teaching how to draw.

She also stimulates lively class discussions! The students in this class wrote over 800 messages in 7 weeks! The discussions were very involved and these people do really like what they are doing. My classmates are very talented, caring and willing to share their help, which is an extremely big part of my learning. I have learned a lot!


The surprise about Photorealistic Painting was that the Photoshop techniques were not so different from what we learned in our past classes. A big part of this course was teaching us how to look at the shadows, colors, textures, and patterns in a picture and how to make those appear again in our painting using Photoshop's tools.  

I was really pleased at how realistic my paintings were by the end of the course. If someone had told me before I started this course that I was expected to produce paintings of this caliber, I would have laughed and said "You may get them from other people, but not from me." I was astonished at how well I did by the end of the lessons. This course is that good!


The class was just wonderful, and the best thing you could do to improve it would be to offer Photorealism Part 2, and 3, .... Janee, I can't thank you enough for having your site and your classes and I am so thankful I discovered them!


What a fantastic experience this course has been! Not only have I learnt many new techniques but I have become much more expert at observing what is "in" a picture.

The intellectual challenge has been finding solutions to the problem of reproducing what one sees. The quality of the tutorials have been of the highest order and the rapport with the class absolutely fantastic. Bring on part 2!

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