Pixel Bender is a free plug-in for Photoshop. I love this plug -in because it’s easy to use and the results are impressive. My favorite filter is the oil painting filter. The above photo was taken with my Canon EOS T1i last Spring. I used Pixel Bender to bend the pixels to get an oil painted effect. Not bad. There is a twist though: you have resize your image’s resolution to 72 dpi. Whatever your image resolution is, resize it to 72 dpi. Otherwise, it will not render your image inside Pixel Bender due to its large file size.
Once you resize your image to 72 dpi, open Pixel Bender and select the oil paint filter. Use the sliders to your preference. However, make sure that the units are in whole number increments. For example, change sliders from a 1.2 level to a 1 or 2. You can enter the unit yourself instead of only moving the sliders.
When you have the image the way you like it, click okay and pump up the saturation and vibrance in Photoshop. Since the image will look a bit dark or stale, increase the levels and/or curves adjustments as well.
So now your images looks like an oil painting, the color is saturated and it’s bright. You can now increase the image to the size it was. It’s that simple and easy. Got to Adobe Labs to download Pixel Bender.
Below are some other images I used Pixel Bender on.