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Paint like Van Gogh with Free Adobe Plugin for Photoshop CS5

Get the fast and free Adobe Pixel Bender Plug-in for Photoshop CS5

If you missed your calling as a 19th-century post-Impressionist painter, here’s your second chance… Adobe recently released the fast and free Pixel Bender Plug-in for Photo­shop CS5, which adds new image processing algorithms (filters or effects) in a hardware-independent manner. There are dozens of free filters available, including one for an oil paint effect. In addition to Photoshop, Pixel Bender also runs cross-platform in After Effects and Flash, so all filters and their behaviors are portable among various Adobe products.

Installation of the Pixel Bender Plug-in is easy, provided you already have Photoshop CS5 installed. If you don’t yet have Photoshop CS5, you can just download the full 30-day free trial. The Pixel Bender Gallery is initially populated with 13 filters that come with with the plugin. The one we’ll focus on today is the OilPaint filter, with two video tutorials below demonstrating detailed examples of its use. The tips and techniques shared will help you use the tools to turn an ordinary photo into something special – “makes a great gift!”

UPDATE (April 2012) – The Oil Painting Filter is now built-in to Photoshop CS6 and beyond!

Download the free Adobe Pixel Bender Plug-in for Photoshop CS5

Adobe Pixel Bender Plug-in Video Tutorials

These how-to’s come courtesy of Adobe Photoshop guru Russell Brown – the first one is a two-part playlist showing how the swirling church image above was created, and the second video walks through more advanced painting methods with the Pixel Bender tools:

If you want to download more filters, visit the Pixel Bender Exchange; and if you’d like to write your own, see the toolkit and other resources at the Pixel Bender Technology Center.

UPDATE (August 28th) – Here’s another nice and new one, from Gavin Hoey in just two minutes.

Recent Photoshop CS5 Video Tutorials

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  1. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful package with 13 filters that come with the plugin.

  2. oilpaintings

    like pictures showed in 3D.

  3. MickyDee

    Really nice work! You’ve given me some ideas and a nice head-start for expanding my art. Thanks very much!

  4. Looks great! Is it available for Elements 9?


    • Hi Dave, that’s a very good question – thanks for asking…

      The Pixel Bender plug-in is available for Photoshop CS5 and CS4 through the links in the article above… Unfortunately it is not supported by Photoshop Elements.

      Update: Adobe shifted their pages around… Please see this later comment on where to find the Photoshop Pixel Bender Plugin now.

  5. faisal Bustami

    very great …love it very much……


  6. Pixel Bender plug-in does not show in my Photoshop CS5, what can I do?


  7. Davide

    Pixel Bender download link is dead at adobe, where else can it be downloaded from?

  8. how to download this plugin?

  9. k.chinna

    how to download this plugin? Can you provide the link.

  10. yadhu

    how to download this Photoshop Pixel Bender / Oil Paint Plugin ….Can you provide the link!!!!!

    • Hmm, it looks like Adobe moved things around recently and changed some of the links and pages… So now their previous web page just goes in circles!

      Egad – there must be some frustrated people wondering where they can actually download the Pixel Bender plug-in for Photoshop CS4 or CS5…

      But fortunately, it’s still available – just in a different place. So here it is – here is the current (and correct!) information:

      For Adobe Photoshop CS5 or CS5.1 on Windows or Mac OS (either 32-bit or 64-bit), then see this page for the downloads.

      For installation & setup instructions, or for the Photoshop CS4 downloads on Windows or Mac OS, please visit this page (scroll down to “Pixel Bender Plug-in for Photoshop CS4”).

      Hope that takes care of the problem! Just post back if you have any further issues or questions.

  11. Ngawidian

    oke.. thanks for your information about the plug-in filter blender

  12. Henry

    I have the monthly version of PS.
    Pixel bender isn’t compatible with this version…sounds very odd.
    what do I have to do to use pixel bender?

    • Greetings Henry, the Pixel Bender plugin discussed on this page was compatible with Photoshop CS4, CS5 and CS5.1 – it was subsequently discontinued and is not supported on Photoshop CS6 or CC.

      For Photoshop CS6 and CC 2013, the successor Oil Paint Filter was built in to Photoshop with no additional plug-in required. But this filter was later removed starting in CC 2014 – Adobe explains the reason here.

      However if you’d like to use the Oil Paint Filter with your CC plan, then you can still do that because as a CC subscriber you have full access to use previous releases going back to CS6 (included at no extra cost in your subscription). See this guide for how to do that:

      How to Install Previous Versions of the Creative Cloud Applications

      So to recap, you as a CC member can use the Oil Paint Filter by following those instructions to download either Photoshop CC 2013 or Photoshop CS6. Either of those releases will install and run on the same computer as the current Photoshop CC 2015 without difficulty.

      Update (November 30, 2015): Keep on reading the comments below – Adobe has just brought back the Oil Paint Filter to Photoshop CC 2015!

  13. Henry

    adobe support tells me that they no longer offer those versions

    • That’s right, they don’t. You can only get CC 2015 now. But as mentioned above, all CC 2015 subscribers also have the right and ability to download and use prior releases such as CS6 and CC 2013.

      Adobe keeps them available in a permanent archive for Creative Cloud members.

      Just follow the instructions given in the “How to Install…” guide we linked in the previous comment for how you can do that.

  14. Aqil

    plz give me the pixel bender plug in…
    not toolkit, i want the plug in

    • Great news – by popular demand, Adobe brought back the Oil Paint Filter feature in the latest release of Photoshop CC!

      It works just like the old Pixel Bender plugin used to. Check out the great video demos below.

      Note: If you find that Oil Paint is grayed out in your Filter menu, then you have to go to Edit > Preferences > Performance and make sure that “Use Graphics Processor” is turned on, because that’a required for this to work.

      You also need to have OpenCL checked under Performance > Graphics Processor > Advanced Settings. (You must have a graphics card and driver that can at least support OpenCL 1.1) See more details here.

  15. rishabh

    @faisal Bustami

    hi everyone, how to download oil paint

  16. Mayank yadav

    Sar pixel bender kaise download kare
    plz sar jaldi btaiye

  17. Anonymous

    Where did you GET This Filter Bro

  18. Anonymous

    Oil piant plugin – kaise karte he

  19. zahid soomro

    I like it, your post about the Photoshop oil paint plugin