Posted by: Peter Andrease

Posted on: June 29, 2012 8:40 am


This is a quick tutorial on the basics of creating a cartoon image from a photograph in Photoshop, like that shown in the example.

Start by dragging your image into photoshop and select around the area that you want to make into a cartoon using the ‘Polygonal Lasso Tool’. Cut your selection and paste back down so it becomes a seperate layer, then copy this layer so you have a backup of the original.

Now make sure your Foreground colour is set to black and your background colour is set to white. With your new layer selected go to Filter > Sketch > Photocopy, then adjust the settings to suit, a good guide is roughly to set the Detail to 3 and the Darkness to 8. Hit Ok to turn your image into outlines.

Now the photo already looks more like a cartoon but to emphasise the outlines more go to Image > Adjustments > Threshold and experiment with the settings to get your desired look.

Your image outlines are now in place so all that is left is to add some colour, select around the white areas that are left and add your desired colours to the different sections. To select the white bits use the ‘Magic Wand’ Tool for large areas then use the ‘Polygonal Lasso Tool’ on negative selection to take away any unwanted bits. You can then use the ‘Paint Bucket’ Tool to fill the selection with colour.

Another neat trick to add a bit of depth to your cartoon is to copy the original image again and put this layer above all other layers, then select Soft Light from the layer options and you should see the original image almost blend into your cartoon and should hopefully highlight a few areas.

There are obviously endless tweaks and alterations you can make to perfect your cartoon but these are the basic steps to creating a quick cartoon in minutes.