Wednesday, November 29, 2006


I've been playing around for 6 months trying to find a way to render a cartoon effect to my pictures using Photoshop and lately I think that I've come up with something that produces a decent result. Here I will share with you how I do it and feel free to experiment yourself with this technique. On with the show...

First of all, this tutorial uses Photoshop Elements 1 because that's the one I have and the tutorial is possible to accomplish with just about any version of Photoshop, I think.

1. Open an image and duplicate the background into another layer so you have the same picture in two layers. The top one will be the "ink" and the bottom one will be the "color".

2. We'll start by making the "ink" first. Go into filter/blur/smart blur, use the settings in the image I've posted to start and experiment later.

3. After applying this filter, go to filter/sharpen/sharpen edges. This will better define the basic edges of your image.

4. Go to filter/other/highpass and use the settings in the image posted. This will turn the layer into a barely recognisable gray tone image.

5. Go to image/adjustment/threshold, this will turn the layer into a black and white line drwaing of the image. Play with the setting until you are satisfied with what you see. Once that is done, with the magic wand select a white area. Go to select/similar to to select everything white in the image. Press delete and your "ink" layer is done.

6. Now go back and click on your Background layer and go to filter/blur/smart blur and use the same settings as presented in the image. You can also play with the color settings of the background layer after you do this to make the colors brighter.

That's it, you're done. Add some background color, some letters, whatever you want. This is the basic way to do it. The image I chose for the tutorial is not the best one, but it shows that you can do this with just about any image. Bright colors and sharp lines make the best "cartoons".

For more of my stuff, check out my Photoblog: TakingPictures101.

Have fun and don't be afraid to experiment.