Turn Any Photo Into a Cartoon Using Photoshop

The quickest and easiest way to turn any photo into a cartoon characture. You can also follow this method to make coloring pages too! This instructable assumes you have a basic understanding of how to use Adobe Photoshop.

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Step 1: Pick Your Photo, Crop and Size It

Open your photo using Photoshop. Crop and size it. In the example shown, I also removed the background.

Step 2: Create an Outline.

Once you have selected and cropped the photo, duplicate the layer and with the new layer go to Filter->Sketch->Photocopy. In the dialog box, select detail about 5 and darkness about 8. It might take some trial and error to get it just right.

Once you apply those changes you will now want to add a 1px black inside stroke.  Go to Layer->Layer Style->Stroke.

This is where you can stop if you want to make a coloring page. If you do want to make a coloring page go to Layer->New Adjustment Layer->Levels and adjust the first and last arrows under the graph until desired look is reached.

Step 3: Delete the White Space.

Now we need to delete the white space from our outline so we can see the original layer underneath. With the outline layer still selected go to Select->Color Range and then select "Highlights" Once you click OK, press the Del key on your keyboard. You should now see the original layer underneath.  You might need to tough it up a bit with the eraser to get rid of any unwanted lines.

Step 4: Cortoonify the Orginal Layer

Now we need to make the orginal image look more like a cartoon.
Select the orginal layer and go to Filter->Blur->Gaussian Blur. I've found Radius of 4.0 Pixels works best
Now go to Edit->Fade Gaussian Blur. Select the mode of darken.

Step 5: Add an Artistic Effect.

You get get an even more dramitic effect my using one of the Artistic filters. Shown is the Cut Out filter. Any on of them will give you a cool look.

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    3 Discussions


    7 years ago on Step 2

    I love the cartoon picture but I can't find where to make my picture back to color I am stuck on this can't find where the first and last arrows are.........Please help thanks so much
    Great job !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    page go to Layer->New Adjustment Layer->Levels and adjust the first and last arrows under the graph until desired look is reached.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Very good, but I would have stopped at step 4, it looks good and cartoony, step 5 looks too much like clip art that might come with Microsoft Office.

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks Jake. Yeah, I actually added step 5 last minute. I think it it look good with or with out the last step.