Get the Comic Style Effect on your Image

This tutorial will teach you how you can get a comic style effect on your ordinary image or picture. This tutorial is merely a preliminary guide for you to achieve this comic or cartoon effect. You can always play with the settings to achieve more than this. It's recommended to start with a high resolution image. This comic effect works well for portrait but you can always think outside the box and try it on some other images as well like scenery or landscape. Try it on an image with bright coloring, cause that will be more interesting.

Some examples of this Comic Style Effect:

1. Open your image. This effect will look better if you start with a large image and later, after the last step you can resize the image to your desired size. If you want, you can enhance the coloring on your image. Go to the coloring tutorial section to find out how or just download the image coloring PSDs.

Remember to flatten your image (CTRL + SHIFT + E) after you get the coloring you want.

2. Duplicate your image 3 times. Here's what your layer palette should look like. Don't worry about the names. As long as you know which layer is which in this tutorial, you should be fine.

3. Select Layer 1 copy on your layer palette.

Then, go to Filter > Blur > Surface Blur. The settings I used are shown below. The goal is to smoothen the skin area. You can play around with the settings as long as you get something similar to the preview image below:

4. Next, select Layer 1 copy 2 on your layer palette. Go to Filter > Artistic > Cutout. Adjust the setting on the right until you got something similar to the preview image below. I also include the setting I used for this particular outcome on my image.

5. Then, select Layer 1 copy 3. Go to Filter > Stylize > Find Edges. You'll have something like this:

7. Still working with Layer 1 copy 3, go to Image > Adjustment > Desaturate. Then, go to Filter > Stylize > Diffuse. When the Diffuse window appear, select the Anisotropic option.

8. Now we're gonna change the layer properties. Use the settings below:
- Set Layer 1 copy 2 to Color Burn with 25% opacity.
- Set Layer 1 copy 3 to Overlay with 30% opacity.

You can always change the opacity of these two layers depending on what looks good for your image.

See examples below:

9. This last step is optional. If your image is already smooth and nice, there's no need for this final touching. If not, select the Smudge Tool (R). Choose a hard brush, set the size to 10-15 depending on your image size. Set the mode to Normal with 10% strength.

Then, find those not-so-smooth parts on your image and just smudge them away with the brush to make your image appear smoother.

And you'll get the comic style effect you'll always wanted on your image.




Anonymous said...

ok this really did not work

Russelld83 said...

This was a great tutorial, really good results.

Do you guys have any other photoshop blogs that you like?

ACE said...

@ anonymous..

Well, maybe you misread some steps because I retry this tutorial with a couple more pictures and it works fine. And remember, you don't have to follow my settings exactly, tweak them depending on your image.

ACE said...

@ russelld83..

I happen to like Smashing Magazine. They have great resources for designers.

Iskzz_Curly said...

Where does the smudge tool located ? cannot be detected ....

*aCe* said...


It's on your Toolbox. Right click on the Blur Tool, you'll see Blur Tool, Sharpen Tool and Smudge Tool. Select the Smudge Tool.