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How to Make a Picture Look Like a Cartoon in Photoshop

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 11/22/2010

Want to learn how to make picture look cartoon in Photoshop? Well, then you need a Photoshop tutorial to help you with this process. And, you're in luck! There's one right here.

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    Picking a Photograph

    Most of us are not artists. So, we don’t know how to draw cartoon drawings. If we want to use this type of drawing for something, then we usually go to our clip art, and find one that most closely matches what we are seeking. But, what if you could convert a photograph into a cartoon? Well, you can if you use Photoshop. And, it’s actually quite easy to learn how to make picture look cartoon in Photoshop.

    If you’ve made the decision to convert a picture into a cartoon, then you probably already have one in mind. If not, then look for photograph that will easily convert into a cartoon. Portraits of people and animals work well, and so does action shots. The portraits allow you to emphasize the expressions in the cartoon while the action shots show people doing something.

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    Convert to RGB Color

    Creating a Duplicate Layer When you have selected your photograph, open it up in Photoshop. Convert it to RGB color. To do this, go to Image -> Mode -> RGB Color. Now, duplicate your layer by double-clicking on the existing layer. Give the layer a name, and then press OK.

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    Add Poster Edges Filter

    Next, you need to add the Poster Edges Filter to your photograph. This makes the photograph look more like a poster. To add this filter, go to the Filter dropdown menu, and then Artistic -> Poster Edges. You will end up in a popup menu. Just hit OK.Artistic Filter 

    After this effect is added, you will notice that your photograph looks more like a cartoon. But, there’s still a little more work to do to complete the effect.

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    Finishing Touches

    Now, you need to change the contrast and brightness of your photograph by using the Brightness/Contrast adjustment. This Adjustment Brightness and Contrast panel popped up after you added the Poster Edges affect, and the Brightness/Contrast adjustment is the sun that is half dark and half bright. Right-click on this sun, and enter 10 for the Brightness value and 30 for the Contrast.

    It’s now time to complete the cartoon look. Do this by again going to Filter -> Artistic. This time select Cut Out. Your photograph will now look like a cartoon.

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    Save Often

    If your cartoon doesn’t look quite right, you can always continue adjust the color and brightness. Also, experiment with other filters to change the look of your cartoon. Just remember to save often. Photoshop does not have an automatic save feature, which means that you’ll lose any work that is not manually saved.

    You might also consider saving different versions of your photograph or image. This serves two purposes. If you add a filter that you do not like, but have already saved the file, you don’t need to try to go back through the whole undo process. Simply open up one of your earlier file versions.

    Doing this also means that you have the most recent previous version of your work in case your computer crashes.






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