Cartoon Character Effect Photoshop Tutorial

Cartoon Character Effect Photoshop Tutorial

Hello everyone, Chris from Spoon Graphics
here with another video tutorial. Today we’re going to have some fun manipulating a portrait
photograph to create a cool cartoon character effect. We’ll exaggerate the facial features
and send the proportions way off to achieve that popular caricature style, but since we’re
not drawing the portrait from scratch, it retains a degree of realism and ensures the
result has a strong resemblance to the subject. The key to a good result is a professional
photograph to work with. Ideally the image needs to be high resolution with crisp focus
and lighting. This process also favours subjects with short or tied up hair, otherwise it becomes
tricky when trying to clip the head from the body. Since I’m not creating this effect for any
particular final use, I’m using this stock image of a lady from Shutterstock, but if
you wanted to do this effect to yourself, sourcing a professional image from a studio
would give you the best results. First we need to separate the subject from
the background. Grab the Pen tool and zoom right in to the document. Begin tracing around
the outline of the subject, but when you reach the hair, just capture it within a rough path. When you’re done, right click and select Make
Selection. Entering 0.5px in the feathering helps avoid a harsh edge. Copy and paste this
clipping onto a new layer, then fill the background with white. The Channels method is the best way to clip
out any fine hairs that are against a clean background. Switch to the Channels panel and
find the channel with the highest contrast. Drag that channel over the New icon to duplicate
it, then select the Dodge tool. Reduce the exposure to under 50% in the top
toolbar, then paint around the edge of the hair to brighten the whites. Switch over to the Burn tool and reduce the
exposure. Paint over the hair to to increase the contrast. Toggle back to the Layers panel and CMD+click
on the clipped layer’s thumbnail to load its selection. Switch back over to the Channels
to safely use this mask to paint over the subject with a black brush. Be careful when
you reach the head though, that needs some fine control to capture the main facial outline. Paint over the inner areas of the face and
hair, but use the Pen tool to finish off the outline of the face that isn’t currently surrounded
by the mask. Once you have a solid black silhouette of
the subject, CMD+Click on the duplicated channel’s thumbnail to loads its selection. Click the
main RGB channel to switch back to a full colour view, then delete this selected area
from your main working layer in the Layers panel to completely clip out the subject. Grab the Pen tool again and draw around the
head of the subject. Most of the portrait is already clipped out so a rough selection
will do, just make sure you carefully follow the line of the chin. Right click and select Make Selection, then
copy and paste the head onto its own layer. Rather than scale the head up, we’ll scale
the body down to retain the image quality. Select the main body layer and press CMD+T
(or go to Edit>Transform). Hold the Shift and ALT keys while scaling the layer to keep
it in proportion. Move it around until the comedically large head looks as natural as
it can be on the body. Select the head layer in the Layers panel,
then use the Pen tool to draw around the eyes. The subject in my example image is wearing
glasses, so I’ll cover this process first, then explain the slight difference for portraits
with naked eyes. Trace around the inner edge of the frame with
the Pen tool, then right click and choose Make Selection. Copy and paste the selection
onto a new layer, then reduce the opacity slightly so you can see the original image
underneath. Press CMD+T to scale the eye, then reposition it by roughly matching up
the centre of the pupil with the original. Return the opacity back to 100%, then switch
to the Paths panel and CMD+click the thumbnail of the path that outlines the frame to loads
its selection again. Inverse the selection then hit delete. Actually, rather than deleting,
using a Layer Mask would allow you to reposition the eye if necessary. The process is a little different with naked
eyes. The selection just needs to be rough but leaving plenty of padding around the eye.
Copy and paste the selection onto a new layer, reduce the opacity and scale the eye. Then
use a soft brush with a layer mask to erase the edges and blend the larger eye back in,
bringing back the eyebrows, cheeks and the edge of the face. Repeat the process on the other eye, scaling
it to roughly the same size. Now this is an afterthought but ideally we would have scaled
the head and body layers down, rather than scaling the eye layer up to retain full image
quality, but if you’re working with a high resolution photo to begin with, the interpolation
isn’t that noticeable. Select the new eye layers along with the head
layer and merge them together with either the Layer>Merge Layers menu option, or the
CMD+E shortcut. Next, go to Filter>Liquify. This is where
we can have loads of fun exaggerating the subject’s facial features. Select the Pucker
tool and alter the brush size with the square bracket keys until it covers the nose. Click
one or two times to subtly reduce it in size. Switch over to the Bloat tool and alter the
brush so it surrounds the mouth. Click a few times to enlarge it. Select the standard Warp tool at the top of
the Liquify toolbar, then carefully readjust the face using a large brush to exaggerate
their facial expression. So, if they’re smiling, bring their cheeks up to enhance the smile.
If they’re frowning, move their brow down. OK the changes, then select the body layer
from the Layers panel and go to Filter>Liquify again. Make sure you select the right menu
option. The one at the top will repeat the same effects. We want to add some new adjustments. We don’t need to worry about the head on this
layer because it’s covered up by the new larger head, but use the Pucker tool to shrink the
hands and arms. Press OK then merge the head and body layers into one. That’s the main adjustments done, but there’s
some finishing touches that will help give the portrait a toy like appearance. Create
a new layer and go to Edit>Fill. Choose 50% gray, then change the blending mode to
Overlay. Select the Burn tool, which should still have
a low exposure value. Begin painting over the dark areas of the portrait to enhance
the shadows. Switch over the the Dodge tool and paint over
the highlights. Adjust the brush size to carefully trace over highlights on the lips and to whiten
the eyes. Reduce the opacity of the layer to tone down
the effects of the dodging and burning so it’s not too harsh, but so it still adds some
extra contrast to the image. Go to Edit>Select All (or hit CMD+A), then
select Copy Merged from the Edit Menu. Paste this selection onto a new layer then go to
Filter>Other>High Pass. Enter 2px for the radius. Invert this layer using the shortcut CMD+I,
or Image>Adjustments>Invert, then change the blending mode to Overlay. This layer smooths
out the skin to remove the pores for more of a plastic appearance, but it’s not required
on certain areas. Add a Layer Mask, then use a soft black brush to erase the blurring from
the eyes, lips, eyebrows and hair. Press CMD+V or Edit>Paste to add another
duplicate of the original image, then add another High Pass filter. Change the blending
mode to Overlay without inverting it, which will sharpen the image. Add a layer mask and
fill it with black to hide it all, then use a soft white brush to bring the sharpening
back in those key areas of the eyes, lips, hair and eyebrows. A final selection of everything can be made
by CMD+clicking the main working layer’s thumbnail, then selecting Copy Merged and pasting it
on a new layer. A new background can be added then the canvas cropped to finish off the
effect. If you enjoyed this tutorial a thumbs up or
a share with your friends on Twitter or Facebook would be a great way to help spread the word
about my tutorials. If you want to stick around for more video tutorials be sure to subscribe
to my channel, or you can stop by at my website for loads of written tutorials and free design
resources. So as always thank you very much for watching and I’ll catch you in the next

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Eyup Chris, Just discovered your channel today, by accident. Some very useful tips-tutorials. Thanks a bunch for making the time.

    As a relative PS novice, compared to you, they are very usefull for picking up tips and shortcuts, as well as for seeing the workflow of a professional designer. Just one small thing though. Any chance you could slow down, just a tad …. I'm wearing out the pause button …. whilst trying to jot notes and take it all in. ( just a thought )

    PS: I wonder what the Americans make of your accent !

  2. Really great tutorials, thanks a lot bro! 😀
    But… the background music.. Please change it once in a while I can't hear it anymore (just saying haha) 🙂

  3. Your tutorials are OK for people who usualy work in photoshop, but they are too fast and underexplained for broader public. Just do them slower and with more explaining and you will get much more subscribers. Good luck!

  4. Thank u verrrry much. Amazing tutorial … direct, clear, quick, & professional. wish that u were our instructor : )
    I hope that u make new tutorial about similar topic "exaggerated expression" thanks again.

  5. could you go FASTER??? I only missed 90% of your "tutorial", I'd like to miss it all!


  6. Join my mailing list at Spoon Graphics if you want to keep up with all my other content. Every subscriber gets a FREE design resources bundle! 📦

  7. +Spoon Graphics Seriously my friend, it seems you are thinking loud else this tutorial is very fast. Not for learner but only for people who already know how to do it. In other words. Just good to see not to learn. Also please change the name of your channel to Swoon Graphics

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *