How to convert pictures to cartoons with free software

Written by carl hose
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With the graphics software available today, turning pictures into cartoon images is easy. Most of the big-name graphic image editors have tools to allow you to make cartoons from images, and there are a number of specialised software products as well. For those who don't have the money to invest in these image editors, a free cross-platform image program is available that allows users to accomplish the same cartoon effects as dedicated or expensive graphic software. With GIMP, you can turn your photographs into cartoons free and with ease.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • GIMP image editor
  • Photograph (digital or scanned in)

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  1. 1

    Download and open GIMP image editor. GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is free cross-platform graphics software (works on Mac and PC) that allows users to create cartoons from photographs easily and at no charge.

  2. 2

    Go to "File" and select "Open," then browse to the location on your computer where the photograph you want to convert to a cartoon is located. Click the photograph to open it in the GIMP editor.

  3. 3

    Go to the "Filters" menu and select "Artistic," then choose the "Cartoon" filter option; a dialogue box will pop up that will allow you to adjust colour and saturation levels.

  4. 4

    Adjust the "Mask Radius" to thicken the areas to be cartooned. The default setting is seven; the highest setting is 50. Preview the default first, then adjust as you see fit. A setting of 22 typically provides a realistic comic effect. Use the "Percent Black" setting to add black to the image, which highlights the cartoon colours and diffuses the black throughout to increase shadow levels.

  5. 5

    Check the "Preview" option so you can get a real-time look at your cartoon as you adjust the mask radius and black level to achieve the desired cartoon effect. Click the "OK" button when you feel satisfied with the cartoon you've created.

Tips and warnings

  • Add text to your cartoons by going to the "Tools" menu and selecting the "Text" option. Type your text in the box and select a cartoon font to give your new cartoon a heading.

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