How to Change a Photo to Cartoon in Photoshop

Written by gwen wark
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Photoshop is one of the most powerful creative software suites for editing and manipulating photographs. One of the great features of Photoshop is the ability to use one-step filters, which are available as a part of the standard software package. With just the touch of a button, these filters can enhance, edit and apply complex processes to your photos. Using Photoshop to change a photo to a cartoon is as simple as using these filters.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Open the image in Adobe Photoshop. Go to the top toolbar, select "File" and then select "Open" from the drop down menu. This will open the image dialogue box and allow you to browse your computer for your photo.

  2. 2

    Create a duplicate layer over the image. This will allow you to make changes without altering the original image. Select the layer in the menu on the right and press "control + J" to create a new layer. You can also right click on the layer on the layer menu and select "Duplicate Layer."

  3. 3

    Apply a blur to the image using the surface blur filter. Go to the "Filters" option at the top toolbar, select the "Blur" option, and select "Surface Blur". Adjust the radius and threshold sliders until small details in the photo disappear.

  4. 4

    Apply a coloured pencil filter to remove colour information and create a hand drawn effect. Go to the "Filters" option and select "Artistic," then "Colored Pencil." This filter removes much of the detail and colour information.

  5. 5

    On the Layers palette, select the original layer and duplicate it a second time. This presents you with a new layer that is the same as the original image. Double click this new layer to bring up the layer dialogue box, and change the blending mode to "Lighten" from the drop down menu.

  6. 6

    Apply a cutout filter to the new layer by going to "Filter" and selecting "Artistic" then "Cutout" from the drop-down menu.

  7. 7

    Adjust the opacity of your layers to achieve a cartoon effect by double clicking on each layer and adjusting the opacity slider until your desired effect is achieved. This allows you control over how cartoonish the image appears.

  8. 8

    Flatten the image by going to "Layer" on the top toolbar and selecting "Flatten Image." This compresses all of the layers into one.

  9. 9

    Add poster edges by going to "Filter," then selecting "Artistic" then "Poster Edges." This will give the edges of colour areas a harder, drawn look. Your image is now a cartoon.

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