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Use Retouching Techniques to Create a Caricature From a Photo

by
Gift

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Photoshop includes some powerful tools to help you manipulate photos. In this tutorial, we will show you how to create a caricature portrait from a photo using many of Photoshop's advanced editing tools. In the process, you will learn how to use Adobe Camera RAW to make some global adjustments, how to use Photoshop's transformation and Liquify tools to alter the appearance of the portrait, how to retouch the image, and much more to give your portrait a cartoon or comic look. Let's get started!


Speed Retouching Video


Tutorial Assets

You will need the following assets to complete this tutorial. Please download them before you begin.


1. Source Photo

This is the picture out of my camera without any modification.

Out of cam

Step 1

Open the DNG file in Photoshop Camera Raw. Click on "Workflow Options" at the bottom of the window.

Workflow options

Step 2

Mark the checkbox: Open in Photoshop as Smart Objects.

Open as smart object

2. Raw Conversion

Step 1

Right click on your original raw file and then click "New Smart Object via Copy."

New smart object

Step 2

Let's start with the basics. We need a good foundation for our comic image, so check out my settings for this image.

Color correction

Step 3

It's also important to bring a little sharpness into it.

Sharpness

Step 4

To get the characteristics of our comic portrait, we need more contrast, so we set saturation of the yellow tones in his shirt a bit higher.

Contrast

Step 5

In this section you have a lot more control of different colors.

Colors

3. Resize Workspace

Step 1

You know, in the end we want an image with exaggerated body parts (big head, thin arms...), so we need a little bit more space for our head. In order to achieve this, start by selecting the "Crop Tool" in the toolbar.

Crop tool

In this step we can enlarge our image.

Resize

4. Make a Big Head

Step 1

Now, we need the "Elliptical Marquee Tool."

Marquee Tool

Use this tool to make a round selection around the head. Afterwards press CMD/CTRL + J.

Selection around head

Step 2

Now it's time for the fun part! Click on "Move Tool."

Move Tool

Change the anchor point from middle to the neck area and now change the size of the head - make it big!

Resize head

Step 3

Around the head, you will notice a region we want to remove. Press the icon for a mask ("Add Layer Mask").

Add layer mask

Step 5

Press "B" or select the "Brush Tool" on the toolbar.

Brush tool

You can change the settings (size, hardness/softness) of the brush by right clicking on the image. Then remove the parts around the head that aren’t needed.

Brush settings

5. Liquify

Step 1

Press CMD/CTRL + SHIFT + ALT + E to create a new (merged) layer. Then click on "Filter > Convert for Smart Filters." Now open the filter menu again, but this time select "Liquify."

Filter menu

Step 2

To deform different parts we need the "Forward Warp Tool."

Forward warp tool

Step 3

You can see in my settings that I use a big brush, but you can change the size any time.

liquify settings

Step 4

Click on an area that you want to deform (do not release) and move your cursor and make a tiny body.

liquify

Step 5

If you want to save some parts of the image from being deformed, like this yummy pineapple, change your tool to the "Freeze Mask Tool."

freeze mask tool

Step 6

Now you can mask the pineapple, for example.

pinappe mask

Step 7

Click on the "Forward Warp Tool" and deform the armpit. The pineapple will not deform anymore.

forward move tool armpit deformation

Step 8

Time for some organization! Rename the layers and order them in groups.

layer structure

6. Remove the Background

Step 1

A nice way to remove backgrounds is by using the Pen Tool.

Pen tool

Sometimes it's a lot of work but you know the saying: No pain no gain! You must select the complete silhouette of the person.

Silhouette selection

Step 2

When that is completed, click on the mask icon ("Add Layer Mask") again.

Add layer mask

7. Create a New Background

Step 1

Just click on "Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color."

New fill layer

I use grey (#494949), but you can use any color you want.

Color chooser

It's important that the fill layer is under the person. As you can see, I always use groups for my layers.

Layer groups

8. Retouching

Step 1

It's time for some retouching. Click on the "Lasso Tool."

Lasso tool

Step 2

Then select the "Shape" layer.

shape-layer

Step 3

Make a selection of the wickerwork and press CMD/CTRL + J.

Wickerwork selection

After this shortcut you will get the selection on a new layer.

New layer

Step 4

It's easier to find the layers when you name them. In this case, I called the layer "Retouching."

Renamed layer

Step 5

Now you must mirror the layer with the "Move Tool" and move it into the correct position.

Place mirrored layer

Step 6

To fade the layer you can use the eraser ("Eraser Tool") and smooth out the edges.

Eraser tool

Step 7

We are not finished yet! Let's correct some skin imperfections with the "Healing Brush Tool."

Healing brush tool

It's very easy: Look for a spot that you want to correct and select a clean part from the area around it while pressing the "ALT-key" Now you can brush over the skin impurities.

Heal skin

Here is a little before/after-image.

Before and after healing

9. Frequency Separation

Now I will show you a technique from Natalia Taffarel. Many people use it for high end retouchings. You will split the image in two parts: color and details. That way, you have more options to get a perfect result. Let's start:

Step 1

First, duplicate the layer with CMD/CTRL + SHIFT + ALT + E and afterwards press CMD/CTRL + J. Finally you get two copies of the merged layer. Now put it into its own group. In this case, I named the group "Frequency Separation" and the first copy of the layer: "color."

Two layers

Step 2

Select the layer "Color" and use "Gaussian Blur."

Gaussian blur filter

It's very important that you use a radius of "10px."

Gaussion blur filter settings

Step 3

Now rename the other layer copy to "Details" and go to "Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast."

Brightness and contrast

So watch out! First click on "use legacy" and then set the contrast value to "-50."

Brightness and contrast settings

Step 4

Next step for our detail layer is to use the "High Pass" filter. You will find it on "Filter > Other > High Pass." Set the radius again to "10px."

High pass filter

Step 5

Change the layer style of layer "Details" to "Linear Light."

Linear light blend mode

Step 6

In this step we will remove the print on his shirt. So just select the "Details" layer and choose the "Clone Stamp Tool."

Clone stamp tool

Step 7

Make sure, that you have selected "Current Layer" on option panel above the image.

Cleaning the shirt

Step 8

Now it's time to remove the print on the shirt. Take your time for a good result.

Cleaned shirt result

The result looks a little bit blurry, but here comes the magic trick.

Blurry result

Step 9

Put a new layer between "Details" and "Color", rename it to "Magic" and praise the inventor of this layer: Calvin Hollywood.

Magic layer

Step 10

Select the "Brush Tool," opacity around "20%" and select a yellow color of his shirt while pressing the "ALT"-Key. Now brush over the blurry font. You will see: it's gone!! You can also remove some dark parts in his face or on the pineapple with this way.

Cleaning the shirt on magic layer

10. Color

Step 1

Select the "Polygonal Lasso Tool"

Pen tool

Step 2

And make a selection around the t-shirt, this does not need to be very accurate!

Body selection

Step 3

Then add an adjustment layer "hue/saturation." Select the yellow tones and pick up the "eyedropper tool" and make a point on his shirt.

Hue and saturation

Step 4

Change the Hue to "+155", which will change the yellow shirt into a blue one.

Hue and saturation hue settings

Sometimes you will see some yellow tones in other areas. You can adjust those with the little arrows - move them a little bit. If this does not work, you can use a mask.

Hue and saturation color adjustments

Step 5

Choose "edit in quick mask mode" and select his teeth.

Quick mask mode

Step 6

Brush over the teeth, the mask does not need to be perfect again. When you are finished, click on the button again and you will see the selection.

Mask teeth

Step 7

To change the colors of the teeth we need a new adjustment layer. In this case "Hue/Saturation."

Hue and saturation

In this picture you will see my settings, for brighter teeth.

Hue and saturation settings

Step 8

I do the same with his eyes: Select the pupil and add a "Selective Color" adjustment layer.

Choose the color gray, Move the cyan slider to +58% and yellow to -78 to adjust to change to color to blue.

Selective color

Step 9

For brighter eyes, you have to change the blending mode to "Linear Dodge" and an opacity of around "20-30px."

Linear dodge blend mode

Step 10

In the last part of this chapter we change the "Vibrance" of the hat. So we must create a selection of it.

Mask hat

Step 11

Click on the little icon and then on "Vibrance." You can set the "Vibrance" to "+100" and "Saturation" to "+15."

Vibrance

Step 12

The last two things you have to do is to change the blending mode to "Soft Light" and the opacity to "40%."

Soft light blend mode for hat

11. Build Your Own Smiley

Step 1

Start a new document using the menu entry "File > New..." and the following settings:

New document

Step 2

Change the foreground color to yellow; I use "#f1b500" - then select the "Ellipse Tool."

Color chooser

Step 3

Make a big circle in the middle of this document, press CMD/CTRL + R for rulers and set marks for eyes.

Circle selection

Step 4

Use the "Ellipse Tool" again, but press "ALT" to remove it from the big circle. You can use the "Direct Selection Tool" to move the eyes to the correct position.

Add eyes

Step 5

The mouth is missing, so here we go - repeat the previous technique.

Add mouth

Step 6

Select the "Delete Anchor Point Tool" and remove the point on the top.

Delete anchor point tool

Step 7

Now put a little smile on his face. Move the anchor on the left and right more to the middle. Once you are done, select the "move tool" and move the complete smiley to the comic image.

Make him smile

Step 8

It's important to get a good overview, so rename and group the layers again.

Rename the group

Step 9

With right click on the smiley layer you have the option to "Rasterize Layer" - it's important for the next steps.

Rasterize Layer

Step 10

Select the "Move Tool" and bring it to the right position on his shirt. Don't forget to transform the perspective. Finally set the blending mode to "Color."

Place smily

Step 11

Now it's time to make it more realistic. Use the "Smudge Tool" to make creases.

Smudge tool

Step 12

After the smudge part, you have to edit the area with the flowers using a mask.

Edit smily

12. Change Background Color

Step 1

So now let’s change the background color. I use the following color: "#bf8213."

Color chooser

Step 2

Use the "Elliptical Marquee Tool" and make a little selection like this:

Elliptical marquee tool selection

Step 3

The next step is to make the selection a bit smoother, go to "Select > Modify > Feather" and use a radius about "400px."

Feather selection

Step 4

Click on the little icon and choose "Levels."

Adjust levels

Step 5

Move the midtone slider to the left or type the value "2.57" into the field.

Levels settings

Step 6

Repeat the steps (make the selection a little bit bigger, make it smoother, add a levels adjustment layer). Invert the mask with CMD/CTRL + I and slide the midtones to the right round about "0.65."

Levels settings

13. Refine Mask

Step 1

When you look closely, you will see some dirty edges. That is the reason, why we have to refine the mask of the person. Click on the mask:

Mask selection

Step 2

Go to "Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur" and use a "1.5px" radius.

Gaussian blur filter settings

Step 3

Next segment is "Filter > Other > Minimum" and set the value to "2.5px."

Minimum filter

14. Dodge and Burn

Step 1

Create a new group and name it "Dodge and Burn." Click on "Layer > New > Layer." Name it "Dodge and Burn Hard" use overlay and 50% gray.

Create DB layer

Step 2

Select the brush tool and use a soft brush with a opacity of "2%." you can boost the shadows and the highlights with this brush. Change the color by pressing the "X" key.

Dodge and burn example

Step 3

Repeat the step on a new layer, but for this step, use "Soft Light" instead of "Overlay."

Dodge and burn only view

15. Color Mood

Step 1

Create a new group with the name "Color and Light Front" then click on the little icon for adjustment layers and choose "Solid Color."

Solid color adjustment

Fill it with "#bf8213."

Solid color adjustment settings

Step 2

It's very important that the background and the person will be merged to one. Therefore, we set the blending mode to "Color" with a low opacity.

Color blend mode

Step 3

Press the icon for a new blank layer.

New layer

Step 4

You can name this one "light." Use a small white brush - low opacity (around "3%") and brush over the neck to make the illusion of rays.

Lighten neck

16. Painted Look

Step 1

Create a new group, name it "Final" and merge all layers with CMD/CTRL + SHIFT + ALT + E.

Merged layers

Step 2

Rename it to "Paint Look" and change it to a smart object by clicking with right click on it.

Convert to smart object

Step 3

Click on "Filter > Oil Paint"

Oil paint filter

Step 4

In this image you will see the settings:

Oil paint filter settings

Step 5

Add a mask and press CMD/CTRL + I to invert. Now you can use a white brush and open different parts where the effect came through.

Paint oil on the image

17. Camera Raw Filter

Step 1

Finally we come to an end: Merge all layers to one by pressing CMD/CTRL + SHIFT + ALT + E and rename the layer to "Camera Raw Filter." convert it to a smart object by clicking on "Filter > Convert for Smart Filter."

Camera raw filter layer

Step 2

Click on Filter > Camera Raw Filter. Here are my final settings:

Camera raw filter
Camera raw filter settings
Camera raw filter settings
Camera raw filter settings
Camera raw filter settings

Conclusion

Congratulations! You made it! Our original photo now looks like a caricature. We hope that you have learned something from this tutorial and that you can apply what you learned to create your own comic and caricature effects.

Final image
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