How to Turn a Photograph Into a Cartoon Effect

Above is the result of this tutorial.

Here is a photograph of some flowers I took in my backyard:

The first thing I’ll do is go to Filter / Sketch / Photocopy:

When the Photocopy dialog box comes up, I’ll make the image viewable at 25% by clicking on the (-) at the left hand bottom part of the dialog box. This way I’ll be able to see the whole photo, not just part of it:

In this dialog box, I’ll take the Detail slider all the way to the right, which is 24, and I’ll bring the Darkness slider to about 20. Then I’ll click OK:

The next thing I’ll do is hit CTRL+J on my keyboard to make a duplicate copy of my background layer. I’ll name it “Flowers”. In the History palette I’ll also check the history marker next to the “Open” stage in the history palette.

This is what the palettes should look like at this point:

Next I’ll pick the history brush from the tool bar:

I’ll go to the menu bar at the top of the screen and change the mode from Normal to Multiply:

Using the history brush, I’ll start painting back the color of the flowers at 100% opacity. I’ll put the green background on another layer so that I can change the opacity separately. Using the multiply brush brings out any color cast that might be in the image, and exaggerates it. So, in the layers palette, I lower the opacity to 74%.

Here’s the image so far:

If you need to clean up any edges, you can use the eraser tool in the tool bar:

Here, I show the opacity lowered to 74%. Here’s the finished layers palette:

The good thing about being in multiply mode, is that with every paint stroke you can make the colors richer. I recommend using a soft brush when using this mode.

Here’s the “before” and “after” shots:


Try this out and experiment with different modes. They all do something unique.

Have fun!

How to Create an Action in Photoshop

For this tutorial I’ll create a black & white action, starting with this image I took in NYC:

The first thing I need to do is go to the Window menu. Then I’ll select Actions:

Now the Actions palette has come up. What I have to do here is create a set, so I’ll click on the create a new set icon:

Here the New Set dialog box comes up and I’ll rename it “Black & White”. Then I’ll click OK:

Now I need to record the action, so I’ll click on the create new action icon:

The New Action dialog box comes up, and I’ll name it “B&W”:

Now I’ll click on the record button. The next steps I take to create a black and white photo will be recorded into this action.

Now it’s time to make the black and white photo. I’ll go to Image/Adjustments/Black & White:

Here the Black and White dialog box comes up. I’ll move the adjustment sliders to my liking, and then I’ll click OK:

Here you can see that the black and white conversion was added to the Actions palette:

Now I want to add some brightness and contrast. So, I’ll go to Image, Adjustments, Brightness/Contrast:

The Brightness/Contrast dialog box comes up and I’ll make my adjustments. When I click OK, it will be added to the action:

Here it is added to the Actions palette:

Before I stop the recording I’m going to save the action. Here I’ll open the options for the Actions palette:

When the option bar drops down, I’ll pick Save Action. Then click Save:

When the folder comes up, I’ll just click Save again:

Now I can stop the recording by clicking on the square stop button:

After I hit the stop button, all the icons turn gray:

To play the action later on with a different photo, I’ll make sure the B&W action is active. Then I’ll just click on the play button at the bottom of the palette:

Have fun!

Photoshop Quick Tip – How to Change the Color of Your Workspace

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to change your workspace color, as shown in the above image.

Here I have a photo I took on Block Island. The default workspace around the photo is a pale gray:

To change the color of the work space, all I have to do is “right click” anywhere on the area of the workspace. This will bring up a menu. The default “Gray” has a check next to it:

I can set it to”Black” or I can select a custom color:

I’d like to make a custom color of dark gray. I’ll click on the Select Custom Color option and the color picker will come up. I’ll drag the white circle to a dark gray area. I’ll be able to see the color I choose in the preview box. Then I’ll click OK:

Here is what it looks like with the dark gray workspace:

If I should change my mind and decide I want the workspace back to its default setting, all I have to do is right click anywhere on the workspace. Then choose the “Gray” option:

Here’s a sample of different colors to choose from:

How to Create Snow In A Photograph Using Photoshop

Above, I have a photograph of a deer that I took in my backyard. It had already snowed the day before, so there’s snow on the ground. I’d like to add falling snow to this photograph to make it more interesting:

The first thing I’ll do is hit CTRL+J on my keyboard to make a duplicate copy of my image. Then I’ll call it “Overcast Background”. I’ll double click on the word “Layer 1″ to rename it:

The next thing I’ll do is to give the photograph a feeling of an overcast snowy day. I can see the sun on the branches behind the deer so I’ll dull it down by going into Selective Color. Go to Image, Adjustments, Selective Color:

The Selective Color dialog box will come up. Looking at the photo I can see that the color red is the color I need to tone down. These are the setting I used for the reds. Before I click OK, I’ll make some adjustments to the “Yellow” colors too. Then I’ll click OK:



Now it’s time to add the falling snow. I’ll make a new layer at the bottom of the layers palette, and fill it with black. To fill the layer with black I’ll make sure that the foreground color in the color picker is black, and then I’ll hit ALT-DELETE on my keyboard to fill the layer with black. This is how everything should look at this point:

Now I want to add specks to the image. So I’ll go to Filter, Noise, Add Noise:

Here the Add Noise dialog box comes up. For this image I’ll set the Amount to 100, Distribution to Gaussian, and it’s very important to check the Monochromatic box at the bottom. If I didn’t, I’d be able to see a lot of colored artifacts in the specks. Check the box on and off to see for yourself. Then click OK:

The next thing I want to do is blur the specks. I’ll go to Filter, Blur, Blur More:

There are too many specks. To get rid of some of them I’ll go to Image, Adjustments, Levels:

Here the Levels dialog box comes up. These are the settings I used. Then I’ll click OK:

To get rid of the black and only leave the white specks, I’ll go to the layers palette and look at the area where it says “Normal”. This will bring up the blending modes. I’ll click on the “Screen” mode:

Here is what the photo looks like so far:

Now it’s time to add some motion to the snow to make it look more realistic. I’ll go to Filter, Blur, Motion Blur:

The Motion Blur dialog box will open up. I’ll set the Angle to -65 and the Distance to 7. Then I’ll click OK:

The next thing I’ll do is make a duplicate layer. I’ll go to, Layer, Duplicate Layer. When the dialog box comes up I’ll click OK:



The next thing I’ll do is make the snow look like it’s falling downward. I’ll go to Edit, Transform, Rotate 180°:

Then I’ll go to Edit, Free Transform:

When I’m in Free Transform, I’ll go to the top tool bar and click on the lock to maintain the aspect ratio. I’ll make the Width 200% and the Height will follow at 200% because I clicked the lock. I’ll click on the check to accept the transform:

Here is the photo and palettes at this point. Almost finished:

The next thing I’ll do is go to Filter, Pixelate, Crystallize. This will make some of the snowflakes bigger than others, for a more realistic look:

The Crystallize dialog box will come up. I’ll make the Cell Size 16. Then I’ll click OK:

The next thing I’ll do is take the eraser tool at a low opacity and clear away some of the snow around the deer face and a little at the bottom of the photo:

When I clean up with the eraser tool, I go from “Layer 1 copy” to “Layer 1″, because they both have snow. Here is what the Layers Palette should look like:

The last thing I’ll do is blur the “Layer 1 copy” just one more time. I’ll keep the same setting as before, when the Motion Blur dialog box comes up. Then I’ll click OK:



Here is the before and after:


How to Make Easy Decorative Frames Using Photoshop

Above is the result of this tutorial.

Here I have an image of a young girl enjoying a snow day. I’d like to put a decorative frame around it to make it more interesting. Maybe make a holiday card out of the photograph.

The first thing I’ll do is use the crop tool:

I’ll select the whole image with the crop tool:

Then I’ll hold down the ALT key and drag the crop outside the image. First on the top of the image, then on the side of the image:

Here is what it looks like before I click the check box on the options bar:

Now the image has a white frame around it. To make it more interesting, I’ll make the frame black. To do this, I’ll use the paint bucket. I’ll make sure the foreground in the color picker is black. Then I’ll click once with the paint bucket on the white frame to fill it:

Next, I’ll use a snow flake paint brush to make the black frame decorative:

I’ll use the bracket keys on my keyboard to make the snow flake brush the right size for the frame. I can choose any color I want from the color picker. I think I’ll make the snow flake white. I’ll just hit the “X” key on my keyboard to switch the black foreground to white:

Here’s the finished image. I used five different snow flake brushes from a set of 27, which I’ll give you to download at the end of this tutorial. I overlapped some of them into the photograph, and some I kept in the black frame:

This tutorial is very easy, made for beginners. There are no layers or masks. Just remember, NEVER work on an original photograph. Make a copy first. Then you can play all you want without the worry of destroying your original.

Here are the snow flake brushes to download.

Have fun!