How To Convert A Photo Into A Retro Comic

Final Image Preview:
In this tutorial you will learn how to convert a photo into a retro comic. You can use this technique with your own photos and get surprising results. Even more, you can create entire comics with this.

In this case I use a photo of New York. This photo belongs to Goosehonker-Stock you can see her work in her gallery of Deviant Art. I'll also use Photoshop, but you can do this tutorial in your favorite application (Gimp, Paint Shop Pro...), following similar steps.

Open the photo in Photoshop. Then apply a filter: Artistic/Cutout. With this image, this settings work well: number of levels 5, edge simplicity 2, edge fidelity 1.
But you can choose the settings that you think are best. In this case, I used these.

With this modification, it has lost the appearance of being a photo. To intensify the cartoon effect, we will apply another filter: Artistic/Poster Edges, with the parameters: edge thickness 10, edge intensity 0, posterization 4.

I will also add noise to emulate the texture of paper. Use the filter Noise/Add noise, with these settings: amount 12,5%, distribution uniform, y monocromatic unchecked.
In addition, I also alter the image colors to make it have a more cartoonish color palette. Use the menu Imagen/Adjustments/Hue-Saturation with these settings: hue +33, saturation -13, lightness -4. This is the result:

Now we will make the comic blurb. For that, we will use the elliptical marquee tool, in another layer that we create. And then we use the tool polygonal lasso tool adding to the selection, to draw the pointed triangle of the blurb, as shown in this image:

Fill the selection in white. But it looks better if you use a white with a little of yellow, for example #ECECD0

Once you have the blurb finished, you can use the text tool to write inside it. I used the Comic Sans MS font. You can duplicate the layer that contains the blurb, flip it horizontally (Edit/Transform/Flip horizontal), and add more comic dialogs.

To make the "AAargh!" I used the polygonal lasso tool, and then rotated the pointy blurb and the text together linking the layers.

You can add narration boxes using the rectangular marquee tool and filling it with color. Then add the texts. Remember to link the layers that contain the texts with their blurbs or boxes so you can move them together.

Click the final image to watch it bigger. That's all, you have turned your photo into a retro comic style.

-Emma Alvarez-

© 2008 by Emma Alvarez. Link to this post without copying the text.

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Schwabe said...

Cool stuff!

Greeneyezz said...

Very Cool!

I can think of a few photos I'd like to try this with. *Rubs hands together and smiles evilly*



Emma Alvarez said...

Thank You Schwabe!

Oh Greeneyezz that sounds so funny... LOL!

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