Create a Comic Art Style Photo Manipulation in Photoshop

  • Tutorial details

    Photoshop CS
    1-2 hours

Here is a rather quick tutorial on how you can create a very nifty comic art style photo manipulation in Adobe Photoshop. We will show you all steps you need to know in order to create cool comic book styled art pieces out of your photographs!

The unique style of comics is in my opinion pretty amazing. The clear edges mixed with vibrant colorizing or crisp contrast gives comic books its classic look. In this tutorial I will show you how you can use simple techniques in Photoshop to create a similar effect with your photographs; without drawing a single stroke of ink.

Step 1

In this tutorial we are going to use Ninja Assasin asin stock photo by arya-poenya-stock. So go ahead and download it if you want to follow along in this tutorial.

Open up the photo in Photoshop.

Step 2

Add a new Levels Adjustment Layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels).

Step 3

Add a new Threshold Adjustment Layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Threshold).

Step 4

Now to extract the ninja from the white background – Go to your Channels (Window > Channels). Click the Load Channel as Selection button. Then invert the selection.

Step 5

Create a new Layer. Fill it with black, then right-click it and click Duplicate. Move it to a new document.

Step 6

Create a white fill layer (Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color) and place it in the bottom, then extend the width of the canvas a bit (Image > Canvas Size).

Step 7

Select the Ninja layer and use the Pecil Tool set to 1px and fill in the edge of the sword. It can also be helpful to use the Eraser Tool to round the edges.

Step 8

Download some paper texture, you can do that over at CG Textures (free membership required) or use Google to find it somewhere else. Place the texture in your PSD-document. Use the Free Transform Tool to stretch the texture so that it covers the whole canvas. Place the layer below your ink.

Step 9

Set the Opacity of the Paper Texture layer to about 50%. Open up the paper texture on a new document. Adjust the image’s curves (Image > Adjustments > Curves). Save the file as a PSD-document.

Step 10

Go back to your final composition document and activate the Ninja/ink layer. Go to Filter > Distort > Displace. Use the same settings as we used below. When you click OK, a browser window will appear. Use this browser window to navigate to the paper texture document. This will use the paper texture to distort your ink.

Step 11

Duplicate the Paper Texture layer, place it on top of everything. Set the Blending Mode of the layer to Screen and lower to Opacity to about 10%.

Name the layer PT-Screen, duplicate it and name the duplicate PT-Vivid Light. Set the Blending Mode of PT-Vivid Light to Vivid Light (duh) and lower its Opacity to about 5%

Step 12

Now download the Helena Cathedral 16 stock photo from Falln-Stock. Open it up in Photoshop (new document). Use Threshold to create the ink effect (Image > Adjustments > Threshold).

Step 13

Repeat the steps 4-5 to extract the ink from its white background. Paste the ink in your final composition document (name it Cathedral).

Step 14

Use the Free Transform Tool to adjust the perspective a bit so that it fits the image; it will not look perfect as the pictures are taken from 2 different angles, but ignore that for now.

Step 15

Repeat the Displace filter for the Cathedral layer, using the same paper texture as before (Ctrl + F).

Step 16

Ctrl + Click the layer icon for the Ninja layer to load a selection. Go to Select > Modify > Expand. Expand by 15 pixels, invert the selection (Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + I). Activate the Cathedral layer and click the Add New Layer Mask icon.

Step 17

Click the Layer Mask icon, pick a black color and use a hard brush to fill the face of the Ninja. Clean up eventual dots/noise that exist outside the ninja as well.

Step 18

Double-click the Cathedral layer and apply Color Overlay, use a dark blue (#030612). Then lower the opacity of the layer a bit.

Step 19

Add a Curves Adjustment Layer on the top of your layer stack (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves). Use it to balance the contrast of the image. Doing this will remove some of the paper texture, so go ahead and increase the opacity of the bottom Paper Texture layer. I also added a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer and set the contrast to 7.

Step 20

Stamp Visible (Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + Alt + E). Then go to Filter > Render > Lighting Effects. Pick a Omni Light type and medium settings. Focus the light on the ninja’s face.

Click ok, then lower the opacity of the layer to about 15%. Now the light focus is set on the face of the ninja, pretty cool! For my final composition I filled in the sword a bit, by using the pen tool with the stroke path command.


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PixelTango Original © 2010-09-06 | Usage

About the Author

Mickel is a web creative that is constantly looking for new challenges and ventures.

He is the founder of PixelTango, as well as a interactive web design agency. He also likes to DJ and produce music under the name Allic.

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