Turning Photograph Into Cartoon-Style Picture – Part 4 (Coloring)

Part 4 – Coloring


Tutorial Index:


This is the last part of tutorial on turning photograph into cartoon-style picture. (If you haven’t done so, please read the first part, second part, and the third part of the tutorial).

On the third part of the tutorial, we have applied some shading to the cartoon photo. Here’s what we got so far:

what we got so far


By the end of part 4 of the tutorial, we will have something like this as the final result of our cartooning work:

final result


Now begin..



Step 6: Coloring


Our next step is coloring.

For our Rihanna picture, we need to colorize her shirt (tank top?), lips, teeth, eyes, and hair.

Let’s begin.

1. On the Tools Palette, choose ‘Paint Bucket Tool’ paint bucket (or press ‘G’).


default colors2. Press ‘d’ to set the foreground color to black and background color to white.




layers3. On the Layers Palette, select the ‘skin’ layer.





4. Click the ‘Create new fill or adjustment layer’ create new fill or adjustment layer at the bottom of Layers Palette.

On the popup menu, choose ‘Solid Color…’. A ‘Color Picker’ dialog box will be displayed.



pick color for shirt5. On the ‘Color Picker’ dialog box, pick a dark red color. This color will be used for the shirt. (I picked #B24747 for the shirt. You don’t need to be too picky here. We can change the color easily later whenever we want to).

Click OK






6. Now we have something like this.

shirt colored



7. Click on the canvas to fill our shirt’s layer mask with black color.


8. Rename our new layer to ‘shirt’.

And now we have something like this.




layers9. Create a clipping mask between ‘shirt’ layer and ‘skin’ layer. Press Ctrl + G while the ‘shirt’ layer is still selected.





10. Repeat step 4 through step 9 to make layers for the color of lips, eyes, iris, and hair.

By the end of this step, our layers will be like this:




11. Now that we’ve done preparing the layer for each color , we can start coloring each part of the picture.

Let’s start with the hair.

From the ‘Tools Palette’, pick ‘Pencil Tool’ pencil tool (or press ‘B’).


12. On the ‘Layers Palette’, select the ‘hair’ layer.


13. Make sure the foreground color is pure white. (Press ‘X’ if you have to switch foreground and background colors).


14. Start painting the hair. Use a hard brush with the opacity set to 100%. Make sure that you zoom in when coloring, so that it is nice and tidy. (The clipping mask help us a lot here. It won’t let the color run out of border)

coloring the hair



15. Now let’s move on with the next layer, the ‘iris’. On the ‘Layers Palette’, select the ‘iris’ layer. Repeat steps 13 through 14 to paint the iris.

Here’s what we got:

coloring the iris



16. The eyes (the white part of the eyes) and teeth (for they have the same color, which is white)…

coloring the eyes



17. The lips…

coloring the lips



18. shirt…

colring the shirt


changing the color And anytime you feel the need to change a color of any layer, just double click the layer (not the layer mask!) and choose a new color on the Color Picker. Very easy.


That’s all!

We’re done cartooning the photograph.


And here’s our cute cartoon photo of Rihanna:

cartoon photo of rihanna


Tutorial Index:




Oct 2020 at 9:59 pm

This was real easy and helpful!
Thanks guys, i appreciate


Oct 2020 at 9:57 pm

This was real easy and helpful!
Thanks guys


Jul 2020 at 9:05 pm

Please after the number six (6) in the last the number seven (7) in the last tutorial when you said click on the canvas to fill our shirt layers I don’t understand


    Aug 2020 at 9:38 am

    Just click on the canvas.


Jun 2018 at 1:46 am

Good job

sunday samuel

May 2018 at 3:45 am

that’s a good work, i hope to do one too

deus julius

Dec 2017 at 7:13 pm

Hey guys can i get a video clip of the above tutorial?

Charles Eyanronaldo

Nov 2017 at 7:22 pm

Can I also get a good result by creating a path with the pen tool and filling the area with paint bucket tool?


    Dec 2017 at 8:29 am

    Yes, you can do it that way.


Nov 2017 at 12:33 am

its cool but it needs time and patience

Chifine Godwin

Sep 2017 at 7:56 am

I’ve always wondered how people get very realistic cartoons with photoshop. Didn’t know it was this easy. Thanks for this tutorial, you really took your time to do this and I just learned how to cartoon with it. Great work here. Thank you 🙋


Aug 2017 at 6:37 am

Kudos!! Haven’t try it but it was the way I use to do it and I gain another new thing here


Aug 2016 at 6:06 am

Don’t really understand the ctrl G after creating the clipping mask. Kindly explain more.


    Aug 2016 at 11:55 am

    The “ctrl-G” was meant as the shortcut to make a clipping mask (at least, that’s the shortcut in Photoshop CS).
    If you already created the clipping mask, no need to “ctrl-G”. 🙂


Aug 2016 at 10:05 pm

thanks helped so much GOD bless you

Balogun Ismail

Aug 2016 at 9:29 am

thanks… really grateful… my design was great… got it all at once


Jun 2016 at 11:08 am

Am through with all the tactics so how do i combine all the experiments to get my cartoon pix becuase is not showing yet

senior .j.

Jun 2016 at 12:09 am

pls how can i get the pdf file of this tutoria?
And can it also work on photoshop cs6?


May 2016 at 10:59 pm

#Olaniyi, on that of tiny necklace, create new layer or create a new fill adjustment if u wanna change ur necklace colour at any time, then you have to zoom the picture and use pencil tools to draw around the necklace until you point to where you start, hold your Ctrl key + enter this will create a quick selection, now use white brush to paint over it….if the necklace design is too tidy, you can copy the necklace and paste and add a little effect.

on that of wristwatch, it is somehow hard me to paint because of the seconds line, I do mine in a copy and paste way.

above all, let admin come and highlight everything


May 2016 at 9:23 pm

another problem I’m facing is that I can’t paint over eye lens/glass I.e photos with eye shade, which I have seen some people do, with the photos been share here


    May 2016 at 9:31 pm

    Create the eyeglasses layer just like other ‘coloring’ layers.
    Put this layer above the eyes and iris layer.
    Decrease the opacity of the layer to 40% or lower. That will do the trick.


      May 2016 at 9:37 pm

      Thanks it help, another problem am facing is painting of tiny necklace and some wears with designers such as tiny text, small logos etc…whenever I’m painting over this, it is not so realistic to see and read.

      also, painting of wristwatch… when checking the homepage of this site, scroll down and see a photographs with wristwatch, pls how did they paint this to be realistic.


May 2016 at 3:12 am

pick your eraser from the tools preset and erase unwanted part and make sure the outline is selected


    May 2016 at 5:27 am

    I assume this is a respond for Young’s question. Thanks, Sam.

    Yes we can also use the erase tool to clean the unwanted part. Since the blending mode of the outline layer is multiply we won’t see the ‘holes’ made by the eraser tool on the outline layer.


May 2016 at 2:58 am

I have dots in my cartoon photo. how do remove it to have a smoother cartoon photo?


    May 2016 at 5:19 am

    Use pencil tool with white as foreground color to ‘erase’ those black dots from outline layer.

    Zoom-in if necessary while erasing the unwanted black dots.


May 2016 at 11:14 pm

after turning the outline of the photocopy into solid black lines using the threshold, will I still turn the outline of this poster edge into solid lines? also what is the blending mode of poster edges and should it be under the previous outline I.e that of photocopy


    May 2016 at 5:12 am

    Yes, you have to ‘threshold’ the poster edge result.

    So in essence you have two outline layers here. The first outline layer is created using the photocopy filter. The second outline layer is created using poster edge filter.

    Both outline layers have ‘multiply’ blending mode.

    You can put the poster-edge-outline layer on top or below the photocopy-outline layer. It won’t make any difference because the blending mode of both layers are multiply.

    Don’t forget to erase all, except the hair, from the poster-edge-outline layer, and then merge those two layers.


May 2016 at 2:13 am

please, what’s the settings for poster edge in getting realistic hair?


    May 2016 at 6:50 am

    You can try this settings as a starting point:

    – edge thickness: 2
    – edge intensity: 2
    – posterization: 6

    and then don’t forget to turn the outline into solid black lines using threshold.


Apr 2016 at 7:38 am

another main things is realistic cloth painting…anytime I clear outline in some cloth part, it is no more realistic again


    Apr 2016 at 12:04 pm

    Still unrealistic after you put tint and shading to the cloths?


      Apr 2016 at 2:27 pm

      it is realistic but all the logo or text drawn on the shirt will not visible again when I eraze the outline from the part of the cloth


Apr 2016 at 7:29 am

my cartoon is not so shine as I wish…any help


Apr 2016 at 1:26 pm

ok thanks. ain’t gonna give up till i get a better result. thanks so much. might ask some more questions if i get any problems later


Apr 2016 at 6:30 am

great, it worked well for me, but I didnt really get the hair painting to look so real. how do you do it?


    Apr 2016 at 9:05 am

    Use the ‘poster edge’ filter instead of ‘photocopy’ filter.

    Basically here’s how you’d do that:

    1. create the outline layer just like the one mentioned in this tutorial (using photocopy filter).
    2. create another outline layer. this one using poster edge filter.
    3. erase all, except the hair, from the second outline.
    4. merge those two outline layers


      Apr 2016 at 1:03 am

      thanks. you are great. but Im now having problems colouring the skin. Anytime I try to ‘create new filter or adjustment layer’. it creates the layer, then I fill with black colour, add clipping mask but when I add white colour, nothing happens. I noticed that it creates something different from whats in your screenshot after i ‘create new filter or adjustment layer’. what can i do to rectify that?


        Apr 2016 at 3:07 pm

        After adding clipping mask and prior to adding white color, have you told the ants to march around rihanna? (please see step 12: On the ‘Layers Palette’, click on the ‘outline’ layer while holding (pressing) the Ctrl button. This will tell the ants to march around Rihanna. Oops, I mean, this will put a selection mark around Rihanna.)

        Did you see the selection mark around Rihanna on your work?

        If you didn’t see it, then that’s the culprit. 🙂

        On that step 12, click on the layer thumbnail, not on the layer text (the name of the layer).

sam fred

Apr 2016 at 11:49 pm

let have a digital painting tutorial on whatsapp group with 08165969969 check my latest gfx here http://www.facebook.com/samfredix


Feb 2016 at 11:50 pm

pls can you help me with mine?? cos I’m not getting a good result… pls


    Mar 2016 at 8:43 am

    Just don’t give up. Practice makes perfect 🙂


Feb 2016 at 5:14 pm

If I follow your steps I don’t get the actual results as yours and by the which Photoshop version are you using.
mine is Photoshop cs 4.
please help me do it!
thanks! thank!!


Feb 2016 at 5:13 pm

If I follow your steps I don’t get the actual results as yours and by the which Photoshop version are you using.
mine is Photoshop cs 4.
please help me do it!


    Feb 2016 at 4:40 pm

    We used Adobe Photoshop CS for this tutorial.


Feb 2016 at 9:53 pm

Wow!!!, Great Work, Av make mine nd was really MUAH!!!!!

Osinlami Bidemi

Dec 2015 at 11:11 pm

You have a great job here, WELDONE.

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