How to Cartoonize An Image For Use As a Website Avatar

Cartoon Woman

Ever since Disney created his now famous Mickey Mouse and he debuted in “Steamboat Willie”, cartoons and full-length animation have been hugely popular.  Cartoons and comics became even more popular and household names with the introduction of Marvel comics superheroes.  That design effect and popularity has not waned, and currently there is a trend where various website users want to turn a photo  (usually a .jpeg file) of themselves into a cartoonized avatar.

In this Adobe Photoshop tutorial, I guide you through the easy steps to do just that!  This technique can be applied to other photos you may want to give a cartoonized effect and use in other applications or social media.

This is my latest Photoshop tutorial on how to cartoonize an Image in order to use as a website avatar giving it a GTA style look.  Have fun with the technique!




Hi, this is Richard from Rich Media Design Productions. Today we are going to work on making an avatar from a photograph. We have pre-chosen a photograph of Megan Fox who happens to be a pretty good subject.  Okay, we’ll go up to the layers section and as you can see it’s the background layer right now. Go  the top right hand corner and click duplicate layer and select “Duplicate Layer” .  This will create a new layer that we can work with, we don’t want to destroy or augment the original.  That way we can keep the original and create the avatar from the duplicate.

Okay, next step is “Filter” and “Brush Strokes” and then “Accent Edges” and you’ll see that we’ll have Megan Fox, kind of freckled to an extreme.  I think she is already freckled but we don’t want to augment that part further… so here at the right hand top corner here, we have “edge width”.  We want to set that to… that means that the edges are going to be all the way down to the very minimum. And then the “Edge Brightness”, we want to bring it all the way up to the top, to 46.  And the “Smoothness”, all the way up to 15, I think the last preset is 16 and there really is no…Actually it is at the very top 15.


Okay, so we’ll accept that by saying okay, and you’ll see that the duplicate is now quite affected by this filter that we just applied.  The next step is to go back to “Filter” and then go to “Distort” and then select “Diffuse Glow”.  You’ll see that there is a reddish color to this “Diffuse Glow” but don’t get worried if it is a different color for you.  Because it picks up your background color.  And if you have a red background it is going to affect your picture with that color.  So, if you are anticipating a different color and you want to change the background color before you do this step that’s okay. But I’ll show you another trick.  The reason I have red in there, is because I wanted to make certain things a little redder and that way I can affect the picture a little bit better.

So, anyway on the top right hand corner, we’ll have “Graininess” and we want that back down to Zero (0).  We are going to take all that grain off.  If I take it up a little further you are going to see that there is some grain to this photograph and we don’t want that.  We want it very smooth so we take it all the way down to zero.  And you can see that the effect has actually taken place, and “Glow” will be two (2). And that is already set, and the “Clear” amount will be twenty (20) and it will be taken all the way to the right. That seems to be acceptable and that’s your finished avatar actually.


If I take the magnify or demagnify tool, and brought it down to avatar size, I could see what this image is going to look like.  Now, here are some things that you might want to do to this photograph.  And that is to change this color background, so you can go to your “Replace the color” tool which is right on your left hand side.  It’s by your brush tool on one of the pull-down menus.  And this will actually replace colors that you have on your image.

Okay, I want to change this red and I want to go up here and change the size of this brush to let’s say…yay that’s good.  Okay, we use that to change the color to blue.  Okay, now I’m going to go over here to my layer colors.  You have a background here and a foreground there and pick my replace tool.  It’s already been picked and change my brush size to oh, a little smaller than that since I want to go and kind of touch up her lips.  And you can go here and redden her lips.

Now this is you know optional, you don’t have to do what I am doing.  But I’m just showing you how this replace color tool works and how you can actually make it work…to change certain colors or not. I should have left the darkened part of her lip alone, so what I’ll do is go back and undo and erase that.  Okay, so there you are.  I am going to reduce it down so that you can see what the avatar looks like and there you have it.  Good for any website and you can use it as you wish. There’s your avatar, thank you for joining.  If you have any suggestions, of what you would like to see, just drop me a little note and I’ll take a look at it and see if we can do it the next time.

Thank you for joining us and we’ll see you again soon!

About richmediadp

I'm a freelance graphic designer working out of Orange County, CA - USA. I work with small and mid sized companies to develop creative solutions for their design problems from print collateral to online graphics.

Posted on March 21, 2011, in Video Marketing, Video Tutorials and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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