Is it easy to convert an image to a cartoon with high quality ? Like this:


I've watched this tutorial : but the quality of the outcome is still far away from the one above.

Is there a way to make a better one (as close as the example above) ?

  • 7
    It's very easy: Hire an illustrator.
    – DA01
    Aug 21 '11 at 1:13

Tracing software may help getting started, but then there's still a lot of illustrating craft there. Photoshop and Gimp does not sound like the right tools for the trade, Illustrator and Inkscape are more like it. IIRC both should have embedded tracers.


If you have Adobe Flash it has Trace tool in it's Menus (Modify -> Bitmap -> Trace Bitmap). Change it's parameters to get the best result. The good thing is despite Adobe Photoshop it will return a vector image. if you need a vector image I think it is the best way.


It's probably not 3D, but I wouldn't really call that "cartoonized" either. It looks like somebody just played around with some artistic filters and maybe some posterization.

If you have photoshop, load a source image and then go to FiltersArtistic and then choose one of the filters. This will launch the filter browser and you can try out different effects.

Some of the filters that will get you partway to your goal:

  • Cutout
    Try with high number of levels, low edge simplicity, high edge fidelity.

  • Dry Brush
    Low brush size, medium-high brush detail, low texture.

  • Palette Knife
    Low stroke size, mid stroke detail, low softness

None of these on their own will get you all the way to a "Cartoon" effect - you would still need to play around with edges and maybe some shading. Maybe this will start you on your way though...


For the image you attached :

i think the example you attached is quite not possible with the help of Photoshop because the given image and the output both way differ to each other so as it seen, there is no role of Gimp or Photoshop.may be it is done by some sort of 3d software

The output may be looks like a 3d anime character which can be made with the help of some 3d character creation software.such as 3D MAX, Autocad, Blender.


The example seems to have an unretouched photo (=nice young lady with a sword) and the wanted result of processing. The right image is not cartoonized, its retouched. No filter or program makes these automatically:

  • skin color has been shifted to be less yellow and more red
  • the background is changed to a less watcher's attention distorting
  • the mouth is painted or copied from elsewhere or warped and color adjusted to reflect more sinister character (see the shadow under)
  • the eyes have got a deeper shadow to look out more threatening
  • the sword hand is hidden - too difficult to rectify the apparent fragility
  • the hair is shortened or tightened to a more combat ready shape

Cartoonize mean to make a photo to be line art or uniformly colored areas or both. There exist cartoonizing filters as plugins and as separate programs, too.

Several websites take your photo, cartoonize it and let you download the result. The small print shows how they are going to utilize your photo and possible sign-in data.

No software is a replacement for proper re-illustration by hand. But sometimes the results are surprisingly good. I have noticed that the main object easily sinks to the exessive richness of the background, if it is not pulled up by reducing the crap or changing the colors.

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