I have been using Adobe Photoshop for the last 12 years. Starting with Photoshop CS (creative suite), I am now using Photoshop CC. I used Photoshop mainly for layout and retouching, but what inspired me to learn more about Photoshop was digital photo manipulation. I have swapped heads, removed people, removed objects, and even digitally painted pedicure and manicure. One thing I have not attempted until now was Photoshop caricatures. I always had a rough idea of the technique and tools involved but never really put much thought and apply what I know.
I was curious one day and decided to look up Photoshop caricatures on YouTube. One of the videos that I came across was very easy to follow without narration. You can view the video below or keep on reading for a quick summary.
Photoshop Caricature Quick Tutorial
1.) You can Photoshop any resolution photo into a cool caricatures. However, the higher the quality the better… as there will be some warping and liquifying which may cause pixel degradation. I select a photo of our friends from one of our BoxeeBox Photo Booth events. This photo was 240 pixel per inch so it was more than enough to start the Photoshop caricatures process.
2.) The next step is to extract/cut out your subjects from the background. You can use any extraction method that you are comfortable with. I used a combination of quick selection, layer mask, and refine mask which worked quite well for hair selection. Fill a background layer with a color that helps you check for cut out edges of your subject. Clean up any jagged edge.
3.) Once you have refined your cutout, it is time to remove the head(s). Make a selection around the head and press Command + Shift + J (new layer via cut). Usually with caricatures, the head would be tremendously larger than the body. At this point, you want to enlarge the heads and shrink the bodies. Size them to taste (there is no right or wrong way).
4.) Now that you have the heads and bodies roughly where you want, it is time to use Photoshop’s Liquify filter. Click here to learn how to use the liquify tool. You can use the push, bloat, and shrink tool to be as creative as you want. You want to exaggerate some facial features to give it that signature caricature look. There is no right or wrong way, just have some fun. Just keep in mind that if you push too far, you might see the apparent smudged and stretched pixels. You still want to retain some “photorealism”. Once you have the edit looking the way you want, it’s time to blend the neck, hair, and other features with the body. Use layer masking to erase what you don’t need and use warp transform to align the areas you wish to connect.
5.) To tie up some loose ends, I added a radial gradient, adjust brightness/contrast, and HSL. It’s best to sharpen your Photoshop caricatures. I sharpened especially the eyes and hair. You can add extra clarity and sharpening using High Pass to give it a more gritty look. Below is the final image which took less than 30 mins to complete.