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Cartoon-like/Painted Backgrounds

Author: serpentis

Tools Needed

  • Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro (or equivalant) and photographs


This is just one of the ways you can make easy backgrounds for your painted or cartoon-like images. Of course, this isn't perfect and probably isn't even one of the easiest ways. ;) It's just the way that I do things.


Step 1 - Let's start


Open your background image in Photoshop. I chose an outdoor, foresty-type image. Of course this will work with varying outcomes with almost any background image you choose.

Step 2 - Let's duplicate

Duplicate the background layer.


On the duplicate layer, go to Filter/Stylize/Find Edges. There are no options to set, this just find's the edges for us.

Change the duplicate layer's blend mode to overlay.



Step 3 - Brightness and saturation


Now we want to desaturate the duplicate layer. The colors just aren't right for what we're going for.


Next, go to Image/Adjust/Brightness and Contrast. These are just the settings I used, yours may be different depending on the look you're going for.


Step 4 - Opaque or Not Opaque...

The image still looks a bit harsh, so I changed the layers Opacity to 80%. This helps soften the duplicate layer's effects a bit.


Step 5 - Another Layer


Now duplicate the original background layer again and do Filter/Blur/Gaussian Blur set to about 4.4 (will vary depending on your image size and detail.)


Set the layer opacity to 70%


Step 6 - Stroked...

Still on the last duplicated layer, let's go to Filter/Brush Strokes/Angled Strokes. This adds a slightly more painted effect.



Step 7 - Fiiiiinally...

Finally, and optionally, you may wish to change the color balance of one of the layers. I chose mine on the same layer we've been working on, for other images you may chose to do the original background layer.

I like to use the Color Balance (Image/Adjust/Color Balance) it gives me more control.


And this is what the final image looks like all together.