Turn a photo into a comic frame

NOTE: I have used Adobe Photoshop Elements to make this image. If you're using a proper version of Photoshop, things will be slightly different.

In this tutorial I will teach you to take a photo and to turn it into a comic frame. Start off with your photo — I used this one of an SAS guy.

Method 1

SAS assault original

Go Filter>Artistic>Cutout and use these settings:

Comic tut 1

You should have something that looks like this:

Comic tut 2

Next, duplicate the layer and call it 'Lines'. Go Filter>Stylize>Glowing edges and use these settings:

Comic tut 3

Go Image>Adjustments>Inverse (I think this is different in a proper version of photoshop) and Enhance>Adjust Color>Remove Color (again, I think this is different in a proper version of photoshop). Set the layer blend mode to multiply and you should have this:

Comic tutorial 4

Method 2

Duplicate the photo layer. Apply a smart blur (Filter>Blur>Smart Blur) to one and a cutout to the other. Set the cutout layer to Overlay. Merge the layers and go Filter>Artistic>Poster Edges. This method often produces the best results, but in this instance I decided to use the Method 1.


You may just want to leave it at this. However, what will really make your comic frame look good is the detail. I'll take you through what to do to get a result like mine.

The gunshot and laser sight have been all but lost in the process, so to get them back I want to add a lens flare and a red line for the red-dot sight. First, create a new layer and fill it entirely with black. This will be the layer with the lens flare on.

Reduce the opacity so you can see the layers underneath. Draw a little cross in grey where you want the lens flare to be, as shown.

Comic tut 5

Go Filter>Render>Lens Flare and centre the lensflare onto the little grey cross. Adjust the brightness to whatever you want, I used 125. Click OK. Increase the opacity back up to 100% and set the layer blend mode to Screen.

Go Image>Adjustments>Gradient Map. I used these settings:

Comic tut 6

Create a new layer called 'Laser'.Use the line tool to draw a red line like so:

Comic tut 7

Set the layer blennd mode to Screen.

Comic tut 8

Making the frame

This section deals with how to surround the picture with a comic frame.

First, increase the size of the canvas. Go Image>Resize>Canvas Size and enter these values:

Comic tut 9

Next, create a new layer called 'Frame' and select an area around the picture as shown.

Comic tut 10

Fill the selection with black. Go Select>Modify>Contract and use a value of 20-30 pixels, or whatever looks good. Delete.

Comic tut 11.

Use the free transform tool to position the frame how you want it.

Comic tut 12

Create a new layer called 'White bit'. Select an area inside the black box (it doesn't haver to be exact) and invert the slection (Select>Inverse). You should be left with a selection like the one shown:

Comic tut 13

Fill the selection with white. You should have an image like the one shown:

Comic tut 14

NOTE: If you used method 2, you will not have the bottom two layers — they will be one.

If you want some text, create a new layer and call it 'Text'. Write some text and fill it white, like so.

Comic tut 15

Create a new layer just below it. Hold Ctrl and click on the layer 'Text'. Go Select>Modify>Expand and expand it by about 3 pixels. Fill with red. You should have something like this:

SAS finished

Do whatever else you feel would improve the picture. For example, I used the liquify tool (Filter>Distort>Liquify, but I think it is different in the proper version of photoshop) to make the lens flare more gunshot like.
Here is another example. I used method 2 to make it look comic-like:

Comic Blofeld

Any questions, just leave a comment.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks


  1. * v says:

    thanks for this, man, you really helped me out with some poster work. I was wondering if you knew how to create this effect, with the strong outlines and everthing, but with a halftone kind of look? like in old comics, or roy lichtenstein’s work, where the color is made out of dots… i tried halftone, but it just makes the whole thing 2tone color. If you know how to help me, please email me with how, or if you post something here, please email me to let me know. THANKS SO MUCH.

    | Reply Posted 11 years, 4 months ago
    • * Nettie says:

      Now I feel stpiud. That’s cleared it up for me

      | Reply Posted 6 months, 4 weeks ago
  2. * mark says:

    u ded a good job

    | Reply Posted 10 years ago
  3. * Hillari says:

    Big thanx to webmaster!

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 12 months ago

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