photoshop creative

How to paint a portrait from a photo using Photoshop, part 2

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
November 27, 2013

Continued… Here’s how you can manipulate a real portrait photo into an anime-inspired painting with brushes and masks

Painting in Photoshop from a photo

Follow part 1 of this tutorial


The next step is to paint in the details of the fur. Create a new layer just above the Fur layer then select the Hard Round brush tool using the ‘Brush Setting 2’ in step 2 and range the size of the brush from 5px to 1px.


Create a new layer below all the layers, call it ‘Background’, then set the foreground colour to black and background to light blue. Now select the Gradient tool, click and hold the left mouse button on the centre top of the canvas and drag it down to the bottom. For the highlights of the headphone use the ‘Brush Setting 2 or 3’ in step 2.


Edit and adjust the colour of the face by selecting the Edit layer, go to Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation (Ctrl/Cmd+U) and try to adapt its colour to your current scene by. You can also adjust it using Curves – go to Images>Adjustments>Curves.


It’s time to smooth things up. Duplicate the Edit layer and rename it ‘Smooth’. Select the Soft Brush brush tool with ‘Brush Setting 3’ in step 2, then paint over the image. You can get the colour of the original skin by pressing and holding the Alt key while the Brush tool is selected.


Next, duplicate the Smooth layer and name it ‘Hard Shadows’. Use the Hard Round brush tool with ‘Brush Setting 2’ and paint some shadows over the image. We need to sharpen those edges. Painting shadows below the hair is the most important part to adapt the face to the new painted hair.


Now duplicate the Hard Shadows layer and rename it ‘Highlights’. Use the Soft Round brush tool with ‘Brush Setting 3’ and slowly paint some highlights over the face. You can also lower the opacity and flow of the brush to lower its intensity. Detail the mouth and nose by painting hard shadows in on the Hard Shadow layer.


Next, create a new layer then paint more fur with the same procedure and brushes, and go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur to add some depth to the image. Create another new layer and name it ‘Snow’, paint some solid white snow then go to Filter>Blur>Motion Blur.


In this step we are going to make the foreground and background snow layers. The foreground will go above all the layers and the background goes below the Original layer. Make some solid snow then go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur.


Select the Gradient tool then open the Gradient Editor, choose the preset Foreground to Transparent and create new layers for each colour you make. We also need to create a new layer and paint some blue backlights in her face to fit her more on the background.


Lastly, flatten your image by going to Layer>Flatten Image, then to darken the shadows a little go to Image>Adjustments>Levels, and in Input Level increase the black and decrease the white a bit. Notice that we’ve added some hair instead of putting the headphone in the final artwork.

  • Ahmad Hddad

    but could u make video pls

  • Lou Fabs

    Thank you for perhaps the most level headed thing I have read today. I think it could also be useful for everyone to know how and where to merge documents online. So here is my saving grace: AltoMerge helped me to merge and manage files order. Just try it, you’ll love it.