Create an exciting comic out of photos and filter effects. This tutorial will teach you how turn a normal highway photo into an intense action scene.
Comic Book Effect Photoshop Tutorial
Open an image of a city like this one. The original photograph is a photo taken on the highway of Austria during a vacation.
Duplicate the background layer then rename this layer to “Original”. Use the Magic Wand tool to create a selection of the blue sky then press Ctrl+J to duplicate the selected area into a new layer. Name this new layer “Sky”.
Now select the Original layer and put an effect over it called Poster Edges. Take over the number or play with it to try you own style.
Then select the Original layer then choose Filter > Poster edges > 10,10,6. Don’t mind the blue sky area in this layer, we have a clean blue sky in the Sky layer.
See? The Sky layer is above the Original layer so the Original layer has the filter effect.
I want to break up the highway so i need some rocky land with a lot of big stones. I used a photograph from the high mountains in Norway. I took this photo while i was hiking the famous Preikestølen. I took the half of the photograph and copied it to the other side, like a mirror reflection.
I pasted this on a new layer then distorted it (Edit > Transform > Distort) it a little to fit correctly in the perspective of the photograph.
The erase all the unnecessary parts of the rocks. Use the Eraser tool (E).
Choose Filter > Artistic > Cutout. I used these settings, but feel free to use your own.
I also did a little color correction with the Color Balance tool (Image > Adjustments > Color Balance).
Select the Original layer then use the Pen tool (P) to trace some pavement of the highway. Right mouse on your Pen tool path choose ‘Make Selection’.
Cut the selection out and paste it on it’s own layer. Then transform the piece (Edit >Transform > Distort/Perspective) to your own idea. Turn it, Scale it.. then when you are satisfied select the layer of this piece, hold Alt and push arrow Up. Do this maybe a dozen times, till you get a great piece of broken asphalt. When you are satisfied, select all the asphalt layers and merge them together. See example:
Take your Brush tool (B) and draw edges on the piece of asphalt. Use Shift to make straight lines from point to point! Take a dark color, like black or dark grey.
I repeated those steps several times with big and smaller pieces. Play around with it! Make your own creation! And this is the end result of the debris:
I cut out a car from another photograph then pasted this into the project. Give the car the same filter effects (Filter > Artistic > Poster edges) then use the Cutout filter (Filter > Artistic > Cutout) to create a cartoonish look. Play with these settings to your liking. You can find more filters under the Filter > Artistic menu.
Choose Edit > Transform > Distort then manipulate the car so that it fits on the highway lane with the correct perspective.
Don’t forget to use the Warp tool (Edit > Transform > Warp) if needed.
Add a text layer into the project and put in “VRRRROEMM”. Choose Layer > Rasterize > Type then use the Transform tool (Ctrl+T or Edit > Transform) to distort the text to your liking. Go to blending options then choose gradient. (Right click on layer then choose blending options).
You can also do a black stroke around it! Here an example of the output.
I also give the car a little bit more speed by draw a line. Take the brush tool, color white, and draw a line or some lines. Go to blending options and give it a black stroke, 2 or 3px depending on your project scale. For depth do the Alt trick i explained while doing the asphalt debris and text VRRROEEMM.
I putted in another (half) car, to give a bit more action. (copy, paste from another photograph)
Make sure you tick the transform box. Scale the car to -100.
Then place the car next to the big traffic sign. Give the car also the filter effects Poster edges and then the effect Cutout, to create the cartoonish look.
I used a fire picture i took from our fireplace to use it in this project. (copy, paste from another photograph)
I cut it out then applyed the Cutout effect. (Filter > Artistic > Cutout)
Take this layer and put it over the traffic sign. Then use the Eraser tool(E) to delete part that not belong there. Use Shift in combination with the Eraser tool to erase straight parts!
Next, create with the Pen tool (P) an exploding flash. Draw straight lines in combination with Shift.
Right click on the pen tool path then choose “make selection”. Fill it with white, use the paint bucket tool (G).
Give the exploding flash these blending settings to make it more alive. Also give it a stroke, black, around 4-5px.
Now we are going to create some smoke. Make a new layer then select an area around the exploding car. Choose Filter > Render > Clouds. Put this layer under the exploding flash layer.
Apply the Cutout effect to this layer.
Gently erase needless parts of this smoke layer.
To create depth, erase all the smoke that is in front of the traffic sign.
Another car, a police car! I added another car. To get more action! To make it a police car, draw the siren light on top of the roof. Select the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M) and select an orb type of selection. Fill this with a blue using the Paint bucket tool (G).
Also do this with the red light. I added a little small white line to both of the lights, to create a reflection. Then make some lines with the Brush tool (B), and Blur(R) or Smudge(R) this out to create a light effect.
Here you see the effect with Smudge(R) :
Give the car also the filter effects Poster edges and then the effect Cutout, to create the cartoonish look. I gave the police car a darker black look to make it more cartoon realistic. Here you see the final effect :
Now add some loud siren text effects, like we did before.
Make a new text layer. Type ‘TETUU’or similar and rasterize this layer. (Layer > Rasterize > Type). Hold Alt and push Left several times, to create the 3D effect. Merge these layers together. Also give this text a gradient layer we used before in the blending options.
Then you can add some shouting background. Use the Pen tool (P) to create the path. Hold Shift to create straight lines. Then make a selection out of it and give it a gradient look we used before.
Now we are going to change the traffic direction signs. Select the Original layer and select out the traffic direction sign. Then make your own text. I did this:
Also i did this with the other traffic direction sign. To give the broken highway more sense i added a ‘man at work’ sign at the bottom of the project.
I also added a police helicopter. This one i photographed in Austria when i was on holiday. I gave the helicopter the known Poster edges and Cutout filter effects. And i added some text to this layer. And Warp this text a little bit down. (Edit > Transform > Warp) To give the helicopter some speed i took the Brush tool (B) and the color white. Around 10px is ok. I did not take a regular brush, but i is fine to do so.
Take the Smudge tool (R) and smudge this out to create a light smoke:
To finish of this cartoon i created an earlier happening. I created a new layer with a background in it. This background is photograph from the city Stavanger in Norway, beautiful don’t you think?
I gave this street also these filter effects :
Then i added some people in it. The ‘Bad guys’ !! Also the Poster edges and Cutout filter are added on them. I duplicated the car we already have been using, and flipped it horizontal. Then i select the part that falls outside of the small scene section and deleted that part.
The ‘Bad guy’ had something in his hands. I wrote a $ on it with the brush tool. Then i blurred it a little bit with the Blur tool(R).
Now we’re going to draw some text balloons. For every written text en text balloons, i used separated layers. Use the Pen tool (P) to draw the outlines and hold Shift to create straight lines. Make selection out of it. (Remember? Right mouse on path and select ‘make selection’). Then stroke this selection. (Edit->Stroke) Choose size 5 and color black and click ok. Deselect it and fill it with the color white using the Paint bucket tool(G).
Then create a text layer and add some text to it. I also created an ‘Earlier that day’ text field in the same way :
Create another new layer and repeat step 17 to create the text balloon for the helicopter.
I added some stuff, like tire tracks and some text on the police car. Also i added a ‘Bad guy’ text balloon! And a border around the hole project. Stroke 4px, black. Done! This is the final image! Good luck and have fun!