Marvel at this
Use Smart Filters and layers to create a unique comic book look
01 Smoothly does it
Open comic_start.jpg. Click on the Background layer. Pick Layer>Duplicate Layer. Click OK. Go to Filter>Convert for Smart Filters. Click OK. Go to Filter>Noise>Median. Set Radius to 2. Click OK. Go to Filter>Blur>Surface Blur. Set Radius to 23 and Threshold to 15 to smooth the skin. Click OK.
02 Switch to paint
Go to Filter>Filter Gallery. Click on Paint Daubs. Set Brush Size to 8 and Sharpness to 3. Set Brush Type to Simple. Click the New effect layer icon at the bottom-right. Click the Accented Edges thumbnail. Set Edge Width to 3. Drop Edge Brightness to 14. Push Smoothness up to 15. Click OK.
03 Stamp it out
Click on the Background Copy thumbnail at the top of the Layers panel to target it. Press Shift+Cmd+Alt+E (or Shift+ Ctrl+Alt+E on a PC). This Stamp Visible command creates a flat layer (Layer 1) with the combined look of all the layers and filters below. Go to Filter>Convert for Smart Filters.
04 Focus on the edges
Go to Filter>Filter Gallery. Click on the Accented Edges effect layer, then on the Trashcan to delete it. Click on the Paint Daubs effect layer and replace it by clicking on the Poster Edges thumbnail. Set Edge Thickness to 2, Edge Intensity to 2, and Posterization to 5 to add edge lines.
05 Make things simple
Click on the New effect layer icon. Click on the Diffuse Glow thumbnail. Set the Graininess slider to 0, Glow Amount to 5 and Clear Amount to 19. Click again on the New effect layer icon. Click on the Cutout filter’s thumbnail. Set Number of Levels to 4, Edge Simplicity to 3 and Fidelity to 1. Click OK.
06 Rearrange the filters
Pick Filter>Blur>Surface Blur. Set Radius to 8 and Threshold to 13 to create a simplified version of the subject’s features. Click OK. Drag the Surface Blur label below the Filter Gallery label to create a smoother version of the original photo. It also blurs out many of the finer illustration lines.
07 Perfect blend
Most Photoshop users will recognise the handiwork of the Cutout filter so, to blend this filtered layer with the filters on the lower layer, set Layer 1’s blending mode to Color Dodge. For a more subtle blend, set Layer 1’s Opacity slider to 49. Now the Cutout effect blends more subtly with the other filters, creating a more illustrated look.
08 Go dotty
Click on Layer 1. Perform the Stamp Visible command. Go to Filter>Filter Gallery. Choose Halftone Pattern, and set the Pattern Type to Dot. Set Size to 4 and Contrast to 17. Click OK. To combine the dots you’ve just made with the colours from the layer below, set Layer 2’s blending mode to Overlay. Set Opacity to 71%.
09 Just add watercolour
Go to Layer>New>Layer. Click OK. Drag transparent Layer 3 below the ink dot layer (Layer 2). Grab the Brush tool. In the Brush Preset picker, choose the Water Color Light Opacity tip. Set Opacity to 45. Set Size to 400. Spray a blue foreground colour onto the white background. The colours will be stronger where the strokes overlap.
10 He speaks!
Select the Custom Shape tool. Select the speech bubble from the Custom Shape picker. Set the Fill option to white. Set Stroke to black. Set Stroke Width to 90. Set font size to 41. Draw a speech bubble. Create a new layer. Select the Horizontal Type tool. Choose the Lithos Pro Regular font. Type some text to personalise your comic book image.