Basic Toon Tutorial - You asked for it!

#1
Basic Toon instructions.

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PLEASE NOTE: These instructions are written for using Photoshop
assuming that you have a basic knowledge of the program.
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The first thing I usually do is make a new layer above the original image and make it white so that I can turn it on or off to see what I am working on.
Turn the new white layer off so that you can see the truck and make a selection around the body of the truck.
You can do this a number of different ways but the best way is to use the "Pen Tool" and then convert the paths to a selection.
After you have made your selection you need to copy the body to the clipboard and then paste it into it's own layer.
It should look something like this:


Once you have the body in its own layer you need to do the same with the wheels (each wheel in it's own layer).


Now the fun starts...

Now you need to transform the body - On the Photoshop Menu, [Edit] [Free Transform] or on a PC use keystroke [CONTROL-T]
You will end up with a bounding box around your body that will look something like this:


Move your mouse over the squares in the bounding box and you will see your cursor change. Clicking and dragging you can change the height or width of the body, but the trick to tweaking it is to hold your [CONTROL] key down. With the control key down when you move your cursor over the boxes it will turn white, when it turns white and you click on any of the little boxes you can distort the shape of the body by moving that point only.


Next you need to distort the wheels to make them appear oversized or in some cases even distort them by slanting them forward or backward slightly.
You use the same technique as above ("Free Transform")
Normally I like to make my toon smaller than the original image and I copy the wheels from the original image, you will notice above that the tires are smaller than you will want them. When using the free transform tool things look OK when you are reducing them in size but when you try to make something larger than the original size you start to lose the crispness of things.


At this point I create a new layer above all other layers. Then turn off all layers except the truck and the wheels (including the white layer and the background). Now from the Photoshop Menu select [Layers] [Merge Visible]. You will now have a layer with just the truck and the wheels on it. Turn this layer off for now (you will use it later).
Now create a new layer under the truck and the wheels layer for your shadow. I usually start at the bottom of the tires and make my selection narrower at the back to give it more of a 3D appearance.


Now fill that selection with Black
NOTE: Make sure it is in it's own layer and it is beneath the body and the wheels layer.


Now you need to use the Guassian Blur filter on the shadow layer, experiment with the settings until it looks right to you.
Your shadow should look something like this when you are finished:


Next you will need to create a layer above the wheels, but below the body. Use the Paint Brush and select a fairly large brush with soft edges and add some shading above the wheels. I use black and then after I have finished I turn the opacity of that layer down until it looks right to me.


Now it starts to get a little trickier...
This is where you use the layer that you created above (the one with the body and the wheels on it). Turn that layer on and use the free transform on it, grab the top center box while in Free "Transform" mode and drag it down until the truck will actually be upside down (see below) This will be the base for your reflection.


You can turn the opacity on the reflection layer down so that it is semi-transparent to give it a more realistic look.


Now you can play with different filters and adjustments to get the right look, every image is different so you will just have to experiment here. On this image I duplicated the body layer and applied a "Motion Blur" to the bottom copy. Then on the top copy I adjusted the Contrast and Brightness just a bit.

Hope this helps!

ADDED
Chuggernaut brought up something that I decided to add (Thanks Bob)...
Adding sparkles or light bursts can really add to an image. I'm not sure how many Photoshop versions back this is the same for but I think it goes back to at least 6.

Make a new layer on top of everything else and then select the brush tool. If you expand the brush pallet to select a different brush you can scroll down and see the brush I usually use (the brush circled below)...


You can see from the image that you can size the brush from here as well (I use white for a paint color). Usually you can choose an area that already has a shiny reflective glare to it and position the brush over it and click once.

Next go to your Layer Styles and select "Outer Glow" In every version of Photoshop as far back as I can remember the default settings seem to work real well.

See the image below how the sparkle gives the wheel that much more detail.


lowdown
 
Last edited:
Nov 25, 2004
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#6
Re: Basic Toon Tutorial - You asked for it!

ive had photoshop CS 8.0 for awhile now and really have no idea how to do things with it , this tutorial was pretty easy to follow.

heres my first attempt (i dont care if its not perfect)

but could one of you explain how to add a background to this ? when I tried to add it to a diff pic there was a big square of white that wouldnt go away :(

also how do you make the work area bigger, as you can see my shadow got cut off :think:

 
Nov 22, 2001
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#7
Re: Basic Toon Tutorial - You asked for it!

Awesome tutorial. Looks like the only things that I was missing were shading the tops of the tires and then adding the reflection.

I take it you add the glare spots where the reflection is brightest?
 
#8
Re: Basic Toon Tutorial - You asked for it!

Chuggernaut said:
Awesome tutorial. Looks like the only things that I was missing were shading the tops of the tires and then adding the reflection.

I take it you add the glare spots where the reflection is brightest?
Thanks for bringing that up Bob,
I have modified the tutorial to give everyone a good idea on how to add the sparkles. (the last 2 steps)

lowdown
 
#9
Re: Basic Toon Tutorial - You asked for it!

99silveradoguy said:
heres my first attempt (i dont care if its not perfect)
Nice work for your first attempt!

99silveradoguy said:
could one of you explain how to add a background to this ? when I tried to add it to a diff pic there was a big square of white that wouldnt go away :(
If you are trying to add your image to a different image for the background, the way I do it is to create a new layer on top of all other layers. Turn your background (or white) layer off so that it is not visible, make the top layer the active layer then on the Photoshop Menu [Layers] [Merge Visible].
Now you have a layer with your toon on it and no background.
Copy this to the clipboard and paste it into your new image.

99silveradoguy said:
also how do you make the work area bigger, as you can see my shadow got cut off :think:
Photoshop Menu [Image] [Resize Canvas]

lowdown
 
Sep 3, 2004
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Gilbert, AZ
#11
Re: Basic Toon Tutorial - You asked for it!

Thanks for taking the time to post this! Here is my first attempt....I used a pic that I got off the site.

Dustin
 
Last edited:
Sep 3, 2004
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Gilbert, AZ
#13
Re: Basic Toon Tutorial - You asked for it!

Renea,

I bought mine....and unfortunately its not cheap. Corel has its version bundeled with Corel Draw 12 for a lot less. It comparable to Adobe Illustrator with Photoshop. Check out ebay.

dustin
 
Sep 3, 2004
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Gilbert, AZ
#20
Re: Basic Toon Tutorial - You asked for it!

hehehe....it made me laugh so I'd thought I would post that one first....just being a :jackass: :)

Here's the real one I did.... kinda hard to make the tahoe look cartoony from that angle. Any side views?