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Turn Any Photo Into A Caricature With Photoshop

Want to learn a fun and easy project you can do in Photoshop? In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to take your own photos and turn them into fun caricature portraits. Learn more about the Liquify Tool and how it can help you distort images for a cool effect. Let’s get started!

Software: Adobe Photoshop CC

Difficulty: Intermediate

Completion Time: 1 hour

Images Used For This Tutorial

Stock Photo - young man smiling

Young man smiling: 42921598 © Edyta Pawlowska

Setup Your Reference

Step 1

Open the reference in Photoshop. Because we’ll be making the head bigger we need more room at the top of the reference. So go to Image > Canvas Size > and change the Height to 13 inches. This will add more length to the top and bottom of the image.

Step 2

Use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to make a selection around the head. When you’re finished, copy and paste the head onto a new layer.

Exaggerate the Features

Step 3

Hit Control-T to Free Transform the head, and resize it so that it’s much bigger. Try to cover the neck entirely if you can. You can also rotate the head for added character.

Step 4

Now let’s exaggerate the facial features! With the head layer selected, go to Filter > Liquify and use the Bloat Tool (B) to bulge the eyes.

Create more symmetry in the face by using the Bloat Tool (B) again to make the ears larger. Then use the Forward Warp Tool (W) to stretch the corners of the cheeks and mouth to make the smile wider. Feel free to exaggerate the face more if you’d like.

Step 5

Use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to roughly outline and manually select your subject in order to extract it from the background. Right-click to select Inverse then hit delete.

Remove the rest of those outer edges by using the Magic Wand Tool (W) to select them, then hit delete again until you’ve got a nice clean edge. After, use the Crop Tool (C) to crop the image.

Create the Background

Step 6

Use the Paint Bucket Tool (G) to fill a layer behind the caricature with a dark gray color for the background.

Then right-click the background layer to go to Blending Options. Select Gradient Overlay and add a White to transparent Gradient Overlay with the following settings: Style Radial, Opacity 64%, and Scale to 115%.


When you’re finished the background should look like this.

Step 7

To make the bow tie bigger, follow the same steps from before when we enlarged the head. Select the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) and trace a selection around the bow tie. Copy and paste the tie onto a new layer and resize it to make it larger with the Free Transform Tool (Control-T).

Final Adjustments

Step 8

On a new layer set to Soft Light, use the Gradient Tool (G) to create a black to transparent reflected gradient for a nice vignette effect. On that same layer, use the Brush Tool (B) to paint soft black shadows on the right shoulder to represent the shadow of the large head.

Step 9

On a new layer set to Overlay, paint bright white highlights to the tie, hair, and teeth using the Brush Tool (B).

Step 10

Finish things up by adding a new adjustment layer for Curves. Go to Image > New Adjustment Layer > Curves. Tweak the curves for the RGB, Blue, and Red channels to make the image more blue.


You just learned how to create this cool caricature effect easily in Photoshop. So now, have fun impressing all your friends or playing around with their pictures. If you enjoyed this, do leave us a comment below!

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