Using Photoshop to Turn a Photo to a Sketch

Using Photoshop to create a photo sketch is a simple project that can be done in a short amount of time. In Photoshop, the sketch effect gives the image the appearance of a hand sketched pencil drawing. This is a great effect to use on images of people and animals. The sketch effect can be left in black and white to resemble a graphite drawing or in color to create the illusion of a color pencil sketch. Other techniques such as fading can be used along with the sketch effect to isolate a single subject in the photo. This tutorial will teach you the simplest way to create a color sketch of an image.

Materials Needed

  • Photo image files
  • Photoshop software

Step 1: Create a Desaturate Layer

Open your image in Photoshop and duplicate to create a new layer. Save this layer as 1. Next, to desaturate the layer, you will remove all color from the image. You can remove the color by pressing Shift+ Ctrl+ U all at the same time. Once the color is removed from the layer, save the changes as 2. While still on the layer title 2, go to Filter>Blur> Smart Blur. In the pop up window, adjust the settings for the Radius to 60, the Threshold to 100 and select Best Quality and Edge only. Click OK when done and invert the layer. Once the layer is inverted, select Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to 1 and the Blending Mode to Hard Light.

Step 2: Create Embossed Layer 

Make Layer '1' the active layer and duplicate. Name this new layer '3' and place on top of layer '2'. Next, select Stylize>Emboss and adjust the Height to 1 and the Amount to 120%. Set the Blending Mode to Hard Light. Go back to layer '1' and duplicate once again naming the new layer '4'. Place this layer over '3' and select Filters>Blur> Smart Blur using a Radius setting of 10 and a Threshold setting of 100. Still select Best Quality and Edge Only options. Click OK to apply the changes and invert the layer. Once the layer is inverted, set the Blending Mode to Multiply and change the Opacity to 40 percent.

Step 3: Create Glowing Edge Layer

Duplicate layer '1' once again and rename as layer '5'. Place this layer above layer '4' and apply the Glowing Edge effect by selecting Filter>Styling>Glowing Edges. Set the width to 1, the edge brightness to 7, and the smoothness to '6'. Invert the layer and use the same settings for the Blending Mode and Opacity in the previous step. To create shading, duplicate the current layer and apply the Gaussian Blur Filter. Set the radius on this level 4 and use the same Blending Mode and Opacity as before.

Step 4: Adding Color

Open your original image and duplicate. Place this new layer on top of all the other layers. Now, adjust the Blending Mode to Hard Light. Once this is done, duplicate this layer and set its Blending Mode to Color. Preview your finished image and merge all layers. Save the file and you are done.

Popular P&S Cameras for High Quality Photos: