How to create caricatures in Photoshop.

“Cartoon-ify” your portrait photography with these fun editing tips.

Photoshoots can be fun, but editing can be even more fun — especially when you're playing around with portraits and proportions. With these tips for creating caricatures in Adobe Photoshop, you can turn any frown upside down.

How to create a caricature in Photoshop

The fun of caricatures comes from exaggerating already-pronounced features, whether that be a wide smile, a prominent jawline, big ears, or a receding hairline. If your subject is okay with you poking a little fun, choose your image and get to work. One easy way to exaggerate facial features is to simply apply a face-aware Liquify filter. Or experiment further with photo effects like these:

  1. Prepare your portrait. Use the Magic Wand tool to create a cutout layer of your subject. (Or do it faster in just one click with Select Subject.) Use the Curvature Pen tool to outline the facial features you want to play with and use Control + Enter to turn the outline into a selection. Repeat this step for each facial feature you want to exaggerate; Photoshop will save each selection as a separate layer. Be sure to transform each layer into a Smart Object for more flexibility.
  2. Play with the proportions. With the features selected, saved, and transformed to Smart Objects, it's time to distort them. One common technique is to make the head very large. Shrink the body layer with the Free Transform tool to create this effect. Now use the Warp feature to shape the head layer, and then stretch and bend each layer accordingly. Maybe you widen the mouth, enlarge the nose, or sharpen the chin.
  3. Bring it all together. Add a Layer Mask to each feature and use a soft brush with black paint to blend them into a new composition. Now it’s time to unleash the true caricature potential of Photoshop with the Liquify feature, which creates a funnier and more fluid appearance. Merge your layers into a single Smart Object and use Liquify tools like Forward Warp and Bloat to distort those prominent features even more.
  4. Add a background. Add a painterly background with a Layer Mask to make it look more like a painted image.

All in good fun.

Discover more photo editing tips, too. With the right tools and a basic understanding of photo editing, you can have a blast creating your own easy caricatures in Photoshop.