How To Make Your Pictures Look Like Comic Book / Graphic Novel Art With GIMP ver. 3

As I stated in a previous article, I have been all over the web trying to find a way in which a no-talent-hack, such as myself, could possibly create any semblance of what one could call ‘art.’   As a firm believer in Open Source Software, I wanted to find a way (preferably a good way), to create the comic book/graphic novel look I wanted with my photos.  I wanted to find a fast and easy method of reproducing the same overall end effect.  This is yet another simple formula I use. (see also ver. 1 and ver. 2)

  1. Download GIMP (Windows .exe, and source available on site.  Also available through your Linux package manager.)
  2. Install GIMP (via Windows .exe, per install instructions in the source archive, or via your Linux package manager.)
  3. Choose the photograph you are wanting to use.  It is best to use a high resolution photograph (at least 1024×768, at least 300dpi).  The photograph used in this example (of a Sikh pilgrim at the Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar, India) was 3,008 × 2,000, however it has been scaled down for display purposes.
  4. Auto adjusting the color levels will usually help the overall quality of the end result.  (Colors->Levels->Auto->OK)
    (See previous for illustration of this step)
  5. Duplicate the current layer. (Layer->Duplicate Layer)
    (See previous for illustration of this step)
  6. Apply ‘Edge’ filter to the ‘Background copy’ layer. (Filters->Edge Detect->Edge)
    Filters->Edge-Detect->Edge

    Filters->Edge-Detect->Edge

    You can keep the default settings, as is, in the ‘Edge’ settings dialog window.  You will get the following result.

    Edge Detection Settings

    Edge Detection Settings

    Edge-Detect Result

    Edge-Detect Result

  7. We want the outlines created by the previous process to be dark as opposed to its current light state.  To accomplish this we will invert the colors. (Colors->Invert)
    Colors->Invert

    Colors->Invert

    After the color inversion, you will get the following result.

    Colors->Invert Result

    Colors->Invert Result

  8. At this point in the process the bulk of the preparation is complete.   Although the resulting images are all quite similar, selecting each of the different Layer Modes will produce a varied outcome.  A few examples are shown below.
    Layers Mode = Normal

    Layers Mode = Normal

    Layers Mode = Multiply Result

    Layers Mode = Multiply Result

    Layers Mode = Overlay Result

    Layers Mode = Overlay Result

    Layers Mode = Burn Result

    Layers Mode = Burn Result

    Layers Mode = Soft Light Result

    Layers Mode = Soft Light Result

    Layers Mode = Grain Merge Result

    Layers Mode = Grain Merge Result

    Layers Mode = Darken Only Result

    Layers Mode = Darken Only Result

    Layers Mode = Value Result

    Layers Mode = Value Result

Please leave comments and suggestions for future topics!

9 comments for “How To Make Your Pictures Look Like Comic Book / Graphic Novel Art With GIMP ver. 3

  1. KonstantinMiller
    July 25, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Hi. I like the way you write. Will you post some more articles?

    • matt
      July 26, 2009 at 12:02 am

      Thanks a lot! … and sure I’ll write more articles…what would you like to read about? Drop some suggestions for topics and I’ll do my best to cover them

      Thanks again for your interest!

      matt

  2. Katy
    July 25, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    Cool post, just subscribed.

  3. Katy
    July 25, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Loved your latest post, by the way.

  4. Katy
    July 25, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    Pretty good post. I just found your blog and wanted to say that I have really liked browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon!

    • matt
      July 25, 2009 at 12:05 pm

      Thanks for your kind words, and feel free to suggest topics for future discussion or tutorials that you’d like to see added.

      Thanks again!

      matt

  5. Kyle
    November 14, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Read all three articles, which are great btw, and after experimenting for a bit, you can get really sharp looking ‘drawings’ by duplicating the layer, setting the layers mode to Color and posterize the bottom layer.

    As an example,
    original– http://​commons​.wikimedia​.org/​w​i​k​i​/​F​i​l​e​:​S​T​S​-​1​2​5​_​A​t​l​a​n​t​i​s​_​L​i​f​t​o​f​f​_​0​2​.​jpg
    comicize– http://​yfrog​.com/​4​v​s​t​s​1​2​5​a​t​l​a​n​t​i​s​l​i​f​t​o​f​f​02p

    You can also do a laplace edge detection then threshold that then color to alpha to get some ‘inking’ (I did in the above pic) but its not entirely need.

    Anyway, so long and thanks for all the fish!

    • November 14, 2009 at 5:38 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to read them and post other ideas with examples!

      ~matt

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