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How To Create Photorealistic Caricatures With Photoshop

caricature

Even if you don’t have much drawing talent, it’s surprisingly easy to create a photorealistic caricature from a photograph with good resolution and a few minutes in Photoshop. Grab an image and get ready to become a caricature artist!

For the record, we’re using pictures of US presidents for our source material, but there’s no reason you can’t make your friends look goofy with this easy technique. A few minutes is all it takes to transform your photos. Give it a shot!

Using the Liquify Tool

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It’s sort of a miracle within the program—the liquify tool is easy to use and allows you to warp images pretty precisely without ruining textures or image quality. Well, without completely ruining it, at least.

Find the Liquify tool by navigating to Filter > Liquify.

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These tools are the ones we’re going to be using today in our video howto. The tools that are probably the most useful are Forward Warp, Pucker, and Bloat. Forward Warp pushes and distorts parts of the image, while Pucker and Bloat shrink and enlarge the areas underneath the brush area. The Reconstruct Tool sort of like an undo brush—it undoes all changed to the image and reverts what you paint back to the original image. Use it to correct the parts that get really weird, and remember you can always use Ctrl + Z to undo.

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This is another key area, where you can adjust your brush size and strength (density and pressure, as they read here). You can safely ignore the rest of the options in the Liquefy tool if you don’t want to delve too deeply into it.

Video: The Liquefy Tool In Action

More Examples Before You Try Your Own

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The results often come out surreal, if not hilarious. Caricature is a little bit about making fun of your subject, so go wild when you do.

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Low resolution images work, too, but aren’t ideal. Try your own pictures—make your own out of your friends and family.


Questions or comments? Can’t get the same result from our method? Have a better method? Think this is a massive waste of time? Tell us about it in the comments, or just email the author at ericgoodnight@gmail.com.

Image Credits: All Images public domain in the United States.

Eric Z Goodnight is an Illustrator and Graphics Geek who hopes to make Photoshop more accessible to How-To Geek readers. When he’s not headbanging to heavy metal or geeking out over manga, he’s often off screen printing T-Shirts.

  • Published 03/9/12

Comments (6)

  1. james clinansmith

    you don’t tell us how to get to the liquify tool with out it i can’t do anything

  2. Eric Z Goodnight

    Fixed.

  3. kenedy123

    Good to know about the How To Create Photorealistic Caricatures With Photoshop.

  4. rajeev

    how do we get the liquify tool? there is no link or download on the page?

  5. Eric Z Goodnight

    It’s built into Photoshop. No download needed. Filters > Liquify.

  6. ginge

    HEY THIS NEAT HERE .BUT ONE THING IM NEW THIS . AN IM CONFUSE HERE ON HOW THIS WORK . COULD U PLEASE HELP TO UNDERSTAND BETTER THANK ./

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