Topaz Labs Simplify makes cartooning your critter effortless!Cartoon your Critter

Almost everyone has one. Man’s best friend, this may be a dog, cat, or even a lizard. No matter whether they walk, hop, slither, or crawl, one thing is for sure: You love your pet. Now, wouldn’t you enjoying displaying to the world the love for your pet? If flowers, trees, and mountains can be works of art, then so can your pet! Today, we are going to learn how to cartoon your critter, and turn him or her into a work of art that you can be mounted on your wall for years to come!

By using a few of the Topaz Labs plugins, Remask, Simplify, and Impression, we are going to effortlessly cartoon your critter. Don’t own the plugins? We offer 30 day free trials of all of our plugins. No credit cards required! To try Remask, click here. For Simplify, click over here! And for Impression, click right here. Now let’s get to cartooning your critter.

Getting Started

Begin by opening your image in Photoshop by clicking File then Open (cmd/ctrl +O) and then locating your file on your machine.Topaz Labs Simplify: Open your Image


After opening your image, open it in Remask by clicking Filter > Topaz Labs > Remask

After opening Remask, use the blue COMPUTE brush (blue paintbrush) to outline your subject.Topaz Labs Remask: Creating a MaskFill the area you are wanting to cut away using the red CUT tool (red raindrop). Topaz Labs Remask: Using the cut toolAfter you are satisfied with your mask, click COMPUTE MASK.Topaz Labs Remask: Computing your maskTo ensure you are happy with the mask, click the KEEP icon (red apple). HINT: If you are noticing that parts of your pet are missing or you are wanting to cut away more, simply use the CUT or KEEP brush again. Remask will automatically compute to reflect the changing mask.Topaz Labs Remask: Finishing Touches to your MaskClick OK to import your mask back into Photoshop and rename the newly created layer Remask.Topaz Labs: Renaming LayersDuplicate the layer Remask (cmd/ctrl + J) and rename it Simplify.Topaz Labs: Duplicating and Renaming Layers


Open the layer Simplify into Simplify by clicking: Filter > Topaz Labs > Simplify

After opening your file into Simplify, you will see the edges look a little frazzled. Don’t worry! After importing it back into Photoshop, it won’t look like that!Cartoon your Critter: Opening in SimplifyWith the Simplify update, I did something pretty cool. Since Simplify does not currently have the community feature, I had the exact values I used to edit this retriever saved as a preset. Just look for the preset Cartoon my Critter in the Line and Ink Collection. Cartoon my Critter: Choosing a PresetHINT: Viewing the image at 100% will show the most accurate rendering. See the little 25% in the top right hand corner? Change that to 100% to change viewing modes.

Once you’re satisfied with your image, click OK to import it back into Photoshop.Topaz Labs Simplify: Importing your Image back into PhotoshopIf you are striving for a graphic look and completely in love with the image of your critter, skip down to the Adding a Background section. If you’d like a touch of a painterly effect, continue on the Impression section.


Now, let’s add a little bit of a painterly effect on the image of our pet we just created. Click on the layer Simplify and duplicate it (cmd/ctrl + J). Rename the new layer Impression.Topaz Labs Simplify: Duplicate and Rename LayerOpen the layer Impression into Impression by clicking Filter > Topaz Labs > Impression.

We are going to make the image a little softer and add a nice painterly effect to your pet. If you didn’t know, Impression has this awesome capability. It is the Topaz Community. To make cartooning your critter super effortless, I have shared the preset Cartoon your Critter to the Impression community. To find an effect in the community, click the  … (three vertical dots) and choose search.Topaz Labs Impression: Searching the CommunityTyping Cartoon your Critter in the search bar will bring up the preset. 

HINT: If you can’t locate the preset, make sure you are logged into the community and searching the community – not your local machine. Feel free to use the preset as is, adjust it, or start from scratch! Don’t be afraid to get creative. If you don’t like it, Impression has unlimited undo/redo!Topaz Labs Impression: Applying a PresetIf your critter has small features such as scales, you may want more details shown. Just adjust the preset! Reducing smudge, paint opacity, spill, or the overall opacity can help to make small details more prominent.

Adding a Background

Now, to add a background. I want the background to be fairly plain, so it doesn’t take away from our pet. Let’s start off with a textured background. You can find your own, or I have provided a tealmulti-colored, wood grain, and a rust-colored abstract textured background. You can check them out below:

Once you have chosen your background image, place the file in your Photoshop file. I’m going to be using the rust-colored abstract texture.Topaz Labs Simplify: Adding a Background After importing the image, rename the layer Background. HINT: The layers should also be in this order. If they are not, move them around by simply dragging them around to the right spots.Topaz Labs Simplify: Rearranging LayersChances are it won’t fit your canvas size exactly. That is totally ok! Resizing the background is super easy using the Freeform Transform tool. This is found by clicking Edit > Freeform Transform or by using the short key (cmd/ctrl + t). Don’t worry about keeping the background texture from becoming skewed. This background will be abstract, so it wont matter. Here’s the background nicely resized:Topaz Labs Simplify: Resizing BackgroundOnce the background is properly resized, open it in Impression. Just a friendly reminder, to open Impression, click: Filter > Topaz Labs > Impression.

To make life super easy, I also created a preset for the background. Searching Cartoon Your Critter Background in the community, will bring up a preset with the exact settings I used for the background! If you aren’t wanting such a painterly effect, try change the opacity or add more smudging. Maybe you were wanting something even more painterly? Add larger brush strokes. Go crazy!Topaz Labs Impression: Searching the CommunityOnce you are satisfied, click OK in the bottom right-hand corner to import your texture back into Photoshop.

Saving Your Work

Save your image by clicking File > Save As.. choose JPEG.  After choosing JPEG, there will be some options to choose. Choosing the same options I chose will ensure better printing quality.
Topaz Labs Simplify: Saving your Work
Here is the final result:Topaz Labs Simplify can make creating your pet into art effortless!

Printing Your Work

Finally, we have a cartooned critter! You’re going to want to keep this image forever, so let’s print it out! If you are just wanting a small image (8.5 x 11 or smaller) almost all household printers have this capability. If you are wanting a larger piece hanging on your wall, I would suggest having it commercially printed using someone like Vistaprint.

Transferring Your Work

Finally, the last step! Transferring your artwork to canvas or wood/glass, depending on the look you are trying to achieve. I am a visual learner. Thus, watching a tutorial video is much more beneficial than reading instructions. I have found two short tutorials that demonstrates how to transfer your work to canvas or wood/glass. Check them out if you’d like to learn how to easily transfer your work.


Here are some images made with the same process! They took me maybe 5 minutes to create.Cartoon your Critter: Mule Deer Before and After!Topaz Labs Simplify: Cartoon your Critter! Topaz Labs Simplify: Cartoon your Critter!

Wrapping It Up

I hope you have enjoyed learning how to cartoon your critter. If you followed this tutorial, please feel free to share your images with us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram and also to see what other Topaz users are creating. We have a great Discussion Forum, a YouTube channel, and free Webinars if you’re interested in learning more about Topaz products!

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