Gimp Tips - Pseudo-Comic Book

Here's a way to make a photograph look kind of like a comic book panel. It doesn't create a real halftone pattern but it gives that kind of look and is easy to do. So easy, in fact, that I have made a script to do it for you. So you can follow the steps below, or just put that script file in share/gimp/2.0/scripts and run Script-Fu|Matt|Pseudo Comic.

  1. boy with blocks Here's the picture I'll be working with.
  2. more vibrant colors Real life is grayer that comic books, so the first thing to do is to turn the saturation up about 50 or 60.
  3. grayscale version of the photo Duplicate the layer and on the new top one do Colors|Desaturate using Luminosity. Duplicate that layer. Now you should have one color layer on bottom and two grayscale layers on top of it.
  4. halftone dots version of the photo On the middle layer do Filters|Distorts|Newsprint. Select CMYK. I prefer to use the "PS Square (Euclidean Dot)" spot function. You can set that on the black tab. Adjust the cell size to get a dot density that you like. Set the oversampling to 4 or 5.
  5. grayer version of halftone pattern Use Colors|Levels and set the output levels to 85 to 171.
  6. dotted grayscale photo Go to the top layer and set its mode to "Hard light". Merge that layer down into the halftoned one.
  7. dotted color picture Set the mode of that newly merged layer to "Soft Ligt" and merge it down. You should now have one layer with a dotted color picture.
  8. dotted picture with border Add a border to make it look like it's off a comic book page. I did Select|All, Select|Shrink (by 5 in this case, but it depends on your image size), Select|Invert, and then bucket filled the selection with black.
  9. comic book panel with text Add text boxes or speech bubbles to really make it look like a comic book.