Photoshop Tutorial: Create a Cute Cartoon Beast

In this Tutorial I'll show you how to create a neat cartoon scene in Photoshop. Our scene will contain 2 characters: a cute beast and an angry toy.
You'll only need 1 start image and Photoshop software for this image. This is a more advanced tutorial, so basic knowledge of Photoshop is required.
You can download the source image in high resolution here: cool toy source image

I'll explain things like:
- How to do shadows in simple way.
- How to create a night scene with a lighting effects.
- How to paint a simple forms of trees and bushes on the background.
- Learn how to create two characters with only a single image.
- and many many more...

Let's start! Good Luck!

End result:
Create a Cute Cartoon Beast Final Image

avatar Siminho90

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Score: 8.5 / 10
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Practice tutorial


Step 1

open your Photoshop and create a New Document (Ctrl+N).
I used these resolutions for my entry:

Name: Enemy my Friend
Width: 2953 pixels
Height: 1810 pixels
Resolution: 300 pixels/inch

Step 2

If you'll have an order you need to click on this "new group" symbol below.
Create 3 Groups (Name these groups: Background, Friend and Monster/Beast) for example.
Start adding new layers there.

Step 3

Create a Background Layer in the "Background" Group.

For this step you'll need a Gradient Tool (G).
Go to Radial Gradient and change the Colors to Blue and Black.
Gradient Tool (G) -> Gradient Editor -> Blue-black Colors.
Name new Layer "Background".

Step 4

Remain in the "Background" group.

Select the Background Layer and go to Image -> Adjustments -> Vibrance.
There change Vibrance to +30 and Saturation to +100.
You'll get this result.

Step 5

How to create clouds.

Go to Filter -> Render -> Clouds. (Colors: Black and White) in the new layer.
Name this Layer "Clouds" and change Blend Mode to Soft Light.
Duplicate this Layer one time (Ctrl+J) and go to Filter -> Liquify (Shift+Ctrl+X).
Use the Forward Warp Tool (W) (Brush size: 500 Pixels) on the Clouds.
View the end result on the image below.

Step 6

Create a Floor.

You'll need a new layer (Ctrl+Shift+N), call this layer "Floor".
Create a rectangle with a Rounded Rectangle Tool (U) (Color: Black).
Do this like in the image below.

Step 7

How to create the Bushes.

Use Smudge Tool (Hardness: 30%, Strenght: 80%) on the Floor layer.
Go to position -> Left click on the Floor -> Pull the mouse upwards -> Repeat this step more times.
You'll create bushes in this way.

Step 8

Open the "Toy" Image in your Photoshop. (Ctrl+O)
When you'll open it, go to Image -> Adjustments -> Curves (Ctrl+M) and change the curves like this in the image below.
Cut out (Ctrl+C) -> Go to your document -> Import (Ctrl+V).
Use Pen Tool to cut out.
Pen Tool -> Right Click -> Make selection -> Ctrl+C.

Step 9

Create texture for more dateils on the Floor.

Select the Red Selected Piece on the image with Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) copy and paste it. (Ctrl+C -> Ctrl+V)
Transform this piece by pressing (Ctrl+T).
Increase this piece now.
Change the Blend Mode to Luminosity finally.

Step 10

Some corrections with the Floor.

Erase a little bit the floor texture with the Eraser Tool (U) on the shown positions. (Hardness: 0% , Opacity: 50%)

Step 11

It's time to create a cool character.
Start this step in the "Friend" Group.

Create a Simple Knife.

Select this piece with Polygonal Lasso Tool (L).
Copy (Ctrl+C) and Paste it (Ctrl+V).
Name this Layer "Knife" and transform this object (Ctrl+T).
Get this size -> Select It once again.
Use Brush Tool (B) for Shadows.

New character.

You'll need to take the Toy image once again.
Name this Layer "Friend" and do this steps:
Take the Toy Image -> Use Dodge Tool on It (Range: Highlights, Exposure: 20%) -> Select it -> Press (Shift+F6) (2-4 Pixels) -> Ok
Press (Shift+F7) -> (Delete) on your Keyboard -> Use Smudge Tool (Strenght: 15%). Erase the symbols like "1" and "M" with the Smudge Tool.
Use Brush Tool (Opacity:50% )
for the Shadows on the right side.

Step 12


Create one big and 3 small Circles for an Eye by using Ellipse Tool (U) .
Merge these Layers (Ctrl+E) and select this Layer. (Ctrl+Left click on the mouse of the thumbnail layer)
Use Brush Tool (Color:Black, Opacity:50%) for the shadows.
Duplicate this Layer for the second Eye.
Create brows and mounth with a Pen Tool (P) at next.

View the image below.

Step 13

Create a Light for the Torch.

Made two simple Forms with Pen Tool (P) .
Go to Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur -> 6,0 Pixels -> OK.
Merge the Layers.
Name this layer "Torch Light".
Erase something the layer with Eraser Tool (E) (Hardness: 0%) very exactly.
Be careful with erasing the White Serface.
You'll need to erase the layer from the right to the left side. Also view the order below. (3,2,1)

Step 14

In this step I'll show you how to create simple Shadows.

Duplicate the "Friend" (Merge Toy+Knife copy layers) Image (Ctrl+J).
Select the image -> Fill - black (Shift+F5) -> Free Transform (Ctrl+T).
Change the Opacity to 50% and go to Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur (3 Pixels) -> Ok
Shadow is done.

Step 15

Create a Light on the Floor.

This step will be very simple to do.
Made an Ellipse with Ellipse Tool (U) on your image like this one. (View the picture below)
Go to Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur (15-20 Pixels) -> Ok
Erase this layer by clicking on the light surface with the Eraser Tool (E). (Hardness: 0%, Opacity: 30%)
Duplicate these layers 5-10 times.
Erase the light every time.
But not everything, only small areas!

Step 16

At next start with a Monster character.

Go to the "Monster" Group now.

You'll need to take the Toy image for a Beast.
Also Import this Image to the "Monster Group".
Cut Out the Objects like this below.
Take attention on the numbers of the pieces!
(e.g. Body piece - copy it 3 times)

Step 17

Step 17.

View the image below and do the same.

(1) Eye piece -> Free Transform -> Small eye will get 80% opacity -> Big eye will get 50% opacity -> Create a Blue Circle with Ellipse Tool -> Move these 2 objects on the Ellipse.
(2) Tail -> Warp
(3-4) Antler -> Warp
(5) Jaw -> Free Transform it -> Warp
(6) Bump -> Flip Horizontal -> Warp
(7) Bump Nail -> Free Transform -> Duplicate (Ctrl+J) 26 times
(8-10) Body -> Warp
(11-12) Antlers -> Dudge Tools -> Smudge Tool
(13) Foot -> Warp -> Fill one foot (Black) -> Duplicate -> Brush Tool for shadow
(14-15) Teeth -> Duplicate -> Warp

Move these Pieces on one layer.
Merge (Select all layers -> Ctrl+E) finally.

The result of the Monster will be great!

Step 18

Create lighting for the Monster antlers.

Create New Layer (Ctrl+Shift+N).
Make a white point with the Brush Tool (B) (Hardness: 0%), and duplicate it one time.
Play with Opacity. (40-70%)
Change size with Free Transform (Ctrl+T).
Do the same step once again and move to the positions.

Made shadow of the one antler with Soft Brush Tool (B) -> Smudge Tool -> Move it in Different Directions.

Redo step 14 for the Shadow.

Step 19

Make Smoke.

Create New Layer over the Groups!
Start with a "Smoke" Layer.
Paint some lines and points with the Brush Tool (B) (Hardness: 0%).
Move these lines and points to the both sides with the Smudge Tool (Strenght: 20%) -> Soft Eraser Tool (E).
Duplicate the "Smoke" Layer one time for an better effect. ("Smoke copy" Layer)

Step 20

That's all, end result below!
Good luck!

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no avatar
Guest says:

i cant find in the 4.step Image>adjustments>vibrance.. i dont have that.. the vibrance

(5 years and 2496 days ago)
avatar Siminho90
Siminho90 says:

hmm..if you haven't this, try to use a Hue (Ctrl+U). There change the saturation to +50... this will be the same effect. Good Luck!

(5 years and 2496 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

this is good because so easy to follow, well done

(5 years and 2494 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

Much easier than I thought

NJ Website Design

(5 years and 2492 days ago)
avatar ponti55
ponti55 says:

Great tutorial, well writtena dn easy to follow, for users who don't have the vibrance adjustment remember it's just in CS4.

Keep it up!!

(5 years and 2491 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

man this sucks man,

you say thinks than i think wtf u talking about,
you use pentool to cut something out,
and curves wtf u do man
this way is so bad,


(5 years and 2489 days ago)
avatar Siminho90
Siminho90 says:

hello "wtf man"...

yeah because I think you're a noob in photoshop and you can't understand in Ps?

and yes... you can cut out objects with pen tool but I can see that you don't know this way...

Good luck and have fun "wtf man"!

(5 years and 2489 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

you rulez!!

(5 years and 2487 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

simple to follow your way! I will learn from this.

(5 years and 2483 days ago)
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Guest says:


(5 years and 2437 days ago)
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Guest says:

how do we get the toy?

(5 years and 2432 days ago)
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Guest says:

very good

(5 years and 2426 days ago)
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Guest says:

what .com

(5 years and 2414 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

this is not a cute animal!!
its an a ugly thing

(5 years and 2393 days ago)
no avatar
dejanks84 says:

Great tutorial. Love it.

(5 years and 2387 days ago)
no avatar
Guest says:

I can't figure out step 15? any help?

(5 years and 2381 days ago)
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Guest says:

what a cool cartoon tuts!

(5 years and 2363 days ago)
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(5 years and 2263 days ago)
no avatar
[banned] says:

lol look whos talkin gradients and filters hahah ur the noob homie

(5 years and 2200 days ago)
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[banned] says:

easy?! yeah right

(5 years and 2174 days ago)
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[banned] says:

wow very nice really superb

(5 years and 2160 days ago)
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Guest says:

very very nice
thanx for helping us

(5 years and 2115 days ago)
no avatar

I really like this tut, easy to follow and simple to do, good job
Keep it up!

(5 years and 2091 days ago)

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