Create an Illustration from an Adobe Stock Photo with After Effects

Image source: Adobe Stock / R. Gino Santa Maria.

by Chris Converse

posted on 08-21-2019

Combine the Hue/Saturation and Levels with the Cartoon effects in After Effects to create a unique stylized illustration from an Adobe Stock photo.

Finding the right image on Adobe Stock

For this project, we’ll use an image of an athlete shot against a solid color. Search Adobe Stock with the keyword of “soccer” to find and create a dynamic image. Check the Isolated Only option under the Isolation filter to get an image against a solid color.

Save the image directly to a Creative Cloud Library, or download a copy to your hard drive.

The Cartoon effect

To begin working with the image in After Effects, click and drag the image from the Creative Cloud Libraries panel in After Effects to the Project panel. Then, drag the image once again from the Project panel to the Composition panel.

This creates a new composition that is sized to match the image dimensions, and also places the image on a new layer in the Timeline panel. Now, we’re ready to apply the Cartoon effect.

Search for “Cartoon” in the Effects & Presets panel and locate the effect in the Stylize group. Click and drag the effect to the image in the Composition panel. In the Effect Controls panel, adjust the Shading Steps to 2 and the Shading Smoothness to 30 to begin seeing the effect. Next, set the Threshold to 2, the Width to 3, and the Softness to 0. These settings will stylize the color areas and create a hand-drawn look around the edges of the image.

Remove colors using HUE/Saturation effect

Apply multiple effects to the image to achieve additional results. In the example below, the color was removed by using the Hue/Saturation effect. Then, the Levels effect was used to increase the contrast.

The two additional effects combined with the Cartoon effect results in a hand-drawn illustration effect.

Learn even more techniques for enhancing photographs with After Effects

Looking to add a little “something extra” to a stock photo, or reimagine a less-than-stellar photo? Join us for a completely new way to augment and stylize your photography.

Watch the recording of After Effects for Photography, which includes:

Adobe Creative Cloud e-learning series
After Effects for Photography

Topics: Creativity, Illustration

Products: Stock, After Effects