Turn Ordinary Snapshot into a Beautiful Doll Portrait

Have you ever wonder how to easily change simple snapshot into a nice looking doll portrait? In this article I will show you how to do that with using of minimal time and Photoshop tools!

What You Will Create
In this easy to follow tutorial I want to show you my way of doing doll looking portraits. On the picture below you can see original snapshot photo and picture created during this tutorial.

There are some things in common for dolls.  Basically what makes doll a doll is written in the following list:
  1. porcelain skin,
  2. big eyes,
  3. small "button" nose,
  4. long eye lashes.
I will show you how to do all these things in this tutorial. Let´s get started!

The original photo was taken in front of the big mirror which served as a big reflector. Thanks to it there are no strong shadows on her face.

For those of you who are interested in the light diagrams you can take a look at the following picture.

Light diagram
Resource Photo
Here you can download the photo for the tutorial.

It would be even better if you take some portrait photo on your own!

Color Adjustments
Before you start with changing facial features of the woman it´s necessary to do some color adjustments. The original photo is too red which means you need to desaturate it. It should also have bigger contrast and be lighter because doll have very bright porcelain skin.

1. Desaturation
To desaturate the skin add a new adjustment layer Vibrance. Set the value Vibrance on 100 and the value Saturation on -15.

Setting of Vibrance adjustment

(This type of adjustment is in Photoshop CS4 and higher only. If you have older version you can use Hue/Saturation. 
And if you want to know the different between Hue/Saturation and Vibrance you can take a look at this article "Saturation vs Vibrance".)

2. Increasing Contrast
As I mentioned above the photo should have bit more contrast. To add it create new adjustment layer Gradient Map on the top of all layers. Choose Black, White gradient and change the Blending Mode of this layer on Luminosity.

I´ve already described this step in more details in one of the previous article - "3 Favorite Tools in Photoshop".

3. Porcelain Skin
Gradient Map is a really great adjustment tool. You can use it not only for increasing contrast but also for very natural looking brightening of the skin.

Add another Gradient Map adjustment layer on the top and set the colors of the gradient as it´s shown below.

Gradient Map setting
This time change the Blending Mode on Soft Light.

After all these color adjustments you should get picture like the one below.

Photo after color adjustments
Changing Facial Features
The woman on the photo has already the porcelain skin but it´s still not a doll you want to give your child under the Christmas tree because it is still more human than a doll.

To change the facial feature you will use the Liquifity filter - devil tool which is used in all fashion magazines and which makes women in magazines super thin and women - readers super non confident.

To be able to use Liquifity filter press Ctrl + A to select the whole picture, Ctrl + Shift + C to copy it merged and then Ctrl + V to paste it. Place this merged image on the top of all layers.

You can find Liquifity in Filter > Liquifity.

Now when you are prepared on the evil work let´s take a look at the video which is showing what to do.

After this step your picture should look similar as the one shown below.

Skin Cleaning And Other Adjustment
Skin Cleaning
Doll has to have perfect skin. And the one on the picture above still doesn´t. She has some dark circles below the eyes and freckles arround the mouth and under the nose.

To remove these imperfections add new layer on the top of all layers. Grab the Brush Tool (B) pick some skin color, lower the opacity of the brush on about 30% and gently paint on the imperfections.

Picture would look better if it is bit darker. Add new adjustment layer Levels on the top of all layers and set the Input Levels on 0; 0,78; 255.

Your picture should look like the following.

Long Eyelashes and Color Balance
Well, you almost have the doll.  But if you want to have really amazing doll you need to add eyelashes!

Download these brushes and install them into the Photoshop. Create a new layer on the top of all layers. Grab the Brush Tool (B) and select one of the lash brushes you´ve just installed. Set the Opacity on 100%.

Pick some dark brown color which is already arround the eyes and paint the lashes. It´s important to lashes have the same shape as the eye. Otherwise it won´t look realistic.

If you need to change the shape of the lashes you can easily do it with the Warp Tool (Edit >Transform > Warp).

You can stop right because all important doll things are already done. Or you can add more blue tones and texture.

If you want to have the picture bluish add new adjustment layer Color Balance on the top of all layers and set the values as on the following picture.

If you want to create gently grunge look download this pack of textures, select one of them and drag it into the picture. Change Blending Mode on Darken and lowet the opacity on 15%.

Grab the Eraser Tool and erase the parts of the texture which are on the face.

Congratulation, you´ve just finished one pretty doll. I would love to see the results of this tutorial in comments below. You can also write if you like this tutorial or not and why.
- Jarka

Final result