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everyone this is Chris from Spoon Graphics back with another video tutorial for Adobe
Photoshop. Today we’re going to look at creating a photo
effect inspired by the loading screens and cover artwork of the Grand Theft Auto 5 game,
which feature a life-like illustration style of the characters but with a clear digitally
painted appearance. I kind of wish I’d covered this topic back
during the game’s prime, but it has become a classic effect that remains popular for
creating tribute art and parodies. The result could also be used as a foundation
for creating a cartoon or comic book effect too. Due to the nature and theme of the game, the
effect works best when combined with pictures of gangsters, fast cars and scantily dressed
ladies against the city streets. Whereas the originals were likely painted
from scratch, we’ll use stock photos as the source of the effect, which will then be transformed
with the help of a cocktail of Photoshop filters. Each filter produces an important part of
the overall result, and together they replicate the digitally illustrated look perfectly. But before we begin, a big thank you to Envato
Elements for sponsoring today’s video…. So to create the GTA photo effect, begin by
opening your desired source image into Adobe Photoshop. You can find this free image I’ve used linked
in the description. The first step is to right click the Background
layer and convert it into a Smart Object. This will allow all the filters to be applied
non-destructively, so the settings can be altered if necessary. Begin with a Shadows and Highlights adjustment
from under the Image>Adjustments menu. I’m assuming this array of settings are set
by default. So simply click OK. What this step does is brighten up the photo
to bring out the details from the darker areas. Next, go to Filter>Stylize>Oil Paint. Configure the settings to 2 in the Stylization
option and max out the cleanliness to 10. Leave all other values at zero with no Lighting
effects. This oil paint step seriously smooths out
the image, so the niggly details aren’t enhanced with the next filter, which is applied from
the Filter>Filter Gallery menu. In the Filter Gallery window, choose Poster
Edges. Configure the settings to 0 Edge Thickness,
1 Edge Intensity, then max the Posterization to 6. If you want more of a comic book effect with
a cell-shaded appearance, you can try out lower posterization values. The Poster Edges filter helps add some line
work to enhance the illustrated appearance. Even though everything was smoothed out with
the oil paint filter, some areas are too detailed with unwanted texturing. Double Click the little icon next to the smart
filter in the layers panel, then drop the opacity to around 60% so the texturing is
less visible. A great filter that helps clean up those unwanted
lines is Reduce Noise from under the Filter>Noise menu. Max out the Strength to 10 with all other
sliders at zero. A side effect of the noise reduction is everything
is now slightly blurry, so go to Filter>Sharpen>Unsharp Mask. Enter values of 70% Amount with a Radius of
4px, which helps bring back some definition to the edges. Filter>Blur>Smart Blur is another great
filter that helps smooth out the unwanted details. Set the options to 4 Radius and 25 Threshold,
with the Quality option set to Low. One last addition that really brings the effect
to life is another effect from the Filter Gallery. This time choose Cutout and set the values
to 4, 4 and 2. Depending on the lighting of your image, you
can play around with the number of levels to find a better array of shapes. Once applied, change the options for this
Smart Filter by double clicking the little icon. Set the blending mode to Soft Light and reduce
the opacity to 50% to enhance the shading of the artwork. The basic effect is complete, but adding a
complementary backdrop really finishes off the artwork. Open up a photo of a city street, like this
shot of LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA by Sean Pavone from Shutterstock. Follow the exact same steps to reproduce the
effect on this background image. To save some time in this tutorial, I’ve created
a Photoshop Action which will automatically apply the filters. You’re welcome to download it for yourself
by following the link in the description. Add a new layer and use the colour picker
to choose a hue from the image to use as a colour cast. Use the ALT+Backspace shortcut to fill the
canvas, then set this layer’s blending mode to Screen. Reduce the opacity to fine tune the amount
of colour grading. Switch back to the original document to copy
across the model. Since we’ll want to add a stroked outline
later, any easy selection method isn’t going to generate nice smooth edges, so to cut out
the subject from the background, the Pen tool is going to be the way to go. Double click the Smart Object layer’s thumbnail
to access the original source photograph. Select the Pen tool and zoom in, then trace
around the entire subject, staying a few pixels towards the inside to avoid capturing any
slithers of background in the clipping. Any loose strand of hair can be excluded to
keep a basic silhouette. Click and drag to form simple bends, then
if you need to navigate around a sharper corner, give the point a click while holding the alt
key to remove the bezier handles before continuing. Once your path is complete, right click and
choose Make Selection with 0 feathering. Apply a layer mask to have the background
erased around the selection. To erase any negative space, make selections
of those paths and fill the area with black within the layer mask. Go to File>Save to have the new source file
updated within the main document with the same filters applied. This PSB file can then be closed. Go to Select>All followed by Edit>Copy
Merged to capture a snapshot of the artwork, then paste it into the city scene document. Scale it to size and move it into position. A great little trick to easily colour match
the clipped image to its new background is using a Curves adjustment layer. Hold the ALT key and click between the layers
to clip the effect to just this layer. By default the adjustment layer’s layer mask
is activated, so give the actual layer icon a click to select it instead, then in the
Properties panel, hold the ALT key and click the AUTO button. Choose Find Dark and Light Colors from the
options, then colour pick three new hues for the Shadows, Midtones and Highlights, choosing
relevant colours from the background. Change the blending mode of the Curves adjustment
layer to Colour, then alter the opacity if necessary to blend the subject with its new
environment. To add a Stroke, double click the subject’s
layer to open the Layer Styles window, then select Stroke. Configure the settings to Outside, then adjust
the stroke amount. I ended up with about 6-7px. Sample the stroke colour from the darkest
part of the image, rather than simply choosing pure black. The final result is a great recreation of
the GTA 5 art style that retains the realism of the source photograph but processes it
with enough filters to give it a digitally painted appearance. If you enjoyed this tutorial or found the
tips useful be sure to give the video a Like and subscribe to my channel to stick around
for more of my content. Head over to my Spoon Graphics website to
grab my free design resources bundle, otherwise thank you very much for watching, and I’ll
see you in the next one.

41 thoughts on “How To Create a Grand Theft Auto (GTA 5) Effect in Photoshop (+ FREE PS Action!)

  1. my fav tutorial yet! I love the cutout filter but never thought about using it in that way. Will definitely be using this in the future.

  2. It looks like a photo with photoshop filters. It does not look like GTA-style illustration. In the game they are much better. The only way to recreate gta-style illustrations is to draw them manually using special techniques in Adobe Illustrator.

  3. Brilliant video, Chris! Came for the GTA effect, but what I really took away from it was the curves adjustment clicking Alt to match the colour to the background! New tool in my toolbox. Thank you!

  4. love the tutorial but for some reason I can't get the oil filter to work as using 2019 woundering if you could help please

  5. Hi! Can you make a tutorial about how to create a realistic chain brush? To create something like the "capoplaza -20" music album cover? Thanks

  6. Wonderful toturial ! despite of not being able to use oil paint, it worked out for me and the results weren't bad, keep it up !

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