Give your pictures a ‘graphic novel’ style using Prisma filters – Part 1

Step 1 – Prisma

Prisma is a photo-editing application that utilizes a neural network and artificial intelligence to give an image an artistic effect. The results are surprisingly natural and resemble artworks created by humans.

Prisma is not the only app of its kind, but at the time of writing is one of the most popular, as it’s free and available for both iOS and Android.

Download and install the Prisma app onto your mobile device.

Step 2 – Square Canvas

As the starting point of this tutorial we are going to use a beautiful 3D illustration from CGI artist JC Cooper


Morrigu, by JC Cooper

Let’s start by making the image we want to process into a perfect square, as Prisma can only handle square images. Open the image in Photoshop choose Image > Canvas Size… then resize the canvas to 1080 x 1080 pixels.


figure 1

We choose a resolution of 1080 x 1080 pixels because that’s Prisma’s output resolution.

After we click ‘OK’ our image should look like this:


Let’s refer to this image as image A. Now that image A is ready for the Prisma treatment, we save it as a .PNG and transfer it to our mobile device.

Step 3 – Processing in Prisma

Let’s open image A in Prisma. As the image is already square we can skip the cropping step. We process our image with the filters Tokyo and Curly Hair and save the results on the mobile device.


figure 2

For the purpose of this tutorial we’ll call the image processed with Tokyo image B and the image processed with Curly Hair image C:


Image A = original image, 1080 x 1080.
Image B = image processed with Tokio.
Image C = image processed with Curly Hair.

Now we transfer images B and C back to the computer so that we can process them in Photoshop. This is where the fun begins!

Step 4 – Importing Prisma images in Photoshop

With image A open in Photoshop, select File > Place Embedded… and place the two images created in Prisma in separate layers. Rename the layers accordingly and stack B on top of A, and C on top of B (see figure 3).


figure 3

Step 5 – The Dark Outline

Layer C will give our original image comic-style dark outlines and shadows, so let’s set its Blending Mode to “Multiply” and Opacity to 20%:


figure 4

Step 6 – Flattened Colors

Layer B will provide a version of the image with flat-ish colors, which help achieve the graphic novel style we are looking for. We want to retain some of the details of the original version (image A) though so we are going to set Layer B’s Opacity to 60%:


figure 5

Of course you can play around with the opacity of layer C and B and find just the right amount of dark outline and flattened colors you want your final image to have.

Also feel free to experiment with different Prisma filters, that you can use as your “B” layer to achieve a variety of different art styles.

Step 7 – Final Result

..and that’s it, at this point we should already be able to get a nice art style that resembles a hand-drawn illustration. Let’s take a look at the image before and after the treatment.


In Part 2 we will take a look at how we can improve our illustration, by removing some of the greyness introduced by the Curly Hair filter and correcting some of the color shift introduced by the Tokyo filter.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and please feel free to leave feedback or ask any questions using the comments section below!