Have you ever flipped through a comic book and admired the clean lines that bring the characters to life? Or maybe you’ve stumbled upon a website with minimalist logos or infographics that pack a visual punch. Well, guess what? You can achieve that same outline effect using Photoshop, and it’s easier than you think!

This guide will walk you through the steps with video and pictures to convert an image to an outline in Photoshop. Whether you’re a budding artist, a design enthusiast, or just someone who wants to add a unique twist to your photos, this article will help.

Overview of the editing process:

  • Open Photoshop and your illustration with a dark outline. Keep the image in the “Background” layer.
  • Open the Layer Panel. Go to Windows > Layers.
  • Make the Illustration Grayscale. Navigate to Image > Mode > Grayscale.
  • Discard Color Information. Click Discard in the dialogue box.
  • Duplicate the Background Layer. Select the background layer and press Control/Command + J to duplicate it. 
  • Set the Blending Mode. With the duplicate layer selected, change the blending mode to Color Dodge.
  • Add an Adjustment Layer. Click Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer and select Levels.
  • Adjust the levels to make the outlines bold and clear.

Quick Tutorial: Turn a Picture into an Outline

Convert Image to Outline in Photoshop: 9 Steps

Essentially, this process involves transforming a regular image into a simplified version with distinct edges and shapes represented by bold lines. You can customize the outline in terms of thickness, color, and style.

Step 1: Open Photoshop & Your Illustration Image

Select and open the illustration with a dark outline.

Note: In case you need some image sources, visit this site and explore.

Open Photoshop

Keep the image in the “Background” layer.

Keep the image in the Background layer

Step 2: Open Layer Panel

Windows > Layer

Step 2 Open Layer Panel

Step 3: Make the Illustration Grayscale

Next, go to “Image” on the top bar. Then, take your cursor to “Mode” and select “Grayscale”.

Image > Mode > Grayscale

Make the Illustration Grayscale

Step 4: Discard Color Information

A dialogue box will appear for the confirmation of the change. Click “Discard” to change the illustration into grayscale.

Discard Color Information

Step 5: Duplicate Layer

Selecting the background layer, press “Control / Command + J” to create a duplicate layer. Photoshop will show it as “Layer 1”.

Duplicate Layer

Step 6: Set the Blending Mode

Keep the “Layer 1” selected and change the blending mode to “Color Dodge”.

Set the Blending Mode

Step 7: Add an Adjustment Layer

You can make the outlines bold and clearer. Again, with “Layer 1” selected, click on “Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer”. Then, select “Levels” from the list.

Add an Adjustment Layer
Add an Adjustment Layer 2

Step 8: Work on the Properties Panel

After adding the “Level” layer, a Properties panel will open up.

Work on the Properties Panel

Now adjust the color in the properties panel to get your desired solid outline.  Here is my output: 

desired solid outline

Wrapping Up: Turn a Picture into an Outline

If you want clean and bold outlines from your images, this guide explores how to effortlessly convert image to outline Photoshop. I showed valuable techniques like converting to grayscale, adjusting blending modes, and using Levels to refine the final result. With these steps, you can transform any black-outlined illustration into a striking only-outline graphic.

Found it helpful? Let us know! We love seeing what you create.  Have questions or want more editing tips?  Leave a comment below or explore our other Photoshop tutorials.


  • Emily Duncan

    Hi there! I'm Emily Duncan, an image retoucher at Image Retouching Lab. With over 6 years of experience, I'm passionate about enhancing images to perfection. I love sharing tips and tutorials on our website to help others master the art of image editing.

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