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How to Make a Digital Pet Portrait

By Melanie Doncas | Featured Photo Editor Tutorials

Our pets become our family members, so why not honor them with their very own portrait hanging up in your home? Digital pet art has become extremely popular of late, as it offers a fun and artistic interpretation of your four-legged friend. Plus, pet portraits are the best gift idea for anyone who owns a pet. Custom pet art can come with a price tag, however, not to mention the time spent waiting on the design and delivery of your new piece. But what if we told you that there’s now a faster, more affordable way?

Luckily, creating your own arty pet portraits is both quick and easy thanks to BeFunky’s Digital Art effects. Simply follow our tutorial below to learn how to make a pet portrait in just minutes!

How to Make Digital Pet Portraits With BeFunky

Ready to create your own digital pet portrait? Head to the Graphic Designer to get started! pet photos

Step 1: Choose Your Canvas Size

Click Blank Canvas at the top of the screen, then scroll down to the Print section and choose your desired artwork size. You can also type your preferred canvas dimensions into the Width and Height section to the left. When selecting your canvas size, keep in mind the size of your paper and/or frame, if you plan on framing it.

For this example, we’re using a Letter-sized canvas for our custom pet portrait.

select canvas for pet portrait

Step 2: Upload Your Pet Portrait Image to Customize

Next, navigate to Image Manager in the main menu on the left. Then, click Computer to open your pet portrait from your own files. Or, simply drag and drop your pet photo right to the canvas.

upload pet photo

For our project, we're going to transform this adorable dog portrait into a work of digital art.

adjust pet photo on canvas

Step 3: Open Your Pet Portrait in the Photo Editor

To edit your pet portrait and turn it into art, we’ll need to open it in the Photo Editor. Thankfully, doing this is easy. Just select your photo with your cursor, then click Edit Image from the Image Properties panel. This will allow you to edit your image layer.

remove background of pet portrait

Step 4: Remove the Background of Your Portrait

The first thing you’ll need to do while editing your photo is to remove its background. Within the Edit menu, click on Background Remover. You’ll find it within the Remove/Replace section.

save background pet

When you click on this tool, it will instantly remove the background from your pet portrait and replace it with a transparent space. Next, click Apply.

Step 5: Add a Digital Art Effect to Your Pet Photo

The next step of editing your pet photo is to apply your digital art effect. This is the fun part! Navigate to Artsy in the main menu on the left, then click on Digital Art

choose artsy effect for pet portrait

There are plenty of digital art effects to choose from, but for this tutorial, we’ll be applying the Underpainting DLX effect to our puppy portrait.

Click on the Artsy effect to sample it on your pet’s image. You can click the checkmark to apply the effect as-is, or the Settings button to adjust it further. For example, with the Underpainting DLX effect, you have the option to adjust the sharpness of the effect.

art effect for pet underpainting

When you’ve finished editing your pet’s portrait within the Photo Editor, just click Done Editing Image in the top-left corner of the screen to return back to your canvas in the Graphic Designer.

apply art effect to digital pet portrait

If your pet portrait wasn’t captured in natural lighting, the effect may not be as vibrant due to exposure issues. Thankfully, the Photo Editor also has a ton of photo editing tools to help you perfect your image! 

Step 6: Choose a Background Color for Your Digital Pet Portrait

Now that we’ve turned our pet into a vector image with a transparent background, it’s time to add a colored background to our artwork.

Navigate to Customize in the main menu on the left, then select a new color from the swatches underneath Background Color. Clicking on the first swatch will also allow you to select any shade you desire from the Color Picker.

change background of pet portrait

Pro Tip: Want to reposition your pet’s image or make it smaller or larger? Simply click and drag it with your mouse to reposition it on your canvas. Alternatively, you can click the image and drag its outer corners inwards or outwards to decrease or increase its size.

Step 7: Add Your Pet's Name

To add your pet's name to your digital pet artwork (like their name), click on Text in the main menu on the left, then select one of our curated text patches or click Add Text.

text menu

You can change any text by double-clicking on the text box and typing. When you click on any text box, a Text Properties panel also appears. From here, you can change elements such as the font, size, spacing, paragraph, color, and more.

pet text

Step 8: Save Your Digital Pet Portrait

Once you’ve finished editing your digital pet portrait, click the Save button at the top of the page, then select your desired save location and file type.

digital pet portrait save

We recommend saving your pet art as a PDF file in Print Quality so it remains the highest quality for printing and displaying!

print quality digital pet

Final Results: A Custom Pet Portrait With Artistic Flair

In just 8 simple steps, you can transform a photo of your pet into a digital work of art. Take a look at how we transformed our pup's photo into a professional-grade portrait (without having to hire a digital artist!)

digital pet portrait final

Inspiration: What Other Digital Pet Portraits Can You Create?

When it comes to creating digital pet art, our Underpainting DLX effect is just the tip of the iceberg. Our Artsy category is home to so many digital art effects, that you’ll be spoiled for choice! Here are just three more of our favorites to inspire your next custom pet portrait.

Watercolor Pet Portrait

For soft and painterly pet portraits, consider adding the Watercolor DLX effect to your image. In this cat portrait, we love how the digital effect adds a whole new look to an otherwise plain cat portrait.

watercolor pet portrait

Oil Painting Pet Portrait

How about turning your pet into an oil painting instead? For those with a taste for fine art, the Oil Painting DLX effect will instantly make your pet portrait pop from the page. We love how the effect adds the perfect amount of contrast to this portrait of a parrot!

oil painting pet portrait

Drawing Pet Portrait

If you’re hoping to turn your own pet portrait into a drawing instead, then you’re in luck. BeFunky is home to sketch-inspired effects like Cross Hatch DLX – which is what we’ve applied here to this custom rabbit portrait. Within the Artsy effects, you’ll also find an entire category devoted to pen art, if that’s more up your alley!

cross hatch pet portrait

Turn Your Pet Photo Into Digital Art With BeFunky

Whether you’re looking to create pet portraits as gifts for loved ones, or simply want to celebrate your furry friend with an artwork of their own, making your own digital pet art has never been easier. Thanks to BeFunky’s wide range of tools and Artsy Photo Effects, you too can create custom pet portraits in seconds.

Go on, head to the Graphic Designer to start making a custom pet portrait today! 

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