For many years now, I have searched endlessly for a good software that could convert photo to cartoon easily.
Unfortunately, I don't think that there is a good solution available at the moment. Yep, you'll have to do it yourself using a good old painting software!
But why would you want to convert a picture into a cartoon? Simply to save time! Imagine creating a comic strip that is set in your city. All you have to do is go outside, take some pictures and then convert them into cartoon drawings.
Then, all you have to do is draw the characters over the scene and you are done! A real time saver and a result that looks more realistic!
The software that I have tried usually looks like over-priced filters. The one that I have found on the net is caricaturesoft.
This software will do the job if you are not equipped with a good drawing software.
But if you own Adobe Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro, don't bother with this software. You can easily find some filters for your software that will perform better!
If you don't mind having a comic strip that looks like a painting, then perhaps you could try Painter Essential from Corel. The software isn't too expensive, but the results are very interesting!
What I like about this one is the "Auto-painting" feature. It allows you to choose an image, customize some settings and you are done!
The software then start "Auto-painting" and you can stop the process when you are satisfied with the result!
And since this is a painting software, you can paint over the areas you don't like! But be careful, this software is not a substitute for Adobe Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro!
It's really a painting software that imitates various painting methods! Unfortunately, for now, I don't see any other method to create a drawing from a photo besides doing it yourself.
Maybe one day a software will be able to do the job accurately and precisely. Until then, practicing and doing it yourself is the best alternative!