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Turn a picture into a poster Andy Warhol style

Posted by Bartolo on Monday, July 30th, 2012


With this effect you will turn your picture into a work similar to the famous Andy Warhol pop art. There are a few versions of how to achieve this result, but the reason why I like my technique is that after completing the first picture you can use it as a template for the other 3.

For this tutorial I will use a picture of the model Mirna Merlo. Below you see the original and the final result.

Open the picture in Photoshop and rename it colors by double clicking on its name. Duplicate it by dragging it on the Create a new layer icon (alternatively, go to Layer – Duplicate layer).

Make invisible the leyer colors by turning off its eye.

Rename the new layer black and white.
Now we want to turn the picture into black and white mignifying the contrast.
To do that select the layer black and white, go to IMAGE – ADJUSTMENTS – BLACK AND WHITE.

Photoshop automatically turns the picture into black and white, but for this technique it’s better to have more contrast, so we play more with the colors.
As this picture has a lot of red, yellow and green, these are the channels where the changes will be more visible and I play with.
I leave untouched the other channels and click OK.

Go to the Create a new layer icon and click it 10 times to create 10 new layers. Rename the layers as follows:
Background Skin
Skin shadow
Skin light

Select the Background layer and go to SELECT – COLOR RANGE.
A Color Range window opens with a miniature of the picture.
Click anywhere in that miniature with the cursor.
The white parts will be selected, the blacks will not and the grey scale will make gradients.
If you uncheck Localized Color Clusters you will have a solid tint, if you check it it will have a gradient.
Change the value of Fuzziness to make more contrast between the background and the body.
In this case I want the body almost (not all) black.

Now the picture is selected.
Go to the Layers panel, be sure the Background layer is selected and press the icon Add a layer mask.
You notice that the selection on the picture disappears and a new thumbnail appears on the right of the background layer thumbnail.
This is your mask and represents your selection.
At the moment the mask is selected (it is in a rectangle).
Select the Layer thumbnail by clicking on it. Now the rectangle is over it, and this means it is selected.

Go on the Tools palette and click on the Set foreground color icon to select a color you like for the background. I chose yellow.
Press the Paint bucket tool icon, then go to your image and click anywhere.
As the layer background and its thumbnail are selected, the background turns into yellow.

Turn invisible the background layer and select the black and white one.
Go to SELECT – COLOR RANGE and select a part of the skin that has a neutral color.
Play with the Fuzziness switch in order to have as much skin selected as possible, but keeping the background black. In this case I chose 93.
Now your picture is selected.
If you are not completely pleased with this selection, go to the Quick selectiontool to change the selection (for example to unselect the shirt and increase the skin selection).
Be aware though that by playing with the Quick selection tool you will lose the gradient effect and the color will be solid, so try to do it as little as possible, especially when you add selection.

Select the Skin layer, press again the icon Add vector mask, select the Skin thumbnail, chose a color from the Set foreground color icon, press the Paint bucket tool icon and click anywhere on the image.
Now  a good portion of the skin is colored, too. Don’t bother if the result is not perfect.
Check your progress so far by turning visible the background layer, then turn invisible all the layers but black and white.

Now is a good time to save your progress.
So go to FILE – SAVE AS.
Select or make the folder that will contain your artwork, name your project popart and for the format chose Photoshop (*.PSD; .*PDD).

Select again the Black and white layer, go to SELECT – COLOR RANGE and with the selector pick up a portion of the skin that is in shadow.
Repeat what you did in the previous steps to color this layer using a different color.
To color the next layer pick up a portion of the skin that is in the light, and in the next layer you will select the lips.
Black is a color to use carefully with this effect, so I use it mostly for the eyes layer.
Fill free to add or subtract layers if you think it works better with more or less colors.
You can use also the same colors for more layers.
When you finish leave visible the layer Colors or Black and white (see which one works better with your colors).
This will close color gaps that you missed. At the end you should have something like  this:

Save your progress and save a copy of your work as a JPG.
So go to FILE – SAVE AS. Find the folder that contains your artwork, name this picture popart1 and chose for the format JPEG (*.JPG; *.JPEG; *.JPE).

Now is the time where this technique really shines, because you can use what you did until now as a template.
Select the background layer, go to the Set foreground color icon and select the color you like for the background. Select the Paint bucket tool and click on the picture.
The color of the background changed. Repeat this operation with all the layers, save it as a JPG naming it popart2 and do another 2 versions of this picture, so you will have 4 versions with different colors.

Open a new document by going to FILE – NEW and chose the dimensions that will have the document that will hold your final artwork.
I want a standard A4 sheet, so on Presets I select International paper.
Click OK.

Import the 4 JPEGs you created by going on FILE – OPEN.
Find your files and by pressing SHIFT on your keyboard select the first and the last one of them, then click OPEN.

Each file will open in a new document.
You will see each of them by selecting its lable.
Go to the file popart1 and select the Move tool in the tools palette.
Click on it and drag it on the layer of the new document.
When the page changes  continue dragging it where you want to leave it on the page, then release it.
A new layer called Layer 1 is automatically created.
Do the same with the other pictures.

Once you have all the 4 pictures in the same document combine them in an order you like.
With the Move tool selected select the layer of the picture you want to move, then click on the picture and drag it until you are fine with it.
Most likely your pictures will be too big for your document, so you need to resize them keeping the same proportion between one another.
Select all the 4 layers containing the pictures, go to EDIT – TRANSFORM – SCALE.

A grid appears around your 4 pictures.
Go with your mouse over a corner.
The cursor  changes shape and you are able to resize all the pictures at the same time.
By pressing the SHIFT key on your keyboard while you drag the mouse you will keep the size proportionate to the original.
Use the arrows on your keyboard   to place the pictures where you like.
Remember that all the pictures are selected at the moment, so you can’t control them individually.
When you finish select again the Move tool.
That means you are ready to leave the Scale option.
A message pops up giving you 3 options.
Select APPLY if you are happy with the changes, CANCEL if  you want to continue scaling your pictures or DON’T APPLY if you want to go back without applying the SCALE effect.

Save the file as a JPEG.



You can download the PSD file for this tutorial here

Posted in: Photo Effects.

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4 Responses to “Turn a picture into a poster Andy Warhol style”

  1. Spinx Florida Says:

    It’s like the game of colors. The more you play with color the more effects will you obtain for any image. However,the combination of colors should be managed well to get the best effects. It’s nice to check the step by step description on how to create a simple image into a poster. I loved your post and appreciate the wonderful read .

  2. Bartolo Says:

    Thank you, I’m happy to know you liked it. When I was new at Photoshop there were tutorials that raised more questions then the answers they provided, so I make tutorials for all the levels, and who knows more can just skip some parts. All the best,


  3. marko Says:

    very good tutorial thank you very much

  4. yogesh Says:

    I m a novice ..and the tutorial helped me a lot thanks…

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