photoshop creative

Make pop art with filters (part 1)

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
February 7, 2015

Turn a photo into a funky pop art piece, bringing together filters and layers to create bold colours and shapes

1. Prepare your image

Open up the portrait from the resources. Use the Crop tool (C) to crop around her head and shoulders. Duplicate the Background layer five times by pressing Cmd/Ctrl_+J. We’re creating layers for the jacket, skin, nose and mouth, eyes and the hair. Rename accordingly.

2. Cut out the jacket

Hide all layers with the eye icon, apart from the Jacket and Background. Select the Jacket layer and go to Filters>Filter Gallery. Choose Cutout in the Artistic section and set the Levels to 3, Simplicity to 1 and Fidelity to 3. Hit OK.

3. Mask the jacket

This filter doesn’t work as well for the rest of the image, so add a new layer mask (using the option at the base of the Layers palette) and paint black over everything but the jacket to hide. Use a Hard Round brush to keep the edges solid.

4. Cutout for the skin

Make the Skin layer visible. Apply the Cutout filter, this time with Levels: 3, Simplicity: and Fidelity: 2 Add a layer mask and hide anything that isn’t skin using a brush. Pop art skin effects are very simple so we need to further tidy up this layer.

5. Simplify the skin

Use the Eyedropper tool (I) to pick a skin colour from the image. Use the Brush to paint over the face and neck to remove the features and simplify the shadows. Pick the darkest skin tone and fill with the Paint Bucket tool all the remaining shadow areas.

6. Cutout for the eyes

Apply the Cutout filter on the Eyes layer, with Levels at 4, Simplicity at 5 and Fidelity at 3. Hit OK and add a layer mask to hide all but the eyes. Use the Paint Bucket tool to fill the area, then use the Brush tool for precision. With an Eyedropper (I), click on the skin to select the colour around the eyes.

7. Pop art eyes

Fill the pupils in a bright, primary blue and the brown edges in black. Use a hard, round brush to touch up areas such as the pupil, and draw in some extra eyelashes in black. Make the whites of the eyes brighter by painting with white.

8. Nose and mouth

Select the Nose and Mouth layer. Apply the Cutout filter with Levels: 8, Simplicity: 0, Fidelity: 3, and apply a new mask. Simplify the skin tones (as you did with the eyes) and paint in the lips.

Come back tomorrow for part 2!