Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Creating a Silhouette Image using Photoshop

I mentioned last Monday that I was hoping to do some decorating last weekend. That plan was supposed to involve this:

I did my first silhouette using Photoshop! :) I've been planning to do this since I first saw this project on Ruffles and Stuff. A few days ago, I found the time to do this in Photoshop and put together a basic tutorial.

DISCLAIMER: I didn't have a perfect profile picture of Andrea so the silhouette above involved a whole lot more Photoshop editing than will be discussed here.

You will need:
- Adobe Photoshop
- A photo of your subject showing clear profile, preferably in plain background

Step 1: Open your photo in Photoshop.

From this photo, you can see that the ponytail on the silhouette is actually a pigtail on this photo. I had to add the ponytail, but doing that was a little complicated so for this tutorial, let us assume that you have the perfect profile photo to turn into a silhouette.

Step 2: Using the Polygonal Lasso Tool, click along the edges of your subject. After clicking, move a little along the edge of your subject and click again. This will give you smoother curved lines.(I will admit, this requires a steady hand and lots of practice).
Keep doing this until you reach the point close to where you started, then you can double click to close your shape.
As you can see, since my subject is not posed to capture the profile perfectly, I had to 'draw' the neck part.

Step 3. Copy your selection. 2 ways: 1) Go to Edit, then select Copy, OR 2) Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + C

Step 4. Open a new blank image: Go to File, then select New.
The default width and height set when you open a new image should fit your copied selection perfectly but you want a little more space around your image. So adjust the width and height to add roughly 100 pixels on both width and height. I like symmetry to I used width = 500 pixels and height 500 pixels.

Step 5. Paste the copied selection from Step 3 to the new blank document. Make sure your new blank document is selected and then 1) Go to Edit and select Paste, OR 2) use keyboard shortcut Ctrl + V

Step 6: At the top of the page, go to Layer then select New, then choose Layer.
You can choose to update the name of your new Layer, but I don't really mind 'Layer 2' so I just clicked Ok to create the new layer.

Your new layer should appear here:

Step 7: Select the Layer with your subject's profile. In my case, that's Layer 1. Then on top of the window, click Select, then click Load Selection. When a pop-up window opens, just click Ok. This will select your subject.

Step 8. Now click on Layer 2 to select your blank layer.

Step 9: Pick the color you want for your silhouette from the Swatches tab by clicking on the color.

I chose Red. The color you selected should appear as the color on the top box here:

Step 10: Select the Paint Bucket Tool and click inside the selected area.
You now have your silhouette :)

You can delete your photo layer by clicking Layer 1 and then dragging it to the small trash can icon on the lower left corner. And then you can use the Eraser tool to clean up sharp edges of your silhouette. Or touch up your silhouette using the Brush tool.

To save your image, go to File, then select Save As. On the Format field, select JPEG, or Bitmap or GIF (most common picture file formats). Then define your file name and click Save.

I hope the tutorial made sense. I've been using Photoshop for a long time but it has always been hard for me to describe step by step what I do.

Here's a couple more of me and my husband:


radn said...

really nice tutorial! I need to get photoshop!

nicquee said...

Nice one! Yung inyo ni Mg very defined. :)

Janelle said...

Yung kay MG, napaka-distinct kasi ng face shape at hair nya kaya kuhang-kuha. Yung sa kin, super edited na yan, kasi wala din akong picture showing my profile perfectly... and sira camera lens namin kaya hirap mag-take ng pictures :)

Karen said...

Do you know someone who can teach me Photoshop? I am struggling to learn by myself. I am pretty computer literate but never had teh need to use Photoshop before and don't really have time for a full blown course.

Janelle said...

Hi Karen, I know a little about Photoshop so I can teach you a little. Do you have a Photoshop project in mind? ("airbrushing" - making people look better in photos? changing the background of a photo?) I can send you instructions and screenshots (I usually do this for some of my friends). One thing I can't do with Photoshop however, is draw an image. But I think that is to be expected since I can't even draw well on paper :)

xingkit said...

look, i asked the husband to do one for maia. :)