How to Make Pop Art Photos

By Elizabeth Chaplin
Make Pop Art Photos

One way to make your photographs more interesting is by applying a pop art effect using Photoshop. Andy Warhol is probably the most well-known pop artist. His screen prints of Marilyn Monroe were slightly abstracted, simplified and then colored to abstract the image further. Typically, pop art photographs appear as four differently colored panels, with two panels stacked on top of two panels. This effect is relatively easy to achieve digitally using one of your favorite photographs and Adobe Photoshop.

Open your photograph in Photoshop. If you only have a hard copy, scan the photograph in at a high resolution.

Use the Polygonal Lasso Tool to select very closely around the subject of the photograph. The Pen Tool can also be used.

Go to Select > Inverse to invert the selection.

Go to Selection > Save Selection and create a name for your selection.

Hit Ctrl-X or go to Edit > Clear to erase the background.

Crop the photograph until you are satisfied with the white space around the photograph. Do this by using the Marquee tool to select the desired area, then go to Image > Crop. This may depend on the size of the frame you are using or the measurement of the space on your wall.

Go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate. This will make the photograph black and white.

Go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness and Contrast. Adjust the brightness and contrast until your image has very little gray tones.

Go to Filter > Artistic > Cutout. Adjust the Number of Levels, Edge Simplicity and Fidelity until your photograph is smooth and has a stark black on white appearance. Adjust the brightness and contrast again if necessary to make blacks blacker and whites whiter.

Go to Select > Load Selection and choose the selection that you saved earlier. This will bring up the selection.

Use the Paint Bucket tool to fill in the background with the color of your choice. Keep in mind the color should be bright and bold.

Go to Image > Adjustments > Selective Color. This will open the Selective Color dialogue box.

Choose Blacks from the dropdown box at the top of the Selective Color dialogue box.

Adjust the Cyan, Magenta and Yellow levels until the blacks in your image turn the desired color.

Open the Selective Color dialogue box again and choose White from the dropdown box. Repeat Step 5, but this time it will change the color of the white in the image. Make sure Absolute is selected in the Selective Color dialogue box for this step only.

Save the image.

Go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation and adjust the hue of the image. By sliding the tab in the Hue bar, all of the colors will change. Using Hue/Saturation is an easier way to change the colors instead of having to repeat Steps 1 through 6 for each image.

Adjust the hue for three images and save each of them. You will now have a total of four images.

Open a new document in Photoshop. It should be twice the height and width of your cropped photograph and have a transparent background.

Go to Select > All on your first finished photograph and hit Ctrl-C to copy the image to the clipboard.

Go to Edit > Paste or hit Ctrl-V to paste your photograph into the new document.

Move the image into the upper left corner of the document.

Paste the three remaining images into the new document and adjust them so there are two images on top and two images at the bottom.