How to Create Deke’s New Improved Andy Warhol Effect in Photoshop

Today’s tutorial is a step-by-step recounting of a recent Deke’s Techniques in which Deke exploits the great exploiter: Andy Warhol. In other words, I’m exploiting Deke exploiting Andy exploiting art. And Photoshop is enabling us all.

With this technique, you can take any portrait photo, choose any color scheme, and rip off, I mean pay homage to Warhol yourself. Or get your assistants to do it, because that’s what cheaply produced Pop Art is all about. Maybe you too can sell your creation for $100 million. Or maybe you’ll just enjoy the priceless gift of learning to effectively use blend modes in the pursuit of digitally manufacturing mass produced art.

Read on see how to start your own Photoshop Pop Art Factory:

1) Start with a suitable portrait.

For this example, Deke used this image from by photographer olly. If you choose your own, you’ll want it to be a mostly straight-on portrait shot, with good contrast and a relatively plain background.

2) Apply a high-contrast black-and-white effect.

The “paint” will work best with a high-contrast black and white image. Click the black/white icon a the bottom of the layers panel and choose Black & White from the popup menu. It just so happens that for our purposes, the High Contrast Red Filter preset setting does the trick nicely. So choose it from the Preset popup and save yourself having to actually tweak the sliders.


3) Increase the contrast with a Levels adjustment layer.

To increase the contrast even further, a Levels adjustment is in order. Click the black/white icon at the bottom of the Layers panel again and choose Levels. Set the Shadows to 4, the Midtones to 2, and the Highlights to 16, as shown below.

4) Add and warp a texture layer.

The bit that really sells this technique is the addition of a texture layer to give the painting the effect of having been quickly slapped onto haphazardly stretched canvas. Deke starts with a texture image from Miro Novak at Fotolia.

Press Command-T (Ctrl-T) to evoke the Transform command. Then choose the Warp option on the right hand side. In Deke’s case setting the Warp to Arch and the Bend to a value of roughly -27 percent does the trick. Note if you need to reposition the image, you’ll have to press Return (Enter) once to go back to general Transform mode then move the image into place.

5) Set the warped texture layer to Overlay and clip it to the image layer.

Set the blend mode for this layer to Overlay in the Layers panel. Then click the Layer fly-out menu and choose Create Clipping Mask. This will apply your texture specifically to the photo layer.

6) Create a layer for each key element and paint over them in your color of choice.

For each feature (i.e. lips, hair, eyes, etc.), create a layer on which to paint. Use the standard brush tool set to maximum hardness. You may want to whip out your pressure-sensitive tablet for this step.

When you’ve got each layer painted, select them all in the Layer panel. Click the flyout menu in the panel and choose New Group from Layers. Deke named his group Color Fills.

7) Move the paint fills group to the bottom of the layer stack.

Grab your new group and move it beneath the photograph layer. Then click the photo layer and set its blend mode to Multiply so that the elements of the photograph blend with the colors below.

8) Change the background color.

In the Color panel, make sure your sliders are set to HSB values. (If they’re not, you can choose HSB Sliders from the Color panel flyout menu.) Set the Hue to 3, the Saturation to 5 and the Brightness to 65. With the color set, click the Background in the Layers panel. Click Opt+Delete (Alt+Backspace) to fill the Background with your new color.

That’s the basic technique. If you like the silkscreen artifacts that really reveal the unattention to detail that Warhol liked to perpetrate, you can add scratches and residual frame marks around the edges. (To see how this Deke acheived his effects, check out the last four minutes of Deke’s video.)

And there you have it. Quick and easy capitalistically colorful art.

Next entry:Deke’s Techniques 199: Creating a Pattern of Size-Changing Circles in Illustrator

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