William Shatner Pop Art

We have all seen Andy Warhol’s art. When thinking of a Warhol piece, two images come to mind for most
people. One being the Campbell’s Soup Can and the other being the Marilyn Monroe silkscreen image. Not having a computer, Warhol had to create this silk screens manually, using screens but if he had Photoshop, things would
have been much easier for the eccentric artist. This being the modern era, I’m going to take you through the process of taking a photo and making it look like an Andy Warhol silk screen. My subject, William Shatner.

Step 1 – Get Rid Of The Pesky Background
All the silk screens that Warhol created of people never had a background on them, just a solid colour. So first off, we need to drop the background behind Mr. Shatner. The first thing to do before anything else is “Duplicate” your image. Just use the shortcut CTRL+J (win) / COMMAND+J (mac).Next use whatever process you are comfortable with to extract the shat. I’m going to be using a “Quick Mask”. Type “Q” & this will take you to “Quick Mask” mode. From here, using your “Brush” tool, you will paint the areas that you want to keep.

click here for larger verison

Zoom In & Out to get the edges good. Also you will want to vary your brush sizes to get exactly on the edge so use the shortcuts [ / ] to decrease & increase the size respectively.

Once your done “Masking”, Mr. Shatner should look like this… Hit “Q” again & you will leave the “Quick Mask” leaving you with the selection marquee around your image…

With a quick strike of the “Delete” key, you now have Mr. Shatner on a Transparent Background.

Step 2 – Graphicitise
Now it’s time to take Mr. Shatner from realistic to graphic. Start out by “Desaturating” him. When you “Desaturate” an image in Photoshop, you’re just taking out the colour but not turning it into a “Grayscale” image.

Image > Adjustments > Desaturate
or for the shortcut fans SHIFT+CTRL+U (win) / SHIFT+COMMAND+U (mac)

Next, adjust the “Brightness/Contrast”. Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast.Doing this is going to pretty much make the pic just black and white. Play around with the settings til you get something you like.
Use the “Cutout” filter next.
Filter > Artistic > Cutout

This is going to clean up the adjustment we just made. Smoother edges and also create some gray areas as well. Use these settings…


We are certainly starting to see some good results. To better these, lets adjust the “Levels”. Use the shortcut CRTL+L (win) / COMMAND+L (mac) to bring up the “Levels” dialog box. The purpose of this is to darken the image up a tad. Play around with the setting again to get what you think looks the best.

Go back to the “Cutout” filter and run it again, except this time, use some different settings. They don’t have to be exactly like what I’m showing, experiment a little.

Once again, CTRL+L (win) / COMMAND+L (mac) to get back to the “Levels”. You should notice that you are getting 3 differenet tones. (black, white & gray) Use this adjustment to get those tones solid.

Step 3 – New Document Time

We are now done making Mr. Shatner, graphicly inclined. Now it’s time to make him Pop Art. Open up a New Document. I made my 6 in x 7.556in. Yours may vary depending on the size of your image. Just make it larger enough that you will have 4 squares, even size on the document. Once its created, drag a horizontal & vertical guide to the middle.
Next up, you need to make a new “Layer Set”. Making “Layer Sets” will help keep everything more organized. In the layers palette you will see a “Folder” icon. Click on that to make a new set. Name it “Square 1”
The new “Square 1” Layer Set is ready for action. Create a new layer in that set by clicking on the “Layer” icon in the layers palette. Make sure that it is inside of your set. If its not, just click and drag it into the set. Next, take your “Rectangler Marquee” tool and create a box in the top left hand side. Fill it with any colour you would like. I chose a nice bright pink colour (#FA79BC). Fill your selection with that.

Put your Shatner in place by going to the image you just finished, select all (CTRL+A (win) / COMMAND+A (mac)), then copy & paste it into the new document just created. If you need to scale it to make it fit into the area, do so.

There “Square 1” is set and in place. We need to do this 3 more times. So, in the layers palette, right click on the “Square 1” Layer Set. Select “Duplicate Set” and rename it “Square 2” Use your “Move” tool (“V”) and drag it to the next square to the right. Do this until you have a document set up this way…

Step 4 – Warhol Vision
Now it’s time to apply your skills to make these William Shatner squares look groovy. Lets dive into this. First we are going to start on “Square 1“. Find your layer set and click on the small triangle to the side of the name to show the contents of the layer. We want to find the layer with Shatner’s pic and select it. With it selected, hold down the CTRL/COMMAND key and click on the layer. You should see a icon that is a finger with a square beside it. This will select Shatner and nothing else since he is the only object in the layer.

With “Square 1” Shatner selected still make a new layer directly above the one you have selected. This layer
selection is going to be filled with a solid colour. I chose the same “Cyan” colour (#00D8FF) as in “Square 4” but feel free to choose whatever colour you like. Once your colour is selected use the shortcut ALT+BACKSPACE. This will fill the selection with
the foreground colour and now your Shatner is a blob.
This isn’t what we want it to look like. Just like Andy Warhol, here we are using this colour as a “Screen”.
Make sure that you are still on your new layer and change the “Layer Style” to “Screen”. This will give you the result we are shooting for.

So “Square 1” is done. Lets move on to “Square 2”. I want you to do the same process on “Square 2” that we just completed on “Square 1” all the way to you get it to this point…
This time we are going to add a little extra to Mr. Shatner. First thing we need to do is “Merge” the layer with the colour fill and the layer containing Shatner’s image. Do this by clicking on the fill layer so that its blue and use the shortcut CTRL+E (win) / COMMAND+E (mac). This “Merges” the layers together.
Now create another new layer above your merged layer. As you’ve done before,

CTRL click the merge layer to select the image in the layer. Go to the new layer and fill with a new colour. I chose a yellow colour. (#FCFF00)

Now change your “Layer Style” to “Multiply”

Resulting in…

I’m going to let you go on your own for the next 2 squares. I feel like I’ve guided you hand far enough. So, play around with those squares; vary your colours, layer styles, etc. Just remember you can’t really do anything wrong when working a piece like this. Really you can’t because you can always undo it.

Denny Crane. To Serve and Protect.


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