Pop Art portrait in Photoshop

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Pop art is an art movement that emerged in the mid-1950s in Britain and in the late 1950s in the United States. Created as a challenge to traditions of fine art, the core effect of Pop Art relies on the usage of imagery from popular cultures such as advertising and news. Removing image from its context, mixing it with other media or applying textures are part of the elements that make the commonly known effect of Pop Art.

Pop art employs aspects of mass culture, such as advertising, comic books and mundane cultural objects, becoming quite opposite to fine art as it lacks elitism, therefore applies to all public instead of a selected crowd.

A nice looking Pop Art portrait effect can be achieved in a very quick efficient way inside Photoshop and through this guide, we are going to learn how to accomplish it.

For this tutorial, we are going to use a classic black & white portrait for achieving the pop art effect. If you happen to have a nice looking color portrait all you need to do is to Desaturate it and then is apt to work with it. Make sure your portrait is cropped at shoulder length, and tightly cropped around the hair.

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Apply an Auto Tone by pressing the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+L; that way blacks will become enhanced as well as whites.

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Grab the Brush tool and with a hard brush selected, enable the Quick Mask Mode. Paint around the edges of your portrait in order to mask it entirely.

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Use your brush around the contours of the image to quickly trace it. Then switch to the paint bucket tool and with a Black color fill the interior of that selection.

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Hit Q again to change into a selection mode and then Ctrl+Delete to fill it with White Color.

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Duplicate the layer with Ctrl+J

Now take a tour to the Filter Gallery and select the Halftone Pattern filter that is located under the Sketch tab. Work with a small size and great contrast value in order to give a newspaper feeling to the image.

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Accept the parameters and set the Layer Blending Mode to Multiply.

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Add a Smart Sharpen filter to the image using the parameters displayed below.

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Create a new layer now below that layer we finished adjusting. Fill it with a pop-art based tint, like an old Cian, Green or Magenta.

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For ending up with this effect, grab a brush tool and sample at the colors you want to paint your subject with, for example, I used in this image a red tint for the lips, a mascara tone for the eyes and the overall skin tone.

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Paint all the areas needed for accomplishing the effect and that’s all.

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If your aim is to create one of those famous Andy Warhol portraits, all you need to do is to change the overall color (for example change the green I used with magenta, cyan, etc) and then in another file create a mosaic with the different tinted pop-art portraits.

As you can see this adjustment can be handled in only a few minutes, with impressive results. A must have on your portfolio as a creative photographer.

Hope you find this guide useful and good luck!

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