Andy Warhol Style Portrait (Photoshop)

As discussed in my previous post (HERE) Andy Warhol was famous for taking photographs of people and adding colour to create vivid portraits. In this project, you’ll turn a photo of yourself or me into a work of art!

If you would like to work with a photo of yourself (recommended), you should ask Mr. Robson to send you one. If that’s already been taken, you will likely find that photo in your Documents folder.

For a photo of me, you can click HERE. You need to click on one of those photos and DOWNLOAD that photo

By now you should have done the GWMS Pride Poster project, so you should know some basic things about using Photoshop. If you have not completed that project, please do so before attempting this one

Once you’ve got a photo, you’re ready to begin. Open Photoshop Elements and choose the Photo Editor mode

As always, make sure you are in EXPERT mode

And make sur that your Layers panel is showing

We’re going to create a New Blank File. There are a few ways of doing this:

Beside the Open button at the top left of your screen, there’s a little triangle. Click that and choose New Blank File…


Go into the File menu and choose New, then Blank File…


Ctrl + N

As with the GWMS poster, you can choose whether to make your poster tall and narrow (Portrait Orientation) or wide and shorter (Landscape)

The photo I’ve chosen is in Landscape orientation, so I’m going to make mine wide. Mine will be 10 inches wide and 8 inches tall, with a Resolution of 300 Pixels/Inch. Please choose the Transparent background:

If you want your Portrait in Portrait orientation, you’ll set yours up like this:

The first step is always to save your work properly, so Go into the File menu and choose Save As… (or Shift + Ctrl + S)

Put it in your Documents folder and call it Warhol Portrait.

The first thing we’ll do is place the photo of you or me onto the background, so go into the File menu and choose Place…

This one does not really have to be stretched to fill the background. I’m going to resize mine later, so for now I’ll just hit Enter OR click the green checkmark to Commit current operation

I’ll move my photo to cover that blank spot at the bottom of the page so I’m not floating in space. Just click on the photo and drag it down.


The gap at the top is not such a problem. You can ignore that if you wish

I’m going to stretch my photo a bit so that I fill up more of the background. You don’t really have to do this but I think it looks better. When stretching your photo, please hold down the Alt key on your keyboard and pull DIAGONALLY from the CORNER!

If you stretch or squish your photo from one of the sides it will not look natural and you will lose marks!

Mine now looks like this:

Once again you can hit Enter or click the green checkmark to Commit current operation

Now we’re ready to start making changes to the photo. Right now, you’ve got one layer and it has the name of the photo file

I want to rename that layer. Double click on that name to highlight it

and change it. This is the original photo of you, so either name it after yourself (or me) or just call it “original”

I always like to leave a copy of the original photo untouched to refer back to later, so we’ll be working with a copy. We need to duplicate this layer.

3 ways:

Right click on the layer and choose Duplicate Layer…


Go into the Layer menu and choose New Layer Via Copy


Ctrl + J

Now you’ve got a copy of that original layer

I want to rename that new layer as well, so we’ll double-click on it and call it “portrait”

To make sure that we don’t mess up that original layer, we can lock it. Select the layer so that it’s blue in the Layers panel

Then up above there’s a little lock icon. Click that and the layer will be fully locked so no changes can be made to it

You can also turn on or off the layer’s visability to make a layer visible or invisible. That bottom layer should be invisible. Go beside the layer thumbnail and click the eyeball

When a layer is turned off (invisible) it has a red line through the eye

If you just turn off that bottom one, you won’t notice any difference, because the top layer is blocking it. To see a difference, turn both layers off (if you want)

And now all you’ll see in the middle of the screen is that checkerboard pattern that indicates that there’s nothing there

In order for us to work with a layer though, it needs to be On/Visible, so make sure the top layer is On and the bottom layer is Off


First we need to remove the background from the portrait. The best place to start is with the Quick Selection Tool. This will work nicely if you have taken your picture against a plain background, which is why I always take my photos against the white wall in the hallway.

The Quick Selection Tool is in the bottom right of the SELECT section of your toolbox


just hit the letter A on your keyboard to activate it!

When the tool is active and your cursor is over top of the image, it’ll look kind of like a little target/crosshairs

Just click and drag on the wall. Stay away from yourself!

You will start to see a flashing line appear around yourself and the edge of the image. This flashing line is often called “dancing ants.”

I stopped and missed part of the wall on mine. As you can see, I need to ADD more of the wall on to my selection

At the bottom of the screen there’s a section of tool options. This tool has 3 options: New selection, Add, and Subtract. To add the rest of the wall, I’d need to be clicked on Add:

And then I’d go draw on the wall on the parts that are not yet selected.

But let’s say I selected too much and have part of my body selected by mistake:

In the example below, I’ve got the top of my head selected. If I deleted that, I’d lose the top of my head. Not what we want. I’d have to switch to Subtract

And then go draw on my head to remove that from the selected area.

A good selection looks like this:

Make sure that those dancing ants go around all of the areas of the wall in your photo. Depending on how you were standing/posing, there may be other areas you need to Add to your selection as well.

Once you’ve got the wall perfectly selected, you can just press Backspace or Delete on your keyboard to erase the wall.

You may see this box pop up:

Just click OK and then press Backspace again

Now you should see a cutout of your subject with a transparent area around it

Your layers panel now looks like this:



This section only applies to photos where the person has dark hair or clothing. If you have a photo of someone with blonde hair and light clothing, you could skip this section.

My hair and clothing are very dark in my photo. When we make our “art” those areas will be black, and I can’t really paint colour over anything that’s black, so you may wish to lighten those areas. I’ll show you how to do that so that you can add colour to dark areas IF YOU WISH

First, Deselect to get rid of those dancing ants (Ctrl + D)

I’ll start by lightening the colour of my clothing. Again I’ll use the Quick Selection Tool to do this (you should still have that active)

Start by trying to select the area that you want to lighten

You may have to either Add to selection if you miss a part or Subtract from selection if you start to highlight too much

A proper selection of my clothes looks something like this:

Once you’ve got the area properly selected, you will go into the Enhance menu and choose Adjust Lighting, then Brightness/Contrast…

You’ll see this slider control box

Brightness is pretty obvious. It makes the area lighter or darker. Move it to the left, it gets darker, move it to the right, it gets lighter




Stay tuned for more instructions…


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