Photoshop: How to Create Graphic Portraits from Photos
Photoshop: How to Create Graphic Portraits from Photos

Hi. This is Marty from Blue Lightning TV. I’m going to show you how to create stunning,
graphic portraits from photos. Before we begin, make sure you click the small
“Subscribe” button at the lower, right corner to let you know as soon as I upload new Photoshop
tutorials! Open a photo of a face that you’d like to
use for this project. I downloaded this one from Shutterstock. To ensure that your results will look similar
to mine, check your image’s size and resolution by pressing Alt + Ctrl + I on Windows or Option + Cmd + I on a Mac or by going to Image and Image Size. Make it approximately this size and its resolution:
150 pixels per inch. The first step is to separate our subject from its background by making a selection around our subject. There are many ways to do this and I covered
them all in my prior tutorials. I generally use the Quick Selection Tool,
but since the background in this example is a solid color, I’ll use the Magic Wand Tool. If you’re using this tool, as well, make sure
“Contiguous” is checked. This ensures that the inside of your subject
will not be selected. If you need to add a selection to another
area of the background, click this “Add to” icon, which adds selections as you click on your image. I’ll click the background to make the selection. To check your selection, press “Q” on your
keyboard to see it as a quick mask. Press “Q” again to revert it back into a selection. Invert the selection by pressing Ctrl + Shift
+ I on Windows or Cmd + Shift + I on a Mac. To refine the edge of your selection, go to
Select. If you’re using a version earlier than CC
2015.5, click “Refine Edge. If you’re using CC 2015.5 or later, click
“Select and Mask”. If you prefer to use Refine Edge instead of
Select and Mask, Shift-click “Select and Mask”. I did in-depth tutorials on both filters,
so if you’d like to watch them, I includes their links in my video’s description. I’ll click the “Overlay” view and check “Smart Radius”, which tells Photoshop to detect hard and soft edges. I’ll drag the Radius to 5 and bush over the
edge of the hair. Check, “Decontaminate Colors”, which minimizes
the background color from leaching into the edges of our subject. Output it to a “New Layer with Layer Mask” and click “OK’. We’ll make a new layer below the active layer
by Ctrl-clicking or Cmd-clicking the New Layer icon. We’ll fill the empty layer with white, but
first, check your foreground and background colors. If they’re not black and white respectively,
press “D” on your keyboard. Since white is your background color, press
Ctrl or Cmd + Delete. We’ll convert our visible image into a Smart
Object, so we can modify it non-destructively. To do this, Shift click the top layer to make
it active, as well, and click the icon at the upper, right corner. Click, “Convert to Smart Object”. Go to Filter, Blur and Gaussian Blur. For now, blur it 6 pixels. Go to Image, Adjustments and Threshold. I’ll keep its default Level at 128, however,
you can adjust your portrait’s density by sliding the level to the right or left. You can also adjust it by changing the amount of blur. Double-click Gaussian Blur. If you see this message, it’s just letting
us know that we won’t see the Threshold effect until we’re done with Gaussian Blur. I’ll increase the Blur Radius to 10 and click
OK or press Enter or Return. As you can see, my image filled in more and
became denser. I’ll undo the last step by pressing Ctrl or Cmd + z. Conversely, it we were to decrease the blur
radius, our image would fill in less. I’ll revert it back to the original blur of
6 pixels and the Threshold of 128 levels. As before, convert your image into a Smart Object. Next, we’ll create a gradient background. Click the New Layer icon to make a new layer. Fill it with any color for now, since we’ll
be replacing it with a gradient overlay. I’ll fill it with my foreground color, which is black. Double-click the layer to open its Layer Style window. Click “Gradient Overlay”. The Blend Mode is Normal and the Opacity is 100%. Make sure “Reverse” is unchecked and make
the Style: “Radial”. The Angle is 90 degrees and the Scale is 150%.Click
the gradient bar to open the Gradient Editor. Click the “Black, White” box and the lower,
left Stop. Click the box and pick a light color for the
center of your gradient. Since I already know the color I want, I’ll
type it into the hexadecimal field: D3F3FF. Then, click OK. Click the lower, right Stop and the box. Pick a darker color for the outer areas of
your gradient. I’ll type in: 002871. Once you pick your colors, click OK on the
Color Picker and the Gradient Editor to close them. We can reposition the gradient by dragging it. I’ll drag it up a wee bit from the center. Convert it into a Smart Object. Make a new layer and temporarily hide the gradient. Open your Channels panel. If you don’t see it, go to Window and Channels. Ctrl-click or Cmd-click the RGB thumbnail
to make a selection of channel’s shape. Invert the selection by pressing Ctrl or Cmd + Shift + I. Open back the Layers panel and fill the selection
with black by pressing Alt or Option + Delete. Deselect it by pressing Ctrl or Cmd + D. Make
the Gradient visible again and double-click the top layer to open its Layer Style window. Click “Color Overlay” and the box. In the hexadecimal field, type in 31, three
times to give us a dark grey color. Click OK. Click “Inner Shadow”. The color is black, the Blend Mode is Multiply
and the Opacity is 50%. The Angle is 90 degrees, the Distance is 12
pixels and the Size is 8 pixels. Convert it into a Smart Object and go to Filter
and Filter Gallery. Open the Texture folder and click “Texturizer”. The “Texture” is “Canvas”, the Scaling is 200%, the “Relief” is 3 and the “Light” is from the “Top”. Once again, Ctrl-click or Cmd-click the face
to make a selection of it. We’re going to create an inverted layer mask
of the selection next to the gradient. Make the gradient active. Alt-click or Option-click the Layer Mask icon. Click the “fx” icon and click “Bevel and Emboss”. The Style is “Inner Bevel” and the Technique
is “Chisel Soft”. The Depth is 50%, the Direction is “Up” and
the Size is 5 pixels. The Angle is 90 degrees and the Altitude is
50 degrees. The Highlight blend mode is “Linear Dodge”
and its opacity is 25%. The Shadow blend mode doesn’t matter, since
its opacity is 0%. Next, we’ll add a starburst pattern behind our subject. Make a new layer. Open your Polygon Tool and choose “Pixels”. If you’re using Photoshop version CS5 or earlier,
the Pixel icon is here. Go to View and make sure “Rulers” and “Snap”
are both checked. If they’re not, just click on them to make them active. Go to the ruler at the top and drag down a
guideline to the center. It’ll snap in place because we have Snap checked. If you don’t see the guideline, press Ctrl
or Cmd + H. Go to the ruler on the left and drag across a guideline to the center, as well. Give it 99 sides and click the gear icon. You can ignore the Path options, since we chose “pixels”. Check “Star” and indent the sides by 80%. Go to the center of the guidelines and drag out your tool until the shape goes beyond the corners. Then, release. Reduce the Fill to 0%, which makes the layer
invisible, but it’ll retain the visibility of any effects we add to it. Double-click the star to open its Layer Style window. Click “Bevel and Emboss”. The Style is Inner Bevel, the Technique is
“Chisel Soft” and the Depth is 50%. The Direction is “Down” and the Size is 2
pixels. The Angle is 90 degrees and the Altitude is
50 degrees. Make the Highlight opacity anywhere from 50
to 70% and the Shadow opacity: 100%. We can remove the guidelines now by going
to View and “Clear Guides”. Next, we’ll remove the star pattern inside the face. Click the Layer Mask icon to make a layer
mask next to the star layer. As soon as you made the layer mask, your foreground
and background colors inverted. Invert it back by clicking this icon or by
pressing “x” on your keyboard. Open your Pencil Tool and Pencil Picker. We’ll adjust the size in a moment. Make its Hardness and Opacity both 100%. Then, press Enter or Return. To make your brush bigger or smaller, press
the right or left bracket key on your keyboard. Brush over areas inside of the face to remove
the star pattern. Lastly, we’ll crop off the bevel along the
top edge of our document by first making a composite snapshot of our visible image. To do this, make the top layer active and
make a new layer above it. To make the composite snapshot, press Alt
+ Ctrl + Shift + E on Windows or Option + Cmd + Shift + E on a Mac. Open your Transform Tool by pressing Ctrl or Cmd + T. At the top, next to the Transform’s width and height, make sure the chain-link icon is active. This links them together, so whatever we type
into one will be applied to the other, as well. Type in 102%, which should be enough to crop
off the bevel at the top. Then, press Enter or Return, twice. This is Marty from Blue Lightning TV. Thanks for watching!

60 thoughts on “Photoshop: How to Create Graphic Portraits from Photos”

  1. R Garlin says:

    Great effect – I particularly like the addition of the starburst! Thanks a lot Marty!

  2. Decimus TV says:

    I love the music at the start with the intro. Nice.

  3. Celeste Celestial says:

    I’m not going to do a portrait but the techniques used here can help me for my current photoshop project. Thanks Marty! This was released at the perfect time for me. 🙂

  4. Acasia Simone says:

    Great tutorial always easy to follow!!

  5. Carlos Rodriguez says:

    I love it

  6. Aab Zamzam says:

    Thank thank and many thank sir i wanted this in corel draw but you solved it here clearly

  7. hussain mohammed. mahf says:

    Excellent sir 👌 thanks 👍

  8. R Productions says:


  9. Nikos Pop / Nipponia says:

    another great video.thank you

  10. André Gaillard says:

    Merci ! Excellente pédagogie…

  11. Mubarak Ali says:

    You are genius sir your I like your all tutorials. I'm from NEPAL.

  12. Louis Van Haecke says:

    I can't click on the option 'threshold'; do you know what might be the problem?

  13. Tarun Singh says:

    maybe make a similar one but with colours instead of black and white,thanks

  14. Mario Pires says:

    Great work thks .

  15. FPortman says:

    Again great video. Thank you so much Marty.

  16. Game Master says:

    ilike u 😍

  17. Soüha Thinkingstyle says:

    thank you ♥

  18. overclockeador says:

    Marty, you are an amazing person, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge!

  19. Black JESUS says:

    Thank You Marty!

  20. Dr. Harshwardhan says:

    Salute ! On your imagination .

  21. Brian Heller says:

    Your tutorials have been very helpful. However. . . things were going fine on this one until just after applying gaussian blur. I went to Image/Adjustments and found Threshold ghosted (not available). That, of course, stopped me dead in my tracks. I'm using Photoshop CS6. I've backtracked several times, but the conclusion was always the same.

  22. diverandy77 says:

    How do you do the coloured version, that’s used for the transition at the start of the video, please. Thanks Marty.

  23. Jay SupmemeS says:

    Great content, Marty! Thanks a ton!

  24. Redha Nessah says:

    Good job bro
    Thznks 4 all

  25. Anthony Thomas says:

    Another great tutorial! Thank you. I’m exploring ideas for a Soviet era style poster and this tutorial is a good start. Are there any tips for making the main subject’s lines more angular?


    Reminds me of the updated Zig Zag logo 😂🌿!

  27. Pushpa Raj says:

    Pls give new new photo editing

  28. Pawel - says:

    great,as always,thanks!

  29. Vishwanath Benade says:

    hey can u plz do a vedeo on how to remove blur
    in photograpgy

  30. Mr_ Cleverboy says:

    Pls I want know the version of the photoshop u used most on all tutorials…? Is it CC bcus I used cs5 most here… God bless u

  31. Jason Shisei says:

    wow Best 🙂

  32. Android Bani says:

    i like this video and your work

  33. Fernando Vázquez Dj Manitas says:

    Another great job, very original and fashion.

  34. Владимир Мальцев says:

    Che Guevara style. I like it!

  35. eroos medan says:


  36. soni Sharma says:

    Sir kya mujhe is pure tutorial ki final jpeg image milsakti hai kya on my mail id.

  37. Julie Pruitt says:

    Nice technique, great teaching! Thank you, Marty.

  38. King of Fire says:

    Good teaching… Nice lesson.. So my most sincere thanks for you..

  39. Teferi Gonfa says:

    thank you

  40. Rbee CM says:

    ive learned alot of beginner stuff from you thanks i just started using photoshop to edit photos and stuff :)) keep up your work

  41. Prameow Meow says:


  42. Martin Duffy says:

    Great Tutorial loved it, have you ever thought of making actions for these tuts and selling them..?

  43. Mozeez Zang says:

    please help;;;; stucked at 4:00. Threshold is greyed out(not clickable) after converting to smart object

  44. Vittorio Victoriño says:

    Este tutorial no estará en español????

  45. axl d'voie says:

    threshold wont work

  46. Music Lyrics says:

    Can you send me the link of this Photoshop because photoshop I use don't have all effects? PLEASE 🙂

  47. Jose Diaz H says:


  48. Abdiel Ortiz says:

    Awesome tutorials.

  49. Martin Zehnpfenning says:

    I did that 20 years ago with Corel Trace to transform photos into vector graphics to cut them with a cutting plotter, Without photoshop 🙂 These graphics I used for stickers and much more 🙂 Not for printing but cutting, but that was also possible !

  50. Elmahdy Amir says:

    thank you so much – amazing

  51. Ziko Isaac says:

    very clear and simple explanation. thnx a lo!

  52. kim bottle says:

    Hi Marty
    Can these works then be printed on large canvases.What size can you enlarge to and still get good resolution .

  53. nuril alfiatul k khomisah says:

    I love your videos,, thanks for make photoshop seems easy…

  54. Vic J says:

    I can't believe I didn't discover this channel yet, it's so professional, nice work!! I want to know, is it possible to do this in Photoshop CC 2018?

  55. Nigel Pipe says:

    Really love that. Thanks Marty 🙂

  56. Mona Raza says:

    Is there any other way where i can talk you ??

  57. Ali Fayruz says:

    Hi Marty and thank you for the valuable lessons
    I couldn't do this example because the "Threshold" become invisible after I change the image into smart object. I'm using older version of Photoshop is there is a way that I can do it please? thanks

  58. joseph mckay says:

    Tks for your videos is very helpful and easy to learn tks again from Malta joseph

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *