If you are a fan of pop art then you’re probably already well acquainted with the work Roy Lichtenstein. Roy Lichtenstein became one of the leading pop artists of the sixties with his comic-strip paintings. Drowning Girl 1963, shown left, is one of his better known works and is a good example of the design features in his most famous pieces. Notice the thick lines, bold colors, and thought bubble. His work also often included boxed captions and words such as “WHAAM!”, commonly found in comic books.
Benday dots were Lichtenstein’s trademark. Benday dots are a printing process which combines two (or more) different small, coloured dots to create a third colour. Back in the day, pulp comic books used benday dots in primary colours to inexpensively create the secondary colours such as flesh tone.
You can create the benday dot effect by using the
Colour Halftone filter found in Photoshop, however in this tutorial I’m going to show you a way to create a fantastic looking black and white Halftone Pattern. “Why?”, because I like the look of it better.
Due to the vivid colors, the pop art that you will create using this tutorial will look fantastic if you get it printed at your local print shop. If you are going to get it printed, in the beginning change the resolution to 300dpi (Image >> Image Size) and at the end of the tutorial change the mode to CMYK (adjust colours if necessary).
There are 2 steps to this tutorial…
STEP 1. Creating the Half Tone Shading
STEP 2. Adding Color
I suggest that you read through this tutorial first before beginning…
STEP 1. Creating the Half Tone Shading
a) Preparing the Canvas
Open your picture in photoshop that is going to become pop art and
duplicate the layer called “Background”. (Just click the layer called “Background” and drag it to this icon at the bottom of the layer window to duplicate the layer.)
Rename this new layer “dots”. (To rename a layer right-click on the name in the Layer Palette and select Layer Properties).
Create another new layer and fill it bright blue using the Paint Bucket tool .
Drag this layer between the two existing layers and rename it something meaningful i.e “blue”. The image below shows what your Layer Palette should look like. This is the basic set up to begin.
Now working on the “dots” layer we need to clear out all the unwanted parts of the photograph. In this case I want to isolate Scarlett and delete the rest i.e lilac background and bit of text.
To cut out Scarlett I use the
Pen Tool. Now to sum up how to use Photoshop’s pen tool in a few sentences isn’t easy…if you have never used the pen tool before, do the PEN TOOL TUTORIAL first.
Remember to make sure the pen tool is set to
create a Work Path. See below.
*NOTE: You could use the eraser tool but the results won’t be as professional.
Take the pen tool
create a path around the person (or thing) and then make it into selection. Invert the selection (CTRL + Shft + i) and hit delete. Deselect (Ctrl + D)
b) Making the Dots
Desaturate the “dots” layer (Ctrl + Shft + U).
Threshold to something dramatic (still working on the “dots” layer).
Image >> Adjustments >> Threshold…
The settings I used are shown in the image below, but you will need to experiment to see what threshold settings works for YOUR image.
Using Threshold will leave the image looking very pixelated (jagged). So apply
Gaussian Blur (approximately a 2-3 pixels should do it). Filter >> Blur >> Gaussian Blur…
In your Layers Palette
right-click on the “dots” layer and select Duplicate Layer…. See image below.
New for the Destination Document. Now you will have 2 documents open in photoshop.
Working on your new document change the
Mode to Greyscale.
Image >> Mode >> Greyscale
A dialogue box appears…”Discard color information?”…Click OK.
Now change the
Mode to Bitmap.
Image >> Mode >> Bitmap
A dialogue box appears…”Flatten layers?”…Click OK.
Choose Halftone Screen on the Bitmap options window. Click OK. See image below.
Next appears the Halftone Screen box. Apply the settings shown below. Note you may want to experiment with the
Frequency as this decides the size of the dots. Click OK.
Almost there with the dots. All that’s left is to transfer the dots back to the first document. (See part C).
Mode back to Greyscale
A dialogue box will appear…Make sure the size ratio is 1 and click OK.
Now change the Mode back to RGB.
In your Layers Palette right-click on the layer and select
There should be 3 three options as the Destination Document. Choose your original psd (which should be the top one). See image below.
Your Layers Palette should look like the one shown below. You can close the second psd that you created..there’s no need for it now.
The final step for creating the dots is to
create a Clipping Path between the new layer and the “dots” layer.
To create a Clipping Path…hold down the ALT key and move your cursor between the 2 layers in your Layers Palette. When the cursor turns into a “double bubble” (see image below) click to create the clipping path.
link the “dots” and “Background copy” layer. See image below.
Merge Linked layers (Ctrl + E)
Your picture should now look like the one shown below..only better because it’s not so small and compressed!
Now is a good time to
Save (Ctrl + S) your work. STEP 2. Adding Colour
Having achieved a great looking half tone effect, it’s time to add the colour.
I’m going to use Fill Layers to colour this picture. Fill Layers are great if you are indecisive about your colour palette and fantastic for colour experimentation for pop art.
At the bottom of this page I will briefly show how intermediate level photoshop users can really take their images one step further. Combining this tutorial with my
“Turn Photos of People into Line Art” tutorial you can really achieve stunning results.
a) Creating Fill Layers
Duplicate the “dots” layer. Rename this layer “white” and drag it below the “dots” layer in your layer palette.
Adjust the Brightness/Contrast on the “white” layer.
Image >> Adjustments >> Brightness/Contrast…
Set the Brightness to +100, and adjust Contrast until white
Now the “white” layer is white! Your layers palette should look like the one shown below.
Change the blend mode on the “dots” layer to Multiply.
Click on this icon
at the bottom of your Layer Palette and select Solid Colour…
Select a colour in the Colour Picker dialogue box. Click OK. I’ve gone for a red shade to colour her lips. You don’t need to be too picky here because we can change the colour easily later on.
The new fill layer created will appear in your layer window. Right-click and
rename the layer e.g “lips” to colour the lips.
Drag the new fill layer below the “dots” layer in your layer palette. See below. Your image is now totally filled with the colour of the fill layer…but don’t worry we are about to fix that.
Create a Clipping Path between the “lip” and “white” layer. This will ensure that you don’t colour over the lines ^_^
Change the foreground colour to black. Working on this new layer, take your Paint Bucket Tool (
) and fill the “lips” layer black. The colour disappears…this is because the colour will only show up where there is white on this fill layer.
Now for the colouring. Change the foreground colour to white. Get your Paint Brush Tool (
) and start painting where you want to the colour to appear. Use a hard brush with the opacity set to 100%. Make sure that you zoom in when colouring, so that it is nice and tidy!
b) More Fill Layers
Repeat the above step creating a new fill layer for each colour/item in your picture. Below is my layers palette.
Note how I have used clipping paths on all the new fill layers.
At any time if you are unhappy with a colour that you have chosen, simply
double click on the Layer Thumbnail (as shown above) and re-select a colour. Now you have the ability to change the colour of the hair for example, to a whole new colour in a second flat!!
You’re pretty much finished.
You will need to add a caption, or a speech or thought bubble to make this a Lichtenstein inspired piece. Custom shapes have a few speech and thought bubbles to choose from.
The font I used in my finished picture is ANIME ACE.
Try experimenting with the colours too for something really bold.
COMBINGING WITH LINE ART TUTORIAL
I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I create half tone shading on my line art pictures.
CLICK HERE to see my finished Scarlett Johansson pop art piece.
I’ve written two tutorials on creating the line art.
– Turn Photos of People into Line Art
– Create Basic Line Art form Your Photos
The picture of my layer palette below pretty much explains it all.
Obviously the line art is the top layer.
Duplicate the half tone layer and place it over each colour layer with a clipping path.
Set the mode of the half tone layer to Soft Light (or something similar).
Adjust the opacity of the half tone layer until it looks good.
If you are interested in creating the pattern I used for the background of my final Scarlett picture, the pattern is made with a custom shape.
If you are using Photoshop 7, CS or CS2 then you will have it already in your custom shapes (the arrow, marked 2, is pointing to it in the above image). You will need to select Show All to see it (see the image above, click on the area, marked with the 1 arrow to reveal custom shape options -Show All). If you are using an earlier version of Photoshop then you need to make it. Check out my
Digital Candy Tutorial (just do the first page).
I hope you found this Photoshop tutorial helpful. Feel free to contact me via my contact page if you have any questions.
Also check out the following page to see some fantastic art that others have created by following this tutorial.