Inside Photoshop

Paint a stylized portrait from your everyday photos

Inside Photoshop

by Amy Palermo

Let’s face it; we all have blemishes, bad hair days, and facial features we’d rather not capture in a portrait. Not to worry-what the camera doesn’t hide, this technique will. We’ll show you how to create a stylized portrait painting from an ordinary photo, as shown in Figure A. With some simple brush strokes, you can flatter your subject but still maintain the integrity of the original photo.

Prepare your canvas

To get started with this technique you’ll need a portrait image. If you want to follow along with our example, download from the URL given at the beginning of the article and extract the file portrait.psd.

To begin our technique:

  1. Launch Photoshop and open an RGB flattened photo to work with, such as the original shown in Figure A.
  2. Duplicate the Background layer and name the new layer Color.
  3. Select the Background layer and choose Image > Adjustments > Desaturate.
  4. Duplicate the background layer again and name this new layer Grayscale.
  5. Turn off the visibility for both the Background layer and the Color layer. We want to preserve the background layer and won’t need to refer to the Color layer until later.
  6. Create a new layer and name it Shadows.
  7. Create two more new layers and name them Midtones and Highlights respectively.
  8. Rearrange your panel if necessary so[…]

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