Propaganda Image in Photoshop

    ●  Propaganda posters often use a bright but limited color palette that contrast very clearly.

    ●  They also use shapes to direct your eye toward the focal point like arrows or lines.

Learn About:

Shapes Filters Gradients

  •   This tutorial is part of the Portrait Project.

Other People's Work:

Here are examples of work inspired by this tutorial.


Step #1: Open a Picture in Photoshop ~

Open a picture of yourself in Photoshop.

Sometimes the layer is locked, preventing you from working …

layer is locked

… if so, Double-click on the Background layer and click OK - that unlocks the layer so you can move it around.

lipping mask b

Step #2: Magnetic Lasso Tool ~

Use the Magnetic Lasso Tool.

Begin to trace around your head and shoulders.

Step #3: Add to or Subtract from Selection ~

To Add (or take away from) your image, change to the basic Lasso Tool

lasso tool

On the Menu Bar, you can set Add to Selection or Subtract from Selection.

Outline the area that you want to add.

Or if you want to subtract from the selection …

subtract from selection

Circle the area you want to remove.

The goal is to cut out around your head, deleting the background.



Step #4: Filters ~

Go to: Filter > Filter Gallery

… then Artistic > Cut Out and adjust to your liking.

Step #5: Make a New Layer ~

Cmd (⌘) + Click the a "Create a new layer" new layer icon icon …

… to create a New Layer BELOW the existing layer.

new layer below

Step #6: Choose your Colors ~

Propaganda posters often use bright but limited color palette that contrast very clearly.

Click on the colors palette and select two bright colors you like.

Step #7: Shape Tool ~

Select the Custom Shape Tool or just hit the letter (U)

… and click the Shape Picker on the menu bar.

Do this:

Choose the element shown below:

… make sure Pixels is selected in "Pick tool mode" …

Step #8: Zoom Out ~

Get the Zoom Tool by hitting the keyboard shortcut (z) …

zoom tool

… select the Zoom Out zoom out button in the menu bar

zoom out

… or just hit Cmd (⌘) + (minus) to Zoom Out.

Step #9: Drag the Image ~

Stretch out the shape far beyond the image:

To zoom back in hit Cmd (⌘) plus.

Step #9: Swap Colors and Do it Again ~

Make another New Layer below the others …

antoher new layer

… swap your colors by clicking swap hitting the keyboard shortcut letter (x)

… and hit the keyboard shortcut letters: Alt (⌥) + Delete + to fill the area with the foreground color.

Hit Cmd(⌘)+t and adjust the lines - if necessary.

Last Step: Save for Web And Devices ~

Go to: File > Save for Web and save your work as a .jpg

Keep the size under 500 kb