Easy Two Tone Silhouette

This is a quick way to use photoshop to create that semi-trendy, two-tone silhouette effect.

Obviously start with the photo you want to apply the effect to. I used another photo from PhotoSpin (PhotoSpin #1410017).


Start by duplicating your layer [Ctrl + J]. You don’t HAVE to duplicate the layer, but it helps if you make a mistake. Desaturate your duplicated layer by pressing [Ctrl + Shift + U].


Now go to [Filter > Artistic > Cutout]. Use settings similar to the following:

  • Number of Levels: 2
  • Edge Simplicity: 3 or 4
  • Edge Fidelity: 3


You should get an effect similar to this:


Press [Ctrl + L] to bring up the Levels Dialog. Drag your sliders very close to each other, until your image is only black and white.


Your image will probably have some pretty jagged edges.


To fix this, go under [Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur]. Enter a value of around 2.0 pixels, or whatever looks like your edges are smoothed.


Bring up the Curves Dialog by pressing [Ctrl + M]. Adjust your Curves so the edge blurriness is gone, but there is still no jagged-ness. (Is jagged-ness a word?).


And that should be it.


You could get a little more advanced with this by masking your subject out (cutting out) first, then running through the steps.


Comments Spill 8 Comments »

  1. November 27, 2008 8:27 amjill

    Good tutorial. Thank you.

  2. December 14, 2008 11:10 amLou Lahana

    Well done…easy to follow. Only problem occurred in the curves dialog box…don’t have the same interface using cs3. Anyway, thanks for the help!

    Here’s my result:

  3. March 30, 2009 9:03 pmMichael

    thanks 4 the tutorial…. it is easy to follow your step..

  4. June 12, 2009 3:34 amblesila resurreccion

    how do you do “You could get a little more advanced with this by masking your subject out (cutting out) first, then running through the steps.”? thanks

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  7. September 29, 2009 10:14 amlance

    Nice tutorial – thank you. Have wondered about how to do this effect.

  8. October 2, 2009 11:48 amLisa

    NEW to Illustrator.. what about the last step. I have the 2 layers; 1 greyed out. How do you then combine or merge so you see the full effect? Thanks!!

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