Andy Warhol created iconic high-contrast re-renderings of Jackie Onassis, Elvis, Mao and others. I’ll show how to do this in Photoshop.
The Miley Cyrus VMA spectacle provided a golden opportunity for this rendering style; which can be as tight or loose as you want. I located the assets, used the original Kraftwerk album cover as a guide. Then it was the high-contrast Warhol-serigraph technique to punch it out of contemporary event photography, same for the Donald Duck repeats which mimic the Jonas Bros, who are subbing in for the original band. The type treatment was a loose-fit on the original.
building the file
This technique uses:
- Solid Color layers that clip to whatever area you mask.
Masks can be added or subtracted to without destroying original pixel data. Previous tutorials on this focused on duping layers, and then hacking out each area before applying Threshold to render continuous tones into a high contrast-tonal statement.
Working with masks mimics Dave Lefner’s reduction linoleum print strategy. Or, if you’re ancient enough to remember cutting rubyliths, you’ll be right at home.
How to clip layers
- Open or create an image that has several layers.
- Hold down Option (Alt on the PC) and position your mouse cursor over the line dividing two layers in the Layers panel.
- Your cursor changes to two overlapping circles with a small arrow icon. You can also choose Layer→Create Clipping Mask or choose the same command from the Layers panel menu.
Working with Masks
- Start masks big and work toward small
- Keep the clipping tight, 1px edge
- Punch holes in masks by either filling with white or black depending if you want a color to reveal or conceal
- Dupe the master layer and bury it. You’ll make a mistake, and its good to have a backup
- Clipped layers are layers that are linked directly to the layer beneath it. Here its whatever solid color/gradient to the mask in question.
- Set color to multiply to get the color/black combo you need.
- Control saturation with layer opacity
I started with a PS6 doc 907 x 960px, a Facebook album size. My source was Kraftwerk’s “Robots” album. It had the graphic elements necessary to pull this lampoon off. Yes, its wildly low-rez, all it needs to be is a guide.
Threshold applied, Adjust to preferences. Masks with colors not yet activated above, but waiting.
Add type layers and graphic elements as needed. The added Donald Ducks, are each on a separate layer. Same for the Jonas Brothers on the right. The original source album below: