We will use the Threshold control to take out all the colour from an image
and turn it into a complete silhouette. First choose a picture. It should be
one that is already lacking in tone so it's easy for the software to remove
the grey tones and replace them with black or white.
As we're approaching the winter I thought a typical misty winter's landscape
would suit the project. This one, taken at Chatsworth, will work perfectly.
With the photograph open go to Image>Adjustments>Threshold and
the picture will immediately change to a black & white version with
no mid tones.
You will also see the Threshold graph showing
the range of tones in the picture. If we drag the white marker to the left
the tones that are visible will be predominantly white
This may be good for some subjects but I need
more detail in the tree, and some ground would be nice!
If we drag the white slider to the right the
picture will become predominantly black, as illustrated in the shot below.
In this example you can now hardly make out the
tree in the black mass that's been created. This is far too heavy for our
silhouette so we need to drag the slider back to a more appropriate mid
Setting a threshold somewhere between the two
extremes of the graph will create the best result and this point depends
on the photo you're using. 148 is about right for our example
With a mid way threshold value you gain enough
detail in the tree and ground to create a strong silhouette without affectingt
the background. You could save the photo and call it a day, but not when
I'm around! We'll take it to a new level using layers.
I thought the photo would look good with a sunset style graduation
and applied the gradient tool with the foreground set to orange and the
background white. Drawing down the photo with the tool creates the orange
sunset effect with ease. You could chose any colour you like, blue and grey
being great alternatives.
Still on the same theme, why not experiment with the other
gradient tools? Here the foreground colour was set to a deep orange and
the background to a light yellow. When the circular gradient tool is then
applied it picks up light yellow in the centre and surrounds it in orange.
Choose the point carefully to produce a sunset style photo complete with