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Use your computer to create a silhouette - Here's a simple technique using your image editing program to turn a colour or back& white photograph into a silhouette.
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 point.|
|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 sun.|