How to Make a Silhouette Image with Photoshop

Silhouette pictures can come pretty handy for different occasions. For example, you can use them to create a very elegant and minimal greeting card, to give some unique style to any page on your website or to add some personality to your Facebook profile, among many other uses.

Create Silhouette Photoshop2

In this entry, you will learn how to easily create a silhouette picture from any of your existing photos or images using Photoshop.

Let’s get started with the steps needed for this.

Step 1: First, get the image or photo you want to use and open it in Photoshop.

Image Open

If you look at the bottom right of the Photoshop window, you will notice the Layers panel. Here the image we just opened is named ‘Layer 0’. To make things simpler in this tutorial, let’s rename this layer ‘Background’ (just double click on its name to do so).

Image Layer 0
Image Layer Background

Step 2: Next, head to the tools panel on the left and click on the Quick Selection tool. Once selected, adjust its size using the brackets keys on your keyboard and then click on different areas of your image to select the subject.

Photoshop Quick Selection Tool

Make sure to select all the area you want to include in the silhouette.

Image Area Selected

Cool Tip: If you accidentally select areas you don’t want to use, then you can press the Alt key while using this tool to instead remove areas from your selection (notice it goes from a plus sign to a minus sign when you do so).

Step 3: Then right-click on the area you just selected and choose Layer via Copy from the available options.

Image Layer Via Copy

This creates a new layer with just the subject (Layer 1 in this example). You can select/de-select the other layer on the Layers panel and see your subject on its own.

Image Layer 1
Image Layer Deselected
Main Image Original
Main Image Object Only

If you have more than one object you want on your silhouette, simply select it/them and create a new layer for each using the Layer via Copy option.

Step 4: Now, before proceeding, head to the tools panel on the left and select the main color you will use for your silhouette’s background.

Color Original
Color New Selection

Next, select the Background layer again on the layers panel, and then hit Alt + Delete on your keyboard and your image’s background will change to the selected color.

Layers Background Selected
Image Background Flat Color

Step 5: Now let’s change the subject’s color to white to create the silhouette. For this, select the layer of the subject and then below that, click on the small Create new adjustment layer icon and select Levels… to add a special layer.

Layer 1 Selected1
Levels Layer Create

Then, you have to lock that new layer to your ‘subject’ layer (Layer 1) by selecting that new layer and clicking on the button above it (shown below) so that all the changes on that new layer will only affect your ‘subject’ layer.

Image New Special Layer1

Step 6: Now, on the graph-like tool, click on the white slider and slide it all the way to the opposite side until your image is completely white (or any shade you want).

Levels Default
Levels Adjusted

Do the same for any other object layer you have.

Silhouette Raw

You now have your silhouette almost ready. So let’s do a few final touch-ups in order to get it finally done.

Basic Final Touch-ups

Before saving your final silhouette image, you can polish it a bit by getting rid of any small imperfections around its edges. To do this, select the Eraser tool (you can also use the brackets to enlarge or reduce its size).

Photoshop Eraser Tool
Silhouette Done

Once done, save your image in your preferred format.

Silhouette Final

Enjoy your newly created silhouette!

Last updated on 02 February, 2022

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