Welcome to part two of "Anime Pop Art"! In part one I covered how to take a finished portrait and turn it into a Pop Art portrait with binarization and gradient maps.
For part two I'll show how to divide the canvas up into four equal parts, different ways to alter the color of the portrait, how to create your own materials, and more.
Here's where we left off last.
Divide The Canvas with Selections
The first step is to split the canvas into (relatively) equal squares that can be utilized in the collage.
Create a new layer in between the neutral layer and the first character folder.
Use the rectangular marquee tool and roughly divide the canvas in half, dragging from the top middle to either side.
Fill the selection with a bright color.
I used a sunny yellow.
Invert your selection, then create a new layer underneath of the last one.
Fill the selection with a color that is on the other side of the color wheel so there is plenty of contrast.
Lock the transparency of both new layers.
One the left most color, drag from the top to the middle and all the way over to the right. Fill the selection with a new darker color.
Half of the layer's color should be filled now.
Using the same selection, select the layer that has the right color rectangle, and fill it with yet another color.
It's ok if change your mind about which colors to use later. Just select the square with the magic wand and fill again.
Once all four squares are filled, you can tell if the portraits line up properly. The top right portrait for my collage was not all the way down to the bottom of that square so I took this opportunity to shift the folder down with the move tool.
Add Variety to the Portraits
Now we need to add more contrast between the portraits and the backdrop colors.
Decide which portrait you want to modify first. I chose the top right.
Open the appropriate folder and find the bottom layer inside. This is the layer that has the soft shading and that we used a gradient map on in part one.
Once the correct layer is selected, go to "Edit", mouse down to "tonal correction", and select "hue/saturation/luminosity".
Use the appropriate sliders to adjust the colors.
These are mostly self explanatory, but hue changes the "colors" in the image, saturation change how grey or saturated the image is, and luminosity changes how black or white (the brightness) the image is.
Try to choose a color that has good contrast or is very different than the color of your background.
When you are satisfied click "ok" to commit to the changes.
Choose another square and proper character folder to alter. Double check that you have the bottom layer of the folder selected.
Now open gradient map and choose a gradient. This time I used a default set called "somber shade" and used the "somber shade (red) gradient. It pops nicely against the darker blue background.
For the third square, on the yellow background, I used a gradient, and then used hue/saturation/luminosity to shift the colors even more.
I left the last, bottom right, portrait in the original colors. You can alter every portrait if you like.
Use Existing Materials to Decorate the Collage
Sometimes Pop Art is very clean and this can be considered a completed illustration.
One of the themes that Pop Art explores is consumerism. Considering my focus was on an anime girl, I tried to decorate each square in a way that represented the theme.
Decide which square you'd like to decorate first. Select the appropriate layer, and use the magic wand to isolate the square.
If you are working on a masked layer and would like to move the contents of the layer around, but not move the mask as well, uncheck the link between the layer thumbnail and the mask thumbnail. This will allow you to move the layer contents freely while keeping the mask in place.
Open the materials folder and select the material you would like to add to the background. Following the "anime and manga" theme, I chose a "ray line" or action burst material.
Drag and drop the material into your selection.
Here is the rayline material used.
By default most manga materials are black or white. Change the color in a non-destructive way using the "layer color" option in the layer property window.
I changed the black burst to a dark blue.
Add additional materials to the other squares.
I selected an "excited" speech bubble or action shape for the bottom right square.
This is a default material and is located in the "manga materials" subsection.
The outline was not as thick as the outline on the character so I used the "border effect" with a black fill to make it match.
Sometimes when you drag a material onto the canvas it will get added to the top or bottom of the layer hierarchy instead of above the layer you had selected. The material might not immediately have the appearance you expected. Check the layer order when this happens and drag and drop the layer to the proper place if necessary.
Create Custom Materials to Use in Your Pop Art
This next section is probably the most useful if you find you need to duplicate or paste shapes around a lot to fill an area.
The base the material can be drawn from scratch, like everything else in this article, but I'll show one way of using a 3D model.
I chose a lipstick model and dragged it onto my canvas.
Zoom the camera out so the model is roughly the size the want it to be in comparison to your portrait.
At this point you can also adjust the lighting and camera angle as needed.
I tried to achieve a very "flat" look with the camera.
You can download the lipstick model above.
In order to edit the material, it needs to be rasterized.
Right click on the material layer, and select "rasterize".
The material is now an editable 2D drawing.
Just as we did the with portrait, I binarize the lipstick to extract the lines.
Use a paint bucket and fill the white with flat colors.
Now create a reusable material from the lipstick.
Use the rectangular marquee tool and shift-drag to create a square selection around the drawing. The open space between the drawing and the selection is the padding that will persist when tiled.
Go to "edit", mouse down to "register material", and choose "image".
This window called "material property" will open.
Name your material so it's easy to find later. Check, "scroll up/down", and "tiling".
Then choose where you want the new material to be saved.
Since this is a tiled color pattern, I place it in my "color patter/pattern" material folder.
Click "ok" to create the material.
Just as we did with the ray line material, make a selection, and drag/drop the newly created material into the selection.
Adjust the scale and rotation with the operator tool, or in the "tool property" window.
Try different tiling options to see what looks best.
Add Text To Your Pop Art
For the last square we are going to be quite literal and plaster the word "anime" all over the background.
When you create any new text layer, it is always placed at the top of the layer hierarchy. Simply drag it down where you want it after confirming your text.
Mask your text by selecting the background color and clicking the "create mask" button at the top of the layer window.
Add a black "border effect" in the layer property window to your text.
Use the operator tool and the handles around the active text to adjust the scale and rotation.
If damaging the text layer is a concern, create a duplicate.
Rasterize the text layer.
Create another border effect with a bright color that pops nicely against the background color. Finally fill the text interior by selecting the original color with the magic wand and clicking "fill". I chose a very saturated green because it is the complementary color to red.
Copy and paste the text layer several times.
Move and transform the new copies around the background. If you are having difficulty with this step you may need to remove the link between the copied layers and the layer masks.
I tried to scale the "anime" text down as it moved toward the right so it looked like it was farther away.
The collage is done!
I hope you enjoyed this series! I tried to show different techniques that fit the theme, but that could also be applied to a wide variety of work.
Please let me know if t was helpful, or if anything is still unclear. I'm happy to answer questions in the comments or on social media!
About the author
My name is FalyneVarger. I have been drawing for most of my life. I started working commercially about 10 years ago and have created artwork for books, games, comics, and more non-commercial commissions than I can remember.
I'm @falynevarger in most places, but you can find me online at any of the links below!