Making Colorful PopArt With Your Photos




Hi! I'm Cyancandle and I want to show you a quick way to make colorful pop art! We're going to end up with the below image.

Let's Take a Photo

I took a picture of fruits to be the subject of this pop art tutorial. Let's use the auto select tool (shortcut is W) to select the background, then the delete key to remove the background. Clip studio's auto select is pretty smart, so extracting items from your photos is a breeze.

Result: The background is removed, and I can now edit my fruits into the pop art style.


To get that pop art feel let's use posterization. Let's go to Layer > New Correction Layer > Posterization.

Experiment with the number of gradients to get the feel you're going for. I like 5 gradients because it's low enough to still have a cartoony poster feeling. Higher gradients look too realistic here.

Gradient Map


To make a neutral gray version of this image we will use a gradient map. Using a gray base makes color swaps easy. Select the Edit menu > Tonal Correction > Gradient map to open the dialog box.


Edit the nodes below the gradient. The nodes are the arrows below the gradient. Change the color of the node on the very left to black, and change the color of the node on the very right to white. This changes the color of the image to black and white. If there are any nodes in the middle, click on them and click on the delete node button (the trashcan).


Let's click on the mixing rate curve to edit the gradient curve. Adjusting the curve gives gives us greater control over the gradient's values.

It's time to create a background layer. Let's click on Layer > New Layer > Fill (M)

Here's our result.

The best part about fill in mono layers is that you can change their color whenever you want! Just click on the square on the left with the object symbol! A color settings dialog will pop up and will allow you to make a change.

Duplicating and Resizing

We will now make space for 3 more fruit sets, by doubling the width and height of the canvas. To do this select the Edit menu > Change Canvas Size.

After the canvas size is changed, select the fill in mono layer we used for the background. Then create a selection area and use the Edit menu > Clear Outside Selection to delete all of the fill in mono layer that's outside the area of our original image.

Now let's put the gray base image and the fill into mono layer into a folder. Then duplicate that folder three times.

Since we have duplicated the image, select the folders and use the operation tool (shortcut is O) to move each of the images to fill up the canvas;

Let's change the color of the backgrounds and fruits to make each image "pop," (and so that they don't have the same color background). To change the color of a background double click on the square on the left with the object symbol on the fill in mono layer.


For now I will use placeholder colors.

Let's change the color of the fruits using a gradient map (Edit menu > Tonal Correction > Gradient map). Then use the "clip to layer below" function to clip the gradient map on top of the gray base. This is so that the gradient map does NOT change the background.

Result for one of the fruit sets:

Have fun editing the gradient maps!

Extracting Palettes from Photos and Using them

I took some photos and I used the mosaic filter to make the color easy for picking. It is found in the Filter menu > Effect > Mosaic.

An easy way to pick the color from the palette is to use the eyedropper (shortcut I). Or when a color settings dialog box pops up when you change the color of a fill in mono layer or gradient, you can click the eyedropper in the color settings dialog box.

As a result of our color picking, gradient and background editing our pop art now has bright pastel tones. Also consider also using Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal or Vertical, to change the direction of your images.


Remember that you can change the color of your gradients and fill in mono layers anytime you want. Just click on the square on the left with the object symbol, and for gradient layers, click on the gradient symbol. Using the color picking button as mentioned above makes that process super convenient.

Using Tones for a Comic Pop Art Effect!

Let's start off with a gradient (shortcut is G). Use foreground to transparent, set the shape to circle and the edge process to not repeat.

Let's go to the Layer Property palette, and click on the tone pattern Effect to convert our gradient into a halftone.

Finally let's lower the screen frequency to 5.0. Lower frequency numbers have a pop! art effect.

With that said, let's apply some halftones. Experiment with gradients and screen frequency!


Consider also changing the color of your half tone gradients. To do this let's use the layer color effect, located in the layer property palette.


To get the effect of the top right gradient of the above image, I used the gradient erase tool. It's located in the gradients sub tool (shortcut G). Set the shape to straight line and the edge process to repeat. That creates transparent streak patterns in your gradient.

Other Effects

Another effect is the stripe gradient. This time set it to the circle shape.

Here I used it on the bottom right background.

Let's use the text tool (shortcut T) as another effect. In this instance I use the unispace font.

And we're done!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Good luck using pop art for your designs!



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