Create the Andy Warhol pop art effect: a Photoshop how-to.

Learn how to give your photos some extra pow, pop, and kick with bright and colorful special effects in Adobe Photoshop.

Few images are more iconic from 1960s pop art than those by Andy Warhol. Now you can embrace this unique style of bold colors and dramatic contrasts, even if you’re not a painter — all you need is good photo editing software and some creativity. Go back in time and add some pop to your photos today.

Add some “POW!” to your photos with the pop art effect in Photoshop.

To create this special effect, you’ll need to separate your subject and background and work in various layers along the way. Here’s how to make a Warhol pop effect in Photoshop.

  1. Open your image in Photoshop. Name this layer “Background.”
  2. Separate your subject. Use the Pen tool to trace your subject, then copy it onto a new layer. Rename this layer “Subject.”
  3. Add color fill to your background. Select the Background layer and tap New Fill to change the background to a solid fill color.
  4. Remove detail from the subject. Select your Subject layer and open the Threshold dialog box. This will make your subject black and white. Adjust the slider to remove most of the detail, consistent with the pop art style.
  5. Prepare for color. Use the Pen tool to select and separate different portions of the subject where you want to add color — such as the hair, skin, and clothing. For every different area of color, you’ll want to create a new layer.
  6. Add color. Click on a layer and add color to make it pop. Repeat for every individual layer, including the Subject and Background layers.
  7. Finish with Blend. After selecting a color for an area, tap on that layer’s Blend mode and change the selection from Normal to Multiply. This will bring back black threshold details from earlier to finish the pop art effect.

It can take some practice to get it just right, but once you have the basics down, the sky is the limit with your creativity. When you’re ready, discover even more tips and tricks to make your photos stand out.

Explore what else you can do with Adobe Photoshop to create dazzling edits like pop art and other special effects.