Sunday, 22 November 2009

Stencil from photo

A few months ago I was playing with Photoshop and made a couple of stencil pictures out of stock photo’s ( so I thought I’d do a short tutorial on how to make them.

Step 1

Go to and download - which is a nice picture of a penguin on a white background. The white background makes it easy for us to cut out. Also download the wall photo


Step 2.

Open the penguin picture in Photoshop and select the Magic Wand Tool, set the options bar to 32 tolerance and tick contiguous. Click somewhere on the white background of the picture – this will select all of the white. No choose Select > Inverse to select the penguin. Copy this to a new Layer by pressing Control & J together. Now hide the Background Layer.


Step 3

Next we want to turn the image black and white we simply do this by selecting a Black and White Adjustment Layer by clicking on the Create a new fill or adjustment layer button in the Layer Palette and scrolling to Black and White.


Step 4

Next we want to increase the contrast – again we use an adjustment layer to as before but this time select Brightness/Contrast. Now increase contrast to +100.


Step 5

As before we want to add another Adjustment Layer – this time choose Threshold. Set the level to around 94 – you may have to play with this a bit to get it right. But we are trying to loose details and increase the black sections without loosing detail.


Step 6

We want to create a merge copy of our image so far on the top of the layer stack so go to the top of your Layer stack and press Shift, Control, Alt and E together.

Next add a 1.5 pixel Gaussian blur to this layer.


Step 7

The image needs to be simplified by going to Filter > Artistic > Cutout and set it as in the picture below.


Step 8

We want to get rid of some of the white parts – so we first use the magic wand tool again to choose the white parts and invert so only the black parts are selected. Next increase the black contrast by going to Image > Adjustment > Levels and setting Input Levels to 0, 0.10, 255


Step 9

Open the wall picture we downloaded earlier and rotate the image 90 degrees Clock Wise – Image > Rotate Canvas > 90 degrees CW


Step 10

Go back to your Penguin picture and Select all (Select > All) then copy merged (Edit > Copy Merged) Next paste this onto your wall picture.


Step 11.

Finally we can add a few splats of paint – go to and download and install the brush.


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Download the stock files from

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