How to Create a Lithograph Effect in CS3

Updated April 17, 2017

Andy Warhol created a pop art sensation the moment he unveiled his "photo silkscreen" portrait of Marilyn Monroe and the famous Che Guevara portrait. This same look has been mimicked many times over. It has been used on shirts, billboards and political cartoons. Computers have made this technique easy. Make your own lithograph in Photoshop CS3.

Open up Photoshop. Import the picture you wish to work on. (This can be done by simply dragging the picture to the Photoshop icon on your desktop.)

Take the subject that you are trying to lithograph by cutting it out using either the Lasso tool, Quick Selection tool, or Quick Mask tool (at the bottom of the toolbox).

Use a combination of the Quick Mask and Lasso tools for the hard extractions. With the Quick Mask Tool selected, reset the foreground and background colours to their original black and white. Then grab the paintbrush and flip the foreground and background colours by clicking on them to paint over the area you want selected. If done correctly, there should be a selection around the area you want cut out. Clean this up by using the lasso tool (Lasso + "Shift"= add to selection and Lasso + "Option"= subtract from selection. Use "Control" instead of "Option" to subtract on a PC).

Choose Threshold by going to "Image>Adjustments>Threshold." Move the slider until it is black and white.

Make a duplicate of this layer by dragging the layer in the Layers panel on the right-hand side to the new layers icon that looks like a little sticky note at the bottom of the Layers window. Fill this layer with white.

Remove the white of the black and white layer by going to "Select>Color Range." A window should appear. Use the colour picker to select the white of the image. Hit "OK." The white area should be selected. Press "Delete."

Create a new layer and fill this with any colour you like.


Experiment. Do this often and you will see your skills with this program grow. You can now change the colour of any and all of the three layers. This is easily done by going to "Image>Adjustments>Hue and Saturation."

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Photo file
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About the Author

As a writer and designer, Alvaro Roque's professional experience covers many interests. His articles have been featured in L.A.'s "Gallery Row Newspaper" and online at and His design experience ranges from creating an animated DVD intro to designing websites. He received his English degree from California State University, Northridge.