How to Edit Photos for the Che Guevara Effect

Written by william carne
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How to Edit Photos for the Che Guevara Effect
Che Guevara and images representing him have become a symbol of communism. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

The Che Guevara effect is a popular, high contrast image effect where the facial features are replicated in pure black. The technique is often duplicated around the world and usually places the face on a bright red background. Creating this technique for a picture of your choosing is fairly straightforward as long as you have access to a good quality image editor such as Adobe Photoshop, GIMP or Corel Paintshop Photo Pro.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Open up your image editor and the file you want to work with. Convert the image to black and white by choosing "Image > Adjustments > Desaturate."

  2. 2

    Click on "Image > Adjustments > Threshold" and adjust the slider until you are happy with the level of contrast. You probably want a level of around 150, depending on the contrast of the original image. Press "OK."

  3. 3

    Click on the Magic Wand tool from the toolbar and click once, somewhere in the middle of the biggest black area of the image. This will highlight part of the image. To highlight the rest, choose "Select > Similar." All the black in the image should now be selected. Hit "Ctrl-C" or "Edit > Copy" to copy the selection.

  4. 4

    Create a new layer by opening the layer panel and selecting "New Layer" from the triangle shaped drop-down menu at the top right of the panel. In the dialogue box that opens, give the layer the name "color" and select the background colour you want for the layer by clicking the coloured square and choosing a colour. This colour layer will be your final image's background. Traditionally, you should use a rich, bright red.

  5. 5

    Create a second new layer using the same method, but choose a transparent background. With the second new layer selected, click "Ctrl-V" or "Edit > Paste." This will paste the black parts of your image over the coloured background. Save your work.

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