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Here is a style that is close to what I want to go for (just don't want the paint/sketch effect):

enter image description here

Question

It comes down to two interrelated things I don't understand.

  • How to create the teal/blue green filter effect with the right amounts of saturation and light/dark balance
  • How to make the background nice and faint like that while the subject(s) pop so well.

Assume a normal photograph/selfie of me taken in my living room

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    The easiest solution for the background is to keep it simple when you take the photo; the least post processing the better. – Luciano Aug 19 at 8:01
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Try a Posterize and a Tritone and change each color graphics trying to get the shadows/midtones/lights (not highlights) to black/teal/green

  • Menu Image → Mode → Grayscale
  • Cmd + Shift + L Mac or Ctrl + Shift + L Win to make Auto Levels
  • Menu Image → Adjustments → Posterize

Posterize

  • Menu Image → Mode → Duotone and choose Tritone

tritone

Those are the numbers of each graph to obtain an approximation in the tritone tonal gradation:

  • Shadows: 0 = 0%, 50 = 50%, 100 = 100%
  • Midtones: 0 = 0%, 40 = 0%, 50 = 100%, 100 = 100%
  • Lights: 0 = 0%, 40 = 100%, 50 = 0%, 100 = 0%

Original image from Unsplash.com

end

  • could you take a screen shot of your triotone curve settings or put them in a table? I can't quite get the shape right just by eye balling it. – Arash Howaida Aug 19 at 13:22
  • Updated answer, just use these numbers on each graphic and adjust them as you prefer. – Danielillo Aug 19 at 13:36
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A normal selfie taken in your living room probably won't give you quite the same effect. Creating such an image begins with lighting techniques and use of manual exposure with a camera. The lighting is directional (from one side only), and the photograph has been exposed for the highlights, leaving the shadows much darker.

It's going to be harder to achieve that look with a phone camera selfie, although not impossible. If you can, arrange some lighting off to one side, and take a few shots until you get something that looks usable.

Once you have a usable photo, the colouring can easily be adjusted later in Photoshop. Here's an example using a photograph I which I took, shot in a studio, using these techniques.

Here are some steps which could be used to colourize the image, without creating too much posterization/sketchy effect:

  1. Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, select the "colorize" box, and change the hue until it's a blue-green colour, and perhaps increase the saturation a bit.
  2. Add a Levels adjustment and crush the shadows to make it high contrast.
  3. Add a Channel Mixer adjustment, and select the blue channel and adjust the channel sliders as shown below or until you get some separation of greenish highlights and bluish midtones and shadows.

enter image description here Image is Copyright, by (me) William Kerr

As for adding a background, there are plenty of tutorials on the web for that, and some questions which cover the topic here on GDSE.

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You can simply use a Gradient Map

Start with a greyscale image, convert to RGB....

enter image description here

New Adjustment Layer > Gradient map

enter image description here

Simply adjust the gradient to your liking...

enter image description here

enter image description here

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