Hi i am new here and i have been trying to reproduce this effect for some time using Layer's but no joy.

This is the result i want. Drummer

This is what i have got so far.

enter image description here

I have been searching google for answers but with no joy any help would be great, thanks Dave

  • What is your original on which to produce this effect? This has quite a bit of medium and bright tones. It should be fairly simple but need to see the original.
    – user45605
    Nov 2, 2015 at 1:54
  • @ACEkin Hi, my original is a just a normal colour picture but i have a background picture witch is blue fade instead of red and i have been making the original in to black & white and then pasting as a layer and then setting the layer to blend it in to the background, but it's like you say, setting up the original first is the problem.
    – Dave
    Nov 2, 2015 at 11:00
  • What's wrong with what you've got? It looks right to me.
    – Ryan
    Nov 2, 2015 at 16:53
  • Your image seems close, you just need to pay more attention to the gradients.
    – Scott
    Nov 2, 2015 at 18:01
  • I have to keep the background the same so i have to setup the black & white top image first then paste it on to the background as a layer and then get it to blend in and trouble is by the time i get it looking about right i have forgotten what i have tried and i have five to do.
    – Dave
    Nov 2, 2015 at 18:07

3 Answers 3


This result requires a layer with the desired color on top of a (preferably) monochrome image. The underlying image should have bright areas that will show the color and dark areas which will remain black or close to it. After you make your image, add the color (solid or gradient) on top of it and change the blend mode to "Color". Sorry, I am in a hurry for travel, I did not get a chance to prepare examples (blush!) If I get some time during the day, I will try to prepare a sample.


Your image is too dark, use the curves adjustment layer on the photo, below the color layer, brighten the highlights. Pull down the slider on the right hand side of the curves X axis. This is a graphic image and it does not need to be realistic if you are worried about that. You will see the man in the photograph emerging from the deep blue.


One trick when trying to reproduce an effect is to first do it with the same exact colors as your reference and take some notes and/or use layer styles you can copy. Then you change the colors to the new ones. Using actions is nice but not when you're doing tests and don't know what you're doing.

To me the blue image is very close to the red one. The only thing "wrong" is the gradient you use on top of the man's head. Maybe put that layer above your background or remove that gradient on the man.

It's also normal the 2 images may feel different... the red one is using some illustration and the blue one seems to be a Photoshop with a "threshold" picture adjustment. If you want the illustration feel as on the red one, bring that old man into Illustrator and use image trace to make him look more digital, or work on the image manually.


It's similar to Umbral effects, you must try this... When you've a photo duplicate it and apply umbral effects with a adjust layer

enter image description here

  • 1
    And how is that to do? Please explain better. Then you will not have downvotes!
    – Mensch
    Nov 3, 2015 at 22:42
  • Try with this video youtu.be/l2heiNb_eXw... I hope it's help Nov 27, 2015 at 19:28
  • With "explain better" I asked you to add in your own words what to do. Afterwards you can add a link , of course, but suppose the link is broken, the answer only with a link is useless. A valid answer should show the way without forcing the reader to change the page ...
    – Mensch
    Nov 27, 2015 at 19:38
  • OK, add the link because i don't know English a lot... Sorry i'll try with a better answer Nov 28, 2015 at 19:55
  • First step is to open the image... Second step (optional), desaturate the image. Image> Adjustments> Desaturate... Third step, we must apply the threshold filter. Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Threshold.... Final step, create a fill layer and change the state of fusion to multiply this depends on the final work needed. Layer> New Fill Layer> Gradient I hope this is useful, Greetings Dec 28, 2015 at 3:09

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