Help my daughter join the Nerd Herd!
November 10, 2008 8:51 AM   Subscribe

How do I stylize a digital photo of my daughter to resemble the character portraits in the Chuck title sequence?

Help me, fellow Nerd Herders!

I love the stylized pictures of the cast members of Chuck shown during the show's title sequence -- I'm referring specifically to the grainy, two- and three-color pictures. You can see screen grabs at the Imaginary Forces site here.

I'd like to convert a digital picture of my daughter to this style and have it printed on a poster for her room. However, my Photoshop-fu isn't up to it. I'd love to hear some suggestions for how to do this. My toolset is a Mac Pro with 4Gb of RAM, OS X Leopard, and Adobe Photoshop CS3.
posted by the matching mole to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Convert it black & white and adjust the brightness & contrast. Turn the contrast all the way up and play with the brightness until you like what you see.

If you want a couple of colors, add a gradient map on top of that.
posted by echo target at 8:57 AM on November 10, 2008

Are you looking for results similar to those iPod ads? If so, here's a tutorial.
posted by nitsuj at 9:05 AM on November 10, 2008

Layer > new adjustment layer > threshold could do the trick, just play with the color choice and slider.
posted by krix at 9:05 AM on November 10, 2008

ignore the color part of my suggestion, that will give you a black and white image that you can tint using layers afterward
posted by krix at 9:11 AM on November 10, 2008

Best answer: searching google for "creating a stencil tutorial" returns quite a few in depths guides.
posted by phil at 9:39 AM on November 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Good points so far. Upping the contrast directly will make the image grainier than the example you linked to, so you also might want to try the Cutout filter to smooth out the edges slightly afterwards.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:44 AM on November 10, 2008

Best answer: As noted, a bunch of ways to do this - If I were creating this effect in Photoshop, I'd open the levels window (command - L) and start moving the dark and light sliders under the histogram toward each other to get a rough balance, then fine-tune with the center slider.

Another quick way to do this (if the source image itself is fairly balanced in terms of contrast) is to go to Image>Mode>Indexed, pick one of the three "local" options, and play with setting a very low (2-4) number of colors. Once you've got something you like, you can convert back to the colorspace you want, whether greyscale or RGB to get a tint, etc..
posted by jalexei at 9:56 AM on November 10, 2008

Here's a tutorial, For a similar effect, but artsier, there's the Warholizer.
posted by Wild_Eep at 10:27 AM on November 10, 2008

You probably know this, but that's Cake's "Short Skirt/Long Jacket." I first heard it as a mashup; but while looking to get the full name, I found this, which is just fucking hilarious.
posted by WCityMike at 9:34 AM on November 11, 2008

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