As well as adjusting photographs, Adobe Photoshop can also be used when creating infographics for presentations or social media. In our Photoshop training courses we demonstrate a quick and easy method using a few of Photoshop’s simple tools.
First of all we conduct an image search using the Google search engine: here I typed in human head silhouette, and several images appear.
Click on the Images tab to view images only and right-click on one to save image to the Desktop or a folder of your choice.
Note that the image does not need to have a high resolution since we will apply a filter to break it down into simple colour shapes.
Return to Photoshop and go to the File menu and choose New. Note the various Preset categories of images we can create: Print, Web, Devices, etc. Note also the templates that Adobe have recently added. Choose the Web category and pick a size that corresponds with your website, and hit OK to open a new blank canvas.
Next we wish to view our new canvas and the silhouette image side-by-side, so go to the top Window menu and choose Arrange, then one of the Tile options – it doesn’t really matter which one you choose.
Then select the Move tool, click on the image and drag it across into your blank canvas. Close the image – it’s not a good idea to work on your original images, therefore close it to keep it safe. Note that copying the image across has created a new layer – double-click on the title to rename it to head.
The image usually needs adjusting to fit the canvas, therefore press Ctrl+T (or Edit > Free Transform). Then drag a corner anchor point to scale the image to fit the canvas, pressing the Shift key to keep the width and height proportionate.
We now wish to simplify the silhouette, edit out the watermark and delete the white background. The easiest way to get rid of the watermark is to use the Patch tool, located beneath the Spot Healing Brush tool. Simply click and drag around the area you want to remove, then click inside the patch area and move to one side. The selected pixels are then replaces by the pixels you moved to.
Next select the white background with the Magic Wand tool and hit the Delete key on your keyboard – at first it looks like nothing has happened. This is because the actual Background layer is white. Note the top head layer had a checker-board pattern around it, indicating transparency.
Select the black silhouette with the Magic Wand tool, then switch to the Gradient tool, change the Foreground and Background colours at the bottom of the Toolbox. Then click and drag across the selected head. Change the gradient type at the top Control panel to Radial and repeat the operation to give you a circular gradient blend.
Repeat this process on the background layer – we now have a more interesting coloured graphic beginning to take shape. Select the head layer and click on the fx button at the bottom of the Layers panel – this is the layer effects list. Choose Stroke and change the colour and width of the outline. Hit OK and note the new sub-layer below the head layer.
Lastly we want to introduce the brain image into the picture. do another Google search this time for brain. We then drag this image into our composition using the Move tool, as before. Scale it down and delete the white background, as above. Then click on the Filter menu at the top of the screen, choose Convert for Smart Filters – this will allow you to adjust the settings later.
Then choose Filter Gallery, whereupon a new dialog box opens. There are about 100 filters in Photoshop, with several settings on the right-hand side for each one. Try the Artistic Cutout filter, and adjust the settings to give you a stylized version of the brain photograph. This will fit better into our illustrative head image. Hit OK when you are happy and the dialog box will close.
When you are happy with the overall infographic image go to the File menu and choose Save. Name it Infographic-01.psd. PSD stands for Photoshop Default and this will be your working file which you can edit and modify later if needed. But we need to output the image for web, therefore return to the File menu and choose Save As. Rename it and choose the JPEG or PNG file format. The main difference between these is that the latter supports transparency (although we don’t have transparency here).
Another option is to choose Save for Web (Legacy), which we have detailed in an earlier blog post. As we have seen, Photoshop is not confined to working with photographs, and can easily be used to create more illustrative images like info-graphics for presentations or social media content. For more advanced illustration techniques the program of choice would be Adobe Illustrator. We also teach this program.
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