Kung Fu Silhouette - Photoshop Tutorial

Create a kung fu fighter silhouette in this easy Photoshop CS tutorial. Learn one method for removing the background from your images while making a nice image for an avatar or small web graphic.

  1. Start with a suitable image - ideally, one with the person's arms and legs extended so the silhouette is obvious. I found this sweet image at Morguefile.com.
  2. We first need to remove the background from the image. My favorite tool for this is the polygonal lasso tool. Use this setting for 'feather' and make sure 'anti-alias' is checked:
  3. Trace around the person in your image - to use the polygonal lasso tool, click once on the top of his head to start "lassoing" (making a selection), then each time you click after that, it will create a new point and connect it to the last point. This is pretty straightforward once you try it. Here is a close up to get you started (I added red dots to help you know how often you should be clicking:

    When you have traced all the way around the kung fu guy, double click to turn your lassoed area into a selection (should change to a dashed line like below). Once you have a little practice, you can do a quick job like mine in less than a minute. Note: I left some space between the forward arm and leg so you can tell them apart.
  4. With your kung fu man still selected, press ctrl+c to copy and ctrl+v to paste him into a new layer. It should look like we're right back where we started.
  5. You should now have a layer called background and a layer called Layer 1.
    Double click the background layer in the layers window(shown above), and add the layer style 'color overlay'. Select white to make a simple white background.

  6. Repeat the layer style process on Layer 1 (double click on Layer 1). Give layer 1 a black 'color overlay'. We now have a sihouette, but it looks a little jagged.
  7. Smooth out the jagged edges by using 'filter-blur-gaussian blur' from the top menu with a 'radius' setting of .5 pixels.

  8. Enjoy your kung fu silhouette. A suggested use for this is your avatar. Do you think anybody is gonna mess with someone using this avatar? Forget about it...
  9. (optional) Add a layer style 'gradient overlay' using red and yellow to give your background layer a sunset feel.


Hey, this is what i want

I was looking for a concept like this in my new site. Thank you


Thanks for this nice tutorial. :D Now I can work on a new artwork. :)

Very useful

i love this tutorial. so easy. the result is WOW! thank you.

very cool i like it

very cool i like it

nice one... :)

nice one... :)


So that's how it's done. Nice work.


Nice job. This is much easier than another way I found to do it.

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