Thursday, February 26, 2009

silhouette me


Silhouettes were all the rage back in the 1800's and I've noticed lately that they are back. Aside from them being the latest craze, I just like them. I've always liked them. I've always envied the portrait silhouettes that my aunt displayed of her and her daughter done some 30 years ago at Disneyland. So, yesterday when Jake & I were at Disneyland, we decided to check out that very "Silhouette Studio" on Main Street where my aunt and cousin got theirs. When I walked in, I fully expected the woman cutting out the silhouettes to tell me to come back several hours later for the finished work of art. Instead, she sat me right down with Jake on my lap and cut both our portraits in less than a minute. It was so affordable ($10 a pop) and painless that next time I'm going to make sure to get Chloe and Jonathan's done as well. If you can't make it to Disneyland any time soon but you want to have yours done, there are a few places like here & here you can send in a photo of yourself and $25 - 70 later have your silhouette.

If you don't feel like spending some serious dough, you can always DIY. It's really not that difficult and I think theses make really nice & inexpensive gift ideas.


Here is a step by step tutorial on how to use photoshop to make silhouette portraits.

Using a digital camera, photograph your subject from the side. It's best to shoot against a white wall or a white posterboard to make it easier to digitally remove the background during the next step.

Open the picture in Photoshop. Use the Magic Wand tool to select the background for removal. Once clicked, the background will be outlined and highlighted. Go to 'edit' and click 'cut.' The background will disappear.

Now go to 'image' and click 'adjustments.' Select 'desaturate
' to remove all color.

In 'adjustments,' select 'brightness/contrast.' Lower the brightness and increase the contrast until your image takes the form of a silhouette.

If the image isn't completely silhouetted, use the Paintbucket
tool (with black as the color selection) to fill in as needed, placing the cursor dead center and clicking until your desired effect is achieved.

Using the Image tool, select 'image size' to set your desired dimensions.

Save your silhouette as a JPEG

You can then either print it or burn the file to a CD and take it to your favorite photo-printing or copy shop (or simply use on online printing service like
Shutterfly or Kodak Gallery), printing it on whatever paper or card stock you choose.

If you want greater depth or thickness or a different background color, augment the printed image with paint.


Or you could just do it the old fashion way....

Simply choose a photo that is simple, preferably with a profile view of a person or object.

Using scissors and/or a utility knife, cut around the shape of the subject in the photograph; this shape creates a template.

Trace the template onto the black paper (tracing on the back of the paper will keep pencil marks from showing).

Use scissors or a utility knife to cut out the traced shape. If you want details like stray hairs and eye lashes remember to include those.

Apply glue to the back of the image, mount the image on background paper and place in a frame. voila!

In case you want a large silhouette of a rooster above your head as you sleep (and who doesn't), there are DIY instructions for silhouette wallpaper at Apartment Therapy Ohdeedoh. If a vase carved in your likeness is more up your alley, you can even have your Pirolette made at this Etsy shop which I think are just amazing. I want one.

Can't get enough of these here papercuts? Resurrection Fern took pictures of the paper cuts at the Musee des Miniatures in Lyon which are mind blowing. Apparently some of these paper cuts were no larger than postage stamps. Another great site for papercuts is elsita. She shares how to tutorials if you care to take it to the next level.

By the way, that really fun thing that this font is doing here is in no way intentional. The HTML's are beyond rescue. Hope you enjoyed it and hopefully it'll stop by the next post.

Image credits (1, 2 & 3)

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