How to Create a Multilayer Stencil in Photoshop

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When creating a multilayer stencil in Photoshop, the first step is to copy the first layer twice. Add more or less than three layers to a stencil, depending on how detailed it should be, with help from a graphic designer in this free video on Adobe Photoshop tricks.

Part of the Video Series: Photoshop Tricks
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Zach Katagiri, freelance graphic designer, in New York City, and today we are talking about Photoshop. In this video, we're going to use Photoshop to make a multi-layered stencil. I've opened up an image of my niece, and I'm going to make a stencil of her in three layers. You can use more or less layers; depending on how detailed you want your stencil to be. So, because I'm going to make her in three layers the first thing I'm going to need to do is copy this layer twice, so I'm going to duplicate it two times so that there's a total of three pictures of my niece. So, duplicate layer one, and one more time, and then I'm going to want to select just the parts of these photographs that I want to be in each stencil. So, the top one is going to be my darkest layer. I'm going to go to image adjustments, and then down to threshold, and I want just the darkest parts of the picture to show up, so maybe somewhere around thirty, and click OK. And now I want to get rid of the white so I'm going to go to select, color range, and I'm going to make sure the fuzziness is at two hundred, and I'm going to use the dipper to click anywhere in the white region of my photo, click OK. And now that the white has been selected I'm going to delete it, and it's gone. Now, make sure to deselect the area and go down to your next layer. Go back to image, adjustments, threshold, and we don't want this one to be quite as dark, but let's try something in oh maybe like the, like the eighty to ninety range, yeah. Click OK, and once again we want to get rid of the white, so go into select, and color range, click on the white, and click OK, tap delete. And for our last layer I'll unselect; for our last layer go to image, adjustments, and down to threshold, and this one can be pretty light. You can even just leave it pretty close to where we had it, click OK. And again, we want to get rid of the white, so go to color range, fuzziness at two hundred, click on white, and click OK, delete. And now, we just want to create a background color. I'll do white cause' it's simple. So, I'm going to go up to unselect, and go to layer, new fill layer, solid color, and I'll just make it white, and I'll bring this layer all the way down to the bottom, all right. So, now we just want to make these different parts of our stencil different colors so that we can see what each of them is going to do. So, for the lightest I'm going to go up to image, adjustments, and hue and saturation. There's many ways you can do this. Just grab ahold of the lightness and crank it up to around seventy, click OK, and go to the next layer up. Go to image, adjustments, hue/saturation, and this time I'm only going to crank the lightness to around thirty, click OK, and now you have three different layers of a stencil. The top layer I didn't do anything to because it's our darkest color, so I just left it black. So, now if you were to print these out, cut them up, and spray paint them you would have an image that looks something like this.

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