Silhouette Art (Kodak Blog, April 3, 2007)

NOTE: This is a “reprint” of my blog post to Kodak’s previous “A Thousand Words” blog.

The Apple iPod silhouette ads have become so iconic that there’s actually a separate entry for them in Wikipedia.  You might be thinking “wouldn’t it be cool if I could make my own silhouette picture out of a picture of myself or a picture of someone I know?”  If you are, or have thought of that in the past, you are not alone.  Enter “iPod silhouette” into your favorite search engine and you will easily find more than one online tutorial on the subject, such as the one at or the one on  Basically, you need an action shot, a photo editor with layers support, a bit of patience, and a few helpful tips from the online tutorials.

If you don’t already have an action shot and need some tips on taking action shots with your digital camera, you can see my tips on Digital Action Shots.  For this project, it is also helpful if you capture your main subject with as plain of a background as possible – this is not necessary, but does simplify the editing process!  Note that you can use either a still image, or a frame from a digital video clip.  The digital video clip will likely have a lower resolution, but it may also provide flexibility in capturing the action you want to use.  In my examples, I used a frame from the video clip that was included as part of my DIY Skateboard blog post.  I essentially dragged the video control slider back and forth until I found the frame that I wanted to use.  I then did a screen capture to grab that frame.  This did not provide a very high resolution image, but worked well enough for this project.

Once you have identified an image, you can use the instructions in the online tutorials to extract your main subject, create a silhouette, place the silhouette in front of a colored background and add some text.  You can also add an iPod in, but I was more interested in the essence of the silhouette rather than creating an advertisement.  Try different colored backgrounds, change the text, and have some fun with your new art!

What can you do with your silhouette art once you are finished?  You can use it as your computer desktop background image, print a postcard or card to send to a friend, or even create a poster.

Have you created an action silhouette with any of your pictures?  Share your experience or add a link in the comments section!

Posted in diy, kodak_blog, photography.