Automatic Warhol-Style Serigraph Generation

We recently had a logo drawn up for a research project that I’ve been involved with for a couple of years. I’ve been planning on having a poster-size version printed, but I thought that simply printing a very large logo would be too easy. I’m a fan of pop-art, so I thought that an Andy Warhol-style serigraph of our logo would make a cool poster.

My first thought was that this should be pretty easy in Photoshop. I hit the Internet to find tutorials for making Warhol-style graphics from an image and started Photoshop. I quickly abandoned that idea; I don’t know Photoshop well at all, and the entire process appeared painfully manual. So, naturally, I decided to do it programmatically with the Python Imaging Library.

I used Warhol’s Che Guevara serigraph as a model.

Original Andy Warhol Che Guevara Serigraph

I used the colors in the original by manually picked them out from the original piece and saving them in a list of dictionaries:

# colors here are taken directly from Warhol's Che Guevara serigraph
# (in order left to right, top to bottom)
colorset = [ 
    {'bg' : (255,255,0,255), 'fg' : (50,9,125,255), 'skin': (118,192,0,255)},
    {'bg' : (0,122,240,255), 'fg' : (255,0,112,255), 'skin': (255,255,0,255)},
    {'bg' : (50,0,130,255),'fg' : (255,0,0,255),'skin': (243,145,192,255)},
    {'bg' : (255,126,0,255),'fg' : (134,48,149,255),'skin': (111,185,248,255)},
    {'bg' : (255,0,0,255),'fg' : (35,35,35,255),'skin': (255,255,255,255)},
    {'bg' : (122,192,0,255),'fg' : (255,89,0,255),'skin': (250,255,160,255)},
    {'bg' : (0,114,100,255),'fg' : (252,0,116,255),'skin': (250,250,230,255)},
    {'bg' : (250,255,0,255),'fg' : (254,0,0,255),'skin': (139,198,46,255)},
    {'bg' : (253,0,118,255),'fg' : (51,2,126,255),'skin': (255,105,0,255)}

Automatically Warholifying images is not straightforward for general pictures or images, but working on vector-style images with a couple of a assumptions is not very difficult. The assumptions I made for this were that the “face” color is white and the background is transparent.

The image I’ll use for this example is a vector version of the classic photo of Che Guevara from Wikimedia Commons. I modified this image by using a bucket fill tool to make the face area white, but did not have to make any other modifications.

Vector image of Che Guevara

First, we change the transparent background to be the bg_color specified and change everything else to be fg_color.

def color_bg_fg(image, bg_color, fg_color):
    '''change transparent background to bg_color and change
    everything non-transparent to fg_color'''
    fg_layer ='RGBA', image.size, fg_color)
    bg_layer ='RGBA', image.size, bg_color) 
    masked_image = Image.composite(fg_layer, bg_layer, image)
    return masked_image

bg_fg_layer = color_bg_fg(image, bg_color, fg_color)


Background changed to bg_color and all foreground changed to fg_color

Next we create a mask of the skin area. The first step here is to change the background from transparent to something non-transparent (I chose black):

def darken_bg(image, color):
    '''composite image on top of a single-color image, effectively turning all
    transparent parts to that color'''
    color_layer ='RGBA', image.size, color) 
    masked_image = Image.composite(image, color_layer, image)
    return masked_image

temp_dark_image = darken_bg(image, (0,0,0,255))


Background changed to black

We then change all of the white-ish areas of the image to be transparent.

def white_to_color(image, color):
    '''change all colors close to white and non-transparent
    (alpha > 0) to be color.'''
          & (g>threshold)
          & (b>threshold)
          & (np.abs(r-g)<dist)
          & (np.abs(r-b)<dist)
          & (np.abs(g-b)<dist)
          & (a>0)
    return image

skin_mask = white_to_color(temp_dark_image,(0,0,0,0))


White 'skin' areas changed to transparent

We then create an image the same size as our source file that is nothing but skin_color.

skin_layer ='RGBA', image.size, skin_color) 


Single color image

Finally, we composite bg_gf_layer with skin_layer, using skin_mask as a mask.

out = Image.composite(bg_fg_layer, skin_layer, skin_mask)


Complete serigraph-style image

Here is all the steps put together:

def make_warhol_single(image, bg_color, fg_color, skin_color):
    '''create a single warhol-serigraph-style image'''
    bg_fg_layer = color_bg_fg(image, bg_color, fg_color)
    temp_dark_image = darken_bg(image, (0,0,0,255))
    skin_mask = white_to_color(temp_dark_image,(0,0,0,0))
    skin_layer ='RGBA', image.size, skin_color) 
    out = Image.composite(bg_fg_layer, skin_layer, skin_mask)
    return out

Finally, we can call the make_warhol_single function with multiple color combinations and create a single image containing all of them.

def warholify(image_file):
    im ='RGBA')

    warhols = []
    for colors in colorset:
        bg = colors['bg']
        fg = colors['fg']
        skin = colors['skin']
        warhols.append(make_warhol_single(im, bg, fg, skin))

    x = im.size[0]
    y = im.size[1]

    blank_image ="RGB", (x*3, y*3))
    blank_image.paste(warhols[0], (0,0))
    blank_image.paste(warhols[1], (x,0))
    blank_image.paste(warhols[2], (x*2,0))
    blank_image.paste(warhols[3], (0,y))
    blank_image.paste(warhols[4], (x,y))
    blank_image.paste(warhols[5], (x*2,y))
    blank_image.paste(warhols[6], (0,y*2))
    blank_image.paste(warhols[7], (x,y*2))
    blank_image.paste(warhols[8], (x*2,y*2))'out.png')


Final image

The full source code for this program is available on GitHub.