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Create Risograph Effect In Photoshop: A Beginner’s Guide

Liza Brown
Liza Brown Originally published Feb 02, 23, updated Jul 18, 24

Risograph printing is a digital printing process that combines the best features of offset and screen printing used by many small print shops and design studios to provide trendy vibes and a classic look to the images.

If you’re a novice graphic designer or illustrator, you’ve probably seen Risograph prints and wondered how they are made. Well, this article will help you create a risograph effect in Photoshop quickly!

Without further delay, let’s get started with our step-by-step tutorial!

In this article
  1. What Is Risograph Effect?
  2. How To Use Photoshop To Create Risograph Effect

What Is Risograph Effect?

Before we look into how to create a risograph effect in Photoshop in the later part of this article, let’s have a basic understanding of Risograph.

Risograph was created in 1986 by a Japanese company called Riso Kagaku Corporation. It’s a form of stencil printing, a technique that uses a stencil to create an image on a piece of paper.

The Risograph machine prints images by building them up one layer at a time, with each subsequent layer being a different color. Because of this, each print produced is imperfect, though some artists believe this only adds to the Risograph's unique charm and distinct look.

The Risograph printing effect gives images a vibrant and bold look, making them perfect for ads, magazines, and abstract artworks. The printing method is also used for many products, including books, fabric, magazines, newspapers, plastic, metal, and even some forms of packaging.

How To Use Photoshop To Create Risograph Effect

The tutorial will be divided into three parts to help you master the risograph effect-creating skills to give your design project a distinct look.

Firstly, we will focus on how to use Photoshop in the following way to create the primary risograph effect.

How To Create the Basic Risograph Effect in Photoshop

Step1 Launch Adobe Photoshop on your laptop/desktop (For this tutorial, we are using Photoshop CC 2021).  Click “Create New,” select the document size, and click “Create.” Now set a paper-like textured layer on the canvas. Click “Ctrl + Shift + N,” and in the new layer window, set the mode to “Multiply.” Click “OK.” to confirm your action.

adding new layer to create risograph effect in photoshop

Step2 Next, press “Ctrl+Shift+E” to combine your layers and select the “Edit” option from the top toolbar. Scroll down and select “Define Pattern.” Set the pattern name and click “OK.”

select edit option

Click "Layer" from the toolbar and choose "New Fill Layer"> "Pattern." Next, select your new pattern layer and click "OK" to get a grid layer.

choose new fill layer

Step3 Let's place an object/subject onto our canvas. Set the issue to "Multiply," right-click on it and choose "Convert to Smart Object."

choose convert to smart object

Step4 To add a Gradient Map Layer, click “Layer,” scroll down and click “New Adjustment Layer.” Select “Gradient Map…” from the drop-down menu and click “OK” to confirm.

click layer

Use the “Properties” panel and select the “gradient” colors. Here we’ve chosen shades of “White” and “Red.” Click “OK” to apply.

select the gradient color

Step5 For the image to have less contrast, click “Image” in the top toolbar and click “Adjustments.” Select “Levels…” from the menu. Now, set the black output to 73.

click image

Finally, click “Filter” and open the “Filter Gallery.” Select “Sketch” > “Torn Edge,” set Image balance to 30, smoothness, and contrast to 15, 15 respectively. Click “OK” to apply the changes.

click filter

How To Create A Dual-Tone Risograph Effect

After creating an image with the risograph effect, how to make it more visually vertical? At this time, the dual-tone impact will help us have a more delicate picture.

The dual-tone effect is a technique in the risograph effect that combines two or more overlapping images to give a more vibrant look to the final project or emphasize the critical concept, information, or idea.

To create a dual-tone risograph effect in Photoshop, do the following steps.

Step1 To create a dual-tone risograph effect, add another subject to the canvas and set the blending mode to Multiply. Also, change its opacity to blend the two issues well. Make sure to turn the subject to Smart Object by right-clicking on the object's layer and selecting "Convert to Smart Object." Adjust the position of the subject on the previous one.

add another subject to the canvas

Step2 Select the layer of the new subject and click “Layer” Click “New Adjustment Layer” and select “Gradient Map…” from the drop-down menu.

Open the Gradient Editor and set the gradient colors of the new subject. Click “OK” to confirm. Click “Image” and choose “Adjustments” from the drop-down menu. Select “Levels” and set the Black Output to 73.

Step3 Click “Filter” and open “Filter Gallery.” Navigate to “Swatches” > “Torn Edge” and set the Image Balance, Smoothness, and Contrast to 30, 15, and 15, respectively, if you want to smooth down the subject.

Finally, your dual-tone effect is created in Photoshop!

How To Blend Images Using Layer Modes

In this part, let’s see how to use the layer modes to add another subject to the canvas and blend it with the previous ones.

Step1 Place the new subject on the canvas and set the layer mode to Multiply by pressing the “Ctrl + Shift + N” and selecting “Multiply” from the drop-down menu in the new pop-up window. Click “Ok” to apply your changes. 

To adjust the size of the object, click “Edit” from the top toolbar, and select “Transform.” From the drop-down menu, select “Scale.” Use the handles to make the object smaller or larger.

Step2 Click the “Move” icon from the left menu and drag the object to set its position. Now, copy and clip the Gradient mode from the main subject to the new one.

Step3 Apply the Level and Filter Galler to the new object (Same settings as the main subject). That’s it. You’ve successfully blended images using the layer mode.

apply the level and filter galler

Video Tutorial - How To Make a Risograph Texture Effect in Photoshop

Apart from the guidance above, we also prepared a tutorial video for you. Hopefully, you can create an ideal image with Risograph Texture Effect successfully.


In this article, we've explored the risograph effect and when it was created. We've provided a step-by-step process on how to create a risograph effect in Photoshop to give your pictures a distinctly vintage look.

Moreover, we’ve discussed creating dual-tone effects and blending images using the layer modes with simple steps and original screenshots while creating a sample project on Photoshop.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article and that you can now give a distinct vibrant, and bold yet imperfect look to your images using the risograph effect in Adobe Photoshop.

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Liza Brown
Liza Brown Jul 18, 24
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