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Design Trends Used In Action Movie Posters from 1960-2010

Movie posters are one of my favourite sources of inspiration, and I love to look at how they have developed over the decades. In this post, we will be looking at how the designs of action movie posters have changed since the 1960′s. You’ll find one poster per year so we can closely monitor the changes, and a small selection of current trends that we’re going to be seeing over the next year (2010) or so.

Action movie posters in general are typically very interesting – captured images of fight scenes, guns, explosions and of course the odd flash of naked flesh are all things that express action films well. The design of a movie poster is commonly underestimated – even with the internet and social media sites, posters are still one of the most effective ways of advertising a new blockbuster film, whether they be up high in the sky on billboards, at bus stops or in the form of canvas prints on the wall of your favourite bar.

The 1960′s

The 60′s saw lots of washed-out colors and off-whites, which is actually inspiring thousands of graphic and web designers in this modern tech world. With hundreds of high-quality textures available on the net, ‘vintage’ effects like the ones seen in these posters can easily be recreated.

There is a lack of photography in the posters from the 60′s for obvious reasons – but paint and various printing techniques were so good that, to us modern day designers, it’s incredibly inspiring.

The Alamo (1960)

The Frightened City (1961)

Hatari! (1962)

The Great Escape (1963)

007: Goldfinger (1964)

007: Thunderball (1965)

The Wild Angels (1966)

A Fistful of Dollars (1967)

A Dandy in Aspic (1968)

The Wild Bunch (1969)

The 1970′s

Painted posters were still a big thing in the 70′s, although we do a see several more photos being used in ‘The Towering Inferno’ and ‘Rocky’ as technology progresses. Bordered posters, especially thick, off-white ones, were still be used regularly in the 70′s, a trend that had been used for decades already.

The use of white space is also something that was developed and put into practice in the 70′s, which is still a huge aspect of design to-date.

Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)

The Big Doll House (1971)

The Poseidon Adventure (1972)

Papillon (1973)

The Towering Inferno (1974)

Hard Times (1975)

Rocky (1976)

A Bridge Too Far (1977)

Superman (1978)

Apocalypse Now (1979)

The 1980′s

The 80′s seemed to see several hit sci-fi action movies, bring along with them plenty of awesome effects which, at the time, were very futuristic. In fact, a couple of the sci-fi action posters such as ‘Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘Aliens’ saw effects being used that still feel relatively modern almost thirty years later.

Three-dimensional and stroked typography (titles) is also something that the world saw more of in the 80′s as the digital world started to come to life.

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Bladerunner (1982)

007: Octopussy (1983)

The Terminator (1984)

Ran (1985)

Aliens (1986)

Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Die Hard (1988)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

The 1990′s

The 90′s was the, to most of us, the beginning of digital technology. Although computers and digital editing software was previously available, it was incredibly expensive and most people wouldn’t even know where to start. Because of this, the 90′s saw some terribly designed movie posters, especially from the very low-budget films. The selection of 90′s action hits below, however, had a slightly larger budget than most and therefore a better range of posters. I especially like the ‘Independence Day’ and ‘The Matrix’ posters.

Die Hard 2 (1990)

Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

Alien 3 (1992)

The Fugitive (1993)

Speed (1994)

Braveheart (1995)

Independence Day (1996)

Air Force One (1997)

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

The Matrix (1999)

The 2000′s

The millennium. The future. The birth of affordable yet brilliant digital technology. The year kick-started with a great grungy-style poster from the ‘Gladiator’ movie. The joys of photography and realistic photo-manipulation skills brought us some incredible posters, some of my personal favorites being ‘The Day After Tomorrow’, ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’ and ‘The Dark Knight’. All of these posters are easily reconizable, achieving exactly what a poster is set out to do – promote.

Gladiator (2000)

Rush Hour 2 (2001)

Spiderman (2002)

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

Sin City (2005)

300 (2006)

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

The Dark Knight (2008)

Avatar (2009)

2010: Current Trends

Ten years on from the millennium and maybe we’re pushing it a bit and relying far too much on the likes of Adobe Photoshop. Although the composition of the posters are good, as can be seen from the posters ‘The Bounty Hunter’ and ‘Takers’, manipulation skills, especially those used on the heads of characters, are quite obviously faked. In ‘Takers’, some of the actors heads are clearly oversized.

Surely setting up a studio to take professional photographs doesn’t cost too much more than getting professional editors to manipulate them, especially when a scene is actually more than possible? Manipulation as severe as this is fine if you expect a dragon to have a human head whilst flying through bursts of flames, but they’re not! Let’s hope these ‘trends’ or rather ‘faults’ don’t stick around too long!

The Book of Eli (2010)

Legion (2010)

From Paris With Love (2010)

The Bounty Hunter (2010)

Takers (2010)

(Source: IMP Awards)

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Design a Grungy Minimalistic Poster in Photoshop

In this tutorial we will be making use of simple but very powerful Photoshop tools to create a grungy minimalistic poster, which is so good you might even consider contacting a poster printing company to get a bunch printed! We will be combining triangle shapes, textures and lots of blending modes to create what you see below. Let’s not waste any more time and get started!

Tutorial Outcome

This is what we will be designing – the full poster followed by two close-ups.

Step 1: Setting Up The Document

As with all tutorials, the first thing we need to do is open a new document. Open Photoshop and create a new document (File > New). I’m using a preset size ‘A6′ under ‘International Paper’. I’m using the RGB Color Mode as I don’t plan on printing the poster, however if you are planning on sending the file to press I recommend designing the poster in CMYK.

Step 2: Changing The Background Color

Select a light coffee color (I used #f1f0e4) and fill your background in using the Paint Bucket Tool.

Step 3: Creating Your First Triangle

Make a New Layer and call it ‘Big Triangle’. Pick the Polygon Tool. Change the amount of sides the tool has to three.

Select white as your foreground color and drag out a selection with the tool; it should make a perfect white triangle.

This should have create a new shape layer, right-click on it and select Rasterize Layer. This makes it easier to work with.

Step 4: Rescaling Your Triangle

To scale your triangle up and down, go to Edit > Free Transform or hit the shortcut combination Cmd+E. Whilst holding the shift-key, drag one of the outer corners to the center of the document to make it smaller, vice versa to make it bigger.

Make your triangle smaller, and place it somewhere in the middle of your design.

Step 5: Duplicating Your Triangle

Our poster design is going to be made up of triangles, and therefore we’re going to need a lot of them. The triangle we have just placed is going to be our biggest triangle, so we will only need to scale it down. Select your triangles layer and either go to Layer > Duplicate or drag the layer onto the New Layer icon in your Layers Palette (this also duplicates the later). You should now have two triangles – rename the second triangles layer to ‘T2′; all other triangle layers from now on will be called ‘T3′, ‘T4′ and so on.

Scale your new triangle down, making it overlay your big triangle as seen below.

Step 6: Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

We now need to create lots more triangles. Duplicate the layers, rescale your new triangle, and move its position. Keep at this until you are happy with your composition.

Keep adding…

Try to include some really small triangles to add depth to the final piece…

When you have a document full of triangles of all different sizes, it’s time to move on.

Step 7: Adding Color

It’s time to add some color. Choose a color scheme for your poster – I’m going for a scheme based on this image – in other words, a vintage-style blue. You can paste an image of your choice into Photoshop, select colors from it using the Eyedropper Tool and create a new custom swatch specifically for this poster. If you’re too lazy to do this, check out Color Lovers for some awesome pre-made swatches.

When you have a color scheme sorted, it’s time to start applying different colors to your triangles. The easiest way for you to do this is by selecting a color and clicking on a triangle whilst the Paint Bucket Tool is selected.

Repeat the step over and over until all of your triangles have some form of color. I’ve decided to add a little hint of bright pink in with the blues and greens to spice things up.

After what feels like hours worth of coloring triangles I have finally finished. This is what I ended up with…

Step 7: Playing With Blending Modes

To add much more interest to our design we’re going to make the triangles interact with each other by changing the Blending Modes of each one. Select a triangle (what one you select doesn’t matter) and experiment with the different modes. You can also change the Opacity of some triangles if they’re too vivid.

My pink triangle, for example, is set to Linear Burn.

Carry on applying different Blending Modes to your triangles.

Our poster is beginning to look pretty abstract, yet still fall under the minimalism style because of the very limited amount of shapes.

Step 8: Adding 2-3 More Triangles

Reselect the Polygon Tool and drag out 2 to 3 more triangles on your canvas – make sure they’re all on new layers. Color the triangles with colors that we have already used in our poster.

Right-click on the three new layers and click on Rasterize Layer. Change the Blending Mode of all three layers – use what works best with your poster. From top to bottom, I used: Color Burn with 30% Opacity, Hard Light with 5% Opacity and Normal at 20% Opacity.

Step 9: Blurring

Our poster is quite sharp, so we’re going to add some blur. Put all of our layers (apart from our background layer) into a folder named ‘Triangles’. Duplicate the whole folder by dragging it onto the new layer icon in the layers palette. Select all of the contents within our original folder, right-click and click Merge Layers. With the new combined layer selected, go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and enter a radius of 20px – hit OK.

Lower the opacity of the blurred layer to 5%. This’ll make the poster a little more dreamy than what it previously was.

Step 10: Applying A Photo Filter

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Photo Filter. Select a Warming Filter (85) with a density of 30%.

Step 11: Adding Some More Color

Make a new layer and fill it with white, go to Filter > Render > Lighting Effects. Select RGB Lights from the drop-down menu and hit OK.

Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and enter a radius of 250px. Set the layers blending mode to Vivid Light with an opacity of 20%.

This just adds a little more color the design, making it more interesting.

Step 12: Adding The Ever-So-Important Texture

Pick one of these textures and insert it at the top of your layers palette. Change the blending mode to Multiply and lower the opacity to 25%.

Repeat the step again with a differente texture.

Step 13: Adding A Border

Make a new layer and hit the Cmd+A combination to select the entire canvas. Go to Edit > Stroke and enter a stroke width of 40px, pick pure white as your color and hit OK. Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool and make a selection at the bottom of your poster – fill it with white on the same layer.

Change the layers blending mode to Soft Light. Make another new layer and select the whole canvas again. Go to Edit > Stroke and enter a stroke width of 15px, once again with white selected. Hit OK.


All done! We now have a pretty awesome abstract poster, made entirely out of triangles and simple blending techniques. Take a look at the final piece below, a long with close-ups and different colored versions.

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How to Design a Vintage Horror Movie Poster in Photoshop

In this tutorial I’ll be teaching you how to use basic tools and photo manipulation techniques to design a vintage looking horror movie poster similar to the classic Zombie film ‘Day of the Dead’ by George A. Romero.

Lets get started with some great movie poster inspiration from wellmedicated.com, you’ll find the links in the quick nav right below!

Quick Nav:

Materials Needed:


Step 1: Setting Up The Document

Setting Up The Document

Open up Photoshop and make a new document. I’m not planning on printing my poster, so I’m just going to set up an A4 RGB Document at 72dpi.


Step 2: The Background

Original Day of the Dead movie poster

As I mentioned earlier, this tutorial is going to be based on recreating the original movie poster (with a few twists of course!) of ‘Day of the Dead’ by George A. Romero. You can put the techniques you learn in this tutorial to good use to recreate your favourite movie poster, or to create your own vintage poster design from scratch.

Creating the background

With the document now set-up, and something to work towards, it’s now time to get startd. Select the Paint Bucket Tool and fill your background with a light blue colour. Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool and select (about) the 1/3 of the document at the top of your poster. Create a New Layer and fill it with a dark blue/purple colour.

Creating the background

Grab the Rectangular Marquee Tool again, and select about 35/40% at the top of the blue/purple block we just created. Make a new layer, and fill it with pure black.

Creating the background

Each of your seperate colours should be on a different layer in the layers pallete, rename them to something suitable so you can find them easily later on in the tutorial – there’s nothing worse than a messy layers window!

Our different colours are very clean, to fix this we’re going to add a bit of gradient and noise. Create a New Layer on top of your blue background (name the layer ‘blue background highlights’) and select the Brush Tool, select a white soft brush. On the new layer, paint over some areas of the blue background as seen above.

Creating the background

Make another new layer above the one we just created. Change the colour of your brush to black, and repeat the process, this time painting shadowed areas onto our design rather than highlights.

Use the Eraser Tool to remove any unwanted areas of highlights and shadows – we don’t want it to be clean, we’re trying to produce a vintange, worn look. When erasing, experiment with different opacities and brush sizes.

Creating the background

We still want the blue from our background to show through, to do that we’re going to play with different Blending Modes. Change the highlights layer to Soft Light at 80%, and the shadows layer to Normal at 15%. With the highlights layer select, go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise. With ‘Uniform’ the only box checked, change the amount of Noise to 40% and hit OK.

Repeat the step with the shadows layer, try playing about with some different settings such as Monochromatic. I changed my amount of noise on my shadows layer to a whopping 400%.

Creating the background

Repeat the previous steps again using various settings and blending modes on the purple and black layers. I also added a small amount of noise to the background colours themselves.

Creating the background

I lowered the opacity of the blue shadowed layer even more because it was a little to strong for my liking. Download one or two of Light & Grungy Textures from Lost+Taken.

With a couple of the textures download, go to File > Place and locate your textures. Insert one into your document above all over layers and change the Blending Mode to Overlay. Repeat the step again, but try using a different Blending Mode – I used Colour Burn at 30%.

Creating the background

With the majority of the background completed, we just need to add a few layer effects to get it just how we want it. Go to Layer > New Layer Adjustment > Brightness/Contrast. Lower the Brightness to -20 and the Contrast to -40.

Step 3: Drawing The Circles

Drawing the circles

It’s time to start moving on to other areas of the poster. Grab the Ellipse Marquee Tool and whilst holding the shift key drag out a circle. Create a New Layer above all others and fill your circle with white. Duplicate the layer 3 times.

Make sure you’re circles are centre in the document, and position them like shown in the screenshot above.

Drawing the circles

Whilst holding Cmnd (Ctrl on Windows) click on the mini-thumbnail next to the black layer to select the layers content, now Ctrl+Click (Right Click on Windows) > Select Inverse. Click on the top circles layer (if you don’t know what one is what, rename the layers!) and hit the delete key. You should be left with something similar to above.

Drawing the circles

Repeat the step again on the middle circle, you should now have something like you see above.

Drawing the circles

With the circles now in place, it’s time to add some effects. Download this awesome free moon texture from Flickr and place it into your document.

Grab the Magic Wand Tool and set it’s Tolerance to 50. Select the black around the moon and hit delete to remove it. Place the moon over your top circle.

Drawing the circles

Using the same technique was used earlier, hold Cmnd (Ctrl on Windows) and click on the top circle layer. Select inverse, select the moon texture layer and hit delete. Merge the Moon Texture layer down to the top circle layer by going to pressing Cmnd+E (Ctrl+E on Windows).

Drawing the circles

Locate the second circles layer and go to Layer > Layer Styles > Blending Options. Select Gradient Overlay and change the style to radial, play about with the settings and change the colour to medium orange to dark orange until you get a result you like. To finish it off, duplicate the layer and remove the Gradient Overlay. Go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise, play about with the settings and hit OK. Change the Blending Mode to Overlay and lower the opacity to 15%.

Drawing the circles

The next circle is nice and easy. Select the Paint Bucket Tool, a washed-out yellow and fill the last circle.

Duplicate the layer, and change the bottom layer back to white using the paint bucket tool. Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set it 75px, hit OK and lower the opacity of the blurred layer to 50%.

Step 4: Manipulate the Bald Man

Manipulate the bald man

Download the free stock photo of a bald man. File > Place it in to your document. Once the image is in your document, Ctrl+Click (Right Click on Windows) on the layer and Rasterize it. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Threshold and play about with the slider until you have a result you want. You may need to do it twice and merge the two layers together.

Manipulate the bald man

Copy the bald man layer from Photoshop, open up Illustrator and paste it into a new document. We’re going to use the Live Trace Tool to soften up our image ready to use in our poster. Hit the Live Trace button at the top of the Illustrator window and copy and paste the man back into our poster document.

Manipulate the bald man

Position the mans head in to place and select the Eraser Tool with a soft brush. Use the eraser to delete some of the mans body as seen above.

Manipulate the bald man

Duplicate the layer several times, making each layer smaller as it goes along by using the Transform Tool (Cmnd+T or Ctrl+T on Windows). Reposition your layers so it looks something like above.

Manipulate the bald man

Lower the opacity of each layer as they get smaller. I used 100%, 75%, 50% and 25%. I also added 4% of noise to make it fit in with the rest of our design. I repositioned the layers once again, and merged them all together by selecting the 4 layers and hitting Cmnd+E (Ctrl+E on Windows).

Manipulate the bald man

Duplicate the Bald Man layer and go to Layer > Layer Styles > Gradient Overlay. Select a couple of (lets be honest) sickly green/yellow colours to match our sun. Lower the opacity of the new layer to about 20%.


Step 5: Typography Time!

Typography Time

It’s time to move on to some typography to turn our poster into a movie poster. Grab the Type Tool and type a line – I’m using ‘First there was the “Retro Gameboy Tutorial”‘. Repeat the step for the second line – I used: ‘then “Grunge Cement Texture Pack”‘. The words are taken from my first and second posts on Tutorial9.net incase you’re new here!

Arrange the text correctly so it sits how you want it – use different font sizes and kerning settings. I used Arial and Arial Bold for my text.

Typography Time

Using the same font, type a line of text above the sun at the bottom of the poster. I’m using: ‘and now yet another poster tutorial on the internet’. Change the font colour to black instead of white and position it to the centre of your poster.

With the Type Tool still selected, make a new text box and type your name as well as the name of your movie. I’m going to use: ‘callum o. chapman’s’ and ‘vintage movie poster tutorial’. Change the settings of your text until you have it all lined up to how you like it – I used the font Impact.

Typography Time

Ctrl+Click (Right Click on Windows) on all of your text layers and rasterize them. Merge them all together, and add some noise to them to make them a little more grungy.

Duplicate the rasterized text layer, nudge it to one side a little, and lower the opacity to 5%. It doesn’t make much difference, but all these little tricks add to the final effect.

Grab the Type Tool again and add some random text at the bottom of the poster. I used the font ‘Tall Films’.

Step 6: Finishing Touches…

Finishing Touches

It’s time for the finishing touches! Download this great folded/creased paper texture from Flickr Place the texture into your document by going to File > Place and position it as seen above.

Finishing Touches

Make a new Hue/Saturation layer and drop the saturation down so the texture is now black and white – select the layer and hit Cmnd+E (Ctrl+E on Windows) to merge the layer below. Change the blending mode to overlay. I duplicated the layer and changed the new layers opacity to 50% to give it a little more ‘oomph!’.

Finishing Touches

Find your movie name text layer, and with the Rectangular Marquee Tool selected, copy the bottom word (in my case I have copied ‘tutorial’). Make a new layer and paste your copied word. Position it beneath your original word as seen above.

Finishing Touches

With the new layer still selected, go to Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical, your text should now be flipped directly beneath your original type.

Go to Edit > Transform > Perspective and using your mouse, drag out a corner. Once you’re happy with the result, set the layers blending mode to Overlay. I also changed the movie information text to black because it was quite difficult to read in white.

Finishing Touches

For the final touch, we’re just going to play about with some colour settings. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Colour Balance. Play about with some different colour settings until you have what you like.

Open the Actions window by going to Window > Actions. Somewhere in the list of actions, you should have one called Sepia Toning (layer) – click on it and press the Start (play button) beneath it. Your poster should now be in black and white. Merge the two new layers together (the black and white layer and the sepia toning layer) by pressing Cmnd+E (Ctrl+E on Windows). Lower the opacity of the layer to 40%. This should wash out some of the colours and make your poster look that little more vintage.

Finishing Touches

Crop your poster down, and save! You might have noticed that it says this tutorial was for tutorial9.net – I decided to post it here and sell T9 some other posts, instead! If you like this post, please don’t forget to promote it!

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18 Earth Inspired Illustrations & Manipulations

In the final post from the 4 Elements Inspiration series by Jasmin, we have 18 great looking earth inspired illustrations and manipulations.

To view more work by a particular artist or designer, just click on their design and it’ll take you to their Flickr, Behance or DeviantART portfolio!

1. Canyon Floor Colorado River Sunset by James Watkins


2. Happy Earth Day! by Merwing


3. Green Planet by Imagonovus


4. Creative Order by Loswl


5. Rock the Earth Tee by Tad Capenter


6. Nature by Moonshine Design


7. Audio Jungle by Nostalgic Haze


8. Martini Asti – Elements by Peter Jaworowski


9. Martini Asti – Elements by Peter Jaworowski



10. Beautiful Earth by Singh P


11. Global Warming – Exhibition by Ana Fonseca


12. Global Warming by Victor van Gaasbeek


13. Earth by ~Sinya


14. Four Elements : Earth by `Cris Vector


15. The 4 Elements – Earth by *Varges


16. The Planets – Earth by *InertiaK


17. Vintage Earth by =FlashParade


18. Earth Day by ~WOW-DG


There are some real nice illustrations here, and I’m having a tough choice choosing my favourite, but I’ll let you know later on in the comments section! What’s your favourite, and why?

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How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

In this tutorial you’ll be learning several Photoshop tools and techniques, as well as a couple of Illustrator techniques to create a trendy, retro/abstract style Hippy Van poster from scratch.

I use my Hippy Van Vector in this tutorial, which you can make yourself by following a tutorial I wrote a few weeks back called ‘How to Create a Hippy Van Vector in Illustrator‘. If you’re looking for some Hippy Van inspiration, check out my photos from Bug Jam 23. I also use several textures in this tutorial, so head over to my other blog Circlebox Textures or Lost + Taken to download some awesome textures.

Lets get straight to work. Before opening Photoshop, or any other piece of digital software for that matter, grab a pen and a notebook. As followers of Circlebox will know, I turn to the notepad for almost any project of any form or size – it’s a great way to brainstorm and get some ideas down on paper without spending too much time on it …or staring at a blank canvas in Photoshop, which can be quite daunting with so many tools at your disposal!

This is the kind of look I want to go for (excuse the drawing – I did say I don’t spend to much time on it!):

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

With some rough ideas in your head, head over to Photoshop. Open a new document, I’m not planning on printing mine so I’m just opening a simple screen document (72dpi RGB). If you’re planning on printing in large scales, you’ll probably want to set up bleeds, use a Resolution above 300dpi and use CMYK instead of RGB. I’ve used an A4 size document.

Before I start anything else, I’m going to use a nice paper texture to give myself something to start with. Download a nice simple texture, I’m using one of my Red & Yellow Dyed Paper Textures. Fill the background with a creamy colour (I used #F2EBD7), and place (File > Place) your texture on top. Resize and move your texture into a suitable place and then desaturate it. Change the blending mode of your texture layer to overlay.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Locate your hippy van (or any other object your planning on using) and place it in your document. Resize, rotate and move it into a place you’re happy with. Remember it can be moved later!

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

With our vector placed, duplicate the layer. Hide the bottom one and rasterize the top one. This way, incase there are any problems, you always have a duplicate layer to work on underneath.

Grab the Burn Tool, and on our rasterized van, add some custom shadows round the bottom of the van. Do the same to the paper texture and background colour directly beneath the van – don’t over do it though! You can reverse the effect of the Burn Tool with the Dodge Tool.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Already our hippy van is looking more involved with the background. Grab another texture, and place it on top of all other layers. I used one of my own Grunge Watercolour Textures. Hold Cmnd (or Ctrl on a PC) and click the thumbnail image of our Hippy Van in the layers palette. Select the inverse of the selection and hit delete to remove any texture outside the van.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop



Desaturate the new texture layer, change the blending mode to overlay and lower the opacity to about 50%.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Repeat the step we took before with the Burn Tool, but this time only burning some areas of the most recent texture.

Open up Illustrator and create 4 25x25px squares placed directly next to each other. Change each square to a different colour, something you think will match your poster.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Select all your squares and create a new Art Brush by clicking the New button in the Brushes palette. Name it a suitable name and make sure the Direction is either heading up or down.

Grab the Pen Tool and make an interesting line. With your line selected, select the Art Brush we just made. Repeat the process to make another pattern.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Select both objects, copy and paste them into your Photoshop document as a Smart Object. As they’re smart objects, it allows us to resize and stretch them without being distorted. Once your lines are in place, make sure you rasterize them to turn them into pixels.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Duplicate your straight line. Rotate one of them, and place it above the original, set it to Difference and lower the opacity to 25%.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Select the Elliptical Marquee Tool and draw a circle whilst holding the shift key. Fill it with the same colour you used on your outer line of the art brush. Place the circle below your other straight line and merge the two layers together. Set its Blending Mode to Colour Burn.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Duplicate the straight line once again but this time leaving it in place. Lower the Opacity to 50%. All this does is makes the colours a little more intense.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Select the curvy line layer. Using the Polygonal Lasso Tool, delete some areas of the end of the line. You might decide, like me, to move the line a little. Use a soft eraser to get rid of any areas you don’t want.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Repeat the process we took with the circle on the straight line to produce some ‘filler’ shapes. I call them this because they’re main purpose, other than looking cool, is to fill in some empty space. Try removing some areas inside the circles for an even cooler shape. You can of course use Illustrator to do this if you wish. You can also use gradients on circles, or a soft brush, to create lighter looking shapes.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Choose yet another texture and place it on top of the curvy line. Get the outline of the curvy line by Cmnd (or Ctrl) clicking on the layer thumbnail, select the inverse of the selection and delete. I’m using another Grunge Watercolor texture.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Set the blending mode of the new texture to Overlay and decrease the opacity to 50%. Merge it down to the curvy line layer. Duplicate the now combined layer. Move the bottom curvy line to somewhere else on the screen and set it to overlay. Now set the top curvy line to Linear Burn.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Make a new layer and fill it with a colour using a soft brush that goes with your design.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise. Make sure Monochromatic is ticked and add some noise to your newly painted layer – I used 35%. Set the layer to Overlay, and with a soft brush, erase some areas of the noise. Lower the opacity to 50%.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Duplicate the hippy van, and on the lower layer go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. Use settings that best suit your piece.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop



Once again grab the eraser tool, using a large soft brush, delete some areas you don’t need.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

The post is getting there. Select a soft brush and open the Brush Panel. Select scattering, and change the scatter percentage, as well as the count. I used 1000% for scatter, 1 for count, and 60% for count jitter. Make sure your brush is white, and on a new layer brush over your canvas. Make a new layer and repeat the process a couple of times with different brush sizes.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Change the blending modes and opacities of your new layers. I used Overlay at 45% for one, and Soft Light at 65% for the other.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

If you feel it’ll improve your work, you can repeat the process again using different shaped brushes at different sizes, different colours and different blending modes.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

I want a little bit of text in my poster – I’m just going to use the words ‘Retro Van’. Select the text tool and type your words. Select a font that goes with your poster, I used ‘Steiner’. I used a mid-dark red colour from my poster that I selected using the eyedropper tool.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Duplicate your text layer, and resize the text on the bottom text layer so that it’s bigger than the original text. Select another colour thats been used in your design, I went for a lighter yellow this time. Reposition the text and select a different blending mode: I used overlay.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

I repeated the previous step again using the same size text and a blue which I took from the hippy van.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Make a new layer, and using the polygonal lasso tool, make some custom shapes to make some ends of the letters come off the screen.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Time for some finishing touches. Make another new layer, and select a large soft brush. Select a colour from your design using the eyedropper tool and brush over some areas on your screen. Create another layer, and do the same again with a different colour. Repeat the process until you have something that looks like this:

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Change the blending modes and opacities of each layer to something different. Make sure to experiment, as different blending modes on different layers will give you different effects. This is how mine turned out using a combination of overlays, hard lights, soft lights and vivid lights:

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Make yet another new layer, and select a dark blue soft brush. Brush round the edges of your poster so you have something that looks like this:

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Change the blending mode to Colour Burn and lower the opacity to about 7%.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Repeat the process with a smaller black brush, this time using the blending mode darken set to about 10%.

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

Enhance your image a little by increasing the contrast, and save! Here’s my final result:

How to Create a Retro Hippy Van Poster in Photoshop

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