Create a vintage futuristic poster in Photoshop

In this tutorial, I will show you how to create a retro style poster. We will make a starry background, create cosmic nebulae, light paths and many other elements from scratch. You will get acquainted with a variety of tools and graphical methods of the program Photoshop, reaching the desired end result.

Materials for the lesson:

Step 1. Document setup
Open Photoshop and create new document (New document) with the desired poster size. Do not forget to use high resolution (approximately 150-300 dpi) if you plan to print the work. For the lesson, I created a 1000 x 1300 px, RGB, 72 dpi document and saved for web use.

Step 2.Creating a starry background
Fill the background layer with black (# 000000) using a tool Fill (Paint Bucket) (G),

Go to Filter> Noise> Add Noise (Filter – Noise – Add noise) with settings: Amount (quantity) 15; distribution Gaussian(according to Gauss), tick on Monochromatic (monochrome)

Now we have a layer filled with noise. We make some adjustments to reduce noise and create a lighter stellar effect. Increase using the tool Zoom tool (Z) (Magnifier) ​​or the keys (Ctrl +) our image is up to 100% to see the changes we are making in full resolution. Go to the menu Image> Adjustment> Levels (Image – Correction – Levels) to achieve the desired effect

Step 3. Creation of the first nebulae
Download the cloud texture 04 image and open it in Photoshop. Discolor the image with the command Image> Adjustments> Desaturate (Image – Correction – Desaturate) (Shift + Ctrl + U).

Turn the blue sky into black by adjusting the levels Image> Adjustment> Levels (Image – Correction – Levels)

Paste the resulting image into our working paper, use Free transform (Free transform) (Ctrl + T) to rotate it and resize. Using Move Tool (Move tool) (V), place the image in the position shown below:

Change the blending mode of this layer to Screen (Screen, Brightening), reduce Opacity (opacity) up to 15%

Add color to our nebulae. Create a new layer, above all previous ones. Set the main color # 300a50. Next, activate Brush (Brush Tool) (B), select a soft round brush with a diameter of about 660 px, Hardness (hardness) 0%, Opacity (opacity) 40%. Touch the brush once in the upper left corner of the cloud.

Continue to add paint. Re-create a new layer. Main color # 710275. Brush size 390 px. We put one spot above the clouds, another one in the upper right corner of the canvas.

Create another new layer. Change foreground color to dark blue # 111139.
Increase the size of the brush to 660 px and make two spots on the canvas.

This is what our canvas looks like at the moment:

Step 4.We add nebulae.
Download and open cloud texture 07. Discolour the image and adjust the levels as we did when creating the first nebulae in the previous step.

Paste the image into the main document, change its size with Free transform (Free transform) and place it in the lower right corner of the canvas.

Go to Layer> Layer Mask> Reveal All (Layer – Layer Mask – Open All) to apply a layer mask

Set the color Foreground (foreground) black # 000000. Activate Gradient (Gradient) (G), marking Foreground to Transparent in the gradient editor (from foreground color to transparent)

Apply a gradient to the layer mask several times to soften and slightly hide the upper edges of the clouds:

Change blending mode for layer to Screen (Screen, lightening) and lower Opacity (opacity) up to 15%.

Create a new layer. Change the main color to purple # 49015b and using soft Brush tool (Brush) (B) with a size of 195 px and a 100% opacity, we make several spots on the layer.

Lower Opacity (Opacity) layer up to about 30%

Load and open the Cloud Texture 06 image in Photoshop. With this image of clouds, we do the same as when creating previous nebulae.

Create a new layer, set the foreground color to dark blue. (# 112a40). Choose Brush tool (Brush) (B) and a soft brush create a large spot on the cloud. Lower Opacity (Opacity) layer up to 50%

Change the blending mode to Screen (Screen, Lightening) and set the opacity of the layer to 70%. This is what we have at the moment:

Step 5.Color the picture
Let’s brighten up the scene a bit. Create a new layer. As the main choose a rich pink color (#eebbfb). With a soft round brush with a diameter of about 900 px we create a spot in the center of the canvas.

Apply Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur) with a radius of 130px. To soften the effect, lower the layer opacity to 50%

Import the image of the comet WISE catches comet 65P / Gunn into our main document, change the size and place it at the top of our canvas:

Change layer blend mode to Screen (Screen, lightening) and install Opacity (Opacity) layer 40%

Duplicate the comet layer (using the Ctrl + J keys) and go to the menu Edit> Transform> Flip Vertical (Editing – Transforming – Flip Vertically). Place the reflected image a little lower:

Creating a background image, we got a lot of layers. Check all layers in the layers panel (holding the key Shift click on each row in the layer.) and go to Layer> Group Layers (Layer – Group layers) (Ctrl + G) to place them in a group. Let’s call this group “Background”.

Step 6.Add a rocket
Download the image of the rocket ship rocket and open it. Separate the rocket from the background and place the image in the main document. Transform to the desired size and placed in the upper right corner of the canvas. Duplicate the layer (Ctrl + J) and change the blending mode of the duplicate layer to Multiply (Multiplication), lower Opacity (opacity) to about 20%

Create a luminous flux from the rocket. Via Pen tool (Pen) (P) create a path about 2 times the desired length of the stream.

Create a new layer below the two layers with a rocket and set the foreground color to white. (#ffffff). We take a large soft brush and set its size in accordance with the thickness of the flow created (I used a brush of 50 pixels in size). Click RMB (right mouse button) on the path when the tool is active. Pen tool (Pen) and choose Stroke Path. Near option Simulate pressure (Simulate pressure) put a tick and click OK.

Soften the flow path from the rocket by applying Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter-Blur-Blur according to Gauss), setting the blur radius 7px. Also adjust the position of the flow with Move Tool (move) (V).

It seems to me that the flow is too large in length. It distracts the viewer from other details of the scene. Erase the bottom of the stream using Eraser tool (Eraser) (E)

Go to Layer> Layer Mask> Reveal All (Layer – Layer Mask – Show (open) all) to apply a layer mask to the flow from the rocket. Install in gradient editor Foreground to Transparent (from base color to transparent) and draw a gradient to visually soften the bottom of the rocket track. Lower the opacity of the layer to 60%

Step 7.Create rays of light
Create a new document in Photoshop with a size of 300 x 300 px.
Change the main color to white (#ffffff), background color to light blue (# 60beff). Via Gradient tool (G) Fill the background layer with a linear gradient so that the upper part of the canvas is white and the lower part is light blue.

Go to Filter> Distort> Wave (Filter – Distortion – Wave) to create vertical stripes.

Choose Filter> Distort> Polar Coordinates (Filter – Distortion – Polar coordinates) to create the effect of sunlight.

Place the beams below the outgoing flow from the rocket. Roll up, but do not close, the document “Rays 300×300” created by you, because It is useful in further work on the lesson. Let’s go back to the main document and remove the white stripes of sunlight. Can use Magic wand Tool (Magic Wand) (W) to highlight the white areas and then press Delete remove them.

Apply Filter> Blur> Motion Blur (Filter – Blur – Blur in motion) by setting a high value Distance (bias)

Use Free Transform (Ctrl + T) (Free Transform) to rotate the rays of light. Via Move Tool (move) (V) position the rays in the right place.

Lower the opacity of the Rays of Light layer to 50%.
It’s time to re-organize the layers. In the layers panel, select all layers associated with the rocket (including the flow from the rocket and the rays of light). To do this, hold down the Shift key, select the desired layers and use the key combination (Ctrl + G) to group them. New group will be called “Rocket”

Step 8. Add to the scene of the planet Earth
Download the Earth image and open it. (Note. The link to the image of the planet from a non-working source, find on the Internet your own image of the planet Earth, or use the one suggested in the archive) Via Elliptical Marquee Tool (oval selection) (M) create a selection around the Earth, copy it (Ctrl + C) and paste it into your document (Ctrl + V).

Convert layer to smart object. Right-click on the layer in the layers panel and select in the menu that appears Convert to Smart Object (Convert to smart object). By transforming the layer into a smart object, we can make various changes (such as scaling, rotation, distortion, and others) without devastating consequences. In other words, we can make changes without changing the original layer and its quality. It is a good practice for the future to make the work as editable as possible.

Using Free transform (Free Transform) (Ctrl + T), change the size of the Earth smart object.

Apply Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur), radius 0.8 px. Via Move Tool (move) (V) position the Earth below the rocket:

Double-clicking on the “Earth” layer opens the dialog box. Layer style (Layer style). Add effects Outer glow (External glow) and Inner glow (Inner Glow) with the following settings:

Create a selection around the planet by holding down the CTRL key and clicking on the layer thumbnail. Create a new layer and fill the selection with black. Move the black circle to the right, leaving only part of the planet visible.

Apply Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur (Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur) with a blur radius of 50 px for a layer with a black circle. There will be a slight blackout effect, which in turn will give our work more realism.

Below the layer with the Earth create a new layer. Using a soft white brush, create 2 spots on the light side of the Earth. Lower the opacity of the layer to 70%

Once again, we’ll mark all the layers associated with the land, merge (Ctrl + G) them into a group, call it “Earth”

Step 9. Add moon
Open the image of Earths Moon. As in the previous step, create a selection around the moon using Elliptical Marquee Tool (oval selection) (M), copy the selection and paste into our document.

Place the image of the moon in the lower left corner of the canvas:

Add effects Outer Glow (External glow) and Inner Glow (Internal glow) using Layer style (Layer style). Settings below (Screen (Screen, Lighten)), Linear Light (Line Light):

Below is a close-up image of the moon to ensure that our actions are correct.

We use the method described in step 8 to create a shadow from the moon, but this time we create a darker and heavier effect.

Create a group of “Moon” and place in it all the layers associated with this planet.

Step 10.Placement of aircraft in the scene.
Download this photo of Douglas_DC-3. Open the image in Photoshop and gently circle the plane with Pen tool (Feather) (P). Right click on the created path. In the dialog box that appears, select Make Selection. Go to Select> Modify> Contract (Selection – Modification – Compress), set compression to 1 px. Copy and paste the image to a new layer.

Delete the text from the aircraft (increase the image for convenience up to 800%). Via Clone stamp tool (Stamp) (S) take a sample (by holding down the Alt key) from the area of ​​the aircraft where there is no inscription.

Carefully remove the entire inscription, selecting the appropriate color for the cloning sites.

Now all text is deleted:

Create your own brand for the aircraft. I used the Betty Noir font. Select Horizontal type tool (Horizontal text) (T) in the toolbar and create the desired text. Font color set as in the image below:

Duplicate the label layer, change its color to light pink. (# d3c7d3), move the duplicate below the original text layer. Via Move Tool (move) (V) and the arrow keys lower it 1x down and move it 1px to the right.

Add another text to the tail of the aircraft. Download and install the font League Gothic Create a new text with the Horizontal Type Tool (Horizontal Text) (T). Adjust the angle of the text using Edit> Transform.

Select all layers and merge them into one (Ctrl + E)

Pressing Ctrl, click on the layer thumbnail to get a selection around the plane. Copy and paste it into our main document.
We transform the plane layer into smart object, to get rid of the devastating effects on it. We will change the scale and perspective of the aircraft.

First, adjust the size of the aircraft:

Go to the menu Edit> Transform> Perspective (Editing – Transforming – Perspective) to make changes:

Go to Image> Adjustments> Shadows /Highlights (Image – Correction – Light / Shadow) for making changes to the shadows and light. Since our plane is a smart object, we can safely add shadows and highlights, because we can always return to the original appearance of the object

Use the following settings:

Preview of the result at the moment:

Step 11.We create a trace from the plane
Repeat step 7 (that’s why we didn’t close the Rays 300 x 300 document). Place them above the plane layer. Again, remove the white rays with Magic wand Tool (Magic wand) (W)

Apply Filter> Blur> Motion Blur (Filter – Blur – Blur in motion)

Rotate the image slightly with Free transform (Free transform)
(Ctrl + T).

Change the layer blending mode to Linear dodge (Linear light), lower the opacity to 70%. Move this layer below the group “Earth”

Step 12. Give the image the effect of “old photo”
Press (Ctrl + A) to select everything, and then go to Edit> Copy Merged (Editing – Copy merged data) (Shift + Ctrl + C). Paste the result to a new layer, then go to the menu. Filter> Noise> Add Noise (Filter – Noise – Add noise) by setting the value Amount (amount) 20%

Change the blending mode to Screen (Screen, lightening), Opacity (opacity) 50%

Step 13.Add text
Download and install the font Komika Axis. Activate the tool HorizontalTypeTool (Horizontal text) (T). Set the layer blending mode Screen (Screen, lightening), Opacity (opacity) 50%

The following text “Fly with” is created using the same font. For this text layer, also set the layer blending mode. Screen (Screen, lightening), Opacity (opacity) 50% Rasterize the layer (right-click on the layer with the text in the layers panel and select in the menu that appears Rasterize Type (rasterize type).

Rotate some text using Free transform (Free transform) (Ctrl + T):

Go to Edit> Transform> Warp (Edit – Transform – Warp) and twist the text a bit to make it look more interesting.

Step 14. Add a logo
Further we will use the element created in other lesson. You can download PSD by clicking here. Open it in Photoshop. Duplicate several required layers from this PSD file into our document. In the layers panel, select the following:

Layer 1
DESIGN INSTRUCT (text layer)
A Web Magazine for Designers and Digital Artists (text layer)
Shape 1

Right-click in the layers panel and select in the menu that appears Duplicate layers (Duplicate layers). In the drop-down menu we find the name of our document. This step will duplicate all selected layers.

Let’s return to our project. Mark the new layers that we added to our document, right-click to display the context menu, then select Merge Layers (Ctrl + E) in it. Transform the resulting layer into a smart object (click RMB on the layer in the layers panel, select Convert to Smart Object). Using Free transform (Free transform) (Ctrl + T), scale the logo to the desired size

Apply a layer style to brighten the logo. Color overlay (Overlay color).

Set the layer blending mode Screen (Screen, Brightening) and reduce the opacity to 60%.
Add another text to our poster. Download and install the Telegraphic font. Create any text to the left of the logo

Change the layer blending mode to Screen (Screen, Brightening), set the opacity to 50%

Step 15. Adding Scratches
To give the image an older look, we will add some elements of destruction to our poster. Add a few scratches to the surface that will visually increase the age of our image. Download and install the package of brushes CD Scratch. Create a new layer. Set as the main white (#ffffff) color, select in the toolbar Brush (Brush Tool) (B). We use one of the brushes of the new set, the size is approximately 1557 px, to cover the entire canvas.

Use a brush on the new layer once. Reduce the layer opacity to 15%

Step 16.Frame creation
Mark all layers and all groups of layers and place them (Ctrl + G) in one common group. Let’s call it “Poster”. Via Rectangular marquee tool (Rectangular selection) (M) create a selection that is slightly smaller in size than our canvas.

Select the “Poster” layer group and go to Layer> Layer Mask> Reveal Selection (Layer – Layer Mask – Show (open) all)

Step 17. Adding texture
Download and open the Photoshop Handmade Paper image in Photoshop. Remove using Magic wand Tool (Magic Wand) (W) white border from paper texture

Copy the texture and paste it into our document. Via Free transform (Free transform) (Ctrl + T) change its size. Discolor texture Image> Adjustments> Desaturate (Image – Correction – Desaturate) (Shift + Ctrl + U). Sharpen images using Filter> Sharpen (Filter – Sharpness – Sharpness)

Move the paper texture layer below the poster group.

Step 18. Final stage: vintage style
We will use an adjustment layer for the final color corrections. Go to Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Channel Mixer (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Channel Mixing), adding a new adjustment layer on top of all layers

Adding this kind of adjustment layer is a great way to change the color in our design. We adjust the parameters of the red and green channels, thereby giving our poster a vintage look.

So we finished the design of the poster! I recommend that you experiment with different photos, textures and fonts, creating your own unique retro-themed projects. Hope you enjoyed the lesson! Thank you for reading!

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