Create a vintage poster in Photoshop

I always amazed with my capabilities Photoshop tool Puppet warp (Puppet Warp), but I never actually used it. It’s not that I didn’t know how, I just never had to. Therefore, I decided to create a composition in which this instrument would be used. The result was a lesson in which I will show you how to create a vintage poster resembling a circus poster.


I decided that I wanted to create a vintage-circus poster with unusual elements. Something very strange and unnatural. I found some old posters, but I wanted a little different than what was shown on them … Puppet deformation. One name of this instrument sounds like something circus.

Materials for the lesson:

Inspired by the materials and images I found, I began to look for suitable sources. I came across a photo of a giraffe that most closely matches my requirements.

Step 1. To use the Puppet Warp on a giraffe, we must first free it from the background. Making a quick selection with Quick selection tool (Quick selection) (Q) and Quick mask mode (Quick mask mode).

Then we copy (CTRL + C) the giraffe. Next, apply Select – Modify – Expand (Allocation – Modification – Expand). I selected 20 pixels.

Then, to remove the giraffe go Edit – Fill (Edit – Fill) and in the Use drop-down menu select Content-Aware (Given the content) and click OK.

As a result, the selected area was filled with a background (grass and sky).

Step 2. Now paste (CTRL + V) from the clipboard of the giraffe copied in the previous step onto a new layer. Create another new layer and insert another giraffe on it. Activate the layer with the second giraffe and go Edit – Transform – Flip Horizontal (Editing – Transformation – Flip Horizontally). Now we have two giraffes looking at each other.

Let’s move them closer so that their necks cross, as shown below. After that we merge the two layers together (CTRL + E).

Step 3. Now we will apply the puppet deformation. Activate the giraffe layer and turn Edit – Puppet Warp (Editing – Puppet Warp). On the top panel, new options are available.

Parameter Density (Density) set to More Points (More points).

Then we put dots on giraffes, as shown below.

Pulling the point, we deform the giraffe. Our task is to make the necks intertwined. Approximately as shown below.

Finish, click Enter.

Step 4. Now we have the central element of the poster, we will start adding effects.
To begin to discolor the image. We will do this by adding a correction layer. Blackwhite (Black and white).

Next, add a light brown tint using the adjustment layer Solid Color (Color). I used the color # ab9d8d.
Also add a Levels adjustment layer with such parameters.

And we get …

Step 5. Now we will apply the texture. Take the image 1 of the set Grunge Textures Vol 2. I placed the texture under the adjustment layers and set its blend mode to Overlay (Overlap).

Step 6. Now add the background elements. I have selected several vector images. Ornate scroll and frames and Baroque Ornaments and placed on the edges of the document.

Step 7. Now we add the text. We take two fonts Carnevalee Freakshow for large text and Showguide for small. Arrange the text as shown in the screenshot. I also added a black gradient at the bottom and a ribbon at the top.

I hope this tutorial showed you quite clearly how to use the Puppet Warp Tool (Puppet Warp) to create something interesting and unique. Sometimes it happens that some Photoshop tools are not very used, but this does not mean that they are less functional, just need to find a suitable application for them.

Author: Nathan Brown
Translator: Maxim Enin
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