Create a wartime poster design in Photoshop

Today, you will learn how to create an authentic wartime poster design using some amazing high-resolution paper textures from Wings Art Studio. You will learn how to combine a variety of different textures and apply them to create the effect of a realistic effect of time on the look of a poster.

Let’s start our work by looking at the final result of our activity:

Note: In the source of the lesson some images are missing, the author also used paid materials. In the archive you will find an alternative version of the materials for the lesson.

Step 1

Open Photoshop and create a new document with a size of 29.45 cm * 41.2 cm, and a resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch).

Load a brick wall texture and paste it into your document. Increase its size if necessary.

To make the brick surface a little darker, apply a Levels adjustment layer.

Settings for the adjustment layer. The levels should be as follows: 43 / 0.94 / 230

Step 2

Download a texture pack for this tutorial. In the set you will find five authentic vintage high-resolution paper textures, as well as the source file for this lesson.

Select a texture file ‘sections.jpg’ from the set, and transfer it to your document.

Separate the texture from the background, and then apply an adjustment layer. Color tone \ Saturation (hue / saturation), for this go to Image – Correction – Hue / Saturation (Image – Adjustments – Hue / Saturation), or just press Ctrl + U.

Make sure that this adjustment layer has a clipping mask so that it can only affect the underlying layer with the paper texture, and not the entire composition.

Adjustment layer Hue \ Saturation is adjusted as follows:

  • Color tone (Hue): 0
  • Saturation (Saturation): +45
  • Brightness (Lightness): 0

Also, apply the property Layer Style (Layer Style) External glow (Outer Glow)

  • Blend mode (Blend Mode): Normal (Normal)
  • Opacity (Opacity): 18%
  • Colour (Color): The black (Black)
  • Swipe (Spread): 0
  • The size (Size): 68

Step 3

Download the redflowers.jpg paper texture from the set.

Paste it into your document, positioning it above the texture you inserted earlier. Adjust it exactly in size so that it covers the underlying texture. Apply a layer mask and mask the edges of this new paper texture so that the edges of the texture below appear, as they are better suited for this composition.

Now create an adjustment layer. Color tone \ Saturation (hue / saturation), but this time do not use a clipping mask, since we want the adjustments to affect the entire composition.

The settings for this adjustment layer are as follows:

  • Color tone (Hue): 0
  • Saturation (Saturation): -40
  • Brightness (Lightness): 0

Step 4

Download a wartime vector image of your choice. I chose this image from the wonderful set from GoMedia, which, by a happy coincidence, will be available to you, as our first deal, as soon as Design Cuts launches.

I inserted this vector image into the center of my project:

Next, we need to apply a layer mask to this vector image, and use a rough black brush to mask the bottom of our vector illustration.

We also need to apply the property Layer Style (Layer Style) – Color overlay (color overlay). Choose color 912f2a.

Now load noise-free noise textures from LostandTaken. Select one of the textures and paste it into your document, place it directly above the vector illustration layer in the center of the canvas.

Now, change blending mode (blend mode) of this layer on Screen (screen). Since this texture has a black background, changing the blending mode will hide everything on this layer, except for the bright areas of “noise”.

Apply a clipping mask so that the remaining “noise” is visible only within our vector shape located in the center. And voila! We’ve got a vector illustration that has an old, faded, shabby look and now corresponds to the rest of our poster.

Step 5

Repeat the same techniques as in the previous step to add more vector illustrations to the center of our poster:

Step 6

Now that you know how to apply the effects of worn noise in your work, you can use the same techniques to create cool texts with the effect of scuffing and aging for your posters.

The following fonts were used for this lesson:


Bernard MT Condensed

Birch std

Step 7

It is always good to think about texture and lighting and strive to ensure that your result is as realistic as possible.

If our poster were placed on a brick wall, it would not look completely flat.

It is likely that part of the shadow / texture of the wall will be visible through the paper, and the surface will not seem so perfect.

To achieve this subtle effect, duplicate the original background layer with a brick texture and place it above all other layers.

Then use a layer mask to “fit” it into the shape of your poster.

Finally, change the settings for this top layer as follows:

  • Blend mode (blend mode): Multiplication (multiply)
  • Opacityl (opacity): 9%

This should create a slight impression of the shadows of the brickwork appearing through the poster.

Step 8

To finish the job, we need to add a few adjustment layers.

We go to Layers – New Adjustment Layer – Photo Filter (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Photo Filter).

Photo filter settings are as follows:

  • Filter (Filter): Heating filter (Warming Filter) (85)
  • Density (Density): 20%
  • Save brightness (Preserve Luminosity): yes

Next, go to Layers – New Adjustment Layer – Black and White (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Black White)

The Black and White filter settings are as follows:

  • Blend mode (blend mode): Linear light (Linear Light)
  • Opacity (Opacity) Layer: 5%

Next, go to Layers – New Adjustment Layer – Curves (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Curves)

The Curves settings in the screenshot below are a slight shift in the graph down and to the right.

And here it is the result of our creativity:

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