Create a retro futuristic design in Photoshop

In this tutorial we will create a retro poster with modern effects using textures, brushes and photo effects. You will learn how to use the Repousse function (Embossing) in Photoshop Extended to create 3D objects.

The lesson is done in Photoshop CS5 Extended.

Note: The image with the model is not on the source site.

Final result

Step 1

Create a new document with dimensions of 1920 x 1200 px and dpi 300 px.

Fill the background layer with black. Open the image with the nebula and move it to work. If your image is opened with a smart object, then rasterize the layer. To do this, right-click and select Rasterize Layer. Reduce the Opacity of the layer to 86%.

The background has a slight roughness. To fix this, go to the menu Filter> Blur> Surface Blur (Filter – Blur – Blur on the surface). Apply the settings as shown below.

Step 2. Add a model

Open the model image and transfer to the working document. Separate the model from the background in a convenient way for you. Since the model is on a white background, I used the tool Magic Wand Tool (Magic Wand) and deleted the remaining background pixels on the layer mask.

Step 3. Focus circle

Create a focal circle. The main task of this circle is to focus on a certain part of the image.
Create a new layer. Choose a tool Elliptical marquee Tool (M) (Oval area). Hold down Shift, create a round selection and fill it with black.

In order to cut the middle of the circle, with Shift pressed, create a round selection inside the circle again and press delete.

Drag the layer with the ring below the model layer. To give the impression that the model is coming out of the ring, select the tool Eraser Tool (E) (Eraser) and erase the bottom of the model as shown below. Use a large soft brush.

Step 4. Styling the circle

To create a retro effect, we will use layer styles. Double click on the ring layer to open the style window.

Apply style Pattern Overlay (Overlay pattern). Set the Scale to 85%.

Then add style Gradient Overlay (Gradient overlay). Blend mode Overlay (Overlap), scale 37%.

Step 5. Creating a brush

In this step, we will create a brush to create a bokeh effect with a pen and brush. Choose a tool Pen Tool (P) (Pen) in Paths mode (Contours).

Create a contour as shown below.

Then select the tool Brush Tool (B) (Brush).

Next, open the brush settings window.

Apply the settings as shown below.

The most commonly used parameters in Shape Dynamics (form dynamics) is Size jitter (Size fluctuation) and Minimum Diameter (Minimum diameter). These two parameters are dependent on each other. The Minimum Diameter determines how small the circle will be, and the Size Swing changes the size of the print from the largest to the smallest along the line of movement. Experiment with these options to understand how they work.

Parameter Scattering (Scattering)

Parameter Transfer (Transmission) is used to adjust the brush opacity: transparent – less transparent – solid.

Select tool again Pen Tool (P) (Pen). Right-click on the contour and select Stroke Path (Run the outline of the contour). In the drop-down box, make sure the box is checked Simulate Pressure (Simulate pressure).

This is what should happen.

Change the blending mode of this layer to Overlay (Overlap). This will hide circles on the black areas.

Let’s give our circles a glow. Double click on the layer to open the style window. Choose style Outer Glow (External glow). Blend mode Color dodge (Lightening the basics). For the color, select a pattern from the skin of the model

Step 7. Retro Spheres

Now we will add some areas. For spheres you can use Sphere brushes or images. I will use striped spheres. Open the sphere and transfer to work. Rename the layer to striped texture . Duplicate the layer several times, rotate (Ctrl + T) and position it as in the image below.

Next, using a set of brushes or individual images, add some more spheres, as in the image below.

Then apply a filter to this layer. Filter> Blur> Motion Blur (Filter – Blur – Blur in motion). Set the Angle to 28 and the Distance to 31.

Step 8. Clouds

Create a new layer and rename to cloud 1. Choose the diameter 960 from the brush set No. 485. Drop the default colors to white – black and click 2 – 3 times one place to get a beautiful cloud, as in the image below. Since the cloud is transparent, a few clicks will make it denser.

Now select brush number 886 and below draw another cloud. The image will gain momentum and become even more unique.

Step 9. Decorate the landscape

Let’s do the decoration of the landscape. Open the landscape image and place it under the nebula layer. Adjust the size of the landscape (Ctrl + T). Change the layer blend mode with nebula to Screen (Screen). This will lighten the landscape and through it the nebula will gracefully appear, as in the example below.

Step 10. Embossed 3D

For those of you who are not familiar with the function Repousse (Embossing), I will say that she is responsible for creating 3D elements in Photoshop CS5. We need to create a 3D arrow using the function Repousse (Embossing) and put in a suitable place for it in our composition. I also note that the arrows are often used to create a retro style.

Choose a tool Custom Shape Tool (Arbitrary shape) in Shape mode and draw an arrow as shown below.


Now place the arrow in our composition. Press Ctrl + T to transform the arrow, resize it and rotate as shown in the image below. Place the layer with the arrow under the model layer and change the blending mode to Hard Light (Hard light).

Step 11. Abstraction and retro

Our design already looks abstract, beautiful, surreal and slightly old-fashioned. Create a few more copies of the 3D arrow, resize and place as shown in the image below.

Light effects

Create a new layer. Choose a tool Rectangular marquee tool (Rectangular area). Create a selection as shown below.

Then select a large soft brush with a diameter of approximately 300 px. Open the foreground color picker and pipette the color of the model’s T-shirt. Next, paint over the edge of the selection, as shown below. Also change the blending mode of this layer to Color dodge (Lightening the basics). Deselect (Ctrl + D).

Rotate the bar (Ctrl + T) as shown below.

Step 12. Be creative

Create multiple copies of the layer with a strip of light, resize and position as you like. Here’s what I got.

Step 13. Final Details

At the end, add a few more spheres. The largest sphere I located in the lower right corner of the canvas. To simulate the movement, I applied a filter. Filter> Blur> Motion Blur (Filter – Blur – Blur in motion). You can use my settings or experiment with your own.

Add two more spheres and turn. Do not be afraid to apply different types of blur to create depth and give dynamics.

Photo filter

Above all layers, add a photo filter to bring the colors of our image to a general tone. Go to the menu Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Photo Filter (Layer – New Adjustment Layer – Photo Filter).

Select Warning Filter (81) (Warm Filter (81)). Set Density to 49%.

We are done! I also added a vignette effect at the top of the composition and blurred the background a bit. Do not be afraid to experiment! I also added a highlight to one of the light strips.

Here are more options.

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