Create a Stylish Retro Futuristic Poster in Photoshop


It has been a good time since I did my last photoshop tutorial, so for this week I decided to take a look at some old works I did when I were more into photoshop and just found this awesome one. However, when I opened the orinal PSD. file I found many things I wouldn't do nowadays, so I decided to try to recreate using my reent methods. This a experience I would recommend to anyone: get an old design and try to redo it.

The following tutorial is pretty easy, it's more for beginners, but if you are a advanced user you may find some interesting tricks. So stick together and let's start this week tutorial.

Step 1

First of all, open Adobe Photoshop and create a A4 canvas ( 21 x 29,7 cm or 8,26 x 11,69 inches), set to 300 dpi, even if you work only with web it's good to try higher resolutions. First place some rulers (ctrl + R / command + R) with a distance of 1 cm (2,54 inches) from the borders, then create on the center this green rectangle using the retangle tool (U) .

Now create a layer mask, select it and using the linear gradient tool (G) create this light gradient on the bottom.

One thing most people forget when trying effects with clouds is that the colors used on it are the foreground and the background color, so set on of them white and the other light green like the image above (R:179 G:255 B:104). Then go to Filter > Render > Clouds , you will get something like these.

Access the blending modes panel and choose the one called color burn, you should get this effect.

Create a new layer ( ctrl + alt + shift + N / command + alt + shift + N ) and repeat the procedure, but after generating the clouds, go to Filter > Render > Fibers , set Variance to 8 and Strenght to 64, like the image bellow

Again, access the blending options panel and choose the option called color burn.

Repeat the procedure of creating clouds, use black and white clors this time for the foreground and background, after it go to Filter > Render > Difference clouds, hit this effect like 6 times, use the shortcut ctrl + F / command + F, you should get something like these.

Set Opacity to 25% and choose the blending mode called soft light. Don't mees with the layers, create a group (ctrl + G / command + G) and place them like the sample bellow.

Step 2

Let's add a landscape to it, I really found mountais would a nice thing, so you can download it at CG Textures. Open the image in PS, first let's desaturate the image (ctrl + shift + U / command + shift + U).

Place it on the canvas, select the green rectangle layer with ctrl + click / command click to make this selection, then select the mountain layer and press ctrl + J / command + J to crop the image.

Now go to the blending modes panel and choose the option called Linear light.

Duplicate this layer (ctrl + J / command + J) then go to Filter > Other > High Pass , set radius to 9,9 pixels. Access the blending mode panel and choose the option called Overlay.

Step 3

I don't remeber where exactly I got this starry night picture, but it's free to use in non commercial projects, so you can download it directly here. Open this image in PS and let's repeat the procedure of using the high pass filter like we've done on the mountains on step 2.

Let's increase the intensity of this stars, so duplicate the original layer ( ctrl + J / command + J ) and use the blending mode called Overlay. Then let's desaturate it ( ctrl + shift U / command + shift + U ). A good trick to make them pop of the photo is to use the levels panel, set it like the one bellow.

Paste the final image on the canvas we're using, go to the blending modes panel and choose Linear light. Make a layer mask on this layer and make it fit his area of the canvas, this should take sometime since the better way to get a good result on the gradient is using the brush tool (B) on the mask.

Use again the selection of the green square we did on the beginning by clicking on the layer with ctrl / command pressed. Make a new layer ( ctrl + alt + shift + N / command + alt + shift + N ) and create a metallic gradient using the gradient tool (G). Set Opacity to 70% and choose the blending mode called Soft light.

Step 4

Now let's create the background grid, some of you will say there are easier ways to do it using Adobe illustrator, but we're in photoshop so let's do on it. Using the retangle tool (U) create this white and really thin line, it should have at least 1,5 pixels, zoom to (ctrl + / command + ) to set it correctly using the transform (ctrl + T / command + T).

Duplicate it many times using the move tool (V) + alt.

I think most of you are familiar with these align tools, when you use the move tool (V) they will appear on the top, bellow the menu, select all the layers withe lines and choose the option called Distribute horizontal center (the one on middle of the picture bellow). This will make the space between them equal. Merge all the line layers after it ( ctrl + E / command + E )

Duplicate the horizontal lines using the move tool (V) + alt then using the transform (ctrl + T / command + T) and rotate it 180 degrees. You should get a grid like these.

Make a group with the layers or just merge them all in one single layer, then make a layer mask on the group or layer, choose the gradient called reflected gradient, use it on the mask on the diagonal direction.

Step 5

So one thing I always find important in a photomanipulation is to find the right picture for what you want to express, I mean, when I designed this poster I wanted a guy with a suit, then I found a couple of photos of this guy. But I really wanted to show the he was like preaching something, so I decided to use the one he's pointing the finger to the person who see it. You can download the picture here.

Go to the Channels panel and duplicate the red channel of this photo. Then access Levels panel (ctrl + L / command + L) and set it like the picture above

Again, go to the levels panel and set like the sample above. This will make the selection way more easier, just use the magic wand (W) to select the man (Yeah, I know the magic wand really sucks, but in some occasions you can use it).

We have to take off his head, so use the lasso tool (L) to do it, be careful with his finger, we will need it.

Repeat the procedure of th high pass filter and duplicating and then overlaying to enhance the picture. Then place it on the canvas.

Create a new layer using the body's selection and fill it with green using the paint bucket tool (G). Then acess the blending mode panel and choose the option called Color burn

Make a group (ctrl + G / command + G) with all the body layers and make a layer mask, select it and using the gradient tool (G) make this gradient on the body. The layer order of this group should look like these.

Step 6

If the eagle head I had the same doubt to choose the pic as I had with the suitman. Stockimages sites have a lot of images so what exactly i wanted to be the expression of the eagle, well i wanted it to look more authoraty look, so I choosed this one. You can download this picture right here.

Open the photo on PS, first just flip it using transform (ctrl + T / command + T ) + right click . Repeat the procedure to enhance the image (High pass layer + soft light layer).

This is pretty similar to what I did on the previous step, but this time I din't made a copy of the channel and decided to apply this levels on the image, then I cutted the eagle's head off and pasted the whole group on the canvas.

Just repeat the same procedure of the previous step to get this green look.

Create a layer mask on the group and using the brush tool (B) make the hand appear. Your layer order should be like these, if you didn't get this effect maybe something is wrong on the order.

Step 7

Pretty simple: using the text tool (T) write first "LET IT" on uppercase, then "Just" and then "HAPPEN", use the move tool (V) to place correctly. I used the walkway font, you can gra it here.

Make a new layer (ctrl + shift + alt + N / command + shift + alt + N ) and use the selection of the letters by clicking + ctrl/command + shift on the layers. Then add a gradient using the gradient tool (G) with the darkest part on the bottom. Add some thin drop shadow to it and set opacity to 50%.

Step 8

Let's create some shards, create this retangle using the rectangle tool (U), then using transform (ctrl + T/command + T) adjust is to look sharp.

Use the Soft light blending mode, then rotate the shard duplicate him, group and duplicate it again and flip it.

I added a layer mask to the group of shards and used a gradient on the layer mask, duplicate it again and got a pretty interesting effect.

Step 9

Quick tip: create ellpses using the ellipse tool (U), then go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur and set angle to 82 and distance to 998 pixels. Use the overlay blending mode on it, duplicate it till you got this lightining effect.

Final Result

So let's compare the two version: the 2010 version and the 2011 version.

I really can decide which I find the best, I think they represent diferent moments of my career and so the results. Despite the tutorial, this is a really interesting experiment to do, try you too, get an old design and try to redo it with your style nowadays.

Download the files


Written by

Marcos Torres

I'm Marcos Torres, I'm a Graphic Artist from Brasil. You can know more about me at my Website, at my Tumblr or at my Flickr.