Create Retro Futuristic Poster Design in Photoshop

    written by Nikola Lazarevic

    Combine stock photos and design resources to create an awesome retro futuristic poster. By mixing up bright and vibrant cosmic designs with old, distressed and grungey textures we’ll create a print-ready retro futuristic poster design for “Yugoslav Airlines”, the former national carrier of Yugoslavia.

    Follow this step-by-step tutorial and learn how a range of Photoshop techniques pull together the various elements to create the final design.

    Preview

    First let’s take a sneak peak at what we’ll be creating. Looks awesome isn’t it?!

    Preview

    Step 1

    Fire up Adobe Photoshop and create a document with your desired poster dimensions (I used standard A3 paper size) and fill background with white color. Remember to use a high DPI (between 150-300 dpi) and CMYK Color Mode if you are planning on sending your work to the press.

    Step 1

    Step 2

    To start, create new group (Layer > New > New Group), give it appropriate name like “poster”, then with Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) draw a rectangle that is a bit smaller then canvas (give it 5mm on each side). Make sure that group layer is selected and go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection to apply layer mask.

    Download and open Handmade Paper, Desaturate the image (Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + U) to remove its colors and import into our design. Using Free Transfrom Tool (Cmd/Ctrl + T) resize image a bit and place it inside our “poster” group and set the Opacity to 40%.

    Step 2

    Create another group – “main” (inside “poster” group), just above Handmade Paper layer, and with Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) create selection. Use image below as reference.

    Step 2

    Select “main” group and apply Layer Mask (Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection).

    Step 3

    Download and import the Capodimonte Deep Field and place it inside “main” group. You can play with the size of this layer if you want.

    Step 3

    Adjust Hue/Saturation (Cmd/Ctrl + U) to drop down colors.

    Step 3

    Create a new layer. For Foreground Color choose a low-saturated pink color (#eebbfb) and with Brush Tool (B), with a large, soft brush tip to create a spot; apply the Gaussian Blur filter on this layer (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur) with Radius of 130px. Then just set the Opacity of this layer to 40% to soften and blend the effect into its background.

    Step 3

    Step 3

    Create another new layer (Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + N), choose green color (#2cbe7e), and with Brush Tool and large soft brush dub one more spot but this time in the upper part of canvas. Apply Gaussian Blur (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur) with Radius set to 150px,

    Step 3

    change the Blend Mode to Screen and

    Step 3

    set Opacity of this layer to 15%.

    Step 3

    Download the Earth image and then open it in Photoshop. With the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M), make a selection around earth, copy it (Cmd/Ctrl + C) and then paste it (Cmd/Ctrl + V) into our design. Use following images as a reference.

    Step 3

    Step 3

    Duplicate Earth layer (Cmd/Ctrl + J) and apply following layer styles and set the Blend Mode to Multiply.

    Step 3

    Step 3

    Cmd/Ctrl + click on the thumbnail of earth layer to put a selection around it. Create a new layer and, on this new layer, fill the selection with black. Move the black circle towards the right an down, leaving just a portion of earth visible.

    Step 3

    Apply the Gaussian Blur filter with Radius at 100px on the black circle layer and lower the Opacity to 85%. You can see that this technique gives our earth a nice shading effect.

    Step 3

    Step 4

    Open Picture of the Boeing 727-2H9/Adv aircraft in Photoshop, cut out the plane from background using Pen Tool (P) and import onto our canvas. Using Free Transform Tool (Cmd/Ctrl + T) resize, rotate and adjust perspective of the plane, similar to the image below.

    Step 4

    Adjust Hue/Saturation (Cmd/Ctrl + U),

    Step 4

    duplicate the plane layer, change the Blend Mode to Multiply and Opacity to 70%,

    Step 4

    add Gradient Map adjustment layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map), and apply only to plane copy layer (Layer > Create Clipping Mask). Lower the Opacity of Gradient Map adjustment layer to 60%.

    Step 4

    Step 4

    Create new document in Photoshop with exact size like our design. Fill the Background with black color then go to Filter > Render > Lens Flare.

    Step 4

    Step 4

    Import this layer into our design, change the Blend Mode to Screen and Opacity to 90%, rotate a bit so the diagonal lines are following the orientation of the plane and resize it to cover the whole size of “main” group.

    Step 4

    It’s time to add a cool typographic title. Lay out the title of the piece in a cool font such as Futura Condensed Medium with a large 200% tracking.

    Step 4

    Duplicate the layer and add a 2px Gaussian blur after rasterizing the text.

    Step 4

    Download and install the Grunge Photo Edge brush library. Set the Foreground color to #c6bebb. Create a new layer on top and use a brush from the Grunge Photo Edge brush library to roughen up the poster borders. Play around with the brush size and other brush settings to achieve a great effect.

    Step 4

    Finish off the design with some typical brending (boeing and yugoslav airlines logos).

    Step 4

    Your Turn To Talk

    I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments.

    I also encourage you to try different photos, textures, shapes and fonts to create your own unique retro-futuristic poster. Make sure to show off your work by linking to your version in the comments and adding it to our Flickr group so we can see what you can come up with. Thanks for following along with me!

    Download free vintage wallpaper to make a powerful poster design and printing.

    Authored by

    Web Designer, Blogger, M.Sc in Electronic Engineering from Nis, Serbia. Founder of webexpedition18.com. You can find me on Twitter.

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6 Comments
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  • Phil says:

    July 13, 2011

    A very nice retro tutorial!

  • Scott Macumber says:

    July 15, 2011

    I like it, except that the light is coming from beneath/behind the plane while it is lit from above.

  • Marcell Purham says:

    July 21, 2011

    very good photoshop tutorial! I love the outcome looks very vintage

  • Mal Milligan says:

    July 22, 2011

    Nicely done Nikola. I’ve been looking for a few summer projects to to with the kids and I think we’ll try this one together tomorrow. You left us with endless possibilities here but I especially like the lighting behind celestial objects. Thanks !!

  • Edward says:

    July 30, 2011

    Great tutorial looking forward to using some of the ideas here for myself.

  • Chris Hall says:

    August 1, 2011

    Nikola, thanks for the tut. I loved it so much that I made a variation for National Immunization Awareness Month as a volunteer project:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisvillepm/5997959687/in/photostream