This years’ must have look is the retro feel, whether that’s in photos or in half the adverts on TV. The aim of this project is to combine that love of the retro look with the 60s mania for groovy lettering and fonts to produce a retro poster. Quite what your poster is advertising is down to you. It could be a family day out, a concert, or the local fundraising charity drive. This one is for a festival. The essence of the project is to use the Warp tool to distort the lettering into various funky shapes and then tone the photo used to look the part. Add to this some bordering and paper texture and we’ve got a poster. The key part is planning the layout of the text so that it fits together sympathetically. To this end the first steps are to create the areas that everything will fit into. Once this has been marked up, it makes everything else much easier to position.
01 Create the document
This is going to be an A3 sized poster so create a new document 11” wide by 16” high at 300dpi which translates to 3300x4800 pixels. Create a new blank layer called Base and select the Paint Bucket tool to fill it with a nice orange colour #f8a233. You can try other colours if you like.
02 Create background
Set a green as the main background colour – try #439541. It needs to be fairly flat and not neon. Then select the Rounded Rectangle tool. Set the type to Pixels and the Radius to 300px. Click on the Settings down arrow and enter a Fixed Size of 3000px x 4500px. Click and hold to move into position so it is central.
03 Background Shapes
Let go of the mouse to apply. Now create a new layer called Guides. Select the Brush tool with black as the colour and a 50px brush. Draw curved sections to mark out where everything is going to go. Start with the heading and the area for the main image.
04 Set compartments
The idea is that the middle compartment will house a retro-style photo, the top compartment will have the title and all the other areas will have text for what is going to appear at the festival. Make the areas curve so that when the text is added it can be distorted to appear fairly funky.
05 Edit title
Select a font – I’ve used one called Arista 2.0 from www.dafont.com. Select the Type tool and write Festival in a large typeface – something like 200pt. As you type it, it will create a new type layer. Set the colour to purple. Position it in the space and go to Type> Convert to Shape. Then go to Edit> Transform Path> Warp.
06 Warp the text
If you don’t convert to a Shape or rasterize the type you can’t use Custom Warp. The text box now has two handles and a corner movement point on each corner. Use the corners to position the anchor for the text and the handles to warp it to follow the outline of the compartment shape. Click the tick to apply.
07 Add layer style
Add a layer style to the Festival object. Set this as a Drop Shadow with a 32px Distance, Blend mode Normal, 100% Opacity and Size and Spread of 0. Click on the colour box and use the Dropper to select the orange from the border. Apply this. Use the Dropper to select green as the foreground colour. Select the Type tool again and set the size to 60pt.
08 Add a subheading
Write in the subheading but as you can’t read it as yet, immediately add a Layer Style. Tick the Stroke box and use a Size of 20px but apply to the Center. Set the colour to orange. For this text, don’t convert to a Shape but instead go to Type> Warp and use the Arc shape to bend the text. Use the Move tool to position.
09 Vertical type
Set the colour to purple and font size to 150px. Type in Food and click on the tick then select the Move Tool (V). Rotate the text vertically. Click on the Festival layer and select Rasterize Layer Style. Click back on Food, use Shape and Warp again to fit the text. Add a Layer Effect using a 20px Drop Shadow.
10 Hollow text
For the next batch of text elements set the foreground colour to a grubby blue and the font size to 100pt. Scale to fit into the bottom boxes and then convert to a Shape and then use Warp to fit. Use them in alternate boxes. Don’t add a stroke to any of these and make them as curvy as possible.
11 Final text additions
For the final text, select orange as the colour. Use the Move tool to position into the gaps between the other words. Resize first if required. Now, use the Warp to make the text move up again the other words, rather than paying attention to the guides. Complete all the text elements. You will find that it’s easy to match the text when it’s all caps.
12 Paper overlay
Time to start grunging things up. You need to load and add a paper texture as the top layer. I grabbed one from www.thedigitalyardsale.com. Drop it in and resize so it fits over the entire image. I used one with some creases. Set the Layer Blend mode to Multiply at 80% Opacity.
13 Add photo
Now you need an image to go in the middle. Select a photo and drag and drop it in. Position under the old paper layer. Select the Rounded Rectangle Tool and click on Settings. Set it to unconstrained but it can use the 300px border edge from before. Draw around the area you want to use. Then click on Mask in the Make: field. This will knock out the unwanted area.
14 Image adjustments
The image is too clean at the moment. So go to Layer> Rasterize> Layer then Layer> Layer Mask> Apply. Now use a either Curves with the individual channels or Color Balance to make the image more yellow. Use Hue/Saturation to reduce the Saturation. Then use Image> Adjustments> Posterize to reduce the Levels to 8.
15 Final touches
To add some more grunge to this duplicate the paper layer and set the Blend mode to Pin Light. Set the Fill to 43%. Then add a Curves Adjustment layer and use a shallow S-curve to just put enough detail back into the poster. As an alternative you could also completely reduce the tones in the image down to two or three. Otherwise, make and adjustments throughout and save.
Extra Tip: The Warp Text tool
The key to using the Warp tool with the Custom settings is to understand how the handles and corner anchors work. Firstly. Move the corner anchors to where you want the text to end up. If this is a large move then the text will not have moved as far as you want it to. However, that’s because you haven’t used the control handles yet. There are two per corner. Moving them up or down, or left and right, distorts and stretches the text in that direction. The handles also extend and shorten which determines how far the text is then scaled away from the anchor point. Use a short handle and the letters nearest the anchor will stay there, with the ones in the middle being stretched the most. Extend the handle out and the text scales out towards the middle with it. In practice it’s a lot like using the Pen tool and Bezier curves.