photoshop creative

Create an illustrated movie poster

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
January 3, 2018

Transform any photo into a stylish illustration using masks, filters, blend modes, type and adjustments

1. Bring in the portrait

Start by importing your subject image into the canvas as a base for the movie poster. Duplicate the layer. Go to Filter>Filter Gallery>Paint Daubs. Set Brush Size to 50, Sharpness to 24, Brush Type to Simple. This simplifies the details of the photo.

2. Create line works

Duplicate the Paint Daubs layer and then hit Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert. Set the layer blend mode to Color Dodge. Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Set Radius to 6px. This will create some main outlines for the illustrated effect.

3. Glowing edges filter

Duplicate the original Paint Daubs layer again and ensure it is the top layer. Go to Filter>Filter Gallery>Stylize>Glowing Edges. Set Edge Width to 5, Brightness to 7, Smoothness to 15. Cmd/ Ctrl+I to invert. Set the layer blend mode to Multiply. This creates some detail outlines.

4. Charcoal sketch effects

Duplicate the original photo layer and make it the top layer. Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+U to desaturate. Go to Filter>Filter Gallery> Sketch>Charcoal. Set Charcoal Thickness to 7, Detail to 2, Light/Dark Balance to 62. Set the layer blend mode to Multiply. This creates some sketched shadings.

5. Intensify the lines

Create a Levels adjustment layer. Pull in the black slider to 118. Add a Black & White adjustment layer. You have successfully created a black-and-white drawing effect from your photo. Use the Dodge and Burn Tool to darken or lighten areas you wish to intensify.

6. Use a colour gradient

Fill a new layer with violet-to- orange gradient. Using your favourite selection tool, isolate the skin area. Make a selection of this area and duplicate the layer. Set the layer blend mode to Multiply, Opacity at 90%. Add a Hue/Sat adjustment to the original layer below. Set Hue to +108.

7. Introduce white lines

Duplicate the Glowing Edges layer to be the top layer. Press Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert. Set the layer blend mode to Lighten. This creates some white outlines. Add a layer mask to brush away the white outlines on the left pupil.

8. Black outlines

Duplicate the Glowing Edges layer again, which is set to Multiply, and make it the top layer. Use the Blend-If sliders under Blending Options to avoid affecting the white outlines. This darkens the black outlines while preserving the white outlines.

9. Boost highlights

Duplicate the Paint Daubs layer to be the top layer. Set to Overlay. Duplicate this layer again. Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+U to desaturate. Cmd/Ctrl+ L to open Levels. Drag the black slider inwards to 135, white to 215. Use the Blend-If sliders to use the whites on this layer. Change the blend mode to Soft Light.

10. Recolour with a gradient map

Fill a new layer with #323a51. Set layer to Lighten, Opacity: 50%. This lightens the blacks to a dark blue colour. Next, add a Gradient Map adjustment layer. Select the Transparent Rainbow gradient. Set the layer blend mode to Overlay.

11. Selective colour

Add a Selective Color adjustment layer. Set the following: Reds: C+100, M+42, Y+100. Green: C-100, M-100, Y-100. Cyan: M-100, Y-100. Blue: C+100, M-100, Y-100. Magenta: C-100, M-100, Y+100. White: C -100, M -100, Y -100. Neutrals: C+73, M+13, Y-100. Blacks: C+13, M+100, Y+2.

12. Resize your photo

Cmd/Ctrl+A to select all. Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+C to copy merge. Paste on a new layer. Centralise the face to the canvas. Enlarge it to about 108.7%. Don’t worry about the repeated image showing below the layer because it will be covered by text later on.

13. Import images

Import and set the following: a sunset to Soft Light, and a nebula to Lighten. Desaturate a station and set to Exclusion. Desaturate some stairs and set to Exclusion, Opacity: 50%. Duplicate the station and set to Lighten, and set a rocket launcher to Screen. Position and mask these detail patterns accordingly.

14. Text layer

Import your text layer. Fill a new layer with #faf5ef. Cmd/Ctrl-click on the text layer thumbnail to make a selection. Cmd/Ctrl+Shift+I to invert selection. Select your new fill layer and add a layer mask.

15. Add pencil details

On a new layer, select 2B Pencil and set the colour to white. Draw some sketch lines over the brows, eyes and nose area. Repeat using a black pencil. Import a splatter brush, and lightly brush in white. Duplicate and place them around the edges. Finally, select Photo Filter, Warming Filter (85) and Red.

  • Swag Happy

    Hi, I’m having trouble for Step 4. Charcoal just turns everything almost completely black ?

  • Laura Ford

    Hey, Im getting stuck with this tutorial, once i get to the charcoal stage, the image just goes black, im not sure what’s going on??