photoshop creative

How to make a movie poster in Photoshop, part 2

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Tips & Tutorials, by The Photoshop Creative Team
April 25, 2014

Learn how to manipulate a dramatic, spooky movie poster using blending techniques in Photoshop


Change your optical flare layer’s blend mode to ‘screen’ to hide the black background. Then add a layer mask and mask off parts of the flare (for example, the light shouldn’t be going in front of the front trees, merely leaking into their edges). Repeat Steps 10 and 11 and add more flares over other parts of your image.


To bring out the intensity of the lights and make the overall lighting of the piece more cohesive, we’re going to use a non-destructive dodge/burn layer. Create a new layer called ‘dodge/burn’ and go to Edit>Fill with 50% Gray. Change this layer’s blend mode to Overlay and use a soft, low-opacity black Brush to burn your image, and a white brush to dodge it.


To up the horror factor in this design add some monsters hiding in the trees. Download the ‘monster.jpg’ image from the resources for this tutorial. Place it in your canvas, and extract it from its background using the Pen tool.


To blend the monster, resize it and fit it between some trees. Mask the bottom and sides, so that it appears to be emerging from the darkness. Apply similar adjustment layers to your woman image to blend the colours with the rest of the image. Apply a small, yellow brush for eyes.


Now we’re going to add some fog to add a spooky atmosphere to our piece. Download the smoke brushes (by 3ndesigns) from the resources for this tutorial and apply one on a new layer called ‘fog’, using a white Brush.


Now reduce the ‘fog’ layer’s Opacity to 20% to make it appear more natural. Mask off parts of this layer to make the fog appear to swirl around the trees, not just over them. Repeat this technique on several further layers, to build up a mass of fog going throughout the forest.


Add text, including actor names, the movie title and credits. For the actors, use a clean sans serif font – Arial should suffice. The title font, Kaushan Script by Pablo Impallari, can be downloaded from Font Squirrel. The movie credits are Uniform Ultra Condensed (free from


We’re going to mimic the visuals of the trees in a creative text effect for the title. Start by duplicating THE FOREST layer three times, and move them beneath the original. Then reduce the opacity of each to around 50%, and apply a Filter>Blur>Motion Blur that increases in strength as you move down the layers (150px, 400px, 999px strength).


To complete the text effect, add an Outer Glow layer style to the topmost ‘FOREST’ text layer (the one without blur). Use the settings: Blend mode set to Normal, Opacity: 60%, Noise: 0%, Color: 7cd2ff, Spread: 0%, and Size: 250px for the layer style.


To complete the image, add three final adjustment layers without Clipping Masks: Gradient Map xset to black and white, 15% Opacity, and blend mode to Overlay. The Vibrance adjustment at +20, Saturation 0. Lastly, Levels set to 0, 0.90, 252, with a layer Opacity of 30%. These should enhance the shadows and bring out the tones.

  • Karren Barlow

    Very helpful! When it comes to web-based posters, I have found how to make a poster using Lucidpress and it is very easy to use! Check it out!