photoshop creative

How to create a retro poster using the Shape tools, part 2

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
October 25, 2013

Continued… Discover how to create a retro-inspired poster graphic in Photoshop

Download all the files you need for this tutorial here

Retro poster design in Photoshop

Follow part 1 of this tutorial


Set your background to # f4fad0, create a new RGB document 23cm x 28 at 300dpi with Background Contents set to Background. Set the Custom Shape tool to Shape Layers, then select Defined Size from the Options bar. Now add both van layers – their colours should be # f4fad0 and # 2d2e05 and labelled ‘Bus fill 1’ and ‘Bus’ respectively.


Shift-click both bus layers, then grab the Move tool and check the Align Vertical/Horizontal centres. Set the Pen tool to Paths and check Subtract from path area. Duplicate ‘Bus fill 1’, rename it ‘Bus fill 2’ and change it to # e7d358. Click on its vector mask thumbnail and plot a series of intersecting closed paths as indicated in red.


Use the View menu to place two 1cm vertical guides. Select the Rectangle tool – found within the Custom tool’s fly-out menu, select Shape layers and add a large rectangle filled with # d6880d. Name it ‘Top lines’ and position above the ‘Background’. Set the Rectangle tool to Paths/Subtract to create a series of bars. Modify their depth/position using the Path/Direct Selection tools.


Duplicate the ‘Top lines’ layer, change its fill to # e7d358 and rename it ‘Sun’. Grab the Ellipse Tool (again, found within the Custom tool’s fly-out menu). Ensure it’s set to Intersect shape areas, then Shift-drag a circular path. Now reposition the path using the Path Selection tool and also resize it by hitting Ctrl/Cmd + T.


Duplicate the ‘Top lines’ layer again and rename it ‘Bottom lines’. Change its fill to # 2d2e05, position above the ‘Sun’. Rotate 180°, then reduce its depth. Add the right hand distant foliage, then duplicate/Flip Horizontal for the left side. Now add your foreground palm trees – these layer fills should also be # 2d2e05 and labelled accordingly.


Now add your flowers (which should all stack beneath your original ‘Bus fill 1’ layer). Remember, each flower has two components: the base fill and the shadow, so align them as you did in Step 9. Transform/duplicate these layers as required, then colour using # e7d358 and # d6880d for the lower and # 2d2e05 for the upper layers.


Continue adding your remaining shapes. Now set some central type, then choose Layer>Type>Convert to Shape. Finally, activate the Path Selection tool, target your ‘Top lines’ mask thumbnail and hit the Combine button in the Options bar – this creates a single, less complex compound path. Repeat this on the ‘Sun’, ‘Bottom lines’ and ‘Bus fill 2’ masks too.