Hello Design Cutters!
It’s Jo here for today’s tutorial. We’re going to be creating this dreamy collage using a variety of resources from the current vintage deal, inspired by a vintage classic – Lewis Caroll’s Alice In Wonderland.
We’ll be building up lots of layers and using a variety of blend modes to create a soft effect, plus getting familiar with a few other techniques such as color matching, using the dodge and burn tools and creating some magical floating particles by manipulating brush settings.
Ok, let’s step into the rabbit hole and get started :)
WHAT WE’RE CREATING:
Follow along with this tutorial: Download the freebies
Today we have another great freebie for you to enjoy. Milka have kindly put together some samples from their Sable set of hand-drawn images as a freebie for the Design Cuts community. These illustrations are absolutely charming and are sure to add a little touch of magic to your creative projects!
Remember, this freebie is just a tiny sample taken from this huge bundle: The Complete Vintage Design Arsenal at just $29 (92% Off). This really is our biggest vintage design bundle yet, with over 6.5GB of best-selling vintage resources, ranging from textures, to logos, vectors, hand-scanned surfaces, mockup templates, brushes and so much more!
Enter your email below to download the Sable free sample pack, so you can follow along with this tutorial easily.
Open up a new (A5) 1748px height x 2480px width document in Photoshop.
We’ll be working with a couple of photos to form our background, so let’s download these from Unsplash first:
Paste the images on to your canvas, scaling to fit:
We want the bokeh effect to blend in with the sky, but as you can see, the colours don’t quite match with the landscape.
To fix this, we’ll use a the Match Color feature to copy the colours from the landscape image. Tom put together a great video tutorial of how to use this feature, which is worth watching in addition to the instructions in the next step.
Open the two downloaded images in their own Photoshop windows.
In the bokeh image window, go to Image > Adjustments > Match Colour which will open up a separate settings box. You can ignore all the settings – the only thing we need to change is the Source (our landscape photo), which’ll show up in the dropdown menu and provide a preview image:
As you can see, the image then takes on a rather unpleasant, murky green shade. Not the light blue/pink tone of the sky we wanted!
Since we specifically want to use the colours from the sky, we’ll need to crop the image to only feature an area with the colours we want:
Now after applying the crop, if we go back to our bokeh image and select Match Color and select the landscape image, you can see that this time the colour is much closer to what we want to work with:
Going back to our working canvas, delete the original bokeh image and replace it with the updated version, scaling so that it overlaps the bottom image slightly:
We’re now ready to start building up our background!
We need to create a few layers between the bokeh and landscape images to get our desired effect, so for this section we’ll temporarily hide the bokeh layer and leave that at the top.
Next thing we need to do is duplicate our landscape image, changing the blend mode to Soft Light and Opacity to 70%:
For the effects we’ll be applying to the bokeh layer to work, we need to get rid of all the white in the upper half of the canvas.
Use the Color Picker tool to select a blue hue from the sky (in this case #87B0E5) and create a colour-to-transparent gradient on a new layer. Start the gradient from just below the top of the landscape image, so that all the white area is hidden with solid colour:
You may need to tweak the colour a bit to get it to match, but don’t worry too much about getting it exactly the same as once the textures and effects are applied it’ll help to soften the lines.
To create a dawn/dusk like effect where the sky fades from dark blue to a pinker colour at the horizon, we’ll need to add another gradient.
On a new layer, select #00174E as the colour and create a colour-to-transparent gradient similar to below:
The effect only needs to be subtle, as we’ll be building up the colours and textures more later. With this in mind, let’s reduce the Opacity to 20% and change the blend mode to Multiply:
Next, we’ll use our first resource from the current deal. Navigate to complete-vintage-design-arsenal-matt-borchert-2 > Paper-Pack-30-Real-Paper-Scans > paper018.jpg and paste on to your canvas, scaling to fit:
Change the blend mode to Soft Light and reduce te opacity to 40% to give the image a nice soft glow:
We can now go back to our bokeh image and turn the visibility back on. Change the blend mode to Soft Light and use a Layer Mask with a soft brush to gently hide away any strong lines so the image and sky blend together:
The background is starting to take on a nice dreamy feel, but it’s all looking a bit smooth at the moment. In comes 2Lil Owls with some texture rescue!
We want something that has a reasonable vignette feel for this. I’ve gone for complete-vintage-design-arsenal-2-lil-owls-8 > White Grunge Collection 3 > 2LO Wt Grunge col 3-10.jpg and scaled to fit on to the canvas:
I thought this texture also had some slightly lilac-coloured undertones, which would work well with our overall colour palette.
Let’s change the blend mode to Multiply:
As we want the top part of the image to be darker, let’s add an extra texture in the form of complete-vintage-design-arsenal-2-lil-owls-8 > White Grunge Collection 3 > 2LO Wt Grunge col 3-8.jpg. As the darker areas are concentrated to two sides, we can rotate and scale this on to the canvas so the darkest side is aligned to the top:
Then, change the blend mode to Multiply and reduce the Opacity to 70%:
This still leaves the bottom part of our image darker than we’d like, so we can quickly fix this with a gradient layer mask:
To complete our background, we need to download a free resource from Chris Spooner:
I’ve used No.1 for this piece, but feel free to experiment and choose an effect that appeals to you:
Once placed on your canvas, change the blend mode to Screen and reduce the Opacity to 20%:
Woop! You’ve created your Wonderland background setting :)
Take a moment to admire your work, then tidy up the layers by grouping them in to a folder called “Background”, for easy navigating.
We need to let people know where this magical place is, so let’s add an official ‘Wonderland’ logo ;)
To do this, navigate to complete-vintage-design-arsenal-nicky-laatz-1 > The-Handmade-Vintage-Logo-Bundle > TypoLogoTemplates > vintagelogos3_Cs5.ai and open in Illustrator.
Locate the following logo to edit:
The tree motif works well with our overall theme, so let’s edit the details a bit for use on our image (you’ll need to scale the width of the text down to fit):
Once you’re happy with the changes, copy and paste (or drag and drop) on to your Photoshop canvas.
Rasterize the layer and invert the colour by pressing Cmnd + I (mac) or Alt + I (windows) so we can see it better, then position it in the lower left corner and reduce the size a touch:
We’re now going to build up some layers to add interest to the sky portion of our image.
As Alice In Wonderland is about a magical journey, using a map image feels appropriate. You can select your personal favourite here – I’ve gone for complete-vintage-design-arsenal-vicki-robinson-3 > vr-OldWorldMaps-Overlays > vr-OldWorldMaps-08.png as I liked the additional illustrative elements in the design.
Place your map on to the canvas, scaling to fit so that the bottom edge lines up with the horizon:
The effect we’re after is a little less obvious, so we’ll change the blend mode to Soft Light and reduce the Opacity to 60%:
As the area where the map design meets the horizon is rather abrupt, we can create a gradient layer mask to soften the effect:
Next up, we’re going to allude to the literary inspiration behind the image.
Luckily for us, this bundle contains a whole bunch of beautiful vintage text we can choose from!
You can find the one used in this image fromcomplete-vintage-design-arsenal-vicki-robinson-3 > vr-VintageWriting2 > vr-VintageWriting2-text04.png
Paste it so that it sits on the left side of your canvas and change the blend mode to Multiply and reduce the Opacity to 36%:
From the same folder select vr-VintageWriting2-text05.png and paste it on to the upper right of your canvas, setting the blend mode to Multiply:
We’ll change the tone of this to a greener shade, to balance it with the lower part of the image. To do this, we’ll create a clipped hue/saturation layer. You can do this by hovering your curser between the two layers whilst pressing Alt on your keyboard, then clicking when a small square and arrow icon appears:
To add to the magical feel of the image, we’re going to create some floating ‘glowing particles’.
Create a new layer, then open up the Brush Panel. You can access this by selecting the folder icon with some brushes on it, which appears next to the Brush Preset Picker:
In the panel that opens, select Brush Tip Shape at the top of the list and make sure the settings are as follows:
Then, select Scattering and change the scatter to 1000%:
Once you’ve done your settings, select white as the brush colour and draw a random stroke somewhere on the image:
Can you see the effect in the upper right? Magic! :)
Have some fun here by adjusting the brush size and trying a couple of pale pinks, yellows and blues to create as few, or as many glowing particles as you like:
If you think you may have gotten a tad carried away (like I did!) you can soften the effect by reducing the Opacity (70% in this case) and using a layer mask with a low opacity brush to target a few specific areas to tone down:
We’ll now reinforce the ‘postcard’ nature of the image by adding a stamp in the upper right.
There are a few options available, but you can find the one used here via complete-vintage-design-arsenal-vicki-robinson-3 > vr-VintageWriting2 > vr-VintageWriting2-text02.png
Paste and rotate on to the upper right of your canvas:
The effect is a bit harsh as it is, so we’ll add a clipped texture to the image to soften it up. I’ve gone for complete-vintage-design-arsenal-matt-borchert-2 > Paper-Pack-30-Real-Paper-Scans > paper018.jpg which is what we used earlier in the background:
Set the image blend mode to Multiply, then duplicate both the image and clipped paper layer to get the desired effect. Group these together in a folder called “Stamp” so it’s easy to locate.
In this step, we’ll start to utilise some of the resources found in the Sable freebie pack:
Opening the file in Photoshop, copy and paste the rabbit on to our working canvas, scaling and positioning so that it’s similar to below:
Of course, the rabbit in Alice In Wonderland is famously white. To change the colour of our rabbit, we need to Rasterise the shape, then use the Paint Bucket tool with white as the fill colour:
The effect we want is to create a glowing rabbit in the sky (you have to take these opportunities when you can! ;)) so we’ll start by applying a 10px Gaussian Blur:
Next, we’ll apply an Outer Glow effect. You can leave all the settings as default, other than the size which we’ll increase to 125px:
We’re getting closer to our magical glowing rabbit, but lets apply some texture to add to the richly layered feel of the image.
Navigate to complete-vintage-design-arsenal-matt-borchert-2 > Paper-Pack-30-Real-Paper-Scans > paper019.jpg and place the texture on your canvas. Scale so that it covers the rabbit:
Clip it to the rabbit layer below and reduce the Opacity to around 65% to get a soft textured effect:
We’ll round off this step by putting grouping all the rabbit-related layers together.
Going back to the Sable freebie document, copy and paste the ‘Sunburst’ graphic on to your canvas. Position and scale as below, then reduce the layer opacity to 26%:
Rasterise the shape, then invert the colour to make it white:
Our magical bunny in the sky is now complete!
You can go back to the Sable freebie to add some more decorative elements. I’ve gone for the ‘Tape’ placed below the rabbit and the ‘Arrow’, which alludes to the “follow the white rabbit” theme in the story. Both the layer blend modes are set to Overlay:
We’ll now build up a bit more overall texture in the image.
Navigate to complete-vintage-design-arsenal-vicki-robinson-3 > vr-TornPaper2 > vr-TornPaper2-2.png and paste on to your canvas, rotating so that the straighter side sits against the left edge:
Change the blend mode to Soft Light and reduce the Opacity to 45% to get a subtle ‘light leak’ like effect:
Next up, go to complete-vintage-design-arsenal-the-shop-1-4 > Rolled ink textures volume 02 – SBH > rolled-ink-texture-pack-volume-02-sbh-012.jpg and paste towards the lower right of your canvas:
Set the blend mode to Multiply and reduce the Opacity to 50%. It’s subtle, but it all counts :)
Finally for this step, go to complete-vintage-design-arsenal-2-lil-owls-8 > White Grunge Collection 3 > 2LO Wt Grunge col 3-11.jpg and paste on to your canvas, scaling to fit:
Let’s change the blend mode to Overlay and reduce the Opacity to 15% to create a nice gentle glow:
Our Wonderland is now looking rather good, but there’s still a key element missing!
To add our heroine, we’ll first need to find her at complete-vintage-design-arsenal-vicki-robinson-3 > vr-VintageParfumerie2 > vr-VintageParfumerie2-image6.png then add her to our canvas:
Use a Layer Mask to paint out the background and isolate the figure:
For some extra attention to detail, zoom in on the feet:
So that it looks a little more like she’s standing in the grass rather than floating above it, use a rough edged brush on the Layer Mask to paint out some blades of grass around the bottom of her shoes:
We’ll be adding some shadows and highlights to reflect the light source in this new setting. To do this we need to rasterise the image – it’s worth making a layer duplicate and hiding it, just so we have the original to come back to should things go wrong!
Using the Dodge and Burn tools with a soft brush and exposure at about 50%, start painting on some shadows and highlights in relation to the main light source – in this case, our giant glowing rabbit!
You can see a comparison below, to help show where the shadows and highlights are applied:
We need to create a shadow on the ground. Create a new layer below ‘Alice’ and set the blend mode to Multiply. Then, using a soft edged brush with an opacity of 10% and colour of #3B2F13 gradually build up a darker area on the ground, keeping it mainly to the right to reflect the direction of the light source:
As a finishing touch, paste the ‘frame’ graphic from the Sable freebies on to the canvas and set the blend mode to Overlay so it forms a ring around Alice’s head:
To soften the effect, create a clipped hue/saturation adjustment layer with the following settings:
This creates a nice, gentle glow and helps fill a little bit of space.
Put all the layers in to a group called “Alice” to keep things easy to find.
Going back to the Sable freebies, select ‘flower2’ and paste it on to your canvas so it’s to the right of Alice and her basket of flowers:
For a subtler effect, we’ll change the blend mode to Overlay:
Duplicate the layer a handful of times and position randomly around her in the sky and on the ground, playing with opacity and size.
For the lighter flowers, set the blend mode to Normal, but rasterise the images and invert the colour so they stand out of the darker areas:
We’re entering the final few steps now!
We’ll add a bit of decoration to the upper left of the image, to balance out our positioning of Alice. This’ll be done in the form of: complete-vintage-design-arsenal-vicki-robinson-3 > vr-PaperEphemera1 > vr_PaperEphemera1-15.png
Rotate and scale so it’s similar to the image below:
Set the blend mode to Multiply and the Opacity to 85%:
As there’s still a lot of space towards the mid-left of the image, we’ll fill this with a simple quote that adds some context.
To create a background for us to write on, navigate to complete-vintage-design-arsenal-the-shop-1-4 > Rolled ink textures volume 02 – SBH > rolled-ink-texture-pack-volume-02-sbh-006.jpg and position as below:
Set the blend mode to Multiply and Opacity to 85%. Then, create a clipped hue/saturation Adjustment Layer with the following settings:
Duplicate both the image and adjustment layer, and set the blend mode to Normal, Opacity 60%. We then need to rasterise the image so we can use the Background Eraser tool to remove the white edges.
Set the Background Eraser size to as large as you can, and the tolerance to about 90%. Then, click on any white area of the image:
For the text, select the colour as #463725 and choose a classic serif font (I’ve used Cala) as used in older books.
Set the layer blend mode to Multiply and type:
“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
so that it fits on our background.
The very last step!
Finally, we want to give the whole image a vintage charm and we’ll use a screen texture from the bundle to do this.
To find our screen texture, navigate to complete-vintage-design-arsenal-nicky-laatz-1 > Speckles-Noise > NOISE10.jpg, rotating and scaling to fit as below:
Change the blend mode to Screen to see the magic happen :)
And we’re done!
I hope you enjoyed completing this tutorial and are left feeling inspired to go and create some magical designs with your new resources!
If you’ve got any comments or questions, do leave them below and I’ll keep an eye out. Also, feel free to get in touch @rockportraits
Remember to share your designs on the Facebook page as we’d love to see what gorgeous vintage creations you come up with :)
Hopefully this tutorial showed you just some of the ways you can use the hundreds of resource in our current vintage bundle. With so many authentic effects and resources you can apply as central parts or finishing touches to your work, you can still get this bundle for a whopping 92% off this week. Grab it below, while you still can: