WHAT WE’RE CREATING:
Pam here with a tutorial featuring a vintage, steampunk style postcard. For those of you that aren’t familiar, steampunk takes the beautiful design aesthetic of the Victorian era and mixes it with science fiction, fantasy and steam-powered machinery. Keeping this in mind, I decided to create a design that marries wonder and adventure, which is more than fitting for this week’s texture-packed bundle.
Quick Note: In this tutorial, the term “clip” or “clipped layer” is used a few times. This means that the layer is only visible/applies to the layer directly below it. You can very quickly do this by holding ‘Alt’ down on your keyboard and clicking between the two layers. Here’s a quick demonstration.
Let’s get started!
Follow along with this tutorial: Download the freebies
This week we have yet another wonderful freebie pack courtesy of our designers. Jam-packed with style and panache these textures will come in handy for any project!
Remember, this freebie is just a tiny sample taken from the amazing collection: The Extensive Textures, Patterns and Backgrounds Bundle at just $29 (an incredible 95% Off). No project is complete without textures, and this bundle provides every type you could possibly need!
Before we get started on the postcard, there are a few fonts you are going to want to download to follow along. These are beautiful free fonts that you can use in your personal and professional work, and they apply perfectly with our steampunk aesthetic!
Serif font Hominis from Font Squirrel
Script England Hand DB from Font Squirrel
Flourish collection IM FELL FLOWERS 2 from Font Squirrel
And finally sans serif Langdon through an outside link on Font Squirrel
Now, open up a new document in Photoshop at 6 x 4 inches. I always start with my resolution at 300, that way if I want to print it is already a high enough quality, and if I want to share online I can always reduce the size. I also leave my colours in RGB as that gives you a larger range, but remember to convert to CMYK later if you are going to be printing.
Since we are working with lots of textures in this tutorial, we are going to have a lot of layers in our document. To make it a little less confusing as we go along, start off by creating groups in your layers panel. Click the drop down arrow and choose “New Group” for each of the following, top to bottom: Elements, Typography, Paper Strip, Imagery, Background.
The first thing we are going to start on is the background, so make sure you are placing these images within your background group. First, from your freebies, place Farmhouse-Chic-4 from 2 Lil Owls.
Since we want to fit all of the content from our textures, we aren’t going to be scaling to fit the page. Instead, move the layer to the far left of the file and duplicate it by holding “alt” and dragging the layer upward. With the new duplicate, drag it so that it overlaps a little with the other layer and bleeds off of the right-hand side.
The seam in our paper is pretty obvious here, so to fix that we are going to add a layer mask and mask out the edge of the page. Layer masks let you change what part of the layer is visible without damaging the layer itself. This is helpful because if you simply erase the layer itself, you wont be able to bring that information back later if it needs editing. With a mask, you can simply delete the mask and your layer is right back to its original state!
To add a mask, select the layer you want to edit (the duplicate in this case) and click the “Add layer mask” button at the bottom of the Layers panel. You will see a white page appear linked to the right of the layer like so:
Now we can use black, gray or white to edit the image. Black removes information, gray removes less information, and white will bring back information if you accidentally remove something you don’t mean to. Using the brush tool, select the colour black and change your brush so that it is size 250 and hardness 0%. Now, with the layer mask selected, drag your brush along the seam to make it disappear!
As you can see, your layer mask preview to the right of the layer shows in black where you drew your line with your paintbrush. We will use this tool a few times in this tutorial.
Next, open up the Offset folder in your freebie folder and place World_11.eps. Resize the map to span the page, and then set the blending mode to “overlay.”
Next we are going to create the paper strip that runs across our postcard. First, select the rectangle tool by pressing “u.” Change the fill to black and remove the stroke, then click anywhere on the page to pop up a prompt for rectangle size. We want our strip to span the entire width, so make the width 6 in. For height, put .75 inches. Make sure you are creating your rectangle in the “Paper Strip” group.
Place the rectangle towards the bottom of the postcard, so that it sits about .75 inches from the bottom (the same amount as its height).
Now, place Pointandpoem_Textures_Paper5_10 from Point and Poem. Move it so that it sits at the far left of your page.
Create a clipping mask so that the image is clipped to the rectangle that we created. It will not span all the way to the right, but we will fix that after adding all of the textures to the left of our strip.
Next, place 7 from The Little Cloud and clip it to the rectangle above the Point and Poem textures paper. I repositioned mine so that the most texture appeared within the strip area.
Change the blending mode of 7 to “soft light.”
Finally, place the beautiful patterned MintDamask from Clik Chic and clip it to the same rectangle on the left hand side.
Set the blending mode to “multiply.”
Now, to fill in the other area on the strip, select all of the texture layers clipped to the rectangle and duplicate them above so that they are also clipped to the rectangle. Drag them to the right until they are repositioned to your liking.
Now we have our strip, but it’s really dark and the colour doesn’t pop enough against the background. To change this, clip a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to the rectangle above the paper textures. The button for adjustment layers is located at the bottom of the Layers panel titled “create new fill or adjustment layer” and has the appearance of a half-filled circle. Set your Hue at -180 and your Lightness at 25.
Now, create another adjustment layer, this time for Brightness/Contrast. We really want that beautiful pattern to show through and right now it’s a little too muted. Set your contrast at 60.
For the final part of our strip, we want it to appear like it is folded over the top of our paper, not printed onto it. To do this we are going to add shadow. Create a new layer behind the rectangle, select the gradient tool (G) and choose the second option in the drop down menu. Make sure you have black selected so that the gradient changes from black to translucent. Then, click and drag a very small amount from the bottom of the strip downward so that you create a gradient that disappears rapidly like so:
We have the effect we want on the bottom, but the whole top of our image is covered! This is a quick fix. Using the rectangular marquee tool (M) click and drag a box that selects only the part of the gradient that we want to be seen.
Now, click the “add layer mask” button on the bottom of the Layers panel that we used earlier. The area that we didn’t select will be masked out with only the gradient part we wanted remaining.
For our third step we are going to be incorporating type using the fonts we downloaded at the beginning of the tutorial. Create a new layer in your “Typography” group and in 32 pt. Hominis type the word “Adventure.” Place it centred above the strip of paper.
Now we want to make our text look a little more natural. To do this we are going to be placing and clipping Beguiling-19 from our freebie’s folder under 2 Lil Owls to the word “Adventure.”
We have a really nice ink texture to our type now, but it’s a little hard to read against the background. To fix this, clip a Brightness/ Contrast adjustment layer to the word “Adventure” above our texture with the brightness at -70 and the contrast at 20.
Next type “is waiting” in England Hand DB 40 pt and place it centred in our strip of paper.
To make this type look inked, place Beguiling-14 from 2 Lil Owls and reposition it so that the top of it covers “is waiting.”
Now clip it to the text and set the blending mode of the text to “multiply.”
For our final bit of text, type “for those who dare to dream” with all lower case in Langdon 20 pt. centred text underneath the strip of paper.
To make our text look a little more coherent, we are going to track out the bottom text so that it spans the same width as “Adventure.” To do this, navigate to Window > Character and with your text highlighted, change the tracking to 50.
Now, place Beguiling-1 above “for those who dare to dream” and clip it to the text.
Finally, change the blending mode of “for those who dare to dream” to “multiply.”
For our next section we are going to be working in our “elements” group at the top of our layer panel. Here we are going to create some visual elements to pair with the type. To do this we are going to be working a bit in Illustrator, so open up a new Illustrator document and give yourself some space to work in. I created an artboard the same size as our postcard (6 in x 4 in) but since we will be copying and pasting the size isn’t going to matter.
No steampunk design would be complete without some gears, so for our first element we are going to create a series of them. Using the ellipse tool (L) click on the artboard and create a filled black ellipse that is 2 x 2 in.
Create another ellipse, this one filled white that is size .5 x .5 inches. Place it in the centre of our first ellipse.
It may look like our gear now has a cut out in the centre, but if it were dragged onto any other colour background the centre would still appear white. To cut the centre out entirely, open up your Pathfinder panel by navigating to Window > Pathfinder. Now, with both layers selected, choose “minus the front.” Your two shapes will now be one shape with a circle cut out of the centre, which is apparent if you drag the shape off of the artboard and onto the gray background. You will see the grey through the centre.
Drag your shape back on to your artboard. Now we are going to create the teeth on our gear. Using the rectangle tool (M) create a rectangle that is .25 x .25 in.
Since gear teeth generally taper at the end, use your direct selection tool (A) and click on the anchor point in the upper left corner of the rectangle we just created.
With that corner selected, press your arrow key to the right three times. This will move only that point inward towards the centre.
Now select only the upper right point and click it left three times to make our shape symmetrical.
Grab our new tooth shape and place it centred at the top of our circular gear piece so it looks like it is attached.
Next we are going to use one of my favorite Illustrator tricks, duplicating an object around a central point. This is incredibly handy for anyone who does a lot of work with vector objects making icons, logos, etc. Select your tooth shape and click “R.” Now, hold down “alt” for PC or “option” for Mac and click in the centre of the circle where we want the shape to duplicate around (circled in red below). This will prompt a Rotate Panel to appear like so:
Now for angle input 30 degrees. The most important part of this trick is to press “Copy” instead of “OK.” That way the object will be copied 30 degrees and not simply moved.
For another extremely cool trick, we don’t actually have to repeat the process to copy the teeth across the circle. Instead, simply hit “ctrl/cmd + D.” Every time you click the process will be reapplied and another tooth will appear. Click this combination until you have teeth around the entire circle, completing our gear.
Drag the gear off of the artboard so that we have room to create our second. Now that we know the process, this is going to be a piece of cake. Create a circle that is 1.25 in x 1.25 in.
Create a smaller circle that is .5 x .5 inches (same as the interior of our other gear). Place it in the centre and use pathfinder “minus the front” one more time to cut out this area of the centre.
Copy and paste over the top tooth from our other gear and place it at the top of our new gear.
Repeat the process from the last gear to rotate and copy the tooth, this time using 45 degrees instead of 30. Then duplicate it until it completes the circle.
Just like that we have two custom made icons to add to our postcard! Select all of the pieces of the first gear and hit copy, then paste it into your PSD file as a smart object in our elements folder.
With the layer selected, hit “ctrl/cmd + T” and scale the object to 20% width and 20% height and place it in the bottom left corner of the postcard.
Duplicate the layer and shrink the gear down to 15% x 15% its original size. Rotate it slightly and place it diagonally to the right of the first.
Now, select all of our second gear and copy it over into Photoshop. Scale it to 15% x 15% and place it to the lower right of the previous gear.
Select all three of the gear layers we created and duplicate them. Then, with those three duplicates selected, reflect them by navigating to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal. Then, place them opposite the first set of gears on the right hand side.
Since we don’t need each gear layer to be separate, go ahead and select all of the gear layers and hit cmd/ctrl + E to merge them into one layer. Then, place Beguiling-19 from the 2 Lil Owls folder in the freebie pack. Drag it to the far right of the page and create a clipping mask to the gear layer.
Duplicate Beguiling-19 and drag it to the left-hand side so that it remains clipped and shows through the three gears on the left.
Finally, set the blending mode of the gear layer to “multiply.”
Now we are going to finish off the rest of our “Elements” group with a few more eye-catching designs. First, return to your illustrator file and drag your gears off of the artboard. We are going to create a line element indicative of Victorian design. Select the line tool (\) and make sure your settings are for a 1 pt black stroke. Click on your artboard and create a line that is 2.75 in with an angle of 0. Centre it on the page.
Now, create a line that is 1 inch with an angle of 60 degrees. Place it so that it protrudes from the centre of the horizontal line.
Now we are going to use the same trick we used to rotate the teeth on the gear. Select the line and click “R.” now hold alt/option and click the centre of the horizontal line. Change the angle to -30 degrees and copy the line over. Then hit ctrl/cmd + D three times so that it creates the following shape:
Create another line that is .7 inches long at 15 degrees. Place it so that it protrudes from the centre.
Now rotate from the centre one more time with an angle of 30 and duplicate until it covers the area above the horizontal line.
With all of the lines selected, open up the stroke panel by navigating to Window > Stroke. Now, make sure that you have the rounded cap selected.
We are going to create one more element to our flourish before copying it over. First, create a red line that is 1 inch long. Place it directly on top of and centre on our horizontal line (we made this one red so that we can see it).
Now, using the add anchor point tool (+) add a point to the centre of the red line. Then, using the direct selection tool (A) select the new point and press shift + up arrow two times to move the point upward so that it looks like the following:
Now use the anchor point tool (shift + c) to click on the high point that we just created and drag until there is a curve.
Select all of the strokes and copy them over into our PSD as a smart object in the group “Elements.” Scale to 130% and place it above “Adventure.”
Now, place Beguiling-13 from 2 Lil Owls in our freebie pack and move it upward like so:
Clip the texture to the element that we just placed and change the blending mode of the element to “multiply” and the opacity to 50%.
Next we are going to use another of our free downloaded fonts to add more Victorian elements to our design. Return to your AI file, create a text box and select the font IM FELL FLOWERS 2. Then, open up your glyphs panel by navigating to Type > Glyphs. Here you can see all of the options for flourishes that this font provides. Feel free to play around with your favorite, but for my first flourish I selected the following:
Once you click on the glyph you want it will appear in your text box. Outline the glyph by choosing the selection tool (V) and selecting your text box that contains the glyph. Then navigate to Type > Create Outlines. Now, you can copy and paste the object into your PSD as a smart object. I scaled mine up and placed it in the strip of paper like so:
Change the blending mode of the flourish to overlay and the opacity to 35%.
Duplicate the layer and reflect it by navigating to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal. Then move it so that it is reflected on the opposite site of the strip.
Return to your AI file and in the glyphs panel choose the following glyph:
Outline the type and paste the element into your PSD. Scale the object appropriately and place it directly on top of our line element like in this example:
Here we are going to reuse the Beguiling-19 texture that we used on our gears, so copy it above and clip it to our new flourish.
Change the blending mode of the flourish to “multiply.”
Since the area where we placed our flourish is starting to look a little busy and muddled, we are going to use another layer mask to take out part of the line element behind it. Select your line element object and click the “Add Layer Mask” button in the Layers panel. Then, with the brush tool set at the same 250 pt. 0 hardness, use the colour black to click once directly on top of the area we placed our flourish. Now the lines will appear to fade in behind the flourish.
For our final section, we are going to add vintage illustrations to the “Imagery” group that work well with the steampunk aesthetic. I found my images through Wikipedia, but feel free to find and place your own. To use the same method I am going to show you here, make sure your images are black line work with a white background.
For my first image, I used this illustrative Dirigible Balloon. Copy and paste the image into your PSD. I scaled mine up and placed bleeding off of the upper right corner.
Now, set the dirigible layer to “multiply” which will drop the white background. Then set your opacity to 70%.
For the next few images, I used this beautiful Aeronautics image that has various illustrated flying contraptions. Copy and paste the image into your PSD. For my first addition I wanted to use the upper right balloon, so I scaled and positioned it so that it bleeds off the upper left corner like so:
Since I only want that balloon to be visible in this layer, I created a vector mask and used the brush tool to mask out the balloon beneath it.
Set the balloon layer to “multiply” and the opacity to 60%.
Above the balloon layer, clip a Brightness/ Contrast adjustment layer with the brightness set to 20 and contrast at 60.
Next we are going to add one more adjustment layer to the balloon. Clip a Hue/ Saturation adjustment layer to the balloon with the saturation at 0.
The next balloon that I want to use is part of the same larger image and will require the same image treatment. Luckily, because we used a layer mask on our balloon, we can duplicate the layer and its adjustment layers and then delete the layer mask on the duplicate to bring back any information we masked out. After these steps, reposition the image to your liking. I put the parachute from the right of the image onto the right of my PSD so that it bleeds off the side of the page and behind the strip of paper.
Now, create a new layer mask and mask out the rest of the image so that only the parachute is showing.
Duplicate the layer and adjustment layers one more time so that we can have the basket from the bottom left of the image bleed on from the top of our postcard, then delete the previous mask and mask out the remaining part of the image.
For the final step in this tutorial, we will be using Industry Press by Retro Supply Co included in the full bundle. While in Photoshop, navigate to Window > Tool Presets. Click the drop down menu in the upper right corner and select “Load Tool Presets.” Then, choose the file from your bundle IndustryPress.tpl. Now, create a new layer in your “Imagery” group. Select the brush tool and in the brush drop down menu you should now see options from Industry Press. Choose the one titled “Industry Press Horizontal.” Now it is as easy as clicking and dragging the brush tool to create vintage line textures on your postcard. I placed mine around the dirigible, balloon, and bottom right gears like so:
Finally, set the blending mode of the lines to “overlay.”
And we’re done!
Our finished piece is a whimsical design that takes you to another world of fantasy and exploration! Hopefully this tutorial taught you a few new tips and tricks to use in your every day design work.
Remember to share your designs on the Facebook page too, as we love being inspired by the way you make these tutorials your own.
I hope this tutorial inspires you to experiment with the wonderful textures and backgrounds in this weeks bundle! Remember to purchase yours for an amazing 95% off before time runs out!