In this tutorial I will be showing you how to design a stormy concert poster in Photoshop. To do this we will be using the Vivaldi typeface from URW Type Foundry along with some free resources that you can use to follow along. This typeface is a special giveaway that you can get simply by sharing The Designer’s Essential Font Selection from Design Cuts. I will be showing you some very handy and useful Photoshop tricks along the way, so if you are all ready to begin then fire up Photoshop and prepare for the storm!
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Here’s a look at what we’ll be creating:
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Step 1: The Storm Concert Poster Design
Let’s start by creating a new document in Photoshop. Make your document ’11’ inches wide by ’17’ inches tall with a vertical ‘Orientation’, a ‘Resolution’ of ‘300′ and then change the ‘Color Mode’ to ‘CMYK’ and the ‘Background Contents’ to ‘Black’. Once you’ve done that, give your file a name at the top – here I am using ‘the-storm-concert-poster-design’ but feel free to use anything you like. After we set up these parameters we can go ahead and click ‘Create’ from the lower right to make our new document.
Now you should have your canvas with a single ‘Background’ layer filled with solid black as shown below:
Step 2: Storm Clouds
Next we will download the first free image from Pixabay here and then we can go to the File menu and choose ‘Place Embedded…’ as shown in the image below:
Now let’s navigate to the image and choose ‘Place’ to place the image into our document.
Hold the Alt/Option+Shift keys and drag outwards from any of the four corners of the bounding box to scale the image up until it completely fills the canvas and then press ‘Return’ on the keyboard to apply the transformations.
Step 3: Profile Shot
Now let’s go ahead and download our second free photo from Pixabay here of the man and woman in profile. After you have downloaded the image we will once again go to the File menu and choose ‘Place Embedded…’ before navigating to our image. Once you have done that, select ‘Place’ from the lower right corner of the window to place the image in the document.
After bringing the photo into our document, hold the Alt/Option+Shift keys once again and scale the image up so that the profile of the man is a bit to the right of center and the woman is cropped out like this:
Step 4: Desaturation
After we’ve scaled and placed the photo of the man in the composition, let’s desaturate the image. To do this, hold the Alt/Option key and click the Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette and then choose ‘Hue/Saturation…’ from the list.
You will then be prompted with a ‘New Layer’ dialog box where we will check off the option that says ‘Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask’ and then click ‘OK’ to proceed.
Notice that the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer has a small downward pointing arrow next to it, indicating that we have a Clipping Mask applied. This means that the adjustments we make are only going to affect the photo of the man directly beneath it. Let’s now go ahead and move the ‘Saturation’ slider in the Properties all the way to the left to desaturate the photo as shown below:
Step 5: Background Fill
Next, let’s double click on the ‘Background’ layer to unlock it. You will be prompted with a ‘New Layer’ dialog box where we can simply press ‘OK’ to bypass it and unlock the layer.
Double click on the layer name to rename the layer ‘SOLID BLACK’ and then move it just above the colorful stormy Smart Object layer as shown here:
Click the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer and then hold the Shift key and select the ‘SOLID BLACK’ layer so all three layers are selected at the same time like this:
While these three layers are still selected, press Command/Ctrl+G or click the folder icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette to put the layers into a new group. Double click the ‘Group 1′ text to rename the folder ‘PROFILE’.
Step 6: Where the Magic Happens
From here we will double click on the ‘PROFILE’ folder to open the Layer Style panel. Select the main ‘Blending Options’ and go to the very bottom where there is a black and white slider labeled ‘Underlying Layer’. What we want to do here is hold the Alt/Option key and click on the left, white tab to separate the slider into two. Move the left, white tab over towards the left side until it is set to about ’28’ as shown in the image below:
Once you’ve modified the blend settings, go ahead and click ‘OK’ to apply the changes and your image should now look something like this:
Step 7: Blending In
Next, expand the ‘PROFILE’ folder to reveal the contents inside, and then add a mask by clicking the ‘Add layer mask’ icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette.
Press ‘B’ on the keyboard to switch to your Brush Tool and then tap or hold the right bracket key to enlarge the brush until it’s at about ‘700′ for the size. We can also hold the Shift key and then the left bracket at the same time to change the brush to a very soft air brush and reduce the opacity to ‘30%’ as well. Now just make sure that your foreground color is set to solid black like the image below:
What we want to do next is brush over the hard edges of the photo along the top, left, and bottom to blend it in with the storm photo. The image below shows the areas I have brushed over and you can also see how this looks in the mask attached to the photo layer.
Step 8: Fireflies
Let’s download another free photo from Pixabay here of a jar of fireflies. After downloading the image we will once again go to the File menu and choose ‘Place Embedded…’ just like we did at the beginning of the tutorial.
Navigate to the firefly jar image and then choose ‘Place’ from the lower right corner to import the image.
After importing and placing the image, change the Blend Mode to ‘Screen’ and we can leave the size nice and large like it is here:
Step 9: Adjusting the Jar
With the firefly jar Smart Object layer selected, hold the Alt/Option key and click on the Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette and then choose ‘Levels…’ from the menu.
When prompted with the popup, check off the option that says ‘Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask’ and then click ‘OK’ to proceed.
Once you have your Levels Adjustment with a Clipping Mask applied, go to the Properties panel and move the left, gray slider in towards the middle until it’s set to about ’67’ as shown here:
Step 10: Grouping the Jar
Select the Smart Object layer and move it over towards the right a bit further so the left edge is just behind the man’s head. After that, select the top Levels Adjustment Layer, hold the Shift key, and then select the Smart Object below it so that both layers are selected at the same time.
Press Command/Ctrl+G to place the two layers into a new folder, and then double click on the ‘Group 1′ text to rename the folder ‘TEXTURE RIGHT’. Once you have done that, add a Layer Mask to the folder by clicking on the ‘Add layer mask’ icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette as shown here:
Make sure that your foreground color is set to black, and then press ‘G’ on the keyboard to switch over to your Gradient Tool. Check the settings in the top toolbar to ensure that you have a black to transparent Linear Gradient selected. Your settings should look like the image below:
Click and drag from the left to the right side of the image to fade out the edge of the texture behind the man’s head.
Step 11: Merging Jar Groups
Select the ‘TEXTURE RIGHT’ folder and press Command/Ctrl+J to duplicate the entire folder. Hold the Control key and click on the Layer Mask and then choose ‘Delete Layer Mask’ to remove it from the duplicate folder.
Double click on the folder name in the Layers Palette and rename this copy ‘TEXTURE LEFT’.
Expand the contents of the folder and move this Smart Object copy over towards the left so that the right edge is in front of the man’s face as shown here:
After repositioning the duplicate texture, add a new instance of a mask by selecting the folder and then clicking on the ‘Add layer mask’ icon once again.
Switch back to your Gradient Tool (G) and this time click and drag from the right to the left of the image to fade out the hard edge. After blending this texture, select the top folder, hold Shift on the keyboard, and select the folder below so both texture folders are selected simultaneously.
With both of the texture folders still selected, press Command/Ctrl+G once again to place these into another folder. Double click on the folder name and change it to ‘RAINBOW TEXTURES’. After that, change the Blend Mode of the whole group to ‘Linear Dodge (Add)’ as shown in the image below:
Step 12: Rainbow Textures
Select the ‘RAINBOW TEXTURES’ folder and move it down one spot in the Layers Palette so that it is beneath the ‘PROFILE’ folder.
With the ‘RAINBOW TEXTURES’ folder still selected, hold the Alt/Option key and click on the Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette. This time, choose ‘Levels…’ from the list as shown here:
When prompted with the ‘New Layer’ dialog box, check off the ‘Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask’ option and then click ‘OK’ or press ‘Return’ on the keyboard to proceed.
Your Levels Adjustment Layer will now have a Clipping Mask applied to it. From here, go to the Properties panel and move the gray slider on the left in towards the center until it’s set to ‘141′ in order to increase the contrast.
Step 13: Hue/Saturation Adjustments
Select the ‘RAINBOW TEXTURES’ folder again and then click on the Adjustment Layer icon. From the menu, choose ‘Hue/Saturation…’ as shown here:
Your Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer will now be added between the folder and the Levels Adjustment, but we want to move it so that it’s above the Levels Adjustment Layer. To do this, simply select the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer and press the Command/Ctrl key with the right bracket key to move it up one spot. Once you’ve done that, go to the Properties panel and move the ‘Hue’ slider to the left until it’s set to ‘-55′.
Select the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer, hold the Shift key, and then select the ‘RAINBOW TEXTURES’ folder so all three layers are selected together.
Press Command/Ctrl+G to put these three layers into a new folder and then double click the folder name to rename it ‘BASE TEXTURES’ as this will house all of the adjustments and nested folders that we have modified in one folder.
Step 14: Storm Folder
Before moving on, let’s just go ahead and place the background Smart Object layer into a folder of it’s own. Select the thunderstorm layer, press Command/Ctrl+G and then rename the folder ‘THUNDERSTORM’ as shown below:
Step 15: Gradient Map
Select the top ‘PROFILE’ folder and then click on the Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette. From here, choose the ‘Gradient Map…’ option from the list shown below:
In the Properties panel you will now see a gradient based on whatever foreground and background colors you have selected at the time. Click on this color strip with your cursor to change the colors and modify the parameters.
Step 16: Adjusting the Colors
We will be adding four colors to the Gradient Editor so let’s start working from left to right. First, change the color on the far left to solid black.
Click your cursor anywhere along the gradient to add another color and notice the ‘Location’ of the second color – here it’s ’22’. What we need to do here is just click on the ‘Color’ swatch and then change the hex value of this second color to ‘#541E10′.
Add a third color to the gradient with a ‘Location’ of ’54’ meaning it’s just a bit to the right of the ’50’ mark where the center would be. Click on the swatch here and change this third color to the hex value ‘#B56528′ as shown here:
We will now add our forth color with a ‘Location’ of ’79’. For the color value, use the hex color ‘#FCB116′ and then click ‘OK’ twice to apply the changes and close out of both dialog boxes.
Now that we’ve modified the Gradient Map, let’s change the Blend Mode to ‘Color’ and your image should now look like this:
Step 17: Adding the Title
Create a new layer at the top of your Layers Palette and then use the Type Tool (T) to type out the words ‘The Storm’ in upper and lower case. Open the Character Panel (if you don’t see it just go to the Window menu and choose ‘Character’ from the menu. What we want to do next is change the font to our Vivaldi typeface and set it to be about ‘156 pt’ size with a solid white fill and place it at the top of the poster design.
Select the text layer, press Command/Ctrl+J to duplicate it, and then Command/Ctrl and the left bracket to move it down one spot in the Layers Palette. Press Command/Ctrl+T and then move the text layer down so it’s to the right and just below the man’s chin. Use the Type Tool (T) to change the text to read ‘Dylan’ and then reduce the size of the text to ’56 pt’ in the Character panel as highlighted below:
Duplicate the ‘Dylan’ text layer and move it down and to the right to stagger the text. Change this text to read ‘Storm’ with the same settings we used for ‘Dylan’ as shown below:
Step 18: Adding the Event Date
Add another new layer and this time use the Type Tool (T) to type out ‘AUGUST 12-14 AT METLIFE STADIUM’ in all caps. Open the Character Panel and change the font to a nice sans serif such as ‘Avenir’ in the style of ‘Black’. Let’s reduce the size to about ‘18.5 pt’ and increase the tracking to ‘580′ with a solid white fill color.
Duplicate the previous text layer and move it towards the bottom of the poster design before changing the text to the URL ‘WWW.THESTORMATMETLIFE.COM’ using the same font. The only settings we will need to change here are the size and tracking. Let’s make the size of the text ‘12.5 pt’ and the tracking can be set to ‘360′.
You should now have five white text layers so we will select the top layer, hold Shift, and then select the URL text layer on the bottom so they are all selected together.
While your text layers are still selected, press Command/Ctrl+G to put them into a new folder and click the ‘Group 1′ text and rename the layer ‘WHITE TEXT’ as shown below:
Step 19: Adding theTagline
Create a new layer and use the Type Tool (T) once again to type out the phrase ‘DON’T MISS OUT ON THE BIGGEST CONCERT OF THE SUMMER!’ and place it below the headline. In the Character Panel we want to make sure we are using a slightly lighter weight of our sans serif font – here I am using ‘Avenir’ with the ‘Medium’ weight. Let’s change the size to about ‘18.87 pt’ with a tracking setting of ’40’. Once you have set that up, click on the ‘Color’ swatch to change the color.
Change the fill color of the tagline layer to ‘#A25534′ and then click ‘OK’ to apply the changes.
Step 20: Featured Acts
Here you can either duplicate the tagline text and move it down, or just create another new layer and then we are going to type ‘FEAT DYLAN STORM, LADY STRIFE, EMCEE BLANCO, CATEGORY 5, THE WINDMILLS, AND MANY MORE!’. Let’s use the same ‘Avenir’ font only this time change the weight to ‘Black’ and make the size ‘14.78 pt’ with a tracking of ‘0′. Here we will also open the Paragraph Panel and make the text flush right. We want to add a return or a line break after ‘EMCEE BLANCO,’ so our text runs on two lines and place it just below the date.
Duplicate this text layer by pressing Command/Ctrl+J and replace the text so that it reads ‘PRE-ORDER TICKETS FOR AS LOW AS $25 AND SAVE!’ and add a line break after the word ‘LOW’. You can use the same size, tracking, and color settings, but we now want to use the Paragraph Panel to change the text to flush left instead of flush right as highlighted below:
Press ‘U’ on the keyboard to switch to the Rectangle Tool and then click the ‘Fill’ swatch at the top toolbar to reveal a dropdown panel. From here, click on the rainbow colored icon in the top right corner.
Change the fill color to the hex value ‘#A25534′ that we used earlier.
Click and drag out a thin, vertical rectangle that will serve as a divider in between the two text layers as shown here:
Select the top tagline layer, hold the Shift key, and then select the other text and rectangle layers so they are all selected together.
With the layers still selected, press Command/Ctrl+G to put them into a new folder and rename it ‘ORANGE TEXT’. Once you have done that, move the entire folder just below the Gradient Map Adjustment Layer. The order of your layers should now look like this:
Step 21: Quick Adjustment
Select the URL text layer inside of the ‘WHITE TEXT’ folder and move it up a bit so that it’s closer to the acts and ticket layers just to give ourselves a bit of padding and space along the bottom of the poster.
Step 22: Bottom Fade
Select your Gradient Tool (G) and add a new layer just above the ‘PROFILE’ folder but below the ‘ORANGE TEXT’ group. With a black to transparent linear gradient, click and drag from the bottom of the canvas upwards to create a nice dark fade. Doing this will result in more legible text and help to make it stand out.
Select the fade layer and rename it ‘BOTTOM FADE’ and then press Command/Ctrl+G and put it into a folder named ‘FADE’ as shown here:
Step 23: Wild Textures
Next, download the free empty billboard texture from Wild Textures here and save it with your other stock images. After that, go to the File menu back in Photoshop and choose ‘Place Embedded…’ from the list. From here, navigate to the image and then choose ‘Place’ to bring it into your document as a Smart Object.
After bringing in the texture as a Smart Object, scale it up until it fills the canvas vertically by clicking and dragging outwards from any of the four corners of the bounding box while holding the Alt/Option+Shift keys. Once you have done that, press ‘Return’ to apply the transformation changes.
Select the Smart Object texture layer and press Command/Ctrl+I on the keyboard to invert it. Once you have done that, change the Blend Mode of the layer to ‘Screen’ as shown below:
With the inverted texture layer still selected, hold the Alt/Option key and click on the Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom and choose ‘Levels…’ from the list.
Here we want to check off the box that says ‘Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask’ just like we did earlier to ensure that the Levels Adjustment only affects the texture layer directly below it. After that, press ‘OK’ or hit ‘Return’ to proceed.
Next, in the Properties let’s move the left gray slider inwards towards the center until it is set to ’21’ to remove some of the lightness from the texture.
Select the Levels Adjustment layer, hold the Shift key, and select the texture Smart Object layer just below it. From there, press Command/Ctrl+G to put it into a new folder and rename it ‘TOP TEXTURE’ like this:
Step 24: Texture Slide
Expand the contents of the ‘RAINBOW TEXTURES’ folder and then select the ‘TEXTURE LEFT’ folder and press Command/Ctrl+T to do a Free Transform. From here, slide the texture off to the left more to hide some of the smaller dots and specks as it is creating a bit too much noise on that side. Once you have repositioned the texture press ‘Return’ on the keyboard to apply the changes.
Step 25: Global Adjustments
Now it’s time to apply some Adjustment Layers that will affect our entire image. To begin, make sure the very top folder is selected in the Layers Palette and then click the Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom before choosing ‘Curves…’ from the menu.
Here we are going to focus on the Properties and add three points along the curve. From left to right, set your points according to the image below making sure that your ‘Input’ and ‘Output’ settings match for each point. This will give a nice bright pop to our overall poster design.
Click the Adjustment Layer icon once again and this time add a Levels Adjustment to the top of the stack. Here we are going to modify each of the sliders using the values shown here:
Next, add one more Adjustment Layer, this time we will choose ‘Brightness/Contrast…’ from the list. For the settings, change the ‘Brightness’ to ’16’ and the ‘Contrast’ to ‘4′.
Step 26: Adjustments Group
Select the top Adjustment Layer, hold the Shift key, and then select the Curves Adjustment layer so that all three of our global adjustments are selected together.
Press Command/Ctrl+G on the keyboard to place these three layers into a new folder at the top of the Layers Palette and then rename it ‘GLOBAL ADJUSTMENTS’.
We have now completed our stormy concert poster design in Photoshop! To create our poster we’ve used a small handful of free design elements along with the Vivaldi typeface from URW Foundry. Remember to check out The Designer’s Essential Font Selection to find pixel perfect letterforms with tons of weights, customization options, and web fonts. Prepare to take your font library to new heights and never struggle to find the ‘perfect’ font for your project again!
Remember that whether it’s your outcome for this tutorial or something new you’ve made, we’d love to see your designs on our Facebook page.
Please leave a comment if you have any questions or suggestions. I always look forward to hearing from you!
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