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adventure-top-image Design A Collaged Adventure Book Cover In Adobe Photoshop


WHAT WE’RE CREATING:

Hey there designers! Renee here with a tutorial for a collaged book cover. We’ll create our layout of overlapping, vintage ephemera in Photoshop utilizing layer effects and masking techniques.

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Here’s a look at what we’ll be creating:

Adventure Book

Follow along with this tutorial: Download the freebie files

The freebie pack includes a treasure trove of genuine vintage materials from 2 Lil Owls, 8 Red Fish, Mr. Vintage and Vicki Robinson.

This freebie pack is only a tiny taste of the resources available in The All-Encompassing Vintage Design Bundle for just $29 (an incredible 98% off). This collection is loaded with a comprehensive range of gorgeous fonts, textures, vector graphics, text effects, textures and vintage ephemera.

Adventure Book

Step 1: Map, Photo and Plans

Open Photoshop and go to File > New. In the New Document dialog box, enter a width of 12 inches and a height of 9 inches. Set your Resolution to 300 ppi and your Color Mode to RGB.

Click OK to create the document.

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Save your file.

We’ll start with a background image. Go to File > Place Linked. Navigate to the 8 Red Fish folder and select usa-map.jpg. Press Place.

In the full bundle, find it in: 8-Red-Fish\The Beginner’s Vintage Ephemera Megapack\Vintage Maps\1883 Geography schoolbook maps

At the top of the artboard, change the Width (W:) from 100% to 160%, then click the link icon between Width and Height (W: and H:).

Just to the right of the Width and Height, enter an Angle of -5 degrees. Press Enter.

Adventure Book

Now we’ll start to layer our vintage bits and bobs. Go to File > Place Linked. Navigate to the 8 Red Fish folder and select 15.jpg. Press Place.

In the full bundle, find it in: 8-Red-Fish\The Beginner’s Vintage Ephemera Megapack\Engravings\19th Century American Gentlemen\JPG – 600 ppi

At the top of the artboard, change the Width from 100% to 70%, then click the link icon between Width and Height. Enter an Angle of 5 degrees. Press Enter.

Position at the top left of the artboard so the tip of the gentleman’s hair is just about to run off the top edge of the artboard.

Adventure Book

Open the Layers palette (Window > Layers). At the bottom of the palette, click the FX icon and select Drop Shadow.

In the Layer Style dialog box that pops up, leave the Blend Mode as Multiply and the Color as black.

Change the Opacity to 50%. Set the Angle to 90 degrees and keep Use Global Light checked.

Enter a Distance of 8 px, Spread of 0% and Size of 5 px. Press OK.

Adventure Book

Go to File > Place Linked and navigate to the 1862-paper7.jpg file in the 8 Red Fish folder. Press Place.

In the full bundle, find it in: 8-Red-Fish\The Beginner’s Vintage Ephemera Megapack\Old paper\300 ppi

At the top of the artboard, change the Width to 45%, then click the link icon between Width and Height. Enter an Angle of -20 degrees. Press Enter.

We’ll position this one in the far left, bottom corner so it’s only partially visible.

Adventure Book

We won’t add a shadow to this piece since it would be somewhere off the artboard anyway. We will, however, change the paper color to mimic something similar to a blueprint.

Open the Adjustments palette (Window > Adjustments). Click the first icon in the middle row, Hue/Saturation.

In the Properties palette that opens, enter a Hue of +160, a Saturation of -40 and a Lightness of -10. Importantly, click the icon on the far left at the bottom of the Properties palette to clip the adjustment to only the layer beneath it.

Adventure Book

Let’s add some airplane schematics to our paper. Go to File > Place Linked and navigate to Aircraft-01.png in the Mr. Vintage folder. Press Place.

In the full bundle, find it in: Mr-Vintage\Aircraft\PNG

At the top of the artboard, change the Angle to -20 degrees, then press Enter.

Position on top of the blue paper.

Adventure Book

At the bottom of the Layers palette, click the FX icon and select Color Overlay.

In the Layer Style dialog that opens, choose a Blend Mode of Normal and keep Opacity at 100%. Click the Color swatch to bring up the Color Picker. Enter RGB values of 0/54/99 and press OK. Then press OK on the Layer Style dialog box.

Adventure Book

We’ll add some authenticity by fading some areas of the plane schematic to make it look old and worn.

At the bottom of the Layers palette, click the Add Layer Mask icon.

Select the Brush Tool (b). At the top left of the artboard, next to the brush thumbnail, click the downward facing arrow to open the Brush Preset Picker. Choose the Soft Round brush.

Note: To easily see brush names, click the Settings icon at the top right of the Brush Preset Picker palette. In the flyout menu, choose Large List.

To the right of the brush thumbnail, set the Opacity to 20%.

On your keyboard, press the right bracket key (]) several times to increase the Brush Size to 800 px.

Your Foreground Color should be black. If it’s white, press X to toggle the Foreground and Background Colors and bring black to the Foreground.

Click and release in several areas of the plane. Those areas will gradually fade.

Adventure Book

In the Layers palette, click on the Aircraft-01 layer to select it. Hold Shift and select the 1862-paper7 layer. You will now have the two layers plus the Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer selected. With all three selected, click the Create A New Group icon at the bottom of the Layers palette.

Double click the name of the Group, Group 1, and rename it Aircraft Plans.

Step 2: Postcard, Diver and Hot Air Balloon

Click the Create A New Group icon again. Name the group Postcard.

Go to File > Place Linked and navigate to Levity 2 in the 2 Lil Owls folder. Press Place.

At the top of the artboard next to Width, enter 40% and click the link icon. Press Enter.

We want this to look like a postcard, we’ll mask off the bottom section.

Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool (m).

At the top of the artboard next to Style, choose Fixed Size. To the right of that, enter Width of 6 in and a Height of 4 in.

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Click once on the artboard at the top left of Levity 2 to create a 6 in x 4 in selection.

At the bottom of the Layers palette, click the Add Layer Mask icon.

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In the Layers palette, drag the Levity 2 layer into the Postcard group.

Go to Edit > Free Transform. At the top of the artboard, enter an Angle of 5 degrees and press Enter.

Position the postcard so it just overlaps the right side of the dapper gentleman with the stellar facial hair.

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Now we’ll copy the shadow from the photo of the gentleman. In the Layers palette, hold down Option and click on Drop Shadow under the 15 layer. Drag it to Levity 2 and release.

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Go to File > Place Linked and navigate to VintagePostCardText-1 in the Vicki Robinson folder. Press Place.

In the full bundle, find it in: Vicki-Robinson\Vintage Design Tools\Vintage Postal Brushes\PNG

At the top of the artboard, enter an Angle of 5 degrees and press Enter.

Position on top of the Levity 2 postcard.

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This gives us two postage stamps, so we’ll mask out the black one.

Use your Lasso Tool (l) to draw a loose selection around the black postage stamp.

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Go to Select > Inverse.

At the bottom of the Layers palette, click the Add Layer Mask icon.

At the top of the Layers palette, reduce the Opacity to 60% so the writing isn’t quite so overwhelming.

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At the bottom of the Layers palette, click the Create A New Group icon and name this one Diver.

Go to File > Place Linked and navigate to Nautical-40 in the Mr Vintage folder. Press Place.

At the top of the artboard, increase the Width to 110% and click the link icon between Width and Height. Press Enter.

Position on the right middle of the artboard.

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Drag the Nautical-40 layer into the Diver group.

Go to File > Place Linked and navigate to old-paper3 in the 8 Red Fish folder. Press Place.

In the full bundle, find it in: 8-Red-Fish\The Beginner’s Vintage Ephemera Megapack\Old paper\300 ppi

Make sure the paper completely covers the diver and press Enter.

In the Layers palette, drag the old-paper3 layer below Nautical-40.

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Select the Magic Wand Tool (w). Click any area outside the diver – we want to select everything except the diver.

Go to Select > Inverse.

Go to Select > Modify > Expand. In the pop-up dialog box, enter 20 px and press OK.

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At the bottom of the Layers palette, click the Add Layer Mask icon.

Adventure Book

Click once on the Nautical-40 layer in the Layers palette to make it the active layer.

At the top of the Layers palette, change the Blend Mode to Multiply and the Opacity to 85%.

Lastly, we’ll copy the same shadow we’re using on the postcard and photo.

In the Layers palette, hold Option and click on Drop Shadow under the 15 layer. Drag Drop Shadow to the old-paper3 layer in the Diver group.

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Create a new Group above the Diver group and name it Hot Air Balloon.

Go to File > Place Linked and navigate to 1862-paper7 in the 8 Red Fish folder (the same paper texture we used for the plane schematics).

At the top of the artboard, change the Width to 23% and click the link icon to apply the percentage to both Width and Height. Enter an Angle of -6 degrees. Press Enter.

Position on the left side of the billboard, overlapping the photo.

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In the Layers palette, drag the paper layer into the Hot Air Balloon group.

Copy the shadow effect by holding Option, clicking on Drop Shadow under the 15 layer, then dragging it onto the new 1862-paper7 layer.

Go to File > Place Linked and navigate to hot-air-balloon in the 8 Red Fish folder. Press Place.

In the full bundle, find it in: 8-Red-Fish\The Beginner’s Vintage Ephemera Megapack\Engravings\1862 Atlas assets\TIFF

At the top of the artboard, enter a Width of 140% and click the link icon. Enter an Angle of -6 degrees. Press Enter and position on top of the paper.

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At the top of the Layers palette, change the Blend Mode to Multiply.

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Let’s add a little notation to the image to make it look more genuine.

Select the Type Tool (t). Click once in the bottom right area of the hot air balloon piece and type:

Hot air balloon
ride above the
American West 1881

Open the Character palette (Window > Character) and change the font to Steelplate Script by Unember.

If you haven’t purchased the bundle yet, you can substitute with any old-timey script or handwritten font.

Set the Size to 18 pt and Leading, the space between lines, to 14 pt. For Kerning, choose Optical.

In the Paragraph palette (Window > Paragraph), select Align Right.

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Go to Edit > Free Transform. At the top of the artboard, enter an Angle of -6 degrees and press Enter.

Position in the bottom left of the hot air balloon image – it’s ok if you overlap a little bit of the engraving with the letters.

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Step 3: Tickets

Go to File > Place Linked and navigate to 1878-concert-tix.jpg in the 8 Red Fish folder. Press Place, then press Enter.

In the full bundle, find it in: 8-Red-Fish\The Beginner’s Vintage Ephemera Megapack\Odds and Ends\JPG\Color\300 ppi

Position it right in the middle of the photo, hot air balloon and postcard pieces.

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Select the Magic Wand Tool (w).

At the top of the artboard, uncheck the box that says Contiguous.

Zoom into the ticket and click on one of the small solid white areas around the edge. This will create a selection around any solid white areas on the ticket whether they are touching or not.

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Go to Select > Inverse.

At the bottom of the Layers palette, click the Add Layer Mask icon.

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Now use Option + click and drag to copy the Drop Shadow effect from one of the other layers (like layer 15).

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Go to File > Place Linked and select 1892-yellowstone-ticket in the same 8 Red Fish folder. Press Place.

At the top of the artboard, enter an Angle of -10 degrees and press Enter.

Position so it overlaps the hot air balloon slightly and covers part of the concert ticket.

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In the Layers palette, hold Option, then click and drag the Drop Shadow effect from the concert ticket to copy it onto the Yellowstone stub.

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Go to File > Place Linked and navigate to Ticket in the Eclectic Anthology folder.

In the full bundle, find it in: Eclectic-Anthology\Vintage Circus Graphics\PNG

At the top of the artboard, enter an Angle of 16 degrees and press Enter.

Position where the hot air balloon card and blue aircraft schematics meet.

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As we’ve done with most of these pieces, use Option + click and drag to duplicate the Drop Shadow effect from a previous layer in the Layers palette.

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I think I’d like to see a little more shadow on the left sides of the pieces, so let’s adjust our shadow angle.

Under the Ticket layer in the Layers palette, double click Drop Shadow. In the Layer Style dialog box, change the Angle to 45 degrees. As you can see, this change will automatically be applied to all of the layers using a drop shadow with global lighting. Handy!

Press OK.

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Step 4: Book Title

At the bottom of the Layers palette, click the Create a New Group icon and name the new group Title.

Go to File > Place Linked and navigate to VintageEphemera-07 in the Vicki Robinson folder. Press Place.

In the full bundle, find it in: Vicki-Robinson\Vintage Design Tools\Vintage Ephemera

At the top of the artboard, enter a Width of 140% and click the link icon. Enter an Angle of -90 degrees.

Position at the bottom right of the artboard so it overlaps the bottom edge of the postcard, a bit of the Yellowstone ticket and the left side of the diver. Press Enter.

Adventure Book

Drag the Yellowstone ticket layer into the Title group.

I don’t want to draw too much attention away from the title we’re going to add, so let’s start by fading the Album Prints text.

At the bottom of the Layers palette, click the Create A New Layer icon. Double click the layer name, Layer 1, and rename it Yellow Fade.

Select the Clone Stamp Tool (s).

At the top left of the artboard, click the Brush thumbnail and select the Soft Round brush. Keep the Mode at Normal, reduce Opacity to 30% and for Sample, select Current & Below.

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Hold Option and click once below Album Prints on the plain yellow section of the book. This is the area we’ll be sampling for our clone stamp.

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Release Option and paint once over the Album Prints text. Then go back and brush over a few areas of it an extra time or two – not the entire thing though. We just want it to look worn and faded.

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Go to File > Place Linked and select ArtsyCollagedBrushes2-08 in the Vicki Robinson folder. Press Place.

In the full bundle, find it in: Vicki-Robinson\Vintage Design Tools\Collaged Brushes\PNG

Position roughly along the bottom left of the yellow book.

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In the Layers palette, hold Option and click the thumbnail on the VintageEphemera-07 layer to create a selection around the yellow book.

Release Option and click once on the ArtsyCollagedBrushes2-08 layer to make sure it’s the active layer, then click the Add Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers palette.

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At the top of the Layers palette, change the Blend Mode to Soft Light and the Opacity to 45%.

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Select the Type Tool (t). Click once on the yellow book at the bottom right below the red line and type:
curated by Renee Griffin
(or use your own name here, of course)

Switch to the main Move took, then in the Character palette, set the font to Steelplate Script at 24 pt.

Pro Tip: When using the Type Tool, you can’t use keyboard shortcuts for tools because you’ll just type the letter. However, you can if you hit Esc first, then use the keyboard shortcut. For instance, to switch to the Move Tool after typing, hit Esc, then v.

Adventure Book

At the top of the Layers palette, change the Opacity to 85%.

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Switch back to the Type Tool (t). Click once in the middle of the yellow book and type:
Just Over the Next Hill

Change to the Move Tool.

In the Character palette, change the font to Southbank Slab Regular by Vintage Type Co. at 48 pt. Decrease the Leading to 48 pt and change the Kerning to Optical (this will frequently produce a tighter look to the letters).

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Click the Color thumbnail on the Character palette and enter RGB values of 34/53/64.

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Select the Type Tool one last time. Click below the main title and type:
Adventures in America

In the Character palette, set the font to 1786 GLC Fournier Italics by GLC Foundry. Set the size to 24 pt and Kerning to Optical.

Center under the main title.

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In the Layers palette, hold Option, the click on the Drop Shadow effect under the Ticket layer and drag it to the VintageEphemera-07 layer.

Under VintageEphemera-07, double click Drop Shadow to bring up the Layer Style dialog box.

This book looks like it would be a little fatter, so it would cast a larger, softer shadow. Reduce the Opacity to 30% and increase the Size 30 px. Press OK.

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Step 5: Finishing Touch

For our finishing touch, we’ll darken the edges and create an area of focus on the title.

At the bottom of the Layers palette, click the Create A New Layer icon. Double click the layer name and rename it Dark Overlay.

At the bottom of the Toolbar, click the Foreground Color swatch. In the Color Picker pop-up, enter RGB values of 60/43/12 and press OK.

Press Option + Backspace to fill the new layer with the brown Foreground Color.

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Drag the new layer above the Title group.

At the top of the Layers palette, change the Blend Mode to Multiply and the Opacity to 90%.

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Now we’ll mask out the middle section of the dark layer. This “negative approach” makes it a little easier to create a focus on one specific area (as opposed to painting the edges with the dark color).

At the bottom of the Layers palette, click the Add Layer Mask icon.

Select your Brush Tool (b) and hit the right bracket key (]) on your keyboard several times to increase the size until it’s about 2000 px.

We’ll leave the Opacity of the Brush at 20%.

Start brushing over the yellow book area and the middle of the artboard. As you brush, the dark areas will start to fade back. Keep brushing, paying special attention to the yellow book area and not being afraid to go over the edges a bit until you have a gradual transition to dark edges.

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And we’re done! We’ve created a realistic-looking collage of both genuine and made-from-scratch vintage materials while learning useful shortcuts like copying effects and Photoshop basics like masking, blend modes and layering.

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Adventure Book

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!

There’s still time to check out The All-Encompassing Vintage Design Bundle to expand your resources with a vast library of rare vintage items for only $29.

16 Lovely Comments from our Community:

  1. Anne Lou says:

    Very detailed and inspiring tutorial!

  2. orachel54@yahoo.com says:

    Thanks so much for the lovely freebie! I’m coveting this bundle like mad. And great tutorial… i havent played around with it yet, but oddly enough, I first started in photoshop years ago by layering vintage ephemera into collages for assemblage crafts. Terrific way to learn the basics, and develop a mad passion for vintage ephemera that I’ve still not been able to kick! Another great offering from Design Cuts!

    • SJ Duff says:

      Hey Rachel,

      Thank you for the awesome comment!

      We are so glad you like the freebie, tutorial and bundle 😀 that’s such a great way to start experimenting and it’s super awesome to hear that your love for all things vintage is still true to this day :)

      Your kind words are very much appreciated so a big thanks for all your support!

  3. Justin says:

    Renee & Team DC,

    Great tutorial! We were wondering what you would be coming up with. Thank you so much for featuring several of our items in the tutorial. Xiaojing said she learned a couple of new tricks from you. :)

    Merry Christmas!
    – 8 Red Fish Creative

    • SJ Duff says:

      Hey Justin,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to leave us a comment!

      It’s great news that you like the tutorial and Xiaojing learnt a few tricks too! We are so happy to be working with you on this one and couldn’t wait to share it with the rest of our community 😀

      From all of us here at DC, we hope you had an amazing Christmas and all the best for the new year :)

  4. Uwe says:

    Wonderful sample and tutorial – thank you.

    • Carol Sweeney says:

      Thanks for the awesome feedback Uwe!

      We are so pleased you enjoyed this one and please do feel free to share your design if you feel keen :)

  5. midolu says:

    Merci pour ce tutoriel bien expliqué que j’ai suivi avec plaisir (et attention).
    Félicitations à toute l’équipe !

    • Carol Sweeney says:

      De Rien Midolu,

      We are so happy you like this one and you are more than welcome :)

      Bonne Annee from the whole team at Design Cuts!

  6. Liz says:

    I love how you did the diver on the white to give him a background! I’m not sure I would have thought to do something like that. Now I have an idea tucked into the vaults.

    • Ben Neeves says:

      Hey Liz,

      Thank you so much for your comment! It’s great to hear that you were able to pick up a new little trick from this tutorial :) We hope you enjoyed it and if you ever wanted to share your work, we would love to take a look!

      Thanks again, Liz, and please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or queries. I’m always here and happy to help :)

    • elsievr54 says:

      I too found this technique amazing. Never knew one could do that in Photoshop. It opens up lots of ideas.

      • Ben Neeves says:

        Hey Elsie,

        Thank you so much for your comment! We’re so pleased that you enjoyed this featured technique and that it’s inspired some awesome new ideas for you :) Happy Designing!

  7. elsievr54 says:

    I finally finished following the tutorial and learned a lot of things working in Photoshop. I must admit, the “copy and paste” procedure of the shadows had me down but then I also followed the video tutorial and it was easy after that. Thank you so much for the wonderful images, clear instructions and the video. I can’t wait to use old photographs of my childhood and seaside holidays to create something I can give to my brothers as a special memory.

    • Ben Neeves says:

      Hey Elsie,

      Thank you so much for your lovely feedback! It’s so great to hear that the video tutorial was able to assist you in working with the copy and paste technique and that this will help you create something truly special for your brothers :)

      Thanks again, Elsie, and if you do ever have any queries, please do let me know. I’m always happy to help!

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