Learn how to create a captivating street dance competition poster with Photoshop. You’ll start with some quick and dirty tricks about selection, playing with layer blend modes, changing object color the easy way, import and place some 3d render, adding lens flare (which is so fun to do!) and many more. Throughout the tutorial, (hopefully) you can make another captivating poster design with Photoshop fast and professionally.
What you’ll be creating
This image was created while playing with some stock images and resource i just found from the internet. I try to picture the spirit of freedom of Street Dancer by using symbols like wings and flying birds. The challenge is creating a captivating design by using restricted color palette like red, black and white to bring a powerful contrast. The lens flare was added in the last step, because i think it can make the composition look more sleek and cool. To follow this tutorial, you need Photoshop CS4 or newer.
- Pigeon – rewton stock
- Dove – rewton stock
- Feather – tash11 stock
- New York CityScape – raindroppe
- Optical Lens Flares – psdbox
- Dance Stock – DeviantART
- 3d Render pack – DeviantART
First of all, we need to extract the dancer model from this stock. Because I’m a lazy guy, I’ll just do it the easy way. Using Magic Wand tool, select the background color (turn on the add selection button and reduce the Tolerance value, and make sure to check the Contiguous option on ~ follow this setting, and you’ll finish the selection in no time, just a couple of clicks here and there)
Click the Quick mask button to activate the Quick mask edit mode. In this mode, red indicates isolated areas. As you can see below, some isolated selection areas need some fix.
The solution is simple, create a new selection on those areas with Polygonal Lasso tool. When you done creating selection, fill it with black. Remove the selection by pressing [CTRL] [D].
Continue using Polygonal lasso tool to fix another parts of the isolated areas.
Exit from the Quick mask mode by clicking back the Quick mask button. Right now the selection is active but if you remember, the selected areas are the background ~ not the dancing model. Fix this by inversing the selection from menu Select> Inverse.
You may notice some selection edge was still look rough and jagged. To smoothen the selection’s edge, click the Refine Edge button and follow the settings shown below. Play with Adjust Edge option until you satisfied with the result. Click OK to apply Refine Edge setting.
Press [CTRL] [N] to Create a new document with 800×1200 px size. As for the resolution, set it to 300 ppi and click OK.
Copy and paste the dancing model inside the new document we just created. Press [CTRL] [T] to transform its size and position.
Desaturate the dancer’s color by hitting the [CTRL] [SHIFT] [U] on the keyboard (another way to do this by going to menu Image> Adjustment> Desaturate).
Duplicate the dancer’s layer easily by pressing [CTRL] [J] and then set the blend mode to Overlay. That’s how we get the high contrast look.
Using the Ellipse tool, draw a red colored circle below the dancer. Set the stroke color to white and size to 5px. To get the double stroke effect, add layer style Stroke to the ellipse layer and follow the stroke setting shown below.
Okay next step is easy, just adding text inside the red circle using the Type tool. In case you wondering, the font used here is “Bebas” and “Century Gothic”. If you feel lazy about typing, ask you friend to do the work (that’s a joke, don’t be too serious! *LOL* )
To make the double lines below the “Street Dance” text, just type an “equal symbol” using the Type tool. Any font will work, but i choose “Bebas” in hope it will blend smoothly with other texts.
Go to Type> Convert to Shape menu to convert the type to shape (d’oh!). With the text now working as shape, use the free transform command to adjust its width.
Now go to Edit> Transform path> Perspective and grab one of the corner control point’s to skew the shape perceptively.
Add another red circle by copying the first one we created before (click on the ellipse layer, then press [CTRL] [J] will do the work). Make this second circle smaller, and reduce the stroke width to 1px from both the option bar and layer style’s dialog.
Until this step, i assume you already download all the stock images, including the 3d render pack from here.
Use the File> Place… menu to import 3d render “bumble” into the canvas. Adjust the size and position, press Enter when you’re done. This way, the 3d render stock will be treated as a Smart Object (meaning: whatever you do to the image, the quality will always be good because it is protected).
Add layer style “Color Overlay” to the “bumble” layer. Pick red as color and set the blend mode to Multiply. Click OK, the bumble color now changes to red.
Place another 3d render pack above the first one. See screenshot below to take a look of the image competition.
Repeat the same process in step 17 for both the “Reef2” and “Octave” layer, in order to change their color to red.
Open up the pigeon stock we got from here. We just need the left wing, so grab the Pen tool and draw paths following the wing’s shape. Make sure you select the option: Path from the option bar before start creating those paths. This is the right time to practicing your skill with Pen tool, am I right?
When you done creating path, right click on it and choose Make Selection from the pop-up menu. Inside the Make Selection dialog, you can adjust the selection the way you need it, but i will skip it by straightly clicking OK button.
Copy and paste the wing into our work, place it under the dancer’s layer. Use free transform command again to adjust its size and position.
Use the same technique to change wing color to red. Add layer style “Color Overlay“, but this time pick a darker red color and change the blend mode to Vivid Light.
Press [CTRL] [J] to duplicate the wing layer. Create new empty layer below it by [CTRL] clicking the new layer button.
Right click the wing copy layer, choose Merge Down command form the pop up menu. This will merge the wing and empty layer below it, deleting the layer style “Color Overlay” in the process but keep the color effect intact.
Drag the merged wing layer above all layers available, then change the blend mode to Overlay. nice!
Repeat the same process from step 24 to step 26 for the Octave layer, but change the blend mode to Multiply in the end. If done correctly, you’ll get result as shown in the screenshot below.
Open another stock image we got from here, the new york cityscape. Copy and paste the cityscape into our work, place it under all layers.This is also the time to pick the right part from the cityscape to show, maybe rotate it a bit to get a better look.
Go to Image> Adjustment> Desaturate to desaturate the cityscape image. Next, reduce the layer opacity around 40%.
Create new layer above the cityscape layer, you can rename the layer as you like, mine is “black vintage” (i know that’s lame, please deal with it). Now grab the Brush tool, pick the soft brush (the one with Hardness 0%) and lower the brush Opacity to 30%.
With the brush tool, paint the canvas edge with black. More opacity on each corner as shown in the screenshot below.
Now create a new layer above the “black vintage” layer, i call it “white exposure” (feel free to give it another name, i won’t mad! :). Still using the brush tool, this time paint the middle areas with white. See image example below.
Open up the dove image we got from here. The fastest and easy way to extract the bird was using the Quick Selection tool. Grab the tool and start creating selection by click and drag around the bird.
Sure that’s a quick selection we’ve done there, but anything that was done quickly, often sacrificing quality. Go to Select> Refine Edge menu to show the Refine Edge dialog. Here, activate the Smart radius checklist and play around with the Adjust Edge settings to smoothen the selection’s edge. Click OK to apply.
Copy and paste the bird above the red circle layer. Use the transform command to adjust the bird’s size and position as shown in the example below.
You may notice the subtle black colored edges around the bird, we can remove that easily by going to the Layer> Matting> Remove Black Matte. Be gone!
Duplicate the bird by pressing [CTRL] [J], flip it horizontally by going to menu Edit> Transform> Flip Horizontal. Now place it on the left side of the red circle. Make it smaller by using the transform menu.
Get the feather stock photo from here. Open the feather photo and then go to Select> Color Range menu. This way we can select the feather by taking its color sample. Click the brightest white color of the feather with the eyedropper, then maximize the Fuzziness value to 200.
You should get the whole feather shape by now. Click OK to apply Color Range command, there you go! the selection was done.
Insert the feather above the bird layer. Use the transform command to rotate, adjust its size and position as shown in the example below.
To make the feather blend with the background, change the blend mode to Screen.
To get the “depth of field” illusion, we need to use Filter> Blur> Gaussian Blur menu. Adjust the Radius value around 1,5 px then click OK.
Next, we add another feather with the same technique as the previous one. Place it on top left corner, and apply the Gaussian blur filter again, but this time use Radius 1px.
Add the third feather on the right side of the red circle, above the bird. Use radius value 0,5 for the Gaussian blur filter.
Make sure you already got the lens flare pack from here. Go to File> Place and select the lens flare image you like to insert, mine is “optical-7”. Hit Enter to apply the image as a smart object. Oh, and don’t forget to place it above all layers.
Using Polygonal lasso tool, create a selection like shown in the example below.
Click the add layer mask button to convert the selection into layer mask.
The most important things, change the blend mode to Screen to hide those black color. Now you can easily transform the lens flare as you wish.
Duplicate the lens flare, place it between the bird and dancer as shown in the example below. Congratulations! you’ve done creating the poster :)