In this tutorial I’ll show you how I created my Invasion movie poster in Photoshop. For quite some time now I wanted to create an action-movie poster tutorial and I thought this would be the best time to do so. It is a lengthy tutorial and I have worked a few days on this tutorial so I really hope some of you find it useful! Continue reading to see the final image and learn how you can create a movie poster from just a few images!
“Invasion” Movie Poster Photoshop Tutorial
Open up Photoshop and create a new Document of 2270×3450 and click OK. Open the Cloud image and scale it down (Ctrl + T) so that it fits the canvas. Create a new layer and name it ‘Color_Gradient’ and set the Layer Mode to Color. Select the Gradient Tool (G) and set a grey-ish green color (#58686b) as the foreground color and a marine blue color (#394f61) as the background color. Drag the Gradient Tool (G) from the bottom left to the top right.
Create a new layer and name it ‘Billing_Block_Shadow’. Grab a Soft Round Brush of any size and start painting the bottom of the image black. Set the Opacity to 50%.
Now we are going to add a whole bunch of color correction layers. Create a new Group and name it ‘Color_Correction’, add a new Curves Adjustment Layer and go to the Red and Blue Channel and try to simulate the settings shown below. Leave the Green Channeluntouched.
Add a Color Balance Adjustment Layer by clicking on the, as I’d like to call it ‘Yin-Yang’ button in the Layer Menu. By default, the Color Balance menu will open in the Midtones Channel. Set the Cyan color level to +60, Magenta to +4 and the Yellow Channel to +10. Go to the Highlights Channel and set the first level to -37, set the second channel to -3 and the third channel to +1. Drag this Adjustment Layer underneath the Curves Adjustment layer.
Add a Photo Filter Adjustment Layer and select the Deep Yellow preset. Keep the Density at 25% and check on Preserve Luminosity. Drag this Photo Filter Adjustment layer underneath the Color Balance Adjustment layer.
This next layer will be our noise layer which will help blend all of the images together. Create a new layer, name it ‘Adjustment_01’ and fill it with a grayish-black (#222222) and set the Layer Mode to Screen. Go to Filter>Noise>Add Noise, set the Amount to 7%, set theDistribution to Gaussian and check on Monochromatic. Create another layer, name it ‘Adjustment_02’ and fill it with a bright blue-ish color(#17d7ff), set the Layer Mode to Color and the Opacity to 15%. At this point of the tutorial, you should have a result similar to the image below and your layers should be kept as shown below.
PLEASE NOTE! From this point on, everything we are going to be working on needs to be placed below the color correction group.
Download the image of the F-15 Fighter Jet, open it up in Photoshop and drag it into our composition. Scale and rotate the image just like the image shown below.
Because the aircraft has lots of curves and sharp corners, the best and fastest way to get rid of the sky is by using the Pen Tool (P). Try to get every detail of the aircraft including the smallest metal parts, it will look more realistic in your final design. When you’re done creating a path around the aircraft, right-click within the path and click on Make Selection…, click OK.
Once the path is turned into a selection, click on the Mask icon at the bottom of the Layer menu and you’ll see that the entire background is gone.
Repeat this step with the image of the MiG-22 Fighter Jet and place the image as shown below. Make sure you flip the image horizontally! For better organizing, create two new groups with the names of the aircraft layers and put the images in the corresponding groups.
Back to the F15 Fighter Jet. Because I want to add some vapor trails we’ll need to create a copy of the masked layer, place it below the F15 and press Ctrl + U to bring up the Hue/Saturation menu. Set the Lightness to +100 and click OK.
Go to Filter>Blur>Motion Blur, set the Angle to -52 and set the Distance to 999.
We’ll need to remove the white motion blur in front of the aircraft. You can do this by clicking on the layer mask thumbnail, set the Foreground color to black and select a Soft Round brush of around 500px. Now paint away the white area in front of the aircraft.
You can now rename this layer to ‘Vapor_trails’. The lines in this layer are too strong so I’m going to add a Gaussian Blur so it will soften up a bit. Select the layer thumbnail and go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and set the Radius to 15.
To blend the aircraft with the background even better is by using the Blur, Dodge and Burn tools.
- Blur tool (R): By using this tool you can blur sharp edges such as the wings of the aircraft which will make it look even more realistic.
- Dodge tool (O): For highlighting the brighter areas of the aircraft, it is best to use the Dodge tool.
- Burn tool (O): You can use this tool for darkening areas that you want to hide or to create shadows.
Select the Blur tool (R) and go easy on blurring the edges of the aircraft, don’t go overboard!
Next, select the Burn tool (O) and set the Brush Mode to Shadows, set the Exposure to 10% and check the ‘Set to enable airbrush capabilities’ box on. By using these settings you can create a subtle difference when using the Burn tool. You need to ‘burn’ the shadows on the left part of the fighter jet image.
Create a new layer and name it ‘Afterburner’ and drag this empty layer on top of the left fighter jet image. Grab a Soft Round brush of100px, go to the color palette and select an orange color (#fe8900). Click twice on each jet engine to give it a nice glow and set the Layer Mode to Linear Dodge (Add).
Download the ‘Fire Flumes’ image and open it up in Photoshop. Pick the first and fifth flume and cut them from the original stock photograph. Drag these on top of the ‘Afterburn’ layer and set the Layer Mode to Screen. You can rotate and scale these as much as you want or place them exactly like the image below.