When it comes to building up hype for an event, nothing quite does it like stunning promotional material. People tend to judge things by their first impression, so it is important that your artwork is able to quickly catch viewers’ attention and deliver the information to them. In this tutorial I will show you how to utilize unique shapes, color palettes, and typography hierarchy to create an event poster that will turn heads.
- Program: Adobe Photoshop
- Version: CS5
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Estimated Completion Time: 2 Hours
FOR LEARNING RIGHTS ONLY.
- .PSD file
- 3D Render compliments of myself
- Background Texture thanks to MeiTeng
- Lens Flare
- Industria-Inline Font
To begin we want to create a new document in Photoshop. Type in what you want to name the document in the first line, then next to the “Preset:” option click on the drop-down menu and select the “International Paper” option. Set the “Size:” to “A3”, make sure the resolution is 300 pixels/inch, and click “OK”.
We are now going to begin creating the artwork. It is important that the style you create the artwork matches the genre of music for the event. Electro music seldom has words in it and contains myriad unique/abstract sounds full of energy. So for the main subject of the art I created a 3D render in Cinema 4D to use by morphing geometric shapes into an abstract shape with sharp edges. Open the “electro_render.tga” file, then at the top of Photoshop go to “Window > Channels” and hold the Command key while clicking on the thumbnail of the alpha channel. This will load the selection of the render, and leave the black background behind. Once the selection is loaded, copy it to your clipboard and paste it into the poster document.
Reposition the render to be at the very tope of the page, but leave some room for text at the top. Create a new layer, “SHIFT + CMD + N”, under the render. Using the brush tool, “B”, right click on the canvas and select a soft brush to create a subtle blue glow, #395677, on the top half of the render. To enhance the vibrance of the render colors, select the dodge tool, “O”, and at the top left change the “Range” to “Highlights”. Then using a soft brush apply the dodge tool to the entire render.
Now we’re going to add some additional circles to the composition using the ellipse tool, “U”. Make sure you’ve set the tool to make circles by clicking the icon in the top tool bar. Then create a large circle under the render, and apply the “background circle” layer style by right clicking on the layer and clicking “Blending Options…”. The vibrant colors of this circle will draw attention attention to this area of the poster, which will help viewers quickly identify who the headlining artist is. Create some more circles on top of the render, and apply the “outline circle” layer style to them. These stand out less, and are more of a supporting detail. Use the ellipse tool to create some solid white circles near the center of the render, and outline the large circle in the background.
In this step we’ll add some supporting details to the render. Begin by creating a new layer above the render, and set the blending options to “Linear Dodge (Add)”. Select a soft round brush around 400 pixels, and hold “alt” to bring up the eyedropper to select a color you want to use. While still holding down “alt” click on a color that you would like to use to create the glows, (go for the bold pinks & blues). Once you’ve selected a color, then brush on the layer to add some lighting effects. Next, create a new layer above the render, select a hard round brush tool, and using a few different sizes make some circles around the render. Now we’re going to connect the dots by using a hard round brush about 5 px in diameter. Click in the center of one circle, then while holding down “shift” click in the center of the next circle. This will create a straight line from point A to B. Once you’ve connected all the dots, right click on the layer, duplicate it, press “command + T” to enter “Free Transform” and select “Flip Vertical”. Scale the layer to be a little bit bigger than the original, and position it near the top of the render so that the 2 elements almost appear to me mirrored. Once you’ve positioned the circles, set the blending options on both layers to “Overlay”. Paste the glare stock photo into the composition, rotate it about 45 degrees, and line it up on the bottom point of the render. Once it’s at the point, set the blending options to “Screen”.
Create a new layer above everything else in the composition, and use the paint bucket, “G”, to fill it with this purple color: #8410FF. Change the blending mode to “Lighten” and lower the opacity to 10%. This will give everything a subtle purple ambience to it, and help the glows feel a bit more natural. Create a new layer under the ambient purple, and using the brush tool, “B”, go to “window > brush” and apply the following settings to a hard round brush. Randomly brush some circles near the top left of the render, then go to “filter > motion blur” and apply the following settings. You’ll now see that some sleek lines have been created. To intensify them a bit duplicate the layer, and set the blending mode to “overlay” or “soft light”. You may repeat this process a few times until you come to an intensity of your liking. Duplicate the sleek lines, then go to “edit > transform”, select “Flip Horizontal”, and mirror them to the other side of the render.
The artwork is pretty much finished at this point, but as a cherry on top we’re going to add some texture. Paste the texture stock into the composition right below the purple ambience layer, then duplicate the texture layer. Once duplicated go to “edit > transform” and rotate it 180 degrees. Then using a soft round brush erase the hard edges on both texture layers so that they blend together. Merge bother texture layers by right clicking on the top texture in the layer panel, and selecting “Merge Down”. Then, go to “image > adjustments > hue/saturation”, “command + U”, and make the saturation -90. Set the blending mode to “Soft Light”, lower the opacity to 30%, and the texturing is all done.
Now that the artwork is complete, it’s time to move on to laying out the typography. The main thing you want to keep in mind while adding type is establishing a hierarchy, or order of importance, using typefaces, font sizes, weight, and colors. You want to communicate the message while being visually pleasing at the same time. I’ve used some colored boxes & numbers to show how we’re going to layout the type in order of importance. Some negative space is going to be used on the edges so that more emphasis can be drawn to what is there, and it will also help the type flow together more being composed within the same area. Start by adding the headlining artist, “ELECTRO”, then apply the following attributes & layer styles to the text. To finish the top half of the poster add who is presenting the event, and apply the following attributes & layer styles to the text. Notice the difference between the two fonts & sizes, you can easily distinguish which line of text is more important.
Here we’re going to add the date of the event, as well as where the venue is, additional performances, and a few extra details about the event. First we’re going to add the date. Apply the following attributes & layer styles to a new line of type, and position it directly underneath the headlining artist. Since the date of the event is important information we’re going to add some subtle effects to it to add emphasis. For the next bit of information click and drag the type tool to create a box to type in. Type in the venue, additional performances, and any other additional information in that order. At first, not all of the information may fit naturally from edge to edge, but after some leading & tracking adjustments the type should fit like a glove. To make the text flow better from line to line we’re going to get rid of the awkward empty spaces by adding some lines. Using the rectangle tool, “U”, make sure the rectangle setting is selected in the top left, create lines to emphasize the venue and separate the performances from the additional info.
To complete the poster we’re going to use the small area left at the bottom to add logos associated with the event and/or artists as well as the address of the venue. As a finishing touch, create some more of the sleek lines we made earlier and add them to the sides of the type. Now you have an eye catching event poster, and are ready to explore new opportunities & make connections in the music industry!