Photoshop Tutorial: Airbrushed Film Poster Style Photo Effect

How’s it going everyone this is Chris from
Spoon Graphics with another video tutorial. Now I’ve always loved the style of those classic
movie posters that were drawn by hand with advanced air brushing techniques, from master
artists like Drew Struzan. Imagine the poster art for original Star Wars
trilogy, the Indiana Jones movies, and pretty much any action/adventure film from the 80s! They all feature incredibly life-like depictions
of the the actors and characters, which are almost like photos, but they have a clear
hand painted appearance with subtle brush strokes, outlining marks and quite high contrast
with vibrant colours. In today’s Photoshop tutorial I’m going to
show you a mix of filters and adjustments we can apply to a photograph to mimic that
retro style airbrushed painted look. The effect works best with quite dark and
low key photos, especially those with a lots of grainy details, rather than clean and bright
studio shots with perfect skin tones. The image I’ll be working with is this stock
photo of an old western cowboy from Shutterstock. So begin by opening your chosen image in Adobe
Photoshop. Since the effect works best with gruff details,
start by adding a High Pass overlay to bring out the details. Drag the background layer onto the new layer
icon to make a duplicate, then go to Filter>Other>High Pass. Enter 2 pixels so you can just see the image
emerging from the grey overlay. Change this layer’s blending mode to Linear
Light to dramatically sharpen the image. Create a snapshot of the image as a new layer
by going to Layer>Merge Visible, but hold the ALT key while clicking the option to create
a copy at the top of the layer stack. The first key ingredient for this effect is
the Oil Paint filter, which helps move the picture from a photo to a hand painted image. Go to Filter>Stylize>Oil Paint. Change the Stylization option to 2, the leave
the rest of the settings at 10. Drag this Oil Paint layer over the new icon,
or use the shortcut CMD+J to make a duplicate, then change the blending mode to Overlay to
darken the image and boost the colours and contrast. Switch over to the Channels panel, then hold
the CMD key while clicking on the RGB thumbnail to load a selection of the highlights of the
subject. Switch back to the Layers panel and Copy and
Paste this channels selection onto a new layer. Change the blending mode of this highlights
layer to Vivid Light to increase the colours and contrast even further, which helps replicate
the tones of a hand painted image. Tone it down slightly by reducing the opacity
to around 80%. Head to the Select menu, then choose Reselect
the load the channels selection again, then create a new layer. Fill this selection with pure white using
the CMD+Backspace shortcut. Change this layer’s blending mode to Soft
Light to tone down some of the vibrancy and bring back some brightness to the image. Use the Merge Visible command while holding
the ALT key to make a new snapshot, or using the finger contorting shortcut CMD+ALT+Shift+E. We’ll use this layer to add some brushed outlines
to the effect. Head to Filter>Filter Gallery, then navigate
to the Poster Edges effect under the Artistic menu. Change the settings to 0 Edge Thickness and
0 Edge Intensity, then max out the Posterization. This effect adds some nice darker outlining
marks, but another key aesthetic of those real airbrushed posters is similar highlight
strokes. Create a duplicate of this Poster Edges layer,
then go to Image>Adjustment>Desaturate. Head back to the Filter Gallery, and go to
Stylize>Glowing Edges. Change the settings to 1 Edge Width, 2 Edge
Brightness and 1 Smoothness. Change this layer’s blending mode to Screen
to render the black areas transparent, leaving just the white highlight lines. Reduce the opacity to around 70%. Another common theme of classic film posters
is a heavy grain texture. Create a new layer then go to Edit>Fill. Change the drop down menu to 50% Gray. Head to Filter>Noise>Add Noise and configure
the settings to 20% with the Gaussian and Monochromatic options checked. Change the blending mode of this layer to
Overlay to allow the underlying artwork to show through. To finish off the effect, we can overlay an
old paper texture to replicate the aged look of those real poster prints. You can find this paper texture image for
free from Paste it into the document, then change the
blending mode to Soft Light. The final result does a great job of mimicking
the airbrushed effect seen on those retro film posters. The initial oil paint filter did a lot of
the work by adding brushed strokes to the photograph, then a range of contrast and colour
boosts, along with the outlining marks helped further replicate the hand painted look. The grainy overlay and paper texture finished
it off nicely with a tactile printed poster appearance. So I hope you have some fun using this effect
in your projects. If you enjoyed the video or learnt anything
new be sure to subscribe to the Spoon Graphics Youtube channel to stick around for more,
and visit my website at Spoon.Graphics to find more written tutorials and free design
resources. Big thanks to Squarespace for sponsoring this
video. If you want to set up a great looking portfolio,
website or online store, remember to make use of the code Spooner to get 10% off. So as always thank you very much for watching,
and I’ll catch you all later.

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