How To Create a Retro Pin-Up Poster in Photoshop

Hello everyone this is Chris from Spoon Graphics back with another video tutorial for Adobe Photoshop Today I'll show you how to create an effect that mimics the painterly look of early 20th century pin-ups, where posters of glamour models were reproduced from oil paintings and distributed to World War II soldiers

While the industry has evolved to become slightly more erotic with the likes of Playboy magazine and the Internet, the pin-up girl concept from the 40s and 50s is still fondly admired today, with it being a popular fashion trend, photography genre and art style In this tutorial we'll take a modern digital photograph and give it an antique appearance with a cocktail of Photoshop filters to replicate the visual traits of those original pin-up posters Various adjustments will convert the photo into a hand-painted illustration, then an old paper texture will help distress the artwork and turn it into a vintage pin-up print But first, if you want access to a library of design resources to use within your projects, check out Envato Elements To create the effect we first need a source photograph of a pin up girl

Talented digital painters could probably use their skills to produce pin up art in the same way as the original oil painters, but for mere mortals like us, we'll have to rely upon existing assets This particular photograph is by Zoom Team from Shutterstock The first step is to cut out the subject from its background Select the Pen tool and begin tracing the subject Drag out bezier handles to follow the curvature of the outline, but stay a few pixels within the subject to avoid capturing the background in the selection

When you reach the hair, make a rough selection We'll tackle this more complex area later I use two different techniques with the Pen tool One is to click and drag each point The other is to set a point at the other end of a curve, then go back and add an extra point in the middle, which is dragged into place while holding the CMD key

When the selection reaches the starting point again, right click and choose Make Selection Copy and Paste the selection onto a new layer, then toggle off the visibility of the background to see the transparency Don't forget to make selections of any negative space and delete these areas from the layer To accurately select all those tiny strands of hair, the Channels method is probably the best approach You can see this technique along with other hair selection methods in my video titled How To Cut Anything out in Photoshop

Open up the Channels panel and find the channel with the highest contrast between the subject and its background Usually this is the Blue channel for portraits Drag the channel onto the new icon to make a duplicate Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels, or use the shortcut CMD+L Dramatically darken the subject by dragging the shadows and midtones sliders to the right

Using the brush tool, paint over any leftover areas within the silhouette with black Using the Overlay mode can help you target the edges without worrying about accidentally painting over the white background Since we have already clipped the rest of the body, it isn't really necessary to create a full silhouette, we'll just clip the selection later Hold the CMD key and click on the duplicate channel's thumbnail in the Channels panel to load its selection Click the RGB channel again to bring back the full colour version of the image

Switch back to the Layers panel, then apply a Layer Mask to apply this selection The selection is inverted the wrong way, so use the CMD+I shortcut to invert the colours of the mask The hair has been clipped perfectly, but because we didn't finish off the silhouette, any white areas elsewhere on the subject have been erased To bring these areas back, draw a rough selection around the head Press CMD+Shift+I, or go to Select > Inverse, then fill this area with white to reveal these parts of the mask

Now the subject is fully cut out, right click and choose Apply Layer Mask to permanently apply the clipping Before continuing with the cocktail of filters to create the main effect, right click and choose Convert to Smart Object This will allow the adjustments to be applied non-destructively, so you can edit or remove them if necessary The first adjustment is Shadows/Highlights from the Image > Adjustments menu Enter values of 50 in the Shadows and 20 in the Highlights to flatten the tones of the photograph

Next, go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast Boost the Contrast to 100 An oil painting wouldn't have anywhere near as much detail as a photograph, so go to Filter > Blur > Surface Blur Enter values of 30pixels and a Threshold of 2 A perfect filter for replicating an oil painted effect is

You guessed it, the oil paint filter Max out the Stylization and leave all other settings at 0 This is actually a good place to experiment with alternative results by editing the settings via the Smart Filter afterwards

Depending on your image, you might get away with more Cleanliness and less Stylization Just watch out for losing the tiny details Add another Surface Blur filter to further blend out the details into broad areas of colour, much like how a painting would be created Open up the Shadows/Highlights again from under the Image > Adjustments menu This time click the Show More Options button to expand the window

Reduce the shadows to zero, then set the Color Adjustment to 0 too Bring up the Midtone slider to around 80, then balance the three sliders under the Highlights to tune the result Values of 30, 20 and 40 worked for me This step dramatically increases the contrast of the image to further enhance the hand painted look Add an Unsharp Mask filter from under the Filer > Sharpen menu

Choose values of 70% Amount and 2px Radius to bring back the hard edges There's just a couple more filters to apply from under the Filter > Filter Gallery menu The first is Dry Brush from under the Artistic section Set up the options with 10 Brush Size, 10 Brush Detail and 1 Texture, then hit OK In the layers panel next to the Smart Filter, double click the little slider icon next to this latest Filter Gallery addition to alter its blending settings

Set the blending mode to Soft Light and reduce the opacity to around 40% so it only has a subtle impact Many of these filters don't appear to make much difference, but it becomes noticeable if they're removed Finally, add another Filter Gallery, this time the Cutout effect Set up the values to 6 Number of Levels, or a figure that generates a good array of shapes in your image, then minimum values for Edge Simplicity and Fidelity Double click the settings slider next to this Smart Filter and change the options to Soft Light at 50% opacity

This cocktail of Photoshop filters does a good job of converting the photograph into a hand-painted illustration, with high contrast and blocks of colour similar to the authentic examples from history The colours are a little too vivid, so add a Vibrance adjustment layer Reduce the Vibrance to around -30, but boost the Saturation to +10 That's the main photo effect complete, so now let's finish off the pin-up poster with a suitable vintage style background Open up an old paper texture, like this one by Lukasz Szwaj on Shutterstock

Go to Select > All then Edit > Copy Switch over to the working document and select the Background layer, then go to Edit > Paste to place the paper texture above it Press CMD+T to Transform, then rotate and move the texture into place Use the Crop tool to enlarge the canvas to the size of the paper texture Give the paper texture a quick Sharpen filter to bring out the details

Add a Solid Colour adjustment layer and choose a bright cyan colour Change the blending mode of this layer to Multiply to allow the paper texture to show through The yellow of the texture might throw off your chosen hue, so double click the adjustment layer again to adjust it Activate the layer mask that is applied with the solid colour adjustment layer, then set up the brush tool with a soft round tip Place a dab of black in the centre of the canvas, then press CMD+T to Transform

Enlarge the black spot while holding the ALT key to expand it to act as a radial gradient that blends out the blue background To alter the strength of the gradient effect, add a Levels adjustment Moving the shadows, midtones and highlights will determine how quickly the gradient fades out towards the edges As a finishing touch, use the Type tool to enter the name of your pin-up girl I'm using a nice brush script font called Signpainter

Select your type layer, or layers, then convert them into a Smart Object, so filters can be applied while still preserving the live text Go to Filter > Noise > Median, then find a small value that rounds off the edges of the text without adding too much blur, which helps replicate a bleed effect Next, add a Filter > Distort > Ripple effect and find a subtle value of around 30 to distort the edges to match the roughness of the coarse paper background Set the blending mode to Linear Light and reduce the fill amount to around 75% to bring through some of the paper texture Select the paper texture and drag it onto the New Layer icon to make a duplicate

Drag this duplicate to the top of the layer stack Go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate, then open the Levels Drastically darken the texture by dragging the shadows slider to the right, then bring back the tiny details by moving the highlights slider left Set this layer to Screen to make the black area invisible, leaving just the white speckles that add a subtle distressed effect to the main pin up model Reduce the opacity to find the right balance

Make another duplicate of the paper texture and drag it to the top of the layer stack Set this layer to Multiply to allow the yellowy tones to darken the artwork, then reduce its impact by bringing down the opacity to around 30% Hold the CMD key and click the thumbnail of the pin up girl layer to loads its selection Select the layer underneath, then add a new layer above it Use the ALT+Backspace shortcut to fill this selection with black, then deselect with CMD+D

Transform with CMD+T, then right click and choose Distort Drag each corner point in turn to stretch out a shadow behind the subject, but pay attention to the direction of the light according to the shading of the model Add a Gaussian Blur of around 30px to soften the shadow, then set the blending mode to Multiply with a low opacity of 20% Apply a layer mask, then use a black brush to erase any unwanted areas, and to softly fade out the shadow Rather than try and stretch the single shadow layer into the right shape, you can use multiple layers to construct the shading effect by using layer masks to delete the areas you don't want

Manually painting in the shadow with a soft black brush can also add shading in just the right places The final result is a old-style pin-up girl poster with a hand-painted illustration effect The various Photoshop adjustments help reduce the realism of the photograph into the stylised appearance of an oil painting, while the additions of an old paper texture finishes off the effect with an antique poster look If you enjoyed this tutorial or learnt any new tricks please give the video a thumbs up to help with its rating Browse through my Spoon Graphics YouTube channel to see of my videos, and head over to my Spoon Graphics website to download my free bundle of design resources

As always thank you very much for watching, and I'll see you in the next one

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.