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 Pexelscom 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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