Medieval Movie Poster Photoshop Tutorial


Final Image


Step 1

Create a new document and set the size at 27×41 inches at 72DPI. The reason we are doing this at 72dpi is because files like these can get very large and some tutorial readers might not be able to handle a file as large as this. I wanted to create a large enough canvas to see all the details during editing. Make sure you set Background Contents to White.


Step 2

Download and open the ‘Medieval European Knight‘ image and scale the image by pressing Ctrl+T, hold Shift, drag and rotate one of theAnchor Points so that the image is placed the same as below.


Step 3

We are going to remove the background by using a Layer Mask and we are going to create a clean cut out of the European Knight with thePen Tool (P). Once you’re done creating a path around the knight, close it by clicking on the first Anchor Point. Right-click within the path and select Make Selection and enter the following settings and click OK.


Once the selection has been made, click on the Layer Mask icon in the Layers Menu and you will see that this will create a very clean cut-out of our main knight.


Personally I always use Layer Masks no matter what kind of image I’m editing because it is incredibly easy to undo a mistake without permanently destroying the image.

Step 4

Repeat steps 2-3 for the knight in the top right (Before Fight) and try to scale and rotate the image as shown below.


Step 5

For the top left knight we are going to use similar techniques but with one exception; we’re going to mask his beard. Always go for the highest amount of details, the viewer of your work will notice! Download the ‘Knight Profile‘ image and open it up in Photoshop. Do not drag this into our poster canvas yet. In the Layers Menu, go to Channels. When masking you want to select the channel with the highest contrast, in this instance we’ll need to select the Red Channel. Right-click on this layer and create a duplicate, the original Red Channel will be selected by default but you need to select the copied layer.


Step 6

Go to Image>Adjustments>Levels and try to create a much higher contrast by moving the sliders. If you want to go the easy route, just copy the settings shown below and click OK.


Step 7

Select the Pen tool (P) again and create a Path around the knight. You might want to go around the beard on the inside as we’re going to use a gentle technique to extract the beard. Once the Path is done, create a selection and fill it with black. The fastest way to do this is by using a very large Soft Round brush. On to the beard, use a smaller sized Soft Round brush and set the Brush Mode to Overlay. By setting it to Overlay, it will be much easier painting on or over areas you want to keep.


Step 8

We will need to remove the background to get a clean mask, so go to Image>Adjustments>Levels again and move the sliders but keep your eye on the fine detail of the beard as you don’t want to go overboard.


Step 9

You will notice that there are still some major leftovers which need to be removed. Grab a large Soft Round brush, set your foreground color to white and set the Brush Mode to Overlay. With the Layer Mask selected, gently paint over the background of the image. If you have done this properly, you should be left with a pure black and white image. Click on the RGB Channel and go back into the Layer Menu. Go to Select>Load Selection and a menu will pop up. Select the Red copy as the Channel, check the box to invert the selection and click OK. By inverting the selection, the white area will be removed from the selection.


Click on the Add Layer Mask icon in the bottom of the Layer Menu and voila! We have a clean mask.

Step 10

Drag this image into our poster canvas and position it below the European Knight layer. Rotate, scale and flip the image horizontally as shown below.


Step 11

Download and open the Tuscany Farm image but don’t drag it into our poster canvas just yet. We will need to mask the landscape on the foreground as we are going to use it to create our own landscape. Go to Channels and copy the Blue Channel, as this is the channel with the highest contrast. This will be a bit different from the steps we’ve used for the bearded knight as the landscape has a lot of detail we don’t want to lose. With the Blue Channel copy selected, go to Image>Adjustments>Auto Levels. By doing this, Photoshop will automatically change theLevels and is sometimes extremely helpful and time-saving.

Step 12

We will need to darken the foreground a whole lot more to get a clean mask. Go to Image>Adjustments>Levels and start moving the sliders until you are convinced that it’s going to work, or you could just input the following settings and click OK.


Step 13

Grab a big Soft Round brush and start darkening the foreground by using a pure black color. Go easy on this one and don’t go near the trees. To darken the trees you will need to have a lot of patience as this is the part where it gets tedious. Set your Brush Mode to Overlayand darken the trees very slowly and gently. Vary between brush sizes and to see what you’re masking, simply click on the RGB Channeland switch between that and the Blue copied channel.

Step 14

A nice trick to make the masking easier, is by using the Curves menu. Go to Image>Adjustments>Curves and try to find the best balance to contrast the landscape.