Take a photo and turn it into this amazing retro-style artwork using Photoshop and Illustrator. You’ll learn how to create this using very few stock photos and with creative techniques that can also be used in your other designs. To follow this tutorial, you’ll need to have some basic experience with Adobe Illustrator.

Preview of Final Results


Tutorial Resources

Step 1

First is first. We need an empty canvas to begin working. Here is my canvas size of the finished design. So you can use it simply.


Step 2

Photoshop just presented us with a blank, white canvas. We are going to set a more neutral colored backdrop for our design. So I created a new layer above the background layer and filled it with #e0ddd8.


Step 3

Here we have the single most important stock image for our design. I liked the look of her, she is a bit worried, uncertain and concerned, you know I thought this is a good one for our purpose. It has nice and soft tones, no strong shadows and a bit mild, it looks we can play a bit.


Step 4

First of all we need to isolate her from the background. We can use different Tools for this purpose. But I am going with the Color Range command (Menu > Select > Color Range). It does a great job when selecting plain backgrounds. Load up the Color Range box, sample the background color using the color picker. You can see the thumbnail of the image inside the Color Range box, the white part in the thumbnail represents the area selected by the command. You can also see some grey areas left on the corners and on the subject. We will deal with it in the next few steps. Press Ok to confirm.


Step 5

Your selection should look something like this. The color range command does a decent job.


Invert the selection (Ctrl + Shift + I). This will now select the model.


Step 6

Let’s fine tune our selection using the powerful Refine Edge command. (Menu > Select > Refine Edge or just press Ctrl + Alt + R). It’s like a one stop solution. We can contract or expand the selection, feather the selection, smooth it and so on. Click on the On Black thumbnail which lets you the preview the selection against a black background. I slightly smoothed the selection and contracted it a bit. Press OK when you are done.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

41 responses to “Create a Colorful Retro Poster in Photoshop and Illustrator”

  1. jim morphy Avatar
    jim morphy

    What a fantastic tutorial

  2. jim morphy Avatar
    jim morphy

    i really liked it practical skills worth knowing

  3. Stanley Avatar

    Some good techniques I just learned here – thank you! I just wish Photoshop had some of Illustrators features so I don’t need to go back and forth. I can copy and paste the illustrator elements into Photoshop CC but the problem is to get Illustrator, you need the full Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Most of my students can only afford the Lightroom and Photoshop plan.

  4.  Avatar

    Nice artwork!

  5. Lileep Avatar

    Nice tutorial but sad how you have to use adobe illustrator for that trace contours thing

  6. Edward Dusenbury Avatar
    Edward Dusenbury

    What is the canvas size for step 1?

    1. Photoshop Tutorials Staff Avatar
      Photoshop Tutorials Staff

      1169×1654 pixels

      Although you can use any canvas size you like, it’s best to use something similar while following the tutorial.

  7. Joshi Avatar

    WELL DONE!! Great tutorial Niranth!

  8. Phones Photos n Tools Avatar
    Phones Photos n Tools

    who else really gets this ?

  9. Phones Photos n Tools Avatar
    Phones Photos n Tools

    totally right couldnt agree more

  10. Phones Photos n Tools Avatar
    Phones Photos n Tools

    <3 Cool post ?

  11. Phones Photos n Tools Avatar
    Phones Photos n Tools

    I agree Amazing info ?

  12. Phones Photos n Tools Avatar
    Phones Photos n Tools


  13. Bestonlinegamesnews Avatar

    Worlds best tips fan

  14. Biddut BD Avatar
    Biddut BD


    1. Phones Photos n Tools Avatar
      Phones Photos n Tools

      <3 Sweet reply

    2. Biddut Avatar


  15. Blogsizzle.com Avatar

    Really nice stuff!

    1. Bestonlinegamesnews Avatar

      Agreed Awesome !

  16. Rob Claridge Avatar
    Rob Claridge

    Can we do the same in Inkscape and Gimp?

  17. Joanna Avatar

    Really covered a lot of different techniques and new shortcuts. It’s cool seeing such seemingly “random creativity” captured and explained step by step.

    I also appreciated seeing vector art combining with textures in photoshop. Merges the gap for me that I have in my head.

    thank you!

  18. Allison Avatar

    You should add some bookmark or like buttons!!

  19.  Avatar

    this is hard as fuck

  20. CaroKaro Avatar

    Where can you find the original pictures to do this? I tried on a random picture and i got lost.

  21. Maidul Islam Avatar
    Maidul Islam

    Awesome Post. Lighting is most beautiful.Thanks for sharing such informative post its help me to know deeply Photoshop work step by step.

  22. Kati Avatar

    What a fantastic tutorial! :)
    Thank you very much!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Mike Langley Avatar
    Mike Langley

    I hate illustrator i was doing geat up until the hair i surrender…

  24. Retro poster Avatar
    Retro poster

    Oh great explanation. I have ready mate unique retro poster

  25. Joao Avatar

    im trying to do this, but i have illustrator cs6 and i cant do it :x
    What version its this?
    Anny help?

  26. Joao Avatar

    Que versão é usada no ilustrator?
    eu tenho o cs6 e não consigo :/

  27. shohel Avatar

    This Tutorials is very helpful for me.

  28. Dosea Avatar

    Waow this is cool!

  29. Luiz Avatar

    Thank you for this amazing tutorial!!

  30. Brawn smith Avatar
    Brawn smith

    Nice Work , See My Work Too ;)

  31. Kayla Avatar

    Way to challenging… yup I give up! I Rhymed!

  32. Human Avatar

    Where Can I Download PSD file?

  33. Rose McCormick Avatar
    Rose McCormick

    Fascinating!!! Got to give this a try. :)

  34. Jose Keim Avatar
    Jose Keim

    What a fantastic tutorial!

  35. Ashraf Avatar

    Nice Tutorial .. I’m loving it. Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *