Photoshop TutorialsSpecial EffectsUpdated

How to Create a Colorful Retro Poster in Easy Steps

Step 13

Now double click on your flattened layer to open up the layer styles, and jump down to gradient. We’re going to do a rainbow gradient so create something similar by just choosing basic a basic red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple and place them however you choose.


Step 14

As soon as your satisfied with your gradient, duplicate the layer with all the styles and simply drag it downwards a tad.


Step 15

Duplicate the layer you just moved down (total of 3 “V” shape layers now) and on this duplicate, set the blending mode to “soft light” Now you’ll start to see some highlighed areas.


Step 16

Duplicate the top layer that you just put in screen mode. Remove the layer styles, we just want it to be white. Now set the layer blending mode to “Linear Dodge” or “Add”. Now you should see major highlights like below.


Step 17

The highlighting is very intense though, so we need to take it down a notch. We’ll do this by making a layer mask on the layer set to “Add” mode. Create a mask by clicking the mask button in the layers menu and using a large soft brush with a lowered opacity, perhaps somewhere around 25%, paint blotches here and there similar to this pattern below. This just makes the light look more random.


Step 18

Now that the highlighting from the “Add” layer has been taken down a peg, you should see something like this. With bits and pieces of highlighting here and there. We want something kinda random so it looks like it’s shiny and reflecting light. The shininess is a typical retro style effect.


Step 19

Duplicate the “Add” V-shape layer and set it’s blending mode to “Overlay”. Now invert the color from white to black. We’re starting to give the shape a color contrast in the shadows now instead of the highlights.


Step 20

Duplicate the top “V” layer once more and set the blending mode to “normal”. Then set the opacity down to 50% or so.


Step 21

Duplicate the top layer once more keeping the blending mode at “normal” and set the opacity at 100%. Don’t be alarmed if a lot of the image has been blacked out at this point, we’ll bring back some of it in the next steps. BUT: if it is completely black right now, we have problems, you’ll need to play with your black “V” shape layers so that you see some color “V” layers underneath them.


Step 22

Now it’s time for the lens flares… another trademark look of the retro style. Create a new layer on top of everything else, and fill it completely with black. Then take your lens flare brush and get it to an appropriate size and place a lens flare on the canvas where it will be overtop of the “V” shape. You only want to be placing flares on your shape, but you’ll be able to move them around later.


Step 23

Now create a new layer and taking your marque tool, select a rectangular area on the top or bottom half (it doesn’t matter which) of your flare. We’re going to make a flare “burst”.


Step 24

Taking a large soft brush, but not too large that it’s bigger than your rectangular selection, create a white half circle like so.


About author

Thanks for reading, I hope you had fun following along, and I encourage you to get creative with it and make it your own. Please look for more of my tutorials as well as my own website, You can also follow me on Facebook to stay up to date with me and suggest tutorials. Thanks again!
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