Adobe Illustrator Illustration Tutorial

Tutorial: How to Create a Space Illustration Using Adobe Illustrator

How to Create a Book Cover Design

Let’s create a striking history book cover about antique war stories with the Hard to Kill Vector Pack

How to Create a Book Cover Design

Well hello there dear readers! Simon here, ready to walk you through my process to create a striking book cover with our latest vector pack release, the hard to kill vector pack. We’ll look at the pack elements, how to pick, choose, and arrange them to craft a design.

Purchase the Pack

The brief

Our role today is to create a book cover for a collection of ancient warrior stories. The collection includes stories from antique Athens and Sparta. We’ll need to have a good centerpiece graphic element, as well as include the two parts title: “Ancient warrior stories – Vol. 01: Athens & Sparta.”

Building our concept

While the pre-made designs included in the pack are striking, they don’t quite fit the intent. They are more suited for apparel applications.

We need something striking, but less focused on a lettering element, and more on a visual element. The Spartan helmet will do just fine for that.

The shield will provide a good supporting visual element to anchor the helmet in the frame.

The two circular frames elements will provide additional ornamentation.

We’ll probably add another thing here and there, to tie everything together, but these will be the core of our piece. We’ll also use League Spartan, from the League of Moveable Type, to set our title.

Oh, and for the color scheme? We’ll stick to the white/dark gray/light gray of the pack itself. It’ll challenge us to keep things efficient to maintain legibility, and impact.

Let’s get this show on the road

Step zero: document setup

We’re working on a book cover, assembled from vector elements. We’ll work in Illustrator, in a 6″x9″ format. Note that the color mode has been switched to RGB, to match the color mode of the vector assets.

Step one: background elements!

That one is easy. We need to create a rectangle in a dark gray (#231f20) that covers the whole canvas.

Step two: the warrior helmet and shield

Let’s start with the helmet. Let’s paste it at the center of our document (X: 3″, Y: 4.5″), sized at 4.5″ wide. Let’s reflect it on a vertical axis so it “looks” to the right (right click > Reflect).

Let’s remember to organize/rename our layers, and groups, right away to keep our document clean.

Let’s add the whole shield element (including pattern) into our document. It should be pasted behind the helmet, centered in the document, and sized at 4.9″ wide.

Once the shield properly in placed, we need to adjust the color of its background fill to match the color of our document’s background color (#231f20). The shape in question is the black path at the bottom of the group.

Here’s the result after a quick shot of the eyedropper tool (I).

We’re moving forward, nicely, but the shield’s pattern showing through the helmet’s open areas creates visual tensions. To remedy that, we are going to create a background fill shape by using offset path. With the helmet highlighted, let’s head to Object > Path > Offset path. The dialog box will allow us to create the shape that matches the helmet with an extra 0.25″ added to its edges. Note the round joins for a softer feel.

The function creates a new path, that is the same color than the one used a base. We need to change the color of that path to our background color as well (#231f20).

With that done, and with some layer clean-up later, this is where we’re at.

Step three: the circular frame elements

Adding these in is nothing trickier than giving them their own layer, proper size, and proper order. Let’s start with the more complex of the two, with the pointy elements.

After creating a layer for them placed below the helmet and shield one, it needs to be pasted in centered, and sized at 6.383″ wide.

The second frame is to be pasted behind the first one, centered, and sized at 7.25″ wide.

The various black areas of that second frame need to be changed to our background color (#231f20).

Step four: the text

Adding the text is a walk in the park, thanks to the type on a path tool. Let’s start by creating a centered circle with a diameter of 7.65″ in a new layer.

We’re typing our first part of the title (“ANCIENT WARRIOR STORIES”) on that circle. It’s set in white-colored League Spartan, sized 18 points tall, centered, and tracked at 250.

After creating a second circle, we can add the second part of our title (“VOL. 01: ATHENS & SPARTA”).

The issue we have is the alignment of the text object on its circular path.

The good news is that after double-clicking on the type on a path tool icon in the main toolbar…

….we get access to this option panel, that allows us to change the alignment to ascender, which in turns makes things look a lot better.

With that done, we’re almost done with our cover, as the main elements are in place.

Step five: some fluff for good measure

While our cover’s main elements are in place, the corners are slightly empty at the moment. It can give the impression that our content is floating in the middle of the page. Let’s add some corners elements to visually close the frame around the center piece. The corners of this element will do.

After ungrouping the piece/releasing the compound path, we’ll be able to select the corners in question separately from the rest.

After a bit of clean-up, and selective grouping, we obtain each individual corner element.

They should be pasted at 0.25″ in each direction of the corners, and sized at 1″ wide.

And because we’ve properly named our layers/vector objects, this is what our file organization looks like.

Step six: leveraging our texture library to add a final layer of substance to the mix

To properly wrap this piece up, we are going to add three textures to it to give it some “meat.” First, let’s save a high resolution PSD file of our piece (File > Export > Export as). Note the checked Use artboard box, to trim the elements that are outside the bounds of our canvas.

A few technical notes and reminders

As we embark on the texture side of things, it’s a good time to remember a few base rules, and processes:

  1. Don’t know what a clipped layer is? Glad you asked! This means that the layer is only visible/applies to the layer directly below it. You can very quickly do this by holding ALT down on your keyboard and clicking between the two layers. Here’s a quick demonstration.
  2. Every time we’ll work with textures, we’ll follow this simple process: place as smart object, sharpen1, desaturate, enhance contrast with levels, and modify the blending mode.
  3. Placing the textures as smart objects, and using adjustment layers to tweak them, allows us to stick to a non-destructive workflow. We’ve explored in depth the numerous pros and few cons of such a workflow in this past tutorial: “How to Use Textures The Right Way.”

Notes: 1 – accessed through the Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen menu.

Let’s start with a texture from our vintage paper texture, vol. 01 set.

The texture is vintage-paper-textures-volume-01-sbh-001.jpg.

It’s placed in our PSD file as a smart object, sized up to 165%, rotated 90°, and sharpened.

After being desaturated with a clipped hue/adjustment layer, we’ll be enhancing its contrast with a clipped levels adjustment layer.

And after changing the texture’s blending mode to soft light @ 75% opacity, we’re achieving the first part of our texture effect.

Next is a vignette. I strongly recommend using this lossless vignette technique, found via Design Panoply (#6). The color of my shape layer is our trusty dark gray, #231f20.

Note the 150 pixels feathering value.

After changing the vignette shape blending mode to soft light @ 50% opacity, our effect is achieved.

The last texture we’ll add to the piece is from our photocopy noise texture set.

The texture is the first one in the pack, photocopy-noise-textures-001-sbh.jpg.

That texture is placed centered, and sized up to 100%.

We’re using levels to make the white specks of dust really “pop.”

The result, after changing the texture’s blending mode to screen @ 100%, is quite satisfactory.

And here’s a last look at our layer palette in Photoshop.

Let’s wrap this party up!

Phew, we’re all done! Look at this cover. Let’s mock it up for the client presentation.

I hope that you enjoyed following along the tutorial as much as I enjoyed creating it, and that your outcome matches the goals you set for yourself before diving in.

Did I leave anything unclear? Any suggestions? Don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments below! I’ll be happy to help.

The hard to kill vector pack is now available! Go grab it! If you already have, I hope you enjoy it, and that this tutorial gave you a sense of what you’ll be able to accomplish with it.

Purchase the Pack

And on that note, I’ll see you next time. Cheers!

Poster Design Ideas: How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Crest of Arms vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal’s Crest of Arms vector pack

Hello GoMediaZine/Arsenal blog readers! Simon here with a new step-by-step tutorial. We will be leveraging the contents of our brand new Crest of Arms vector pack to create a poster for the release of PWR.CLRS’ first, self-titled, album. We’ll talk about inspiration, layout exploration, and execution.

Buy the Crest of Arms Vector Pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack - poster design ideas

The brief

Our framework for the tutorial is that we’ve been contracted to create a poster for up and coming musical act PWR.CLRS. The experimental musician is based in Cleveland, and produces a mix of hard-hitting electronic beats, distorted guitars, and spoken word surrealistic poetry. He’s releasing his first record, and needs to let the masses know about the fun night ahead. As we’re pressed for time, we’ll be leveraging the library of visual assets provided by the vector set to speed up our design process.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack - poster design ideas

Gathering some inspiration, and putting a concept together

Buy the Crest of Arms Vector Pack

The inspiration from this piece came from three different sources: the vector pack itself, a superb portrait bathed in neon, and wide array of album art examples.

The vector pack features a lot of clean cut, precisely drawn shapes, with careful highlights, shadows, and ornaments. The elements that immediately jumped at me were the shield shapes (actual shield, circular patterned version), the stalks, and some of the oval frames. Although all the elements are exquisitely drawn, their complex highlight and shading made them hard to mix with other elements. We’ll look at techniques to remove some of the fluff.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

The next bits of inspiration came from two photos available from the wonderful collections over at Unsplash. The first photo is this striking night portrait, taken by Alex Iby. I knew rapidly this would become my centerpiece element.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

The second photo that helped to shape the piece was this other portrait, taken by Jay Clark. The slogan on this gentleman’s shirt was the key to the band name. I started with TRVE.COLORS,  which morphed to PWR.CLRS (Power Colors).

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Lastly, the amazing library of album art through the ages hosted at Fonts In Use proved good jump-starting material.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

With the elements in hand, it became clear that the shield shapes would support, and frame, our neon portrait. A dark background featuring white text would make for increased contrast. Some additional visual elements (stalks), sprinkled with some textures would tie the whole piece together.

Additionally, we’re locating this era-defining performance at the Phantasy Nightclub in Cleveland (Lakewood), OH. The Phantasy is a special place:

Nine Inch Nails debuted at the Phantasy. The Ramones, Iggy Pop, the Pogues, the Damned, the Psychedelic Furs, the Cramps, Motorhead and the B-52s all played there. The Phantasy was also fertile soil for Cleveland’s ascending 1970s and 1980s music scenes (…)

(via this old news article)

Let’s set a date of February 28th for the performance, and indicate that tickets are available everywhere.

The execution

A few technical notes and reminders

We are going to use both Photoshop and Illustrator for this piece. Photoshop is were 99.9% of the work will happen, but Illustrator will be necessary for opening the pack’s files, and to customize the vector elements themselves.

We are going to work extensively with textures. It’s a good time to remind you guys of a few base rules, and processes:

  1. Don’t know what a clipped layer is? Glad you asked! This means that the layer is only visible/applies to the layer directly below it. You can very quickly do this by holding ALT down on your keyboard and clicking between the two layers. Here’s a quick demonstration.
  2. Every time we’ll work with textures, we’ll follow this simple process: place as smart object, sharpen1, desaturate, enhance contrast with levels, and modify the blending mode.
  3. Placing the textures as smart objects, and using adjustment layers to tweak them, allows us to stick to a non-destructive workflow. We’ve explored in depth the numerous pros and few cons of such a workflow in this past tutorial: “How to Use Textures The Right Way.”

Notes: 1 – accessed through the Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen menu.

With this in place, it’s time to get started!

Document setup

We’re working with an 18″x24″ canvas. I made mine 18.5″x24.5″, in order to work in some bleed area. I’m at 300 ppi, and using RGB, as some of the texture magic happening in the finishing touches rests on it.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Next, we’ll use the automatic guide tool (View > New guide layout) to create a grid to align our elements on. We’ll be using four columns, and eight rows. The margins are set at .25″, so the inside of our outer guides will be our 18″x24″ canvas.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Main elements: the portrait

If you haven’t yet, grab Alex’ portrait over at Unsplash.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Let’s place it as a smart object in our document. It’s sized at 22.5% of its original height and width, and its center is located at X: 9.25″, and Y: 13″.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Next, we need to change the color of the background to #231f20 (a rough equivalent to CMYK rich black).

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Main elements: the vectors

It’s time to grab the assets we’ll need from the vector pack. Let’s start by opening it in Illustrator. All of the ones we’re interested in are on that first artboard. I’ve highlighted them in red:

  • The shield
  • The “circular patterned” shield
  • The wheat stalks
  • The oval “toothed” frame

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Let’s start by copying all of these in a new, empty Illustrator document to remove some of the clutter out of the way. I suggest a sheet that is at least 8.5″x11″, and in RGB color mode (to match the PSD document). A dark background (#231f20 for instance) will also help us to see our modifications to the assets more clearly.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Next up: to copy and paste these four assets to the empty Illustrator document.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Prepping the shield

The main change we need to make is to remove all the fluff from that main shield shape. All the shading do-dads have to go. The fastest solution is to ungroup the asset (Right click > Ungroup), to manually select all of the extra elements by hand, and to erase them.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

At that point, we’re left with this neat, thick, white shield.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Next, we simply have to paste it in our Photoshop document, as a smart object. It’ll be sized 425% of its original size, and its center placed at X: 9.25″, and Y: 12.25″.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Once in place, this is what our layer stack looks like: the background, the smart object photo, and the smart object shield.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Masking the image using the shield

One of Photoshop many useful features is the ability to click on a layer thumbnail, and to load its content as a selection. Let’s click on the shield layer thumbnail while pressing the CTRL (PC) or CMD (Mac) keys to load it as our selection.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

From there, with the photo smart object highlighted in the layer palette, we can simply click on the Add layer mask shortcut at the bottom of the palette to start the masking.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Et voilà, we have a mask in place. It isn’t showing/hiding the right thing yet, but we’ll get there shortly.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

If we click on the layer mask thumbnail and press ALT/OPTION at the same time, we can have access to, and edit, its content. We’ll start by inverting the image, so it shows the proper thing.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Better, but we also need to mask the photo past the edges of the mask.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Let’s go back to our mask view (click + ALT/OPTION), and paint the outer side of the shield edge in black as well to hide the rest of our portrait.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

If you use the paint bucket to quickly fill the area, remember to use a solid paintbrush to clean the seams.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

And with that work done, the photo is properly masked!

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

A bit of extra depth

In order to give the shield around the photo a bit more visual presence, we are going to give some extra layer styles to simulate a real thickness. First, a thick stroke. It’ll be 35 pixels thick, and has the same color as the background (#231f20).

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Next, a strong drop shadow, for the illusion of depth. Note the darker color used (#202020).

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

The result is a satisfactory illusion of depth and layers.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

The circular shield

Time to add the “oval patterned” shield in the mix. After heading back to Illustrator, let’s change its color to pure white (#ffffff), then paste it as a smart object into our Photoshop document behind the photo layer.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

It’ll be sized at 550% of its original size, and positioned with its center at X: 9.25″, and Y: 12.25″. Additionally, we’ll change its blending mode to screen, to interact more with texture elements later.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

The circular, “toothy” frame

This little one needs to be adapted a bit.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

First, its color needs to be changed to all white.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Next, it needs to be pasted as a smart object between the photo, and the main shield shape. It’ll be sized at 950% of its original size, and positioned at X: 9.25″, and Y: 12.03″.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

After changing its blending mode to overlay, we get a neat secondary frame effect in place around the portrait, highlighting the face even more.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Last vector element: the wheat stalks

This last one is the finishing touch of the vector assets. It frames the overall piece, and also gives it a visual anchor within the canvas. We first need to head back to Illustrator to change their color to pure white.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Next, we’ll paste it as a smart object right above our background layer. We’ll size it at 1000% of its original size. Its blending mode will be overlay @ 50% opacity, and its center is at X: 9.25″, and Y: 12.3″.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

And all of our elements are in place! Next, we need to talk text.

Copy copy copy

The copy for the poster will be straight to the point: the name of the act, the occasion we’re summoning people to show up for, the location/date line, and the ticketing information. All spelled out, we have:

  • PWR.CLRS
  • RECORD RELEASE PARTY
  • PHANTASY NIGHTCLUB • CLEVELAND • FEB. 28TH
  • TICKETS AVAILABLE WHERE TICKETS ARE SOLD

The typeface we’ll use for our poster is a free one, and comes from the League of Moveable Type. It’s called Orbitron, and has been designed by Matt McInerney. It’ll be the one used for all of our text elements.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

PWR.CLRS is typed at 150 points tall, centered. Its center is located at X: 9.33″, and Y: 2.40″. Note that the kerning is set to optical.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

RECORD RELEASE PARTY is typed at 60 points tall, centered. Its center is located at X: 9.22″, and Y: 21.94″. The kerning is set to optical as well.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Next, PHANTASY NIGHTCLUB • CLEVELAND • FEB. 28TH / TICKETS AVAILABLE WHERE TICKETS ARE SOLD are all part of the same text object. The “/” indicates a line break. It’s written 30 points tall, and placed at X: 9.25″, and Y: 23.21″. The kerning is set to optical as well.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

And with that, all of our text elements are in place. Here’s a look at how our layers are organized up to now. Note the new Background layer group, to separate its elements from the rest.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Time for textures!

Now that everything is all well organized, it’s time to add textures. If you looked at some of my past tutorials, you already know that I LOVE textures. They help us to give substance, depth, and, well, texture, to very clean digital shapes. Luckily for us, the Arsenal has quite the library.

First up, the text

In order for the text to be more worn out, we’ll be using a texture from the Vintage Organic Noise Texture Pack. The texture in question is gma_tex_herbal-organic_09.jpg.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Remember how we used click+ALT/OPTION to edit the content of the shield’s layer mask earlier? Well it turns out that we can do much more than using brushes and the paint bucket when doing that. We can also paste the content of a texture file in that layer mask. Depending on the texture, it can make for a very rapid, and efficient way to give things a worn out aspect.

Let’s start by opening the texture in Photoshop, and copying the content of the file (CTRL/CMD+A to select everything, CTRL/CMD+C to copy).

Then, let’s add a layer mask to the Text layer group.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

By clicking+ALT/OPTION on the layer mask thumbnail, we have access to that pristine layer mask’s content.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

By pressing CTRL/CMD+V, we can paste the texture at the center of the layer.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

In order to cover the whole piece, we’ll rotate the texture clockwise 90°, and size it up to 220%.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

From there, in order to soften the intensity of the texture, we’ll use levels (CTRL/CMD+L) to fade the texture some.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

The result is this beautifully, organically worn text.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Next, the background. We’ll be using a painterly texture from the Brush Stroke Textures, Volume 02 pack. It’s brush-strokes-textures-volume-02-004-sbh.jpg.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Let’s place it dead center right above the background layer, sized at 105% so it covers the whole background.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Remember the technical notes from earlier? Don’t forget to sharpen the texture smart object (Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen).

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

After using a clipped hue/saturation to desaturate the texture layer, we’ll be using a clipped levels adjustment layer to enhance its contrast.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Lastly for the background, we just need to change the blending mode to soft light @ 35% opacity for our effect.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

With that our background is fully textured. Time to move on to texturing the piece as a whole, to tie everything together.

Texturing the full piece

The first texture we’ll use for the piece as a whole is from the Vintage Organic Noise Texture Pack again. It’s gma_tex_herbal-organic_07.jpg.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

We’ll place that texture centered in the frame, and rotate it counterclockwise 90°.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

It’s sized up to cover the whole piece, at 55%.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

After sharpening the texture, we can simply change its blending mode to color burn @ 35% opacity. There’s no need to desaturate it, as it’s already a black and white texture.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

In order to add some highlight at the top of the poster, we’ll then add gma_tex_herbal-organic_03.jpg in the piece.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

This one is rotated 90° clockwise, and also sized up at 55% to cover the whole piece.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

After sharpening, we can change its blending mode to soft light @ 25% opacity.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

To add a hair of film noise, we’ll use GoMediaArsenal_FilmNoise_05.jpg from the film texture pack.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

This texture needs to be rotated clockwise 90°, and sized up 2100% to fill the whole piece.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Once we have used a clipped hue/saturation layer to desaturate the texture, we need a clipped levels adjustment layer to enhance the texture’s details.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

With that done, we just need to change the texture’s blending mode to screen @ 35% opacity.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

With that, we’re almost done. Here are what our layers should look like at this stage:

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Finishing touches

The last bit of stuff we need to do to this poster to wrap things up is to add a little bit of a halftone effect. Let’s start by making a merged copy of all the layers so far, by using the keyboard shortcut CTRL/CMD+SHIFT+ALT/OPTION+E. This will create a new layer at the top of our stack.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack - poster design ideas

Let’s rename it to Halftones.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

After that, we have to turn it into a smart object. With the layer highlighted, head to Filter > Convert for smart filters.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

With that done, we can head to Filter > Pixelate > Color halftone. Note the value of the Max. Radius, up to 10, from the default value of 8.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

The cool thing with smart filters is that the layer has a blending mode, and the filter itself has one as well. What that means is that we can make the effect even more subtle and believable. Let’s start by assigning the halftone filter a blending mode of overlay @ 100% opacity. To do this, let’s double click on the double arrow icon on the right-hand side of the layer thumbnail.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

We then get access to this drop down menu to choose the blending mode.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

From there, we can change the blending mode of the layer itself to lighter color @ 35% opacity.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

If everything went according to plan, this is what the layer stack should look like.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Additionally, here are a couple of detail shots @ 100% zoom.

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

And here are some close-ups:

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

And finally a full view of the final piece:

How to easily create a record release promo poster with the Arsenal's Fistful vector pack

Wrapping things up

Phew, that was a long one! I hope that you enjoyed following along the tutorial as much as I enjoyed creating it, and that your outcome matches the goals you set for yourself before diving in. Did I leave anything unclear? Any suggestions? Don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments below! I’ll be happy to help.

The Crest of Arm vector pack is now available! Go grab it! If you already have, I hope you enjoy it, and that this tutorial gave you a sense of what you’ll be able to accomplish with it.

Buy the Crest of Arms Vector Pack

And on that note, I’ll see you next time. Cheers!

How to Use Vector Textures

Tutorial: How to Use Vector Textures in Adobe Illustrator to Distress Your Logo/Design

Working with Photoshop's Quick Mask Mode

Introducing our newest Video Tutorial: Working with Photoshop’s Quick Mask Mode

Working with Photoshop’s Quick Mask Mode

Go Media’s Arsenal proudly announces the release of a brand new video tutorial, “Digitizing Your Illustrations with the Quick Mask Mode in Photoshop.”

In this video tutorial, Go Media’s Lindsey Meisterheim will be using a kind line illustration to show you how to work with the quick mask mode in Photoshop.

This tutorial will show you how this versatile tool was a key element in ensuring her one of a kind illustration maintained a realistic, hand-drawn look (as if it was drawn right in Photoshop).

Lindsey will take you step-by-step through her process. This includes how she:

  • got the inspiration for her unique, almost child-like drawing
  • used the quick mask mode to achieve the look you see above (shapes built upon shapes without losing their integrity/color)
  • added the watercolor/wash effect
  • chose the color for her piece
  • and more!

Lindsey will show how she uses this versatile tool to refine her selection and maintain the integrity of the illustration she has created so that it appears as if it was drawn right in Photoshop.

Follow along with Lindsey as she moves through the tutorial. The 10 Indian Ink Washes we included will aid you in your journey.

Tutorial length: 35 minutes

Purchase the Tutorial

WordPress Hacks and Blogging Tips for Newbies

11 WordPress Hacks and Blogging Tips for Newbies

Tools you can use today:

In order to successfully navigate WordPress and reap its rewards, we all need to put the time in. After all, nothing compares to a little patience and perseverance when coming to understand this powerful CMS.

But once you’ve laid the groundwork, there are some WordPress hacks and blogging tips to kick your productivity into overdrive. We’re sharing eleven of them with you today. Enjoy!

Hack 1: Insert Link Shortcut

For years, when I wanted to insert a link, I would highlight my text, head up to the menu bar and right-click on the link option to select the text I wanted to link. Sounds easy enough, right?

Well, there’s an easier option.

When you’d like to insert your link, simply highlight your text and press CTRL + k (on PC) or CMD + k (on MAC) and poof! You’re linked!

Hack 2: Adding Images

Adding media through the “add media” option is an extra step that can be avoided now that WordPress allows us to drop images straight into the post! Having said that, please make sure you have captioned the image and included an alt text, too. Google (and your SEO check) will thank you.

Tip 3: Using free resources.

There are a ton of free resources that bloggers can use when stocking their website with quality content. Photo and other free materials can be found on sites like Unsplash, Pixabay, Pexels, StockSnap.io, and the Arsenal.

Tip 4: Grammer check.

The Google extension Grammarly is immensely helpful when checking grammar within WordPress. It’s an easy install and will aid you in looking like a grammar snob. (We think that’s a good thing!)

Hack 5: Internal Link Discovery

Want to link past content to the blog post you’re currently putting together? It’s easier than you might have previously thought. Simply highlight the story you’re looking back upon, click on the link options wheel, and search for the past content under “or link to existing content.”

Choose the content you want to link to and you’re done!

Done: Introducing our Watercolor Alphabet Font Texture Pack!

Hack 6: Heading Shortcuts

If you’re sick of pulling the heading option bar down each and everytime you want to change your heading from paragraph to Heading 1 to Heading 2 and so forth, simply learn your heading shortcuts:

Shift + Alt + 7 = Paragraph
Shift + Alt + 1 = Heading 1
Shift + Alt + 1 = Heading 2
Shift + Alt + 1 = Heading 3
Shift + Alt + 1 = Heading 4
Shift + Alt + 1 = Heading 5
Shift + Alt + 1 = Heading 6

Hack 7: Single Line Break

Hate the double-line spacing WordPress forces upon you when starting a new section, paragraph or bulleted item? Simply use the Shift + Enter shortcut in one of these cases and…
Ta-Da! You’ve moved down one single space. I don’t know about you, but my world has been rocked.

Test with Enter >

Ugh

Test with Shift + Enter
Yay!

Tip 8: Page Analytics

Get a sense of how visitors are interacting with your blog/website when you download the Page Analytics extension for Chrome. It takes a few seconds to install, and is easy to pop open/hide when you’re in the mood.

Hack 9: Get to work without returning to the post editor

If you’ve exited the post editor and are instead taking a glance at your post in the real world, you can easily make edits, add a new post, new media and more via the drop-downs in the menu bar above the post. (Don’t see the menu bar above your post? You’re likely not logged in anymore.)

Tip 10: Click to tweet

Want to highlight a cool quote that one of your interviewees said? Download a plugin like Click to Tweet so that you can easily post it on any blog post like this:

[Tweet “”That one really cool thing that that one person said.” – That gal”]

No, we weren’t sponsored. We just really love this feature.

Hack 11: Creating Multiple Pages

Have a long post you’d like to split into multiple pages? Enter the “text” mode of your article in order to split it up into sections. Decide where you’d like to break your text. Enter “<!–nextpage–>” here.

Here is what will result >>>

Your content here

How to Create a Rainbow Effect in Photoshop

How to Create a Rainbow Effect in Photoshop (Freebie Included)

How to Create a Rainbow Effect in Photoshop

Hello Everybody!

It’s 2017 and this year, I don’t know about you, but I’m resolving to settle into my skin more than ever. This means saying “yes” to life more often, saying “no” when I’m really not feeling it and letting my true self come forward, even when I feel like I don’t fit in. I’m going to be myself fully. Unless I have the opportunity to be a unicorn. Then, I’m going to do that.

I’m really excited to announce that we’ve just released a very special texture pack called Glow. It gives you the opportunity to add very special rainbow effects to photos and designs, primarily colorful light leak and vintage effects that will breathe new life into or enhance what is already pretty darn cool. We’re providing you with 45 effects that we handcrafted here in house. We know you’ll love them.

Buy GLOW

Curious to know how we created these ombre effects?

Well today is your lucky today, because we are going to create a special one just for this mini-tutorial. You can download it here >> Magical Rainbow Overlay

Now, onto how we made it.

STEP ONE:  Start a new document with a transparent background, sized 4235 x 2927. Select your color picker and choose your first color. Since we’re making a rainbow effect for this tutorial, we’re going to select a red tone #b62528. Using a large brush, simply paint your canvas to your liking. Try something a little different than ours! Don’t worry too much about perfection here.

Untitled-3

STEP TWO:  Next, head to FILTER > BLUR > GAUSSIAN BLUR. Choose a radius of 250 pixels. Press OK.

2

STEP THREE: Shift + Ctrl + N to create a new layer. Drag this layer beneath your first layer. Use your color picker and select for our next layer (orange). Paint with the orange, then repeat the blurring process found in step two. You’ll want to make sure that you paint some orange beneath the red so that they overlap a bit.

Untitled-4

STEP FOUR: Repeat this entire process with yellow (#FFFF00), green (#008000), blue (#0000FF), indigo (#4b0082) and whichever colors that tickle your fancy, remembering to use a new layer for each color. (New layers should be added beneath older layers.)

Untitled-5

STEP FOUR: Select all of our layers, then right click on your mouse > Select > Merge Layers. If you plan on using this as a background in addition to an overlay, I would suggest adding a solid color background to your image as I’ve done below. (Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color)

3

To finish up, merge those layers together and name your file.

STEP FIVE: Next, File > Place your image into your document. Drag your image beneath your overlay.

4

STEP SIX: Now comes the fun part! Choose Layer > Layer Style > Blending Options (or the drop-down shortcut in your layers panel) and play with the options to get the effect you’re after. To get this effect, I chose  the Color Burn blending mode. You can also stack the textures atop one another to really get a unique look. Have fun with it!

unicorn-2

Buy GLOW

Creating your own coloring book using Photoshop

Design Tip of the Day: Creating your own Coloring Book in Photoshop

Creating your own coloring book using Photoshop >

It’s time for the holidays! That means lots of relaxation time, including time spent curled up by the fire. If you’re like me, it’s hard to keep still when all you want to do is create all the time. This is where coloring books come in. They’re perfect for cold winter nights when you need to keep yourself busy without going into full work mode. 

Using Crumpled Paper Textures to Pimp out your Hang in There Cat Poster (Freebie Included!)

Text Portrait Poster

PS Tutorial: Create a text portrait poster based on your favorite book (Free mockup included)

How to Create a Handwritten Font

How to Create Your Own Handwritten Font (in 30 minutes or less)

New Website Speed Tracker Gives Small Firms an Edge

Speed is a known killer on the highway. But on the “information superhighway,” if your website speed is lagging, you are killing your conversions.

Google, notoriously tight-lipped about it’s page-ranking algorithm, has flat-out said that website speed is one critical factor. It’s estimated half of users will abandon a site that takes any longer than 10 seconds to load. That bounce rate continues to climb as the seconds tick by. So if you want your site to show up at the top of the search results pile, your website speed better slay.

Now, Google has some good news: The unveiling of a new tool that grants users the ability to quickly and easily track their website speed. Google’s website speed tool (which doesn’t have a name, but is powered by PageSpeed Insights) invites users to find out how well their site works across mobile and desktop devices.

It’s a great feature because it doesn’t require a ton of technical knowledge to understand how well – or poorly – your website is performing. And it’s almost instantaneous. Results are returned within a minute or so.

Our Cleveland web developers know there are a host of factors that can impact a site’s speediness. It could be the failure to optimize images or leverage browser caching. It often comes down to whether it’s properly developed and designed for responsiveness across platforms. If your website speed performs poorly on laptops, smartphones, iPads and/ or desk tops, your search engine optimization (SEO) ranking is going to suffer.

But it’s not always easy to know what your website speed is or, if there is a problem, how to fix it. That’s why this tool is so fantastic. It gives small business owners an easy way to check and see if their website speed – or lack thereof – is holding them back.

The tool measures:

  • Mobile Friendliness – Quality of customer experience when browsing your site from their phone.
  • Mobile Speed – How long it takes your site to load on mobile devices.
  • Desktop Speed – How long it takes the site to load on desktop computers. (Contrary to popular belief, this is not just determined by the user’s web connection strength, but also by components of your website).

So why go to the trouble? Because your customers live online. This is true of almost every industry under the sun. When they want or need information – including finding a brick-and-motor store nearby – they are almost always going to check their nearest digital device first.

A 2013 study on internet trends revealed people check their mobile devices 150 times a day! The majority of these searches occur on mobile phones, as opposed to desktop computers. As a 2012 Google study on “What Users Want Most From Mobile Sites Today” revealed, potential customers are five times more likely to leave a site that is not easy to use (over one that is) – even if they are interested in the advertised product or service.

That means the moment a visitor lands on your site using their smartphone is a critical one. You have to capture them fast. Of course, that means having a beautiful site and interesting content. But they’ll never get there unless your website speed is swift.

Google recommends that if your site is lagging in website speed, you should turn over the free report it generates to your web developer. Go Media’s Cleveland web development team is looking forward to helping you identify strategies to address the issues you uncover – up to and including building a new website that incorporates responsive web design.

To learn more about our Cleveland web development and website design services, call Go Media at 216.939.0000 or contact us online.

How important is photo selection

Photography: An Essential Element of Your New Website Design

Professional photography and brand imagery are among the best tools in the box when it comes to communicating a sense of purpose, place and personality on your website.

Sure, layout is important. Typography is essential. But customers looking at your new website design want to SEE what you are about. They want a window into the action. They want to witness the results. Strong brand imagery and powerful photography can be essential to telling the story of you and your firm.

The Cleveland website design team at Go Media recognizes the powerful influence of photography. That’s why we work closely with professional photographers who will capture your staff, product, service or experience in the perfect light.

Too often, we’ve seen people make the mistake of using amateur photography or ill-chosen stock photos. That’s unfortunate. It does those companies a great disservice because we live in such a visually-rich world. Mediocre images devalue your products and services because they just don’t tell the right story. It’s true that pictures can speak 1,000 words, but the wrong picture says only, “What were they thinking?!”

go media photo selection experts

If you invest the time and energy into new website design, but don’t invest in quality images, your page could suffer.

For example, the director of an investment management firm will quickly turn off potential clients with a head shot that looks more like a cell phone “selfie.” Similarly, lawyers want their images to convey professionalism, intelligence and trust. But that same approach would be too stiff and boring for the captain of a charter boat company.

A sharp, creative photographer can help capture what makes you and your firm special. The goal is to accurately display your brand personality in a way that compliments the overall website design.

In a society where so much commerce and connection happens online, quality photographs are one of the only ways to offer clients or customers a glimpse of what you’re offering.

People are going to notice immediately when the images in your new website design are engaging and strike the right tone.

piles of photographs selected by Go Media

An imagery consultation with a skilled corporate photographer can help determine the kind of look that’s going to best serve the company. You’ll probably start by narrowing it down. Do you want to primarily showcase:

  • People
  • Products
  • Scenes
  • Metaphorical shots

From there, our team art director will work closely with the professional photographer to discuss lighting, background, colors and point-of-view so there is a calculated cohesion across images. All this serves to clearly deliver your message that will compliment your website design.

It’s important to point out too: “Consistency” does not equal “same.” This is not about putting a different version of essentially the same photo up on every page of your small business website. It’s about defining the image style so there are easily recognizable similarities that tell the story you want.

Team photography is used often in corporate branding, and it’s a good way to give people an intimate sense of the company culture. A side benefit is it can be a great way to attract new talent. More and more, companies are branching out with these “team shots” and trying non-traditional locations. This can be amazing – but it has to be the right tone for the company. Your photographer and art director can help you decide.

great grgaphic design starts with great photography

The library of images created can then be used in a host of materials, including:

  • Websites
  • Brochures
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print advertisements
  • Internal relations material

An investment in the services of a Cleveland corporate photographer vetted by Go Media’s branding and website design experts is an opportunity to showcase your accomplishments and potential. It’s also likely to help you edge out the competition.

To learn more about our Cleveland corporate professional photographer services, call Go Media at 216.939.0000 or contact us online.

how to use vector graphics in illustrator

Tutorial: How to Use Vector Graphics to Create a Repeating Pattern in Illustrator

Tutorial: How to Create Watercolor Brushes in AI

Photoshop Abstract Texture Tutorial

Getting our 1980s and VHS tape on with Dustin Schmieding’s cosmic fractal storm texture pack!

Introducing the cosmic fractal storm texture pack

Hello everyone! It’s Simon again on this end of the keyboard. I’m returning for another tutorial, and boy, do we have a treat this week. Dustin Schmieding gifted us with yet another fantastic texture pack, the cosmic fractal storm texture collection.

1

The set is composed of three-dimensional scenes, resembling cloud formations, or landscapes. Each texture is 4,000×2,700 pixels @ 150 ppi. This gives us plenty of pixels to work with, even for big size print applications (posters, flyers, and more).

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

DOWNLOAD THE COSMIC FRACTAL STORM TEXTURE COLLECTION

Arsenal Members, you get this pack at no extra charge! (Feels like your birthday, doesn’t it?)

Using the pack: let’s play!

These assets are at home in a variety of contexts. They can be used as stand-alone assets, as background elements, as textures… We will explore some of these uses while we embark on the creation of a poster for a (fake) EDM event called Magnetic Fields.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

The tutorial will have us explore tips and tricks to recreate a “VHS-like” effect, for all that analog glitch goodness.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

We’ll use primarily Photoshop for this tutorial, as manipulating textures is easier with it, and because we won’t engage in complex type manipulation.

How to create a cute robot children book cover with Justin Will's hand drawn Sci-Fi vectors!

We are going to work extensively with textures. It’s a good time to remind you guys of a few base rules, and processes:

  1. Don’t know what a clipped layer is? Glad you asked! This means that the layer is only visible/applies to the layer directly below it. You can very quickly do this by holding ALT down on your keyboard and clicking between the two layers. Here’s a quick demonstration.
  2. Every time we’ll work with textures, we’ll follow this simple process: place as smart object, sharpen1, desaturate, enhance contrast with levels, and modify the blending mode.
  3. Placing the textures as smart objects, and using adjustment layers to tweak them, allows us to stick to a non-destructive workflow. We’ve explored in depth the numerous pros and few cons of such a workflow in this past tutorial: “How to Use Textures The Right Way.”

Notes: 1 – accessed through the Filter > Sharpen > Sharpen menu.

With this in place, it’s time to get started!

The concept

As hinted at during our walk-through of the product, these textures feature digital “landscapes” that make no mysteries about how they have been generated. In order to stick to the theme, we are going to give this poster a “Lo-Fi,” CRT-like screen effect. Think of VHS artifacts: scan lines, slight warps, etc.

The concert is being branded as Magnetic Fields, and will take place at the Tate Modern gallery in London, and more specifically in the Turbine Hall. It’s a beautiful industrial space, and hosted a Kraftwerk performance in the past. It’s perfectly fitting.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

(Images via Tate.org/Marcus Leith/Tate Photography – © all rights reserved)

We’ll split our document in two columns to fit all the text (one side main event announcements, one side for the band names). The copy will read “Magnetic Field – 02.06.16 – Tate Modern – Turbine Hall – London, UK,” “Performances by chp_tnes – nu_drds – cbalt – qwerty – & lw_ram,” and “Tickets & information at www.magneticfields.com.”

The two typefaces we’ll use for the poster are League Gothic, and Droid Serif. They are both free for commercial use, so grabbing them is a no-brainer. They even feature an extended set of weights, for even more flexibility.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

All of our band names are inspired by electronics/robotics/computer science jargon:

  • chp_tnes (chiptunes)
  • nu_drds (new droids)
  • cbalt (cobalt)
  • qwerty (look at your keyboard)
  • lw_ram (low RAM)

The event is to take place on February 06th, 2016.

Photoshop Abstract Texture Tutorial

Document setup

Even though our event will take place in the United Kingdom, we will use an 18″x24″ canvas. Designers in the UK would typically use ISO paper sizes, like pretty much the rest of the world. Let’s just say that the performing acts all come from the USA, and that the poster is put together by an American concert promoter.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

As mentioned before, we’ll split our canvas in columns, three to be exact. We’ll also mark a one inch security margin around the edges of our poster. Photoshop CC’s New Guide Layout feature is priceless to generate these rapidly (View > New guide layout).

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Note: if you don’t have the CC version of Photoshop, you can leverage the power of GuideGuide to accomplish the grid-related tasks quickly. The current version isn’t free, but older versions are.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

With the preparation work done, we can finally start to tackle the real thing.

The background

The background will be the base for our VHS effect. The first asset we need is GoMediaArsenal-CosmicFractalStorm-03.jpg, from Dustin’s texture pack.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

It needs to be placed as a smart object at X: 0.5″, and Y:12″, scaled up to 135%, and sharpened (Filters > Sharpen > Sharpen).

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Once in place, it looks like this.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Starting the magic

The VHS-like effect that we will create in a few steps rests on the power of levels, and of blending modes. First, we need three copies of our texture smart object.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Using clipped levels adjustment layers, we are going to “kill” the output of selective color ranges for each of the copies. Let’s start with GoMediaArsenal-CosmicFractalStorm-03 copy. Using the clipped levels adjustment layer, we are going to change the output of blue hues to zero. This will result in a layer turning to yellow hues. Pro tip: note that the additional copies have been hidden for clarity each time.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Using the same technique, the second copy GoMediaArsenal-CosmicFractalStorm-03 copy 2 will see its greens disappear, leaving us with a set of saturated purples.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Finally, we’ll get rid of the reds on GoMediaArsenal-CosmicFractalStorm-03 copy 3.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

With that done, here’s our layer stack so far.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Next, we are going to create a few layer groups: one is for the copies and their adjustment layers, the other one for the background elements in general.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Now, we are going to change the blending mode of each copies to exclusion @ 100% opacity (the copies only – not their adjustment layers!).

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

The result is slightly underwhelming at the moment, but we are going to address that shortly.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Out-of-synchronization frames, part one

Next, we need to carefully offset each of the copies from the original smart object. For instance, instead of GoMediaArsenal-CosmicFractalStorm-03 copy being positioned at X: 0.5″, and Y:12″, it should be positioned at X: 0.55″, and Y:12.1″.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

GoMediaArsenal-CosmicFractalStorm-03 copy 2 can go from its original spot to X: 0.495″, and Y:11.95″.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Finally, GoMediaArsenal-CosmicFractalStorm-03 copy 3 can migrate to X: 0.485″, and Y:11.97″.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

The effect is taking shape: we just established the basis for out-of-synchronization frames, or tape damage. To make things more legible, we are going to lower the opacity of the copies to 50%.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Out-of-synchronization frames, part two

To make the effect more believable, we are going to alter a portion of it. Let’s start by creating a merged copy of everything so far (CTRL/CMD+ALT/OPTION+SHIFT+E), at the top of our layer stack. The generated layer should be called Shear.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

We are now going to apply a shear filter to it (Filter > Distort > Shear). The effect is controlled through the small curve in the effect window. Clicking on the grid adds controls points (but no handles). Holding ALT/OPTIONS allows you to reset the manipulation. Wrap around loops disappearing image parts on the opposite side of the canvas. Repeat edge pixels stretches the pixels at the limit of the canvas to the image’s edges.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

After creating a curve directed to the bottom right corner of the canvas, our result is pretty dramatic.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Using our guides, we are going to create selections that we’ll use to mask parts of the sheared layer.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

With the selections active, we can head to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal selection.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

With that done, we can change the blending mode of the Shear layer to color dodge @ 35% opacity.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Additional touches

To complement the effect, we are going to add some thin horizontal lines at the edges of our selections. These lines will each be 1 point thick, run the full width of the poster, be colored in 50% gray (#808080), and perfectly aligned with the edges of the visible parts of the Shear layer. These lines should be created with either the pen tool (P), or with the line tool (U).

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

The settings options offered by Photoshop CC 2016 allows to customize the stroke. It should be noted that aligning the stroke to the outside produces the best result.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Once one of the lines is created, it can be duplicated and positioned to the appropriate locations.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Once in place, the lines’ blending mode can be changed to screen @ 25% opacity.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

And after some layer organization, our background layers start resembling something.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Icing on the cake

Because our background needs to not compete with our type elements later, we are going to darken it. We’ll use a levels adjustment layer for that.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

After one last look at the layer stack, we’re ready to move onto type!

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Type

The foundations

Now that our background is in place, we can start shaping our text blocks. The first one is the main one: “MAGNETIC FIELDS / 02.06.16 / TATE MODERN / TURBINE HALL / LONDON, UK.”

The type is set in League Gothic Condensed, that is 300 points tall, with a line spacing of 272 points, colored in white, and with kerning set to optical. These settings make the copy fit the two left columns of the grid, leaving the right column for the additional information blocks.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

The next block is “Performances by // chp_tnes / nu_drds / cbalt / qwerty / & lw_ram.” The type is set in Droid Serif Bold, that is 54 points tall, aligned to the right, colored in white, and with kerning set to metric. These settings make the text block fit snugly in the top right corner of the poster.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

The third and last text block is for the miscellaneous information: “Tickets & information at www.magneticfields.com.” It is set in Droid Serif Bold, that is 30 points tall, aligned to the right, colored in white, and with kerning set to metric. These settings make the text block fit snugly in the bottom right corner of the poster.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

The result is interesting, but it lacks depth.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

In order to address that, we are going to replicate the VHS effect we gave the background to the main type block. Let’s start by creating three copies of the type element.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Instead of using levels adjustment layers, we are going to assign hues directly to each type elements. This works because the type is a solid color object, as opposed to the visually complex texture we applied the effect to earlier.

The bottom copy, MAGNETIC FIELDS 02.06.16 TATE MODERN TURBINE HALL LONDON, UK copy 3, should be assigned the base blue color #0000ff.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

The middle copy, MAGNETIC FIELDS 02.06.16 TATE MODERN TURBINE HALL LONDON, UK copy 2, should be assigned the base red color #ff0000.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

The top copy, MAGNETIC FIELDS 02.06.16 TATE MODERN TURBINE HALL LONDON, UK copy, should be assigned the base green color #00ff00.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

The top text element (the original one) should stay white.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

From there, we can change the blending mode of the three copies to exclusion @ 100% opacity, and of the original element to overlay @ 100% opacity.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Now, in order to complete the effect, we simply have to offset the three copies in separate directions, using the arrow keys on our keyboard.Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

And with that done, we can move on to the last step: textures. Below is a look at our layer stack so far.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Textures!

Things to grab

Before we get moving, here are three assets to grab. They are all free. The first one is photocopy by clarisaponcedeleon, via DeviantArt.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

The second is Film texture – grain explosion by JakezDaniel, on DeviantArt.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

The third texture is vintage-paper-textures-volume-01-sbh-005, from the Vintage Paper Textures, Volume 1 set. It was made available through the “cute robot” book cover tutorial freebies.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

DOWNLOAD THE CUTE ROBOT TUTORIAL FREEBIE ARCHIVE

The last asset is this pattern tile, that we’ll use for scan lines. You should download it by right-clicking on it, and using the Save image at menu.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Putting things in place

The first texture we’ll use is the film noise texture, film_texture___grain_explosion_by_jakezdaniel-d37pwfa.jpg.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

It needs to be placed centered in the canvas, rotated of 90° clockwise, and scaled down to 80% so it covers the whole piece.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

From there, we can change its blending mode to color dodge @ 15% opacity.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

The next texture is the scanline pattern. Let’s open the file.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

With the file open, we need to head to Edit > Define pattern. This will ask us to name it, and to validate. Once that is done, our pattern will be ready to use in our piece. Let’s close the pattern, and head back to our main file.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Back in the main file, let’s create a new, empty layer at the top of our layer stack.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

We are going to apply the pattern using a layer style. First, we need to fill our layer with a solid color. Which one won’t matter, it is just to make sure the effect shows up. 50% gray is a good default choice in these cases (#808080).

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Next, we can open up our layer style palette by double-clicking on the layer thumbnail in the layer panel.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Let’s navigate to the pattern overlay section. It’s a simple interface. We can control the pattern tile roughly the same way we can control a layer: blending mode, opacity, scale, etc.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Let’s use the drop-down menu to select our scanline pattern.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Finally, we can dramatically scale the pattern up to make sure the lines are visible (900%).

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Our pattern is applied, but we need to give it an additional touch for more veracity. Let’s convert the layer to a smart object (Filters > Convert to smart filters).

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Next, let’s assign a 2 pixels gaussian blur to the pattern layer/smart object (Filter > Blur > Gaussian blur).

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Finally, let’s change the blending mode to overlay @ 10% opacity.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

With the scanlines in place, we can move to a slight color alteration. We are going to use a gradient overlay for it. Just like before, we’ll need a layer filled with 50% gray (#808080).

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Next, we are going to change the layer’s fill to 0%. This allows to hide the layer’s pixels (the gray), but to let any effects applied through the layer style panel to shine through.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Let’s open the gradient overlay side of the panel.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

In the gradient drop down menu, let’s select the spectrum gradient.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Let’s change the blending mode of the gradient to overlay @ 15% opacity, and change the angle to -50°.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

This gives us a nice added depth to the colors of the piece.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

The next to last texture is vintage-paper-textures-volume-01-sbh-005.jpg, from the cute robot tutorial freebie archive.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

It needs to be placed centered in the canvas, rotated of 90°, and scaled up to 440%.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Blending mode: soft light @ 25% opacity.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

The last texture is photocopy_by_clarisaponcedeleon.jpg.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

This one needs to be centered in the canvas, and slightly distorted (width: 212%, and height: 208%).

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Levels adjustments.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Blending mode: soft light @ 75% opacity.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

And with that, our piece is complete! After a last go at organizing our layers, here’s the full layer stack.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Wrapping things up!

Phew, that was a long one! I hope that you enjoyed following along with the tutorial as much as I enjoyed creating it, and that your outcome matches the goals you set for yourself before diving in.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Did I leave anything unclear? Any suggestions? Don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments below! I’ll be happy to help out.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

We’d love to see your tutorial outcomes! Please share them with us on the Go Media Facebook page, or on Twitter at @go_media.

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

And finally, I hope that this gave you a preview of the cool things you can achieve with the cosmic fractal storm texture pack, by Dustin Schmieding. The pack is available for download now!

Cosmic Fractal Storm Textures Exploration Tutorial

On that note, that’s all for me today. Until next time, cheers!