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Tutorial: Creating a movie poster

Final imageThis is a continuation of the Movie Poster Tutorial.

We're going to start by adding text, using a free font found on the internet. If you have not already downloaded this font, please download it from this link:TheGodfather-v2.ttf 1. Now, we need to add text, a graphic element, a border, and a masking effect.

For information about installing fonts, see

Set up your text

Using the Text Tool text tool, select the Font that you've installed (The Godfather), and add some text to the corner of your image. You can adjust the size and position of the text until it looks the way that you want. I adjusted the leading (line spacing) for this font as well. You can adjust line spacing, letter spacing, and many other font properties by opening Photoshop's Character Panel (Window > Character).

New File Dialogue

Add the graphic above the text

The movie poster that we are mimicking has a very iconic graphic element: the puppet strings held above the text. The font that we are using actually has a version of this image built in, but we will need to modify it.

Create a new text layer by clicking the text tool on the canvas, somewhere away from your existing text. Type the Asterisk (*) character using The Godfather font, and you will see the graphic that we needed:

Hand GraphicMove graphic

You can reposition this new icon over your text, but you will notice that it doesn't quite work--the strings don't touch the tops of the letters the way they should. We will fix that next.

Modify the shape of characters in a text layer

To edit the appearance of any text layer, we must convert it into an editable shape. All that you need to do is right-click on your text layer and choose "Convert to Shape." Once this is done, we can modify the appearance of this new shape object using the Direct Selection tool.

Convert to Shape

Navigate to your Paths Panel and select the path labeled "Vector Mask." This mask defines the shape of the object that we want to edit. Then, click on your shape object to reveal its control points, and modify the graphic until it looks the way you want it to appear. Below is an example:

Editing shapes can get a bit complicated, but for this project,
you will only need to select the points at the bottom of each line and move them downwards.
Editing the shape

Add a border around the image

Instead of simply drawing a series of lines around the outside of the image, we'll use Layer Styles to make a quick, easily adjustable border.

Start by drawing a rectangle that covers most of your image. It can be any color--it's going to be invisible when we finish. I've drawn one in orange below so that it's easy to see what I am doing.

Add a rectangle

Navigate to Layer > Layer Style > Blending Options... and set the Fill Opacity to 0%. Leave the General Blending Opacity at 100%. This will cause the contents of the layer (the orange box) to disappear.

Blending Options

Next, click on the word "Stroke" to add a border around the outside of the layer. You can adjust the width, color, and position as needed. Click Ok when you're done.

Stroke around a poster

Masking the until done

At this point, all of the graphical elements are in place, but we are not quite done. The border is intersecting with the text, the goat image extends over the border, and the rose, which should be red, is still black. All of these can be corrected with layer masking techniques.

We'll start with the text area:

  1. Add a layer mask to the border layer (Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal All).
  2. Make a rectangular selection around the text.
  3. Fill the selection with Black (Edit > Fill) to hide that area of the layer. You will see the stroke border automatically change shape to match the portion that is masked away.
  4. Navigate to Layer > Style > Blending Options again, and select the option that says "Layer Mask Hides Effects."

Filling the border

Hiding layer effects

With the same layer mask still selected, you can add a black-to-transparent gradient at the bottom, to make the border appear to fade in.

Add Gradient Mask

You can apply these same selection/fill and gradient techniques to the goat image as well--I will leave that to you to do, with one hint: You will need to put the goat layer and it's 2 adjustment layers into a layer Group (Layer > New > Group) and then add a mask to the whole group. Why can't you apply a mask to only the goat layer? Try it to find out!

Finally, we need to restore the red color to the rose. This is easy, now that we have used Adjustment Layers. Notice how each Adjustment Layer automatically creates a Layer Mask for itself--all that we need to do now is mask away the area where the Rose is present, and the adjustment will no longer affect that area.

  1. Select an adjustment layer's mask to work on
  2. Use the Quick Selection tool on the rose blossom
  3. Fill with Black (Edit > Fill) to hide the effects of the adjustment
  4. Repeat on the other adjustment layer if desired

In my image, I only applied the mask to the Black & White Adjustment, and I left the Levels one alone. But more importantly, be creative!! The purpose of these tutorials is just to open the doors a bit, and show you how the tools work. To become even more skilled with Photoshop, you should experiment. Try using diffrent adjustment layers, or different Layer styles. Try working with selections and masks to combine effects. Photoshop provides the tools to flexible select, adjust, and rearrange almost everything in an image, but it's up to you to decide what effects you want to try to create!

This section is complete!

At this point, you should have something like the image below. Hopefully, you've had a bit of fun, and you have a better understanding of the kinds of options that are open to you!

The Final Image

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Last modified: Oct 22, 2010, 13:37 EDT
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