In this Photoshop tutorial, we’ll talk about creating a dramatic battle style poster stealing some of the style of UFC and traditional boxing posters which will give us a dramatic and very colorful poster showing the head-to-head election battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Who will win!?
Here is a list of what we’ll cover: Using the Camera RAW editor, Smoothing tones in our image with Reduce Noise, How I use Google Images to find suitable photos. (for personal projects), Using Select and Mask to cut out Hillary and Trump, Dodge and Burn with a 50% gray layer, Adjustment layers to create color and tone, Adding texture with a picture of concrete, Masking, Color grade with a Gradient Map, Adding text and creating the glowing cutout effect, Smoothing and sharpening the image with High Pass and grain, and much more!!
Begin with the background
If you use the form above, you can download the RAW image of the White House that we’re using for our background in this tutorial. Open that RAW. CR2 file in Photoshop’s Camera RAW editor and look to white balance the White House (so it’s white!) and brighten the image a little and reduce contrast. There should be a .xmp file that you download along with the RAW image and that holds all the settings that I have used in this tutorial. TIP: Keep that .xmp file right next to the .CR2 file when you copy them onto your computer!
Resize, brighten background, and drop contrast
Once I have the background open in Photoshop I am going to go Image>Image Size and set the width of this image to 3300px. I’ll also add a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer and reduce contrast to -50% and also add a Curves adjustment layer and set the blend mode to Screen and reduce the opacity of this layer to 50%.
Use Google images to find photos of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
I like to use Google images when I can’t find the perfect image on my stock photo websites (be careful about using images that you don’t own, especially if you’re trying to sell the artwork you create to a client or as a print, etc…) Use Google Images when you’re just playing around in Photoshop and making artwork that is personal. I use the “Search Tools” in Google Images and choose to search for images that are Larger Than… 2MP. This will give me a selection of larger images only. Take some time and find images that work for your project. Here is the shot of Hillary that I used. – Here is the shot of Trump that I used.
Cut them out with Select & Mask
The new Select and Mask (at this point in time) leaves a bit to be desired. We’re going to try to use it, however to cut out Trump and Clinton. I like to create a selection as perfectly as I can for the clothing using the Pen Tool and then draw a rough selection out around the hair. Load the selection from a path drawn with the Pen Tool by hitting Cmd/Ctrl + Enter/Return. Then go Select>Select and Mask and use the Refine Edge Brush Tool and paint around the hair to get rid of the bits that were selected that are not hair. As you will find out, this tool doesn’t work nearly as well as one would hope, but it’s what we’re left with for now so we need to make it work.
Place them in the background image
Drag both Hillary and Trump into the White House background image and use Cmd/Ctrl + T to resize and position the subjects wherever we want them.
Dodge and burn to add drama
Add a new layer above both Hillary and Trump and go Edit>Fill and choose to fill this layer with 50% gray and then set the blend mode of the entire layer to Overlay. Use the Dodge and Burn tools and paint on this layer to brighten up the lighter sides of their faces and darken the shadow sides of their faces.
Adjusting Color, Tone, Contrast, and more
This step might be best if you check out the video at the 24:48 mark. We will use Curves, Brightness Contrast, Gradient Maps, Color Balance, and more to really lock down the tones and light in the composite image.
Adding a Gradient Overlay for color grading
I love the Gradient Map feature and once more we’ll use it here to apply a color grade to our poster image. I added a Gradient Map and changed the blend mode to Soft Light and then opened the gradient editor and created a gradient that was 14184d on the left and de8215 on the right. Reduce the layer opacity to around 70% or until it looks good.
Adding colored flares based on party color
Next, I found some great flare brushes over at Brusheezy a while ago (check out their site and see if you can find something similar) and I’m going to load these into Photoshop and use them to paint some blue near Hillary and red near Trump. Create two new layers and set them both to the blend mode Color Dodge. Name one layer “blue” and paint a few blue flares near Hillary and name the other layer “red” and paint a few red flares near Trump.
Creating and placing text in our poster
I am going to use the font Bebas Bold to add lettering. In the Character panel, I increased the tracking to 100 to add some space between the letters. Type out the words “Clinton”, “Trump”, and “vs” each as individual text layers. I set the larger text to 104pt size and the “vs” to 48pt. You can layout your text however you wish, or you can do what I did.
Use guides to line up the text and the “vs.” graphic
Hit Cmd/Ctrl + R to pull up your rulers and click and drag out a guide from the ruler on the left and align it with the right edge of the “N” in Clinton’s name and then drag the text layer “Trump” over and align the right edge of the “M” in Trump’s name to get the layout I did. I also used additional guides to align the “vs” with the right edge of the “L” in Clinton as well as the bottom of the word “Trump”.
Watch the video for the full deep-dive and get all the details and info
There are so many details to creating this poster and really making it look great! Make sure you watch the entire video and check it all out above! Thanks for visiting my site and my tutorial(s)!