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How to Design a Print-Ready Flier with Photoshop and Illustrator

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In this tutorial we are going to create 3D text and integrate it in a natural environment. We will not use any 3D programs, so all you need is Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to create this effect.

Final Image Preview

Take a look at the image we'll be creating. 

Tutorial Details

  • Programs: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop
  • Difficulty: Intermediate

Step 1

We are going to open up Adobe Illustrator, (using CMYK as your color settings) to start creating our 3D text.

Type out the word "Escape", (I am using the font Impact) and change the color to blue (#1A98BB). This color will be easier to work with, and it will roughly be the color we will be using in our final outcome.

Step 2

Typically, we would use the Extrude & Bevel Tool to create a 3D version of our text, but since Illustrator can't really handle what we want to do, we are going to create it ourselves. (Shown below is what we would get if we used the Bevel & Extrude tool)

Click on your text, and go to Type > Create Outlines. Now copy the text with Command + C and Paste In Place with Command + F. Darken the text using the black slider in your Color window.

Now we are going to shrink the text down and keep it in the same spot at the same time. To do this we are going to click on our dark text and hold down Alt and Shift, then bring one of the corners of the box in.

Step 3

Highlight all of the letters, open up your Pathfinder (Shift + F9). In the Window drop down menu, (if you don't already have it open) and click the Add to Shape Area icon. Click Expand. This will make the two "Escape" words into one shape.

Step 4

Click on the Pen Tool (P) and where there were corners and now "L" shaped areas, click on the corner anchor to delete it.

Step 5

After you get rid of all the "L" areas you can do Command + F, this should bring back your original text. Once you do that, you may notice that some of the rounded edges don't look right. To fix these rounded edges, you can delete the original text we just pasted, click on the Pen Tool (P) and delete the points on the curve until you get an angle that looks right.

Step 6

Now we are ready to bring our text into Photoshop. Create a new document (Command + N). We are going to treat this as a cover design, so we are going to change our settings to 8 inches wide by 10 inches tall and the color setting of CMYK. We will change our resolution to 300 dpi, so it will be print quality. Once we open our document we want to Click and Drag guides a half-inch from each edge (using our ruler—Command + R). This will work as our bleed.

Step 7

Go to stock.xchng to get the image we are going to use for our background. Open up the image in Photoshop, we are going to adjust it a little to suit our purposes.

Step 8

Go to Image > Adjustment > Replace Color. Click on the part of the grass area that is the most yellow and use the Hue to adjust it so it has more of a green look. You can also drop down the Saturation to give it more of a realistic look.

Step 9

Drag our photo into the Photoshop document we made, and resize the photo to fit in the area with the Transform Tool (Command + T).

Step 10

For the background, we are going for a more desaturated look, so we are going to open up our Hue/Saturation with Command + U and drop down the saturation to -20.

Step 11

Now we can bring in our text. We are going to bring in the face of the text first, and then the 3D part, so that we can work with each one individually. So Copy and Paste (Command + C, Command + V) each one into our Photoshop document. If you don't resize the text or zoom in/zoom out of the document at all, both of the text layers should line up perfectly.

Step 12

Now that you have the text and background image in place where you want them, we can start adding in the grass.

Let's start off by creating a new folder (clicking on the folder icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette), we'll call it "grass", then create a new layer within the folder.

Using the Square Marquee Tool (M), Click and Drag a box around the bottom half of the document, below the photo (make sure there is no white gap in between the photo and the box) so that the photo isn't selected. Now click on the foreground color and click on the grass in the photo until you find a dark green. Fill the Marquee box we made with that color.

Step 13

Click on the Brush Tool (B) and change the brush to the generic one-blade grass brush that comes with Photoshop. Now click on the Foreground color and then click on the grass on the background photo. Do the same with the Background-color. This should give you two different but similar greens.

Using F5, open up the brush settings and adjust the Hue Jitter, in the Color Dynamics tab to 20%.

Step 14

Create a new layer (Command + Shift + N) in the grass folder, and start painting from where the background photo ends with a 125px brush. As you move towards the bottom of the document make the brush larger ( ] ), so you end up with about a 200px brush when you get to the bottom. This should be quick so that it leaves holes for the future layers to cover up.

We are going to make this color a little bit darker because this will be under another layer. So go in to the Curves (Command + M) and adjust the Input to 47 and the Output to 55.

Step 15

We are going to repeat step 14, except this time we are going to fill in most of the rest of the holes that we missed the first time around. We don't need to adjust the Curves on this grass layer.

Step 16

Create a new layer (Command + Shift + N) in the grass folder. Now to add some highlights to the grass we are going to use our grass Brush (B) with the same color and paint in just a few areas. Go into the Curves again (Command + M) and adjust the input to 58 and the output to 39.

Step 17

We are going to create a new layer (Command + Shift + N), above the lettering, so we can paint on some grass so it looks like it is going in front of the letters.

After you paint the grass in front of the letters create a new layer (Command + Shift + N) and do a light pass of grass, we are going to darken this layer with the Curves (Command + M), adjust the input to 42 and the output to 56.

Step 18

Now that we have our grass finished, we are going to start working on our lettering.

Create a new folder called "text face" and a new folder called "text shadow" put the text face and the text shadow in the corresponding folders.

Now we are going to Command + Click on the text face layer to create a marquee outline around it, create a new layer in the "text face" folder with Command + Shift + N and fill it (Command + Delete) with #EDE6DA.

Step 19

Go into the "text shadow" folder and create a new layer (Command + Shift + N).

Since our sunlight is coming from the right, as you can see with the trees in the photo, we have to make the brightest part of our text on the right side of each letters. To create our highlights, we are going to use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to select the areas that are supposed to be highlighted, the areas that would get hit by the sun.

Step 20

Using a white 90px Rounded Brush (B), with 0% Hardness at 20% Opacity, start painting strokes onto the areas that we selected. Change the Blending Mode to Overlay.

To get rid of the excess area, Command + Click on the text shadow layer, Command + Shift + I to get the inverse selection, then delete.

Step 21

Now we are going make our shadows the same way we made the highlights in step 19. Once you have your shadows selected, repeat step 20, except this time we are going to use a black brush for our darkest areas.

Step 22

To add in some darker shadows and give our letters more contrast, we are going to repeat step 21, but instead of changing the Blend Mode to Overlay, we are going to change it to Multiply. Also, It will be easier if we change the brush to about at 5% Opacity, this way you can darken the shadow slowly, and it will also blend smoother.

Step 23

The text can be worked on a lot more and have a lot more shadow/highlight details added, but since this is a tutorial we are going to leave it as is and start working on the shadow the text casts on the grass.

Create a new layer (Command + Shift + N) and put it above the "grass" folder. Using a 200px black brush (B) at 100% opacity, and 0% hardness paint under the text, trying to make sure that the black doesn't go under the grass that is in front of the letters too much. Change the blend mode to Multiply.

Step 24

Now we can start tackling the face of the text. We are going to start off by giving it an Inner Shadow. Click on the first icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette and then click on Inner Shadow.

Now go to Bevel and Emboss, on the first icon at the bottom of the Layers Palette, and adjust your settings, something like what I have. These two settings will give the text face an edge.

Step 25

We are going to Command + Click on the text face layer and create a new one with Command + Shift + N. Using the Gradient Tool (G) with a black to 0% Opacity, click on the left side of the text and drag it to the right. This should give the text a gradient that is black on the right. Drop down the Opacity all the way down to 5%.

Step 26

With the text face still selected create a new layer (Command + Shift + N) in the "text face" folder and change your Foreground color to a yellow-orange color (something like #FFC600) and create a Gradient (G) so it is on the top edge of the letters. Change the Blend Mode to Overlay.

Step 27

Create a new layer in the "text face" folder, and take a 200px black Brush (B) with 5% opacity and 0% hardness and click and drag a line just above the grass. This will give us a subtle shadow just above the grass.

Step 28

Now we are going to give our text face a weathered look.

In the "text face" folder, create a new layer, and then using the Square Marquee Tool (M), create a box that covers the "Escape". Fill the box with black.

Step 29

Go to Filter > Render > Fibers and adjust your settings to something like what I have.

Step 30

Deselect the area with Command + D and go to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. Command + Click on the text face, then Command + Shift + I to get the Inverse Selection, delete and change the Blend Mode to Multiply with an Opacity of 5%.

Step 31

Click on the second icon on the bottom of the layers palette to add a Mask to our fiber layer. Using a black to 0% Gradient (G) click and drag from the bottom up so the bottom half of the fibers are gone from the text.

Step 32

And now to finish it off a little bit, we are going to click on the fourth icon at the bottom of the layers palette and open up the Color Balance.

Step 33

And now open up the Photo Filter on the fourth icon at the bottom of the layers palette.

Step 34

Now we are finished, I am going to add some finishing touches with a footer that will bleed over the edge.

Final Image

And that's it! I hope you've enjoyed reading this tutorial.


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