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Design

How to Create a Light Streak Effect for a Contemporary Ballet Poster in Adobe Photoshop

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:LongLanguages:
This post is part of a series called German Week.
How to Create an Oktoberfest Illustration in Adobe Illustrator
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

We're honouring the German language and culture this week in celebration of the launch of the German version of Envato Elements

In this tutorial, we will learn how to combine three different Photoshop filters to create a contemporary poster. We will be mixing two styles, a modern light effect and a classical dancer. 

The best part of this tutorial? Everybody's result will be different, so be sure to post yours in the comments! 

What You Will Need

Download the image and install the font, and you are ready to start! 

1. How to Set Up a New Photoshop File

Step 1

In Photoshop, go to File > New. Name the document Dance Poster. Set the Width to 1270 px and Height to 1600 px. Set the Resolution to 72 Pixels/Inch. Click OK.

Create a new PS file

Step 2

In the Layers panel, click on Create a New Fill or Adjustment Layer > Solid Color. In the Color Picker window, set the color to black #000000. Click OK.

Add a black Solid Color Adjustment Layer

Step 3

Head over to View > New Guide. In the New Guide window, select Horizontal and set the guide to 70 px. Click OK.

Do the same for the other sides of the document by subtracting 70 px from the final size. To activate and deactivate the guides, press Command-;. Let's hide the guides for now until we need them. 

Create guides on the document

2. How to Create the Background Light Effects

Step 1

In the Layers panel, create a new layer by pressing Shift-Command-N on your keyboard. In the New Layer option window, name the layer Light Effects 1. Click OK.

Create a new layer

Step 2

In order achieve a colored light effect, we'll fill the page with color. In the Tools panel, select the Brush Tool (B). Right click on the page to change the settings. Set the Brush Size to 400 px and the Hardness to 0%. 

Right click to set the brush tool

Step 3

Using the colors below (or feel free to choose your own!), brush over the page.

  • Red: #ff0909
  • Purple: #b201c8
  • Green: #00ffa2
  • Blue: #2a00ff
Using the brush tool fill the page with colors

Step 4

Head over to Filter > Liquify. In the new Liquify option window, select the Twirl Clockwise Tool (C). In the Tool Options, set the Brush Size to 500, the Brush Density to 100, the Brush Pressure to 75, and the Brush Rate to 100. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your own settings! 

Brush over the page until you have mixed the colors—you can do as much or as little as you want. 

If you have pulled in the edges, select the Forward Warp Tool (W). Using the same settings as above, pull the colors to cover the gaps. Click OK.

Please note that there will be some transparent areas, but this is not a problem as it will add more randomness to the design. 

Apply the liquify filter

Step 5

Head over to Filter > Pixelate > Color Halftone. On the Color Halftone options window, set the Max Radius to 8 pixels and the Screen Angles to:

  • Channel 1: 108
  • Channel 2: 162
  • Channel 3: 90
  • Channel 4: 45

Click OK.

Appply the Pixelate filter

Step 6

Head over to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. In the Motion Blur options window, set the Angle to 90˚ and the Distance to 2000 Pixels. 

Once you’ve mastered this section, creating the lights effect will be a breeze! We will repeat this in subsequent steps a few times to create a sense of depth and randomness. 

Apply the Motion blur filter

Step 7

Now that we have the Lights Effect 1 layer, we will start to edit. In the Layers panel, lower the Opacity to 40% to start

While selecting the layer, click on the Layer Mask button. Select the Brush Tool (B) from the Tools panel. Using the same brush as before, brush over the layer—remember you can add your own touch! 

Add a layer mask to the light effect layer

3. How to Create the Light Streaks Effect

Step 1

In the Layers panel, create a new layer and Name it Light Streaks 1. In the Tools panel, select the Brush Tool (B). Set the Brush Size to 400 px and the Hardness to 0%. Fill the page with different colors. Feel free to add your own spin! 

Head over to Filter > Liquify to mix the colors. Follow this by going to Filter > Pixelate > Color to convert the mixed colors into dots. Finally, select the Filter > Blur > Motion Blur option to create the vertical lines. 

Repeat steps 1 to 6 from the previous main step 2

Step 2

In the Layers panel, add a Layer Mask to the Light Streak 1 layer by clicking on the Layer Mask button. Select the Layer Mask and invert it by pressing Command-I on your keyboard.

From now on, we will be working on the Layer Mask.

Add a layer mask to the new light streak layer

Step 3

In the Tools panel, select the Brush Tool (B). Right click on the page to change the settings. This time, set the Brush Size to 30 px. It doesn’t need to be accurate—it just needs to be a smaller size.

Set the foreground color to white, and brush over the page in small strokes to reveal parts of the colored layer. I suggest making only a few strokes; we want to achieve random streaks. 

Using the brush tool reveal small parts of the layer

Step 4

Head over to Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. In the Motion Blur option window, set the Distance to 375 pixels. Feel free to experiment with the settings. Click OK.

Please note that we are applying the Motion Blur to the Layer Mask.

Use the Motion blur tool on the layer mask

Step 5

If you are not happy with the colors or wish to change them, it's not necessary to create a whole new layer. 

In the Layers panel, click on the Create a new fill or adjustment layer button and select Hue/Saturation. A new layer will be added at the top of all the layers.

If you want to change only the color of the subsequent layer, add a clipping mask. Hold down Option and hover between the two layer thumbnails. A square icon with an arrow pointing down should appear. Click to create the clipping mask. 

Create an adjustment layer and clip it to the subsequent layer to change the color

Step 6

In the Properties panel, move the Hue slider to change the color. I’ve set mine to +48 to create something harmonious. I also set the Saturation to +70 and the Lightness to +20.

Change the hue on the Properties panel by moving the slider

Step 7

In the Layers panel, create a new layer and name it Ballerina Background. In the Tools panel, select the Brush Tool (B). Set the Brush Size to 400 px and the Hardness to 0%. Fill the page with different colors.

Head over to Filter > Liquify to mix the colors. Follow this by going to Filter > Pixelate > Color to convert the mixed colors into dots. Finally, select the Filter > Blur > Motion Blur option to create the vertical lines.

Repeat Step 1 to Step 6 from the previous main step 2

Step 8

In the Tools panel, select the Ellipse Tool (U). Hold down Shift-Option, and click and drag on the page to create a circle. By holding these two keys down, you will create an evenly proportioned circle that starts from its center.

Head over to the Options panel, and click on the Link shape width and height button. Set the Size to 850 px. In this section, change the Fill to Black.

Step 9

In the Layers panel, place the circle layer under the Ballerina Background layer. Create a Clipping Mask by holding down the Option key and clicking. 

Please note that you can move the Ballerina Background layer within the circle. This is useful if there is a specific part you want to highlight.

To align the circle to the centre of the page, make sure you are on the Ellipse 1 layer. Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) and click and drag to select the whole page. Switch to the Move Tool (V). Head over to the Options panel and select the Vertical Align Center and Horizontal Align Center buttons. To deselect the page, press Command-D.

If the color looks off, feel free to add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer at this point. Remember to create a Clipping Mask to the Ballerina Background by holding down Option and clicking.

Step 10

Let’s work on the final details of the circle. If your circle seems too bright, you can add a buffer layer as I will be doing. 

Press Shift-Command-N to add a new layer, and name it Buffer. Select the Brush Tool (B) and set the foreground color to black. Right click to change the brush settings. Set the size to the same size as the circle you created, and set the Hardness to 0. 

Click over the circle about three times without moving the brush. Head over to the Layers panel and lower the layer Opacity to 30%.

4. How to Add the Text

In the Tools panel, select the Text Tool (T). I used white text to contrast with the background. 

The typeface I used is RNS Sanz from Envato Elements. It is clean and neutral, perfect for keeping the poster modern.

Bring up the Character panel by going to Type > Panels > Character Panel. Below are the details I added with the type size and specific font weight. Each bullet point is one layer. Use the guides we created at the beginning of the tutorial to align the text. 

  • BALLETT SHOW: (RNS Sanz, Normal. Size is 60 pt, Tracking is 50 pt)
    TANZENDE LICHTER (RNS Sanz, ExtraBold. Size is 153 pt, Leading is 130 pt, Tracking is -10 pt)
  • +49 847 1029 490
    DEUTSCHESBALLETT.COM 
    (RNS Sanz, Normal. Size is 25 pt, Leading is Auto, Tracking is 120 pt)
  • 20—25.09.2018
    OPERAHOUSE
    (RNS Sanz, Normal. Size is 60 pt, Leading is Auto, Tracking is 50 pt)

You will notice that I’ve used a variety of sizes and tracking. I used a wider tracking for the phone number and website at the top. Words tend to be harder to read at a smaller point size. In order to make them legible, it is useful to add some tracking. This is so the viewer can distinguish the letters.

5. How to Clean Up the Dancer Image

Step 1

Drag the Dancer photo from Envato Elements into the Photoshop document. In the Options panel, activate the Maintain Aspect Ratio button. Set the Width or Height to 220%. Press Enter.

Drag the dancer image onto the Photoshop document

Step 2

On the Tools panel, select the Magic Wand Tool (W) and click on the dark background of the dancer image to make a selection. Hold down Shift to add to the selection, in this case the space between the arm and the leg of the dancer.

While the selection is activated, head to the Layers panel. Click on the Vector Mask button to create a mask of the selection. Press Command-I to invert the selection.

Add a Layer Mask and using the Magic Wand Tool clean up the dancer layer

Step 3

Let’s work on the details. Using the Move Tool (V), move the dancer to be centered with the circle.

Using the Brush Tool (B), we can start cleaning up the image. Set the foreground color to black and background to white. You can swap between these two by pressing (X).

Right click to set the brush Hardness to 100%. We can increase the size by pressing ([) or decrease it by pressing ([).

Brush over the curtains at the top if necessary. To clean up the hair, I used black as the foreground and set the Size of the brush to 25 px. I got rid of parts that are unnecessary, like the hair that falls on the back of the neck, for a cleaner look. I did the same for the top of the head, where you can see strings of hair.

To reveal the parts of the ponytail that were deleted, switch to the white foreground color by pressing (X). Brush over the hair.

Clean up the hair on the layer mask

Step 4

To further perfect the hair, we can use the Refine Mask. In the Layers panel, right click on the Vector Mask > Refine Mask. In the options window, set the Feather to 1.5 px, Contrast to 10%, and Shift Edge to -35%. Click OK.

The Feather option will soften the edges of the selection. The Contrast will create a stronger contrast on the edge of the selection. The Shift Edge option will either contract or expand the selection.

Use the Refine Mask option to soften the edges on the dancer

Step 5

Let’s add a black and white Adjustment layer. In the Layers panel, click on the Create new fill or adjustment layer > Black & White. Hold down Option and click to create a clipping mask on the dancer layer.

Using the Properties panel, tune the colors to add more contrast or soften the image.

Add a black and white adjustment layer and clip it to the dancer layer

Step 6

Lastly, let’s add some shadow to the dancer to add depth. In the Layers panel, right click on the dancer layer and select Blending Options. In the Layer Style option window, select the Drop Shadow option. 

Set the Blend Mode to Multiply, Opacity to 25%, Angle to 120, Distance to 5 px, Size to 40 px, and select Half Round for the Contour. Click OK.

Add a drop shadow to the dancer layer to create dimension

Step 7

If you would like to tune colors or add contrast, I suggest using a Create new fill or adjustment layer. They are very useful time savers! 

Feel free to add new adjustment layers to add contrast or change colors on the poster

6. How to Save a File for Web

Head over to File > Save and save the file as you would normally. 

To save a JPEG for web file, head over to File > Save for Web or Shift-Option-Command-S. Select the file type you want to save the document in—I am choosing JPEG—and set 100 for Quality. Under Image size, you can change the pixel size of the image if you have any size constraints. 

On the bottom left-hand side, you can see a preview of the size of the file. This is useful when there are size constraints on a website and you need to lower the quality or the size of the image. 

Click on Save… to choose the location in the new window, and click on Save again.

Save the file for web

Congratulations! You’ve Finished This Tutorial!

In this tutorial, we created a high-contrast poster. The contrast is not only in colors but also in themes. The fun part of this is that everyone's result will be slightly different, so be sure to upload your poster in the comments section! 

Today, we've learned to:

  • Combine different Photoshop filters: Liquify, Pixelate, and Motion Blur.
  • Successfully use Layer Masks with photos and vectors.
  • Use Clipping Masks and Adjustment Layers.

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