In this renaissance style poster tutorial, we will teach you how to achieve an old world, renaissance type poster design. Let’s begin.
The first step is to setup our document. Once Adobe Photoshop is open, simply press CTRL+N to create a new document. For posters, a portrait orientation is required. The set dimension should be provided to you by your printer. Otherwise, you may want to use standard dimensions. Here in our example, we have used an 11×17 inch dimension at a 300ppi resolution. We used a high resolution as our image will be set for print.
Initially, we will work on our background first. A plain white color of course is not enough. Using the Gradient Tool, we paint up our poster background with a dark green gradient like so. For our example we used these colors: (#005952-#012421). Of course, you can change this to whatever color theme that you may like.
Then, we paste in a banner vector clip-art. There are plenty of different kinds of FREE vector shapes like this. In fact, if you look at the Photoshop custom shape gallery, you should see plenty of shapes for banners. So just look for something that will fit your theme. Do not worry about the colors as we will work with it. For now though, make sure you scale it properly as a vector. Press CTRL+T and adjust the dimensions and warping as well if needed.
Great! Now we will put our theme colors into the banner. Using the magic wand tool, select the white areas of the banner. Create a new layer and then paint the selected sections with a beige color.
Now, we will dirty up this base color for the banner a bit. Using the Burn tool we will darken our banner with some “dirt”. To do this, we are using some grunge brushes that we got for free over the Internet. Here we are using T9 Dirty Sprays.
Next, we are going to use the dodge tool. This time, a large soft white brush is needed. We will lighten the central area of the banner to simulate some subtle light that comes from the forward area of the design.
Now, hold down the CTRL key and click on the image thumbnail of our light colored banner layer. This will select the area that it spans. Go to Select -> Modify -> Contract. In the window that opens choose 5-8 pixels depending on how large or small your banner is. This will reduce the selection a bit.
Then, with a new layer selected, fill the selection with a dark green color. You will see that our base color will become a border whilst the top layer becomes our main banner area.
Good! Now just like before, use the burn tool again to darken the edge parts of the banner, whilst subtly leaving the central area lighter. This gives us a very subliminal kind of emphasis that is great.
Next, select the original banner vector layer again. Use the magic wand tool to select the bottom black parts of our banner. Create a new layer and then with those black areas selected and the new layer active paint it a dark blue (or a theme color of your choice),
Then, once again, using either the dodge tool or the burn tool, use grunge brushes too add lighter and darker variations in this bottom area of our banner.
Now, using the type tool, write in the title to be placed into the banner. Make sure that you use a font that is appropriate for the theme. Here we are using a script font named Arabella. Color it close to the border Hue of the banner.
Now, click on the “Warp Text” icon in the text attribute menu bar that appears when you have text selected,. Change the style to “Arc”. Then adjust the bend so that the bend of the text matches our banner.
Great! Now, we are going to make our text look a lot more golden. To do this we will be using five layer styles and blending options. So double click on our text to get us started. Once the layer styles window is open, first click on “inner shadow”. Then change the values as follows:
- Blend Mode : Multiply, Color: #ffeab6
- Angle: 120 degrees
- Size: 13
Next, click on Inner Glow. Change these values:
- Size: 13
- Contour: “Rounded Steps”
- Range: 50%
Afterwards, click on Satin. Use these properties.
- Blend Mode: Linear Dodge (Add), Color: #ffda75
- Opacity: 52%
- Angle: 19 degrees
- Distance: 15px
- Size: 97px
- Contour: Gaussian, Click on “Invert”
Click also of course on “Gradient Overlay”. Change the values to these settings.
- Opacity: 43%
- Gradient Color: #97461a-#fbd8c5-#6c2e16-#efdbcd
Finally, click on “Stroke”. Use these values.
- Size: 3px
- Color: #32424a
That should finish our banner design. It should look something like this.
Next, we work on the background. To make things easier, we created a new layer group named banner and shifted all the banner layers to this group. Then, we disabled its visibility as we work on the background.
Now, with our background ready, we paste in a texture to add some detail to it. Here we pasted in a rough wall texture. We de-saturated the texture layer by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+U. Then we changed the blend mode to “Overlay”.
To make the background look darker, we created a new layer on top of the texture layer. We filled it with dark grey color, changed its opacity to 40%, and finally we set the blend mode to “Overlay”.
The next part is where we process some renaissance type graphics. On a separate document, we opened up a renaissance type sketch. We de-saturated it (CTRL+SHIFT+U) and then adjusted its Levels and the Brightness/Contrast to get it to look like this.
We paste in our sketch layer to our poster design. To remove the white, we change the blend mode to “Multiply”. Then we reduce its opacity to around 70%.
For more lighting effects, we use the custom shape tool and place in the shape “Tile 2” over our design.
Set this shape’s blending mode to Overlay. Then, go to Filter -> Blur -> Guassian Blur. Use a 10 pixel distribution to add a more fuzzy lighting effect to our poster. Once done, erase parts of the edges to make the shadow and lighting effect look more seamless.
Next, create a new layer on top of the lights layer. With a very large and soft brush, paint a beige spot in the middle. Set this layer’s blend mode to “Screen”.
Duplicate this bright spot by pressing CTRL+J. Then go to Filter -> Distort -> Wave. Use these values:
- Number of generators: 15
- Wavelength: 10 -180
- Amplitude: 3-35
- Scale 100% both
Now, keep pressing CTRL+F to repeat the filter several times. The effect for waves is randomized so you may get a different effect. Just make sure that the waves extend from our central point a bit to make the background more interesting.
Create another layer. This time use some grunge brushes in black color to pain some dirt over our bright spots.
Change their blending mode to “Overlay” and reduce the opacity to 40%.
We add more details still. Here we use the text tool to fill out our poster design with lines and lines of text. This will help us add more texture and add that old world text theme to our poster design. Use a script font for here as well, and a beige color as well.
We change the text’s blend mode to “Hard Light”. Then we reduce the opacity by 40%. We also tilted the text a bit by pressing CTRL+T and then rotating text a bit.
We will now add a darker border to our poster design. Create another layer on top of our banner group. Use a large soft black brush and brush in a fuzzy border around our design. Change its blend mode to Overlay as well.
Now, we will add some cloud effects. Create another new layer on top of all the other layers. Set your foreground color to this color (deb883) and then set the background color to (745222). Then go to Filter -> Render -> Clouds.
Change the blend mode of the cloud layer to “Color” and then use an opacity of 45%.
We then add our main poster feature image. Since the theme is old world and renaissance, we placed in here a very impressive looking renaissance era Astrolabe. This of course was processed a bit as we removed the background already. We scaled it properly and just placed it at the center.
We then add a shadow for our astrolabe. Double click on its layer, and then click on “Drop Shadow”. Change these values:
- Distance: 0
- Spread: 20px
- Size: 30px
Then, we just unhide our banner that we did earlier. We place it below our Astrolabe.
Great! With all those elements we have finished our great old world renaissance style color poster. You can also apply this design style when designing and printing brochures, postcards or other marketing media.