How to Create a Punk Poster in Adobe Photoshop


Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

In this tutorial we will combine different Photoshop tools to create a grunge-punk style poster.

What You Will Need

You will need the following resources in order to complete this project:

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

1. How to Create a New Photoshop File

Step 1

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

Create a new Photoshop file

Step 2

On the Layers panel, click on Create a New Fill or Adjustment Layer > Gradient. In the Gradient Fill window, set the Style to Radial and click on the Gradient swatch to set the colors. 

Under Presets, select the Foreground to Background preset. Under Gradient Type, set the left color stop swatch to #d24136 and the right color stop to #911c13. Click OK.

Add a Gradient Fill layer with a Radial style from dark red to light red

2. How to Create the Screen Print Effect

In order to create the screen print effect, we need to open a new document. 

Step 1

In Photoshop, go to File > New. Name the document Screen-print. Set the Width to 1270 px and Height to 1600 px. Set the Resolution to 300 Pixels/Inch and the Color Mode to 300 Pixels/Inch. The Color Profile will change to Working Gray: Dot Gain 20%. Click OK.

Create a new Photoshop file to create the Screen Print effect

Step 2

On the Layers panel, click on Create a New Fill or Adjustment Layer > Gradient. In the Gradient Fill window, set the Gradient to be black and foreground to transparent as background. Set the Style to Radial and if black is in the centre of the gradient, check the Reverse box. Click OK.

On the Layers panel, right click on Gradient Fill 1 > Rasterize. Delete the Layer Mask by selecting it, and click on Delete Layer on the bottom right side of the panel. 

Add a new Gradient Fill in the Radial style

Step 3

Head over to Image > Mode > Bitmap. Click OK in the warning window to flatten the layers. 

On the Bitmap window, set the Output to 300 Pixels/Inch and under Method > Use select Halftone Screen. Click OK.

Convert the Grayscale file into Bitmap

Step 4

A Halftone Screen window will open. Set the Frequency to 100 Lines/Inch, which will set how coarse you’d like the lines to be. Set the Angle to 0 degrees and Shape to Line. Click OK.

Set the Frequency Angle and Shape on the Halftone Screen settings window

Step 5

The result will be the gradient turned into a lined-style screen print. To be able to work with this piece, we need to convert it back to Grayscale. Head over to Image > Mode > Grayscale. In the Grayscale window, set the Size Ratio to 1. Click OK.

Conver the Bitmap file into Grayscale

Step 6

Let’s duplicate this layer and place it into our Punk-poster file. On the Layers panel, double-click on the Background layer to unlock it. A New Layer window will open. Click OK.

Select the layer and Right Click > Duplicate Layer. In the new window, change the name of the layer to Gradient-screen-print and set the Destination Document to Punk-poster. Click OK.

Duplicate the layer onto the Punk-poster file

Step 7

On the Punk-poster document, set the blending mode of the newly duplicated layer to Multiply. While selecting the layer, press Command-T to Transform. Head over to the Options bar, activate the maintain aspect ratio button, and set the Width to 160%.

On the Punk-poster file resize the gradient screen print and set the blending mode to multiply

3. How to Create the Screen Print Effect on the Hands Image

In a similar manner as the steps above, we need to open the images separately in order to add a screen print effect. 

Step 1

Open the Set of multiethnic hands holding or offering something image from Envato Elements. On the toolbar, select the Crop Tool (C) and crop the image to the hands pictured below. Press Enter to apply the crop. 

Open the set of hands image and crop to one pair of hands

Step 2

In order to convert the image to bitmap, we need to convert it into Grayscale first. Head over to Image > Mode > Grayscale. Adjust the contrast by going to Image > Adjustment > Brightness/Contrast. It is important to play around with these settings when an image is converted into Grayscale as they can turn it into a washed-out image and lose contrast. I set the Brightness to -15 and Contrast to 100. Click OK. 

Go to Image > Mode > Bitmap. Click OK in the warning window to flatten the layers. In the Bitmap window, set the Output to 300 Pixels/Inch, and under Method > Use, select Halftone Screen. Click OK.

Convert the file to grayscale and later to bitmap

Step 3

On the Halftone Screen, set the Frequency to 50 Lines/Inch, Angle to 45 degrees, and Shape to Cross. Click OK.

Feel free to play with the Frequency and the Angle—there’s no right or wrong!

Convert the image into Grayscale by going to Image > Mode > Grayscale. In the Grayscale window, set the Size Ratio to 1. Click OK.

Select the settings on the Halftone Screen window

Step 4

We want to achieve a collage style image as well to convey a grunge feel. On the Layers panel, double-click on the layer to unlock it. Click OK. 

Using the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) from the toolbar, cut out the hands, leaving some space around them. The goal is for it to appear as if the image were cut from a piece of paper. 

Press Shift-Command-I to invert the selection, and use the Backspace key to delete the selection.

Using the Polygonal Lasso Tool crop the hands with a white border

Step 5

Select the layer and Right Click > Duplicate Layer. In the new window, change the name of the layer to Hands-screen-print and set the Destination Document to Punk-poster. Click OK.

Duplicate the hands onto the Punk-poster file

Step 6

On the Punk-poster, select the Hands-screen-print layer and Transform by hitting Command-T. Head over to the Options bar, activate the maintain aspect ratio button, and set the Width to 85%. Press Enter. Align the hands to the bottom of the poster.

On the Punk-poster file resize the hands image

4. How to Create the Screen Print Effect on the Beetle Image

Step 1

In the same manner, let’s work on the beetle image. Let’s repeat Step 2 from above. 

In the same manner as the previous steps open the beetle image and repeat step 2

Step 2

On the Halftone Screen, set the Frequency to 10 Lines/Inch, Angle to 45 degrees, and Shape to Ellipse. Click OK.

Convert the image into Grayscale by going to Image > Mode > Grayscale. In the Grayscale window, set the Size Ratio to 1. Click OK.

Set the Halftone screen window options

Step 3

Repeat Steps 4 to 6. Name the layer Beetle-screen-print. Head over to the Punk-poster file and select the Beetle-screen-print layer, and Transform it by hitting Command-T. Head over to the Options bar, activate the maintain aspect ratio button, and set the Width to 16%. Press Enter. Place the beetle over the hands layer on the poster. 

Repeat steps 4-6 and duplicate the image onto the punk-poster file

Step 4

On the Layers panel, click on Create a New Adjustment Layer > Solid Color. To add contrast, use the following color code: #2ed5cb. Click OK.

Add a solid color adjustment layer with a turquoise color

Step 5

Hover over the new Color Fill 1 layer and hold down Option and click. This will apply the colored layer only to the following layer. Set the Blending mode to Multiply

Hold Option and click while on the new color fill layer and set the blending mode to Multiply

5. How to Add Text

Step 1

On the toolbar, select the Type Tool (B), and let’s add Grunge Musikfestival. Put each word on a separate layer, which will give us freedom to position them any way we like. 

Using the Type > Panel > Characters Panel, set the font to Elrotex or Elrotex Basic and set the Size to 180 pt.

Additionally, add a new text layer with the words Tour 2019 and set the Size to 90 pt

Using the Type tool add a title to the poster

Step 2

Let’s rotate the title of the poster slightly to add dynamism. Select all three text layers and press Command-T to Transform. Head over to the Options bar and set the Rotate option to –13 degrees. Press Enter to apply. 

Feel free to move the text layers around. The advantage of having the words separate is that we can move each word and align them to different things. For instance, I have aligned Tour 2019 to the right side with the edge of Musikfestival

Using the Transform tool rotate the text

Step 3

Now let’s add some more text to the bottom. For this fictional poster I am making up three different stages for the festival along with three different bands. I will be adding the following text. In parentheses you can see the point sizes I used:

  • Haupt Buehne: (45 pt) Beetle December (60 pt)
  • Sonne Buehne: (35 pt) The Locomotive (45 pt)
  • Mond Buehne: (35 pt) Los Chivos (45 pt)

I set the type sizes differently as the main band needs prominence and alternated between yellow and white to create hierarchy. 

Add more text details at the bottom of the poster

Step 4

You will notice that the text as it is at the moment disappears. In order to create contrast between the foreground and the background, we need to add some type of scribbles. 

Let’s start by grouping the text layers in a folder. Select all the text layers and drag them to the folder button on the Layers panel. 

Select the text layers and group them in a folder

Step 5

Create a new layer on the Layers panel, and place it under the folder with the text layers we just grouped. Set the foreground color to black and select the Brush Tool (B). Right click to set the brush and select the Hard Pastel on Canvas brush, which is a default in Photoshop. I set my brush to 250 px. 

Using the Brush tool select the Hard Pastel on Canvas brush

Step 6

What we want to do is brush under the parts where we have placed the text. As I mentioned before, this is to add prominence, dimension, and another layer to our poster to make it legible. 

Feel free to adjust the size of the brush to fit the larger text at the top and smaller text at the bottom. Don’t forget that you can brush from side to side, up and down, and at an angle to get different stroke directions. Remember there is no right or wrong! 

Brush under the text to add contrast to the poster and make the typography legible

6. How to Save the File for Web

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

To save a JPEG for web, head over to File > Save for Web or Shift-Options-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. 

In 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

Awesome! You’ve Finished This Tutorial! 

In this tutorial, we’ve covered a classic trend that at one point was done by hand and now can be produced digitally! Today we’ve learned to:

  • Convert images into bitmap to acquire a screen print effect.
  • Work with two PSD files and combine them by duplicating layers.
  • Achieve a collage effect by using the Polygonal Lasso Tool.
  • Set hierarchy and make typography legible by applying simple tricks. 

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