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Create a Retro-Futuristic 2010 Poster in Photoshop


To start off 2010 I wanted to create a slightly grungy, retro futuristic sci-fi poster. I basically wanted an image that could represent the feeling 2010 seems like the future to some of us. If you know what I mean, good, I’m sure this poster will be plenty of fun.

To create an image like this I like to look through some stock and brainstorm. A really excellent place to help with this is a site called Compfight. It’s a search engine for flickr photos that allows you to search for creative commons images.

Once I have a few images in Photoshop Ill come back to the project 2 or three times with new ideas and get them down. If I’m stuck for ideas looking through the art magazines and websites which usually gets the creative juices flowing again.

As usual the PSD file is available for download free at the end.

Time to complete 2 hrs .


Create the doc according to the dimensions of your screen if you want to use this as desktop wallpaper.

Resources used   :Sea by  visualpanic /Moon by luc.viatour/ Infinity font

Thank you to the artists who provided the materials ,please remember to follow these artists rules and credit them where appropriate.

Step 1

Create a document at 800 x 950 at 72 DPI Then bring in this image of the sea , press C do get the crop tool and select only the sea portion ignoring the people.

Step 2

Select the gradient tool, choose the radial gradient (second from the top) Draw a radial gradient using this red colour ff0000 halfway down the left hand side. Then change the blend mode to multiply and reduce the opacity to 79%.

Step 3

With the background setup we can bring in this image of the moon resize and position the moon like this image, and then reduce the layer’s opacity to 76%.

Step 4

Choose this purple colour 271642 for the foreground colour and black for the background colour. Then in a new layer go to filter render clouds. Drop the layers opacity to 73 %. Usually to create stars we can use the noise filter but this time well we’ll use a different technique. Create a new layer above the clouds and fill it with white, change its blend mode to dissolve and reduce its opacity to 1 to 2 %. Finally do a gaussian blur at around 0.7 and voila very quick stars.

Step 5

White rectangle: Now well create the white rectangle shapes that make up the background. Create a rectangle like in the following image and fill it with white, then reduce the opacity to 10 %.

Step 6

Now well add a layer mask by clicking the circle in a square at the bottom of the layers palette. With the gradient on linear and set to black to white click and drag a gradient. Make sure you are on the layer mask and hold shift to get a good fade.

Step 7

Now duplicate this layer with CTRL + J and rotate it with Ctrl + T to free transform. You should end up with something like this.

Step 8

Keep duplicating the layer and rotating it until you have this kind of effect.

Step 9

Your layers palette should look like this:

Step 10

Now using shift select all the rectangles in the layers palette and merge them Ctrl + E. (To work non – destructively you can duplicate the layers ). Then add a layer mask and using a black to white gradient on the layer mask fade the bottom part of the rectangles.

This is what you should end up with :

Step 11

Now find a quote you like or a group of words you think will work well in this graphic. Go to Wordle paste in your favourite quote and select go. This is a brilliant little website that puts the words you enter into a new layout font and colour. After hitting randomise play around with the font layout and colour. Once you are happy with the image if on windows: hold down Alt and then the print screen (Prt Sc) button, hit Ctrl + V to paste into Photoshop. On a Mac press command and shift then press 3 to capture to your desktop.

Step 12

Once the image you like is in Photoshop crop any extra bits away then resize and position the text like in the following image. I set the image to screen which gets rid of the dark area. Depending on the colour of your background and text you may need to choose overlay or multiply, just have a scroll through the blend modes until your happy.

Step 13

Download these brilliant cloud brushes .After loading them create a new layer then brush some clouds in like the following image.

Step 14

Duplicate the cloud layer add a colour overly layer style with colour set to 83b2e7. Then lower the opacity to 83%.

Step 15

Download the infinity font from here and once installed type out the words ‘TWENTY TEN’. Now position this at the top use the align buttons to get it in the middle.

Step 16

Rasterize the type and add a gradient overlay layer style, with default settings from black to white.

Step 17

Download these Kinetic brushes and brush with white behind the Twenty ten letters ( so in a layer below them ) . When done we’ll add a gradient overlay from7fe0f8 to cef8ff. Finally lower the opacity to 39 %.

Step 18

Finally create a layer below the cloud brushes and Wordle letters but above the white rectangle shapes. Then fill it with white and go to filter, render lighting effects and choose ‘RGB lights’, leave all the other settings as default. 

Then use a Gaussian blur at 31.7 image.

For the final steps change the blend mode to soft light and reduce the opacity to 60 %


That’s a wrap for now having gone through the tutorial you will now know how to use layer masks a neat little way of putting words together with different layouts and how to create a rounded retro futuristic poster . Hopefully you had fun and learnt something new.

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Free PSD

The PSD file is available for download free from here.

Mediafire Download (6.49 mb Zip File)

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27 thoughts on “Create a Retro-Futuristic 2010 Poster in Photoshop”

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    Video Photoshop Tutorials says:

    Wonderful tutorial that has helped me allot , thank you

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    Miche says:

    Thanks for the tut! Posted a link back to your site and tutorial on

    Digital Art Empire says:

    Thanks Miche -Pls Feel free to do this any time

    Ryan says:

    Nice tutorial, will be helpful to many. For anyone serious about photoshop

    serbanco says:

    I'm using my result of this tutorial as a wallpaper so thanks, great inspiration. hope to see more like this.

    Digital Art Empire says:

    glad to hear it ,Serbanco : ) Im sure there'll be more

    Digital Art Empire says:

    glad to hear it ,Serbanco : ) Im sure there'll be more

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    Hi, nice post. I have been wondering about this issue,so thanks for writing. I will certainly be subscribing to your posts.

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