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Create an Epic Godzilla-Inspired Movie Poster in Adobe Photoshop

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Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

The original Godzilla movie is probably one of the most important and influential monster movies of all time. Which is currently being promoted with some astounding artwork, If you're a big fan of cinema, you have probably already heard about the new Hollywood remake. In this tutorial, astutely named Goodzilla in Adobe Photoshop, we will create a fan-made movie poster. Let's get started

Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used during the production of this tutorial. Make sure to download them before getting started. If they are not available, please find alternatives

1. Set Up the Base

Step 1

The best way to start this kind of montage is to get the basic images together. First, create a new document. And make it, Make sure to give your file a name (in my case, Goodzilla)27 x 40 inWhich is the most common movie poster size.  

If you want the best printing quality, the resolution should be300 pixels/inchThis will make your PSD file very heavy, However. Since the image will only be viewed on screen, which is, I chose the default resolution, In my case72 pixels/inch

Go to File > Place EmbeddedAnd placeCloudy Hong Kong 5 on your canvas. While placing the image, use the upper Options Bar flip it horizontally and scale it down to about60%Press enter to confirm

Make sure the layer was placed as aSmart ObjectWhich should shows with a small file icon over the layer thumbnail. Enter the file byDouble-clickingOn the Smart Object layer's thumbnail

Now, we'll mask out the sky. Go to, To do soSelect > Color RangeAnd click on the sky to sample its color. Then go toLayer > Layer Mask > Hide SelectionYou should get the following result

Well, that was easy, but the result is far from perfect. We'll need to refine the mask. Paint back in the buildings using white, To do so, click on the layer mask to select it, using your favourite tool, and, and hide the unwanted elements using black. In the following example, I've shown in red the part that was hidden along with the final result. Most of the work was done using thePolygonal Lasso Tool (L)And the Fill shortcut(Alt-Backspace)Make sure to take your time to do a good job. Only patience, There is no trick there

Save and close the smart object, Once you are done. Rename itCityAnd place it in aGroup(Control-G)And name itCityAs well. Create aNew Layer (Control-N)And fill the bottom part of the image with black. Name the layer Black

Step 2

We'll use a photo of a statue taken in Japan, To create our monster. PlaceGodzilla on your canvas. Since the image is small, you will need to scale it up by40%So it fits nicely. We'll cover it up later using color adjustments and haze, Don't worry if it doesn't looks realistic yet

We'll need to hide the sky as well as the buildings, In this case. The best way to do so is to create a path around the statue using thePen Tool (P)

Go to the, Once you are donePathsPannel, make sure yourWork PathAnd press the Load Path as selection icon, is selected

With the selection active, go to yourLayersPanel and press theAdd a mask button to hide the background. Name the layerGoodzilla

HideTheCityGroup. Create aNew layerAnd name itBodyPaint in black the bottom of the monster's body, On this layer. This doesn't have to be perfect since most of this area will be hidden with buildings and haze

Create aNew layerAnd name itTextureAnd clip it onBodyUsing theClone Stamp Tool (S)UseAltAnd paint back some texture on the body, to pick a textured area. Once again, this doesn't have to be perfect

UnhideTheCityGroup. You should get the following result

Step 3

PlaceSunset 1 andScaleIt so it fits the canvas. Name the layerSky1

We can make the sky more interesting by combining it with a more intense looking sky. To do soPlaceSky0263 andScaleIt so it fits the upper part of your canvas

Name the layerSky2Set it toSoft LightAndMaskOut the bottom with a soft blackBrushSo it blends nicely

2. Create the Mood

Step 1

Now that we've got everything set up, we can begin adjusting colors to set the overall mood of our final image and make sure that everything blends nicely together. We'll start with the sky. Inside theSkyCreate a, groupGradient MapAdjustment layer(Layer > New Adjustment Layers > Gradient Map)And input a gradient ranging from#160E0C to#A96733Make sure that the layer is set50% Opacity

We'll also lighten up the sky. Create a, To do soCurvesAdjustment layer and set it as shown in the example below. Also, make sure the layer has aMaskFillIt with black(Edit > Fill)And use a large white softBrushTo paint back in the adjustment around the center of the image

We can brighten up even more the center of the image by creating aColor BalanceAdjustment layer with the following values. Make sure the layer is set toScreenOnce again, andMaskIn only the center of the image

Next, create aNew LayerAnd fill it using a large softBrushAnd the following three colors

Name the layerGold and set it toMultiplyAnd75% Opacity

Repeat the process with the following three colors

And this time set it toSoft Light100%OpacityI named this layerSunset

Finally, brighten up the sky one last time with aCurvesAdjustment layer

Step 2

We can work on blending the monster within, Now that we've set up a nice atmosphere. Since the monster is placed against the main light source, it should be darker. Its hue will also need to fit with the sky. To do soGroupGoodzillaTextureAndBodyTogether, and clip aCurvesAnd aGradient MapAdjustment layer to the group. Give those layers the following settings. I named the groupPrecomp

If you look at the originalGoodzillaLayer, you will notice a blue highlight on the edges of the statue, which is mainly due to the strong backlight. We can specifically tweak that highlight by creating aHue/SaturationAdjustment layer targeting only theBlues

Once you are done, you should get the following result

Step 3

We will use three adjustment layers, For the city. Start by creating aHue/SaturationLayer targeting bothCyansAnd BluesBring the, For both of theseSaturationAndLightnessTo-100

Add a, ThenColor BalanceWith the following settings

Darken everything using a, And finallyCurvesTo give it the same backlit aspect, adjustment

Make sure to clip everything toCity

Now, the building still doesn't seems to fit the scene. That is because, the light source come from the opposite direction than in our scene, in the original photo. To correct thisDouble-clickOn the layer's thumbnail to enter theSmart Object.  Create aNew LayerSet it toMultiplyAnd paint on the following area with #2A4467

Once you are doneSaveAndCloseAnd you should get the following result, the Smart Object

Step 4

In this step, we'll give our image a better sense of depth by adding haze. You will notice that as things get further away from you, When outside, if you look at the horizon, they tend to take up the color of the atmosphere and lose details. And over great distance, it becomes visible, This is because the air is not perfectly transparent. In our case, dust from the destruction of the city, or, This effect is accentuated if there are particles in the air, such as humidity. This means that, they should lose detail and take up an orange hue, as things get further away from the viewpoint, in our image. Doing will help conveying the sheer magnitude of the monster as well as hiding the fact that the original photo is a statue

To do so, create a new layer, clip it toPrecompName itHazeAnd paint in with a large softBrushAnd the following values

In order to preserve some of the details, bring down theOpacityTo60%

Repeat the process for the city, this time using a more brownish color such as#3D3027

This time, bring theOpacityDown to25%

MaskOut some of the foreground elements, such as the trees

Step 5

In this step, we'll continue adjusting and bringing together our image. We'll start by creating a newGroupNamedFXContaining twoGradient MapGive the first one a gradient ranging from#231812And set it to, to white30% Opacity

Then, give the nextGradient MapThe following settings, and set it to25% Opacity

Give both layers the followingMask

Then, add the followingColor Balance

Step 6

In this step, we'll finalize our backlit setup by adding a bright sun in the sky. Which is the monster, This will also serve to create a strong focal point toward the most important part of our image. Start by creating a new layer and fill it with black. With a large and soft roundBrushPaint a big brown#2A170ADot in the center of the canvas. Paint a smaller and brighter, Then#DFB27FDot in the middle, an even smaller and brighter dot in the middle, and then#FDF2DC

Set the layer toLinear DodgeThen scale and place it according to the example below. TheLinear DodgeBlending mode will allow us to get a nice flare effect

Finally, we'll add a vignette effect in order to focus the viewer even more toward the center of the image. To do so, create aNew LayerFillIt with white and paint with a soft blackBrushAround the edges of the canvas. Name the layerVignetteAnd set it toMultiply

3. Add Details and Refinements

Step 1

In theoriginal posterWe get to see soldiers parachuting toward the monster. This is a nice touch since the smoke trails they leave behind create visual lines which helps focus the eye toward the center of the image. We'll use smoke trail from aerobatic airplanes, In order to achieve this effect. Let's begin by openingRed Arrows in Photoshop

HitControl-MTo bring up theCurvesAdjustment window, and crunch the darker pixels of the image. Hit, ThenControl-UTo bring up theHue/SaturationTarget the , windowBluesAnd bring theLightnessDown to-100

Then, use theBrush Tool (B)With a cloud-like brush and paint in black the clouds that are still visible

HitControl-IToInvertThe image's color. Hit, ThenControl-ATo create a fullSelectionOf the canvas and thenCopy (Control-C) andPaste it (Control-V)Back into your main scene. Set the layer toMultiply

In order to feel more realistic, the trails need to be darker and match the overall hue of the sky. Once again, we'll use theCurvesAndHue/SaturationAdjustment windows. Don't forget to check theColorizeOption

Using theLasso Tool (L)Create a selection around one of the smoke trailCutIt(Control-X)PasteIt(Control-V)And use theFree TransformMode(Control-T)To move and rotate it around

Give all the layers the name, Once you are done placing themTrailAnd set them toMultiply

You can use the technique shown in the previous step to create flares at the tip of the smoke trails. If you don't want them to be to bright, set them to70% OpacityAndGroupThem together

Add yet another four layers, and paint small soldiers at the tip of the smoke trail. Once you are doneGroupEverything together and name the groupParatroopers

Step 2

The actors' names, Since this is a movie poster, such as the movie title, the credits and the release date, we're going to add a number of textual informations. Let's start with the actor names. Make sure you have downloaded and installed the free fontBebas NeuePick theHorizontal Type Tool (T)And create sevenText LayerSet the color to, Fill those layers with the actors' names#A68B76The first name to42 ptAnd the family name to60 ptOnce you are done, place everything in aGroupNamedActors

As for the movie title, I used the fontCompacta ICG BoldWhich is the actual font of the movie poster. If you don't have it, the fontImpactAlthough it is slightly less aesthetic, can do just fine. Use the, Once againType Tool (T)Or in this case, and type in the movie titleGoodzillaSet the font size to250 ptAnd the color to#C72F13Place and scale, ThenConcreteBare0348Over your text layer, and clip it to itGroupBoth layer together and name the groupGoodzilla place both, And thenGoodzillaAndActorsTogether in a group namedText


It darkened our text a little bit too much, While the texture is nice. To correct this, make sure you have your texture layer selected, hitControl-MTo bring theCurvesAnd bring up the curve, adjustment window

As for the credits, we'll use a font namedSteelTongs which has been specifically designed for this use. You can use the lowercase to type the small titles, With the font installed, and the uppercase to type the actual letters. Set the font size to, Once you are done50 ptAnd the color to#69584B

You can use the font, As for the dateCompacta ICG Bold(orImpact). Set the size to100 ptAnd the color to white

Finally, we'll place in theGodzilla SignI suggest you open and copy it inside this program, If you have Illustrator, andPasteIt as aShape LayerTo get the best quality. Otherwise, you can just place it as a regular layer

Pick a dark red color, With the layer selected#6E0F00 and hitAlt-BackspaceToFillThe shape with the color. Then, set it to70% Opacity

We'll give our movie title layer a, To improve the contrast between the movie title and the background shapeDrop ShadowMake sure yourGoodzillaAnd click on the, layer is selectedAdd a Layer Style button. Input the following settings

Step 3

We can make our image more visually interesting by adding some smoke clouding the city. To do so, first start by openingEvening Sky 1 in Photoshop

HitControl-IToInvertThe color, and then use theCurvesAdjustment to brighten up the image

Use a large soft, NowBrushTo paint the lower area of the image in white

Rotate and place it according to the example below, bring the image into your main scene, Once you are done. Use theHue/SaturationAdjustment toColorizeThe cloud in red. Name the layerSmokeSet it toMultiplyAnd70% OpacityNotice that this layer is placed between theCityAnd theGoodzillaGroup

Duplicate (Control-J) The layer, enter theFree TransformMode(Control-T)FlipIt horizontally(Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal)And place it to the right of your canvas. You can then duplicate the layer another time and place it so it fills even more the lower right area of the image. Once you are doneGroupEverything together in a group namedSmoke

Step 4

The poster is almost completed. For the final touches, we'll start by adding another vignette effect. Create aNew LayerAnd, using theGradient ToolCreate a gradient going from black to white, and back to black

Name the layerVignetteSet it toMultiplyAnd place it betweenTextAndParatroopers

Between the city and the black background, Notice how there is a division between at the bottom of the layer. We can fix this by creating yet anotherNew LayerAnd using a large softBrushPaint a straight line with#030101Place the layer aboveVignetteAnd name itBottom Fix

Make sure to, FinallySave a copy of your file, and then go toLayer > FlattenImage

Go toFilter > Noise > Add NoiseSet the amount to2%And make sure to checkMonochromatic

Finally, go toImage > Image SizeAnd resize the image to25%Make sure to checkResample ImageAnd selectBicubic SharperTo get the best result as you scale down the image

There you go, you've completed the tutorial. Have a look at the final result


We covered the process in making a Godzilla-inspired movie poster, In this tutorial. To convey a sense of scale and depth, Among others, we have seen various techniques allowing you to create a strong mood, and to keep the viewer focused at the center of our image. You can use these techniques to create your own fan made movie poster, Now

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