If you like movies and you like to learn about design, than you will find this article very interesting. I have recently finished a whole course about Movie Poster Design for macProVideo in which I explain my workflow of designing posters for 10 different movie genres. This hands-on course showcases the whole design procedure from concepts to the final designs for the 10 posters below:
Today I’m going to share the steps I went through to design this Romantic Comedy poster:
First step in my workflow is always coming up with a concept and layout for the poster. This time I choose the title ‘Geek Chic’ for a fictional romantic comedy movie. I found a very useful collection of references on the Internet by Christophe Courtois showcasing movie posters based on a compositional cliché and I decided to come up with a version of my own based on this:
Of course it is not necessary to base your design on a cliché every time. It is great if you can come up with something fresh and unusual, but there is a reason why there are so many examples using clichés like this. They just simply work. You have to get the attention of people on the street with your poster design and this cliché that I picked has a very strong visual impact with the sexy legs forming a triangular composition.
Next step is to look for photos that can be used for the layout. I usually use stock photo sites and one of my favorites is PhotoDune. It is very easy to save bookmarks and create lists for each project and it is also quite cheap to buy high-resolution images. You can check out my list of photos that I bookmarked for the Movie Poster Design course:
After spending some time searching for the right images I found these and decided to use them for my poster:
For a poster, choosing the right font is almost as important as choosing good images. A well chosen font can give character to your design and emphasize the movie’s genre and story. Usually, it is good to stick with max 2-3 different fonts as your design will get messy using more than that.
Also it is important to make sure that your selected fonts work well together. What you have to bare in mind when combining different fonts together is to make sure they are not too similar to each other. Using two very similar fonts together will look like a mistake and it will confuse the viewer. In this case I choose the following 3 fonts for the main typographic roles in the design:
Now that we have everything ready, we can edit the images individually. Mainly what we need to do is to extract them from their background, which in these cases will be quite easy as they both have neutral background colors.
Let’s have a look at the legs image first. Here it is enough to use the Magic Wand tool in Photoshop and click on the background with the Tolerance set to somewhere around 10. Once you have the selection you can click on the Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers panel.
Because we made a selection of the background and the mask will keep the selection visible we will have to invert the mask. You can do this by selecting the mask (black and white thumbnail) in the Layers panel and then open the Properties panel and click on the Invert button.
Once this is done, we can save a PSD file and repeat the same steps on the other image with the geeks. There might be more work with that though as the background color is very similar to the girl’s blouse on the left and also there is a lot of hair detail in this image, which is always complicated to make selections of. With images like this instead of using the Magic Wand tool try starting out with Color Range from the Selections menu and isolate the background with that.
You won’t be able to separate the background and foreground completely with Color Range so you will have to just try to reach something similar on the screenshot above. Once you have that you can click on Ok. The next step should be to save the selection as a mask like we did on the previous image. We will have to invert the mask also because we again made the selection based on the background. Once the mask is inverted you should be able to see something like this:
To improve the mask we can Alt/Option click on the mask thumbnail in the Layers panel and then use the Brush tool to draw over the not properly selected and masked parts. The foreground parts should be all white (as anything white in the mask is going to be visible) and the background parts should be all black (as anything black in the mask is going to be hidden).
This is how the mask looks before correcting it with the Brush tool:
And this is how it looks after the correction, which took around 5 minutes:
Still not every part has to be perfect as the legs image will be on top of this one with the geeks and the legs will probably cover some parts.
From this point on, it’s all about finding the right composition by putting the images and text together into a new document, which you can start with a portrait format A3 size.
Well done for your hard work and hopefully this tutorial will help you to create your own cool Movie Poster designs. If you want to watch the video tutorial for this and all the other movie posters check out the course here: