Designing retro vintage art is fun and is a great way to celebrate the past. Retro art can be anything from posters to photographs, so it’s really up to you to take advantage of the extensive features available in Photoshop.
The basic design process will require a little bit of work to adjust color levels and shift channels (to get a vintage lithographic print effect). Further, you will also have to learn how to add Hue/Saturation adjustment layers and also blend multiple images to get the perfect retro vintage feel like the image above.
For this piece, I’ll go over a few tips that will be a good starting point to creating retro vintage art.
To start off, you have to pick some images that will go together. You can download the same images that I’ve used from the links provided below or you can adapt these steps to create your own piece of vintage art.
One thing to note, when selecting photographs, make sure that you select images that don’t look modern. I mean, you can’t really reminisce with smartphones and new automobiles in the image! So avoid photographs with modern clothes, modern buildings, or new hairstyles that don’t fit into the time period you’re looking to recreate. You can make this artwork with Adobe Photoshop CS4 and all the newer versions.
I have picked the following images: Graffiti Paint on Shipwreck on the Beach Underwater View of the Sea Surface Young Adult Summer Beach
To start, open a portrait A4 size Photoshop document (in RGB mode) and place the Graffiti Paint on Shipwreck on the Beach image
on the page. It’s a cool image with a sense of decay, but for the purpose of making this vintage art, we need to isolate it from the background.
Select Eraser tool (right click to choose the Background Eraser) from the toolbox on the left. Then zoom into the image and use the tool to erase the part of the image that we aren’t going to use like in the image above.
Eraser tool: Size: 360 px Hardness: 88% Spacing: 87%
Go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness + Contrast – Then adjust the Brightness to +10 and the Contrast to +20.
After you’re satisfied with the erased image, add the Underwater View of the Sea Surface image. Set it behind the shipwreck layer so that it naturally forms a blue oceanic background behind the wreck. Next, go to Blending Options and set the Blending Mode to Darken and set the Opacity at 40%.
Add the Young Adult Summer Beach image. Place it behind the Underwater View layer in the middle. Next, use the eraser tool to soften and blend the edges (repeat Step 1).
Once you’re happy with the composition of the image, add a Bright/Contrast layer (from the Adjustments panel) and place it at the top of the layer stack. This will enable you to add the same effect on all the other layers simultaneously.
To give it that vintage effect, we need to add a fill layer. Click Layers > New Fill Layer > Solid Color
Next add a red color fill layer and set the Opacity at 40. Once you’ve done that, go to Layers and select Hue/Saturation layer and place it on top of the layer stack (Hue to +30 and Saturation to +30). Then select Layers > New Adjustment Layer > Color Balance (top of layer stack).
Red +10 Green +20 Yellow -100
With these adjustments, you will have your first piece of a really cool looking work of vintage art. This is just basic stuff that’s a good starting point to learn how to create images with vintage sensibilities.
Do you have any tips to make more adjustments to this piece? Share your thoughts (and/or images) in the Comments section below.
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