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Creating a poster by combining simple shapes, part 1

From: Photoshop for Designers: Shape Layers

Video: Creating a poster by combining simple shapes, part 1

Okay let's have some fun with our shape layers now by re-creating this WPA era poster, 1930s poster, public information poster, and we are going to use shape layers to do this and we are going to start from scratch. I am going to split my screen so that we can refer to the original. I am going to come to 2 Up layout. I also want to maximize the amount of screen space that I have available so I am going to come and just drag off my history panel and drag off my mini Bridge and then choose 2 Up again so that we extend across the full width of our available area.

Creating a poster by combining simple shapes, part 1

Okay let's have some fun with our shape layers now by re-creating this WPA era poster, 1930s poster, public information poster, and we are going to use shape layers to do this and we are going to start from scratch. I am going to split my screen so that we can refer to the original. I am going to come to 2 Up layout. I also want to maximize the amount of screen space that I have available so I am going to come and just drag off my history panel and drag off my mini Bridge and then choose 2 Up again so that we extend across the full width of our available area.

The typeface that's used here is a publicly available freely available for noncommercial use font called WPA Gothic, and let me just show you where you can get that. You can get it from the FontStruct site amongst others, where you can download it and use it in noncommercial capacity. I don't have the rights to distribute this. So I have converted fonts to shape layers so that we don't have any missing font issues. All right! In our starting state, the first thing that we want to do is create these background fields of color.

So I am going to use my Rectangle tool and I am going to draw a rectangle. Now, probablyI want to set the color first. If I come to my Swatches panel, we can see that I already have the colors set up in the Swatches panel. So I am going to choose the appropriate color and then draw myself a rectangle now. Now it may end up ever so slightly different from the original, but that's okay. Now when I do that, we see, because we have the type already in there, the type becomes visible now on top of that field of color.

To add the bar at the bottom, what I want to do is come to my Path Selection tool. Click on that path and rather than create a new shape layer for this I want it to be incorporated into the existing shape layer. So I am going to hold down my Option or Alt Key and the Shift Key, because I don't want to move around as I copy it, and drag it down to the bottom like so. And I might as well give that shape layer a name. That's not going to hurt.

So next let's do the body. The body is going to be composed of one shape that is a circle and another shape that is a combination of a rounded rectangle and a rectangle and then we have this collar bone, and that's a separate shape on top of that. So let's start out with this circle. Choosing my Ellipse tool, I am going to start drawing with the circle, and then I am going to hold down the Alt Key. All right! There is my circle.

Now I want to reposition it so I am going to choose my Move tool. I want to change its color. I am going to press D to switch to my default colors, black and white. Press Alt+Backspace or Delete key. Now I need to put a stroke on it. Now putting a stroke on a shape layer can be rather tricky thing. One option that I have is to create a smaller circle inside this circle. If I were to choose my Path Selection tool, to select that what I could do is Command+C to copy, Command+V to paste, Command+T to go to Free Transform.

Hold down Alt+Shift to scale from the center point. Press Return to accept that transformation and then I want to exclude the overlap and now I need to fill it with this color and it would look like that. After all that, that's not how I am going to do it, because that just seems like way too much work. So I am going to undo those steps until we are back to just a black circle, and what I am going to do is I am going to come to my Layer Effects and add a stroke.

So here I need to choose the color of my stroke, come and sample that from my Swatches, and I will increase the size of my stroke. Let's have it be 10 pixels. No, maybe it needs to be more than 10 pixels. So let's revisit that. I want to go up to 14 pixels. So there we have applied a layer effect to our shape layer. Okay.

Now what I want to do is create the neck and the shoulders and for this I need to create a new shape layer. So I am going to press U to choose my Shape tool and then Shift+U to cycle through until I get to my rectangle. So I am making sure that I have the appropriate shape behavior chosen and it's this one, so I create a new shape layer. I am going to draw myself a rectangle that looks like that.

And it's going to inherit the layer effect that I applied to the previous shape layer, so it too has a stroke, which just turns out that's what we want. On top of this, I am going to add a rounded rectangle. Now the problem with the rounded rectangle is that you have got to get the radius right, because you can't change it afterwards. And I suspect that that is not enough, so I'm going to increase that to 50 pixels, and that could be wrong but let's see where that gets us.

So now I am going to draw myself a rounded rectangle, and you'll notice I am coming down below the existing rectangle that I have just drawn, because I want to draw this rectangle outwards from its center point. So I am going to start drawing, then hold down the Alt Key. And of course how do I center it according to my canvas? Well, I could just go ahead and drop what I have here and then transform it, but let's say I wanted to draw it from the center point. In this case it's going to be easiest to turn on my ruler and then go to my Preferences to Units & Rulers and I will change my Ruler unit to percent and then I can draw myself a guide at the 50% mark.

So now when I draw my Rounded Rectangle. That's where it's going to start from. In which case I now need to reposition the other shapes that I have drawn and what I can do here is come and find them. So I have my rounded rectangle, my neck and my head, and I want all of these to be aligned horizontally like so.

Now for the neck and the shoulders I actually want to combine these into one and what I have gone and done is I have drawn them on separate shapes. So I need to just reconfigure that and this is a very common issue that you are going to run into. If you have drawn them as separate shapes, how do you make them into a single shape layer? Well, I'm going to come and choose the neck, which is this one, and with my Path Selection tool I am going to select that and I am going to cut it and I get this option.

What do I want to do? Do I want to delete the whole layer? Do I want to delete the vector mask? Do I want to delete the vector mask contents only? I want to delete the whole layer and then I will click on the vector mask of the shoulders, and I am going to paste what I copied to the clipboard or what I cut to the clipboard on there, and you will see that that automatically adds it to that shape. Now if I move the head shape above the neck and shoulders, it's going to look like that.

And now if I select both of those and move these down below the background layer, it's going to look like that. So you can see we're getting closer. The next thing I want to do is create the shape that represents the collar bone. So let's see how we can do that and I am going to do this with my Rectangle tool. Let's name these layers.

it's going to make things a little bit easier. We will call this one shoulders and we will call this one head. Now on the shoulders layer, if I choose my Rectangle tool, I am in this pinky color and I will just draw myself a rectangle like so. I now need t o zoom in a lot closer. This layer that I have just drawn has inherited the stroke, which I don't want, so I am going to throw the stroke away.

I can then reposition it. Perhaps I want to draw myself a guide to enable me to do that more easily and I will draw one on the right hand side as well. So now with my Path Selection tool, I am going to drag that over to there and you can see that I have deliberately gone a fair way beyond the top of the blue field of color and that's intentional, because what I want to do next, and I may even need to go further.

In fact, I think I do need to go up here further. So I am going to press Command+T to get a free transform and pull that down a bit further. Press Return and what I am going to do next is with my Pen tool, I am going to come and subtract that anchor point just by clicking on it. And what we are left with is this triangular shape, which I can now duplicate. I will choose my Path Selection tool and I am going to hold down my Alt key and drag that over to the right-hand side where with it still selected I am going to come to my Edit menu to Transform Path and choose Flip Horizontal.

So we now have the body shape intact and let's just turn off the guides. And if you see a rather distracting gray line around any of your shapes, as I currently am myself, press Command+H or Ctrl+H to hide that. And in my case I can see that I just need to come into that one shape there, select it, and nudge it a fraction to the left.

There we have head and shoulders and the type and the background colors all in place. I will continue this in the next movie.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop for Designers: Shape Layers
Photoshop for Designers: Shape Layers

42 video lessons · 13829 viewers

Nigel French
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 31s
    1. Welcome
      59s
    2. Using the exercise files
      32s
  2. 30m 57s
    1. Three ways to use the shape tools
      6m 49s
    2. Converting shapes to paths and vice versa
      1m 24s
    3. Moving, deleting, copying, and rasterizing shape layers
      5m 28s
    4. Drawing rectangles, rounded rectangles, and ellipses
      2m 59s
    5. Drawing lines
      2m 40s
    6. Drawing polygons and stars
      1m 48s
    7. Drawing pen paths by adding, deleting, and converting anchor points
      5m 51s
    8. Drawing pen paths with hybrid anchor points
      2m 58s
    9. Inverting paths
      1m 0s
  3. 28m 19s
    1. Adding, subtracting, intersecting, excluding, and combining shapes
      3m 50s
    2. Aligning and distributing shapes
      2m 19s
    3. Coloring shape layers
      2m 1s
    4. Creating a poster by combining simple shapes, part 1
      11m 32s
    5. Creating a poster by combining simple shapes, part 2
      8m 37s
  4. 52m 55s
    1. Creating a logo with shape layers
      10m 47s
    2. Applying blend modes to shape layers
      3m 36s
    3. Applying layer effects and styles to shape layers
      2m 53s
    4. Adding strokes to shape layers
      5m 14s
    5. Applying Smart Filters to shape layers
      4m 0s
    6. Combining shape layers with layer effects, blending modes, and Smart Objects
      5m 31s
    7. Creating shape layers from type
      3m 32s
    8. Creating web buttons using shape layers
      2m 33s
    9. Using shape layers to mask multiple layers
      3m 6s
    10. Adding shape layers to a photo illustration
      7m 38s
    11. Using shape layers to apply custom gradients to type
      4m 5s
  5. 28m 52s
    1. Finding and loading custom shapes
      3m 13s
    2. Creating your own custom shape
      5m 2s
    3. Creating a custom shape from an Illustrator symbol
      5m 1s
    4. Creating a custom shape from an Illustrator Live Trace object
      9m 40s
    5. Creating seamless patterns from shape layers
      4m 18s
    6. Saving and loading shapes with the Preset Manager
      1m 38s
  6. 30m 10s
    1. What is a vector mask?
      6m 39s
    2. Converting to a selection, vector mask, or layer mask
      5m 17s
    3. Linking and unlinking vector masks
      4m 47s
    4. Using shape layers to create a photo grid
      1m 42s
    5. Feathering a vector mask edge
      2m 54s
    6. Adjusting vector mask density
      3m 16s
    7. Combining vector masks with layer masks
      3m 34s
    8. Working with paths and clipping paths
      2m 1s
  7. 19s
    1. Goodbye
      19s

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