Join Von Glitschka for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a collage poster, part of Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory.
(screw turning) - [Instructor] Welcome to drawing vector graphics laboratory. As you've seen in previous DVG lab movies I enjoy using Adobe Illustrator as a staging ground for creative exploration. Design and layout takes an artistic eye to compose elements, balance negative and positive space, in order to create engaging visual communications. So in this movie I want to deconstruct a collage poster design and show you how I use several functions found inside Illustrator that tend to get overlooked but when used well can create some very compelling results.
Now on this project it all started with inspiration and the genesis of everything I'm about to show you was this photograph. Now I have Google Chromecast in my office and I have a third monitor mounted to the wall so photos are always being pushed to it through that service and this is one that was from NASA that was pushed to it of an astronaut walking through a room and as soon I saw this I grab my Iphone and took a photo of it so the quality isn't that great because I took a photo of a monitor with a photo dating back to the you know the sixties, so the quality is hostage quality and the color is way off.
The color is all wonky with this blue. But I kind of like the color and that's what inspired our color palette for everything I'm going to show you as well, if you look at out swatches palette here we only have white, black and these two hues of blue that we're going to use throughout this design that's going to work really, really well. So this was the genesis of my inspiration but as I was thinking what can I create that is inspired from this image? And that's when an Elton John popped into my head and that song is "Rocket Man." It's still stuck in my head and I'm not going to sing it for ya, I promise I won't do that, you don't want to hear that, but that is the theme that I'm using for this design, "Rocket Man" based off of the Apollo missions the moon landing all of that, and this is the image that kicked it off so where I do I start on something like this? Well I need to edit this photograph and I did all of that so I want to switch to a different file here called ingredients and these are all the images I'm going to use in here.
If we zoom in on this image of the astronaut you can see how I brought it in to Photoshop I isolated him from the background, adjusted the values so the contrast works better and I gauze and blurred him. Now all of this is in a PSD file that's included in the exercise file so check it out and you can see how all of that is set up. So that's the astronaut here. If we go over here, here's a NASA diagram of the lunar lander we'll be using that, here's another jet propulsion laboratory diagram of a rocket engine used in the lunar missions we're going to use that as well.
Here's a like 1800s linocut of the moon and it's a diagram showing the different aspects of the moon at different orbits but that's going to be fun to utilize. Here's another photo of the moon we're going to be using, here's a nebulous, half tone shape, we'll be using that, and some type, specifically space and lunar along with other type we'll also use. But these are kind of ingredients, collage is all about taking a lot of different images, compiling them all together and making a really cool design and that's exactly what we're going to do.
So we're going to start with the astronaut we'll select him, we're going to copy him, we'll go back to our file. We can go ahead and turn the inspiration layer off, we're going to click on the rocket man layer that's what I'm calling this guy and we'll just past him in place we'll use a line to make sure he's aligned onto our art board and now we're ready to rock and roll. Right now the mode for blend mode is normal, but right now I want to go ahead and turn that on multiply and then I'm going to lock the layer. And it was at this point that I'm looking at him and go "Okay what's the first thing I do?" Well I'll create a background, so here's the background color and I decided him dividing that kind of worked well and it was from here I was continuing to think "Well what could I do next?" And this where I'll go to the type layer, we'll go back to our ingredients, I'll take space I'll copy that go here and on the type layer I'll go ahead and paste that in.
And then I'll go ahead and snap that to the edge here and we'll go ahead and color this our base color blue here and I was liking that, I'm going "Okay that's looking "kind of cool." Now what else can we do? What's the next thing we can do? Well this is where I'll start turning on other aspects of the design such as more type so I'm going to turn on this layer here since I'm inspired by Elton John's song "Rocket Man" I decided to use that typography in it and if I go ahead and zoom in on this you can see how I laid that out.
I'm using a font called Trade Gothic, one of my favorite sans serif fonts and I decided that this was going to become a poster at a sci fi conference to announce a key note speaker in this case it's an astronaut from NASA speaking to the audience at a sci fi conference about the lunar missions, the moon landing and future missions that NASA plans on doing. So it's a poster to kind of market that speaking event so that's what I'm kind of keeping in the back of my mind, but you can see even now, even in a very simplistic format this is looking pretty cool.
So now the next thing I want to do is I want to get some moon action in here since we're talking about that we'll go back to ingredients we're going to select this and the key with this design is let me just take this and slide it over here and you don't see anything, you know why? There's no fill on it and there's no stroke because it's a raster image, but it's a PNG, it's a white PNG image, and here's something you might not realize you can use PNGs like this in an offset printed job and they'll separate fine because they're white and that's what we're going to do here so I'm just going to copy this go back here, I'm going to find the layer we've created for the moon here, I'll turn that on and I'm going to paste that in place here and I'm going to start locking down some of the other layers so I don't accidentally move it and this where I'll just go ahead and move it into position and this is where a lot of exploratory work comes in is I'm not always sure how I'm going to use it, I know I want to use it so I'll just kind of position it where I think looks good, I think that looks pretty good right there and so you can see how it's one element guiding another element and I like the way this is looking. Now it was at this point I'm thinking you know the astronaut's cool but I'm not sure it's doing much for me just staying as a gray scale image I think there's more we can do with this and this is where I want to try to create something that's going to look a little better but I'm not sure what that is, I'm not sure what I'm going to do so it's at this point I tend to print something out and set it aside and just think about it and come back to it later and think what could I do, how could I improve this, how could I push it over the top and really make it look better? And then that's when it hit me, oh I know what I need to do. Let's go ahead and lock the moon layer, we're going to go to the rocket man layer and we're going to select this and the next thing we're going to do, we're going to go up to Effect and we're going to go down to Pixelate and we're going to go to Color Halftone and click on that.
It'll open up this and this is what it's going to default to, now I wish there was a preview here but there really isn't and some of you might not know what these channels mean, just think with Channel One, C, M, Y, K, that's basically what they mean I'm not sure why they name 'em these, or at least in parentheses on the right put CMYK so people understand the context, but right now we could create a color half tone. Now the image you see placed here is a gray scale so there is no color in it, so if I just select this all it's going to do is make these angles go at this angle well the only angle that's going to matter is this 45 but if I click okay on this you can see what it does is it half tones this artwork.
If I zoom in you can see what that half tone looks like. And it's okay it's non destructive, if we go to the appearance panel you can see the color half tone here that I'm going to click into it, I don't like the way that looks so I'm going to do something here. And by the way if you have a full color image and you don't want to create like the kind of half toning you'd see in a magazine for full color image, this, what I'm about to show you is going to resolve that. We're going to punch this up to 12 and we're going to change all the angles here to 45 like this and then we're going to click okay and I think this looks really, really cool.
We'll go ahead and lock that layer cause we don't need to move it and I don't want it shift it around and look at just it's so much more compelling, it just looks so cool it's very graphic, and I should point out that this is a raster image it's not vector based but that's okay it's still going to work great I wish they would come out with the ability to do this this easy and create a vector base half tone like that but it's a great methodology a lot of people don't use that function but it's right there in Illustrator and it's that easy. I find using gray scale images work better because if you half tone like this gray scale image is going to convert better in my opinion than a full color image so that's how I created that now I'm going to talk through some of the other ephemera that I want to bring into this and the next thing I want to do is I want to bring in that moonlander because I think this would be cool so we're going to copy this and on this one we're going to go ahead and put this on the diagram's layer right here so I'll go ahead and paste what we just brought it you can see this is a very big image so I'm going to scale this down quite a bit and I want this to go up here, we're going to zoom in so we can actually see what's going on here.
Zoom in on this guy. That looks pretty good but I want it to align with the bottom of this type over here, kind of like that and we'll just drag it over kind of like this I think we can go up a little bit, that looks pretty cool. But I don't want it black, I want this to be white and because it's a bitmap image it's going to work fine in white. And now the next thing I want to do is I want to go ahead and put an outer glow on it and if I go to my Styles I have some of these pre built and so we'll just with this image selected I'll just click this graphic style and you can see that it's added this nice glowing effect around that art to kind of bump it off the background. I want it subtle but I want it to be noticeable too so that's why I did that, and all if I select this art and go the appearance panel you can see the outer glow if I click on it and drag this over is multiply 100% value and a three point blur.
So that's how I've done that so we'll keep moving forward here and the next thing I want to do is I want to add some of the other elements to this so the next one I want to do is I want to add let's see we'll do the moon graphic here we'll select this diagram, I'm going to copy it now, command C go back to my other file and on the diagrams layer I'm going to go ahead and paste it and on this one it's okay if it's a little bigger I do want to scale it down I think this is a bit too big so we'll go ahead and scale this down not too far, I think that looks pretty good and I just want to kind of position and it's okay to zoom in on this I'm always zooming in when I'm doing stuff so we can see where exactly everything's being positioned and I think that looks pretty good actually.
I think we'll go ahead and leave that, maybe I'll scale it down just a little bit, drag this out, I'm always second guessing myself so, that looks good, and on this one we'll color this one white but I'm going to leave, I don't want the value to be completely 100% so let's see I'll do, I want it to be close so I want to be strong so I'll do 95 so it just barely has some transparency to it, and I think that looks pretty good, we're going to go grab another image, we're going to grab the rocket, we'll copy that go back to our file, we'll paste this, this I another big one but on this one we'll go ahead and scale this one down as well, like this, oops, grabbed the type by accident, we're going to move this up into place and I want it to overlap this once again we'll zoom in so we can see what we're doing, like this, zoom in maybe a little more, there you go, now you guys can see what I'm seeing.
And I think that actually that looks pretty good ah maybe it could be a little bigger. I don't know let's go down, move this down, that looks good, and I want it to overlap some of the P so let's go down here so, oh, I kind of like that, let's move this over, I want it to overlap, oh that looks good, I think that's going to, you know what that's good enough for me, we're going to leave that guy.
And I'm going to keep this one black, I'm not going to color it white or anything else all I'm going to do though is I'm going to select that and we'll go to blend mode and I'm going to go ahead and multiply that so it multiples over all the colors. But I think this is looking pretty cool so far, if I zoom in on this you can see what it's looking like I think it's coming out kind of cool so we're going to keep moving this forward, keep progressing it forward, and I think you're going to like the end results.
Now the next thing, oh you know what? I think we need to add some more type. We have lunar here. Let's go ahead and grab that, copy it, and we'll go back and on this one we'll go back to our original layer, the locked diagram and I'm going to paste it onto that layer and on this one I want to colorize this one, our base color here and then because it's the word lunar I want to zoom in on this moon and kind of align it with that.
I think that'd look kind of cool. So we'll do that here. Like this, try to find a nice balance there, and then I wanted to drag it over so it barely bumps out of this space here, and I think that looks good. So all I did there is I created that, I think that looks really cool so now I notice how up here we're kind of losing this type so I think we need to address that now.
And I'm going to do that through some simple graphic design devices. Now since this is a sci fi conference I think this is kind of what, you know science fiction might have on a interfaces kind of what I was thinking there. Also when I did that if I zoom over here notice that this element came in, this code. I did a little bit of research and this is the fun part about design, is I like to make things meaningful. The collage is cool when you can add things in that actually have a context and in this case this is part of the trigonometry to determine the trajectory for the moon landing. So I thought that was kind of cool.
And with that selected I can also add a graphic glow to it too so we'll go over here and I'm going to click on this, ah that's a little big, let's, one of these, maybe that was it. Let me deselect. It's hard sometimes, oh yeah that looks, ah we'll adjust it we'll select this we're going to go into the appearance panel outer glow and really adjust it down one, see what that looks like and I think that's fine.
I just wanted enough so it kind of bounces off the background and pushes forward, yeah that looks good so that's a nice little treatment, little graphic treatment there that kind of tells more of the story. Now the nice thing about this design is we want to add some other components and the next thing I'm going to show you is just really, really cool, a whole lot of fun and it's what I'm calling, it's not even called this I don't even know if they have a name for it officially, I'm calling it spiral graphics, and I'm going to turn on that layer here and we're going to lock all the other layers so we don't move anything or get anything out of register.
We're going to focus on this layer. And you can see I have two elements here and this is so we can mask something that we're going to create so we're going to go over here and you can see I have this big graphic of the tilde character, so if you look on your keyboard, you'll find what's called the tilde key, and this is what should be on that key and if you find this then you found the key you're going to need because what we're going to do now is really cool and a whole lot of fun so it's one of those hidden features in Illustrator that doesn't get marketed a lot, but it is fun, it is going to work really well and that's what we're going to do right now so what we're going to do, we can get rid of this symbol now is we're going to go ahead and select the color we want here for the stroke and we'll select this color and we're going to pick the circle, ellipse tool here so we have a circular shape, we have this blue on the stroke, and then we're going to go over here to give us a lot of room to play with we're going to hold the tilde key down along with the option key so it goes from the center outward.
And what this is going to allow us to do is we're going to create what I call a spirographic, so hold the option key down, hold the tilde key down and look at this kind of funky design you can get, look at that. So if I deselect it, this is what you're going to end up with, it's that easy to create some crazy graphic. Now you might try this a few times til you get one you like I don't really like that one so let's try this again, once again make sure you have the circle and the color so you hold, once again hold option down or the alt key I believe on PC and the tilde key and then we're going to go like this to create this graphic, we're going to group it cause they're all individual if you don't and I think that will work well enough for the purposes and I did this really big because what I want to do now is I want to bring this over to our layout we're on this layer, we're using layers to sandwich our components here and I'm going to rotate this at a kind of a crazy level here like this and I'm just going to compose it into a nice area and showing here and I think what I'm going to do is right now this line I believe is one point, yeah, it's one point, I want to enlarge just see the more, just so it cascades across the entire background like this, I don't it at one point that's too big in my opinion so I'm going to cut this in half to half a point and with this color now we're going to go ahead and make a clone of this, command c, command f, that's what I'm going to do now and I'm going to create a layer above this and I'm just going to move that clone shape of this to that layer and I'm going to turn that off.
So this is the artwork we have now, it's on that a .5 point the base color blue so you can't even see it going over the background here. But what we're going to do now is we're going to ply multiply to it, like this so it multiples on the background and all we have to do now is if we zoom in we can kind of check out what this looks like and determine if we need to adjust the value or adjust the hue and that's a little dark so we're going to adjust the opacity so it's not super dense to 70 instead, and I think that looks good.
So all we're going to do now is we're going to select this shape for this side of our layout right here we're going to bring it to front, I have that setup as the F5 key or you can go to Object, Arrange, Bring to Front and then we'll select this image and we're going to mask it. I have that set up as the F1 key to mask it and we mask that shape into that and you can see we have this cool aesthetic now running through the background and it looks pretty cool, I really like the way that looks it adds a nice aesthetic to the overall design, we're going to go to the layer we turned off now and on this one, I want this to be the same color blue, it's the same size .5 but instead of 70, I want to knock this value down to I don't know we can try 30, see what that looks like, and that looks good.
I think we'll go with 30. I'm going to move it back to this layer, now we can throw away that extra layer we created, select this mask shape from the left side bring it to front, select this, spirographic and then paste inside using or mask it using the F1 key, which by the way if I didn't do that you can mask it by going to object clipping mask make, I just have it assigned to F1 so I hit F1, lot faster. And then we can lock that layer so we're not scrolling over that so that's all we've done is we've masked that spirographic into place and if we zoom in on this you can see the cool aesthetic it just adds to the background. So a fun way, a fun feature that a lot of people don't know about, don't use it a whole lot, but there are some contexts of use.
That was one of my challenges for myself is how can I use this function in a way that I would actually want to use it and that's how I'd do it. Now we're going to do one more quick one here in the bottom right so I'm going to go ahead and zoom in on that, we're going to create something for this area right here and we'll take the circle again and we'll go ahead and keep it black so you can see what we're doing here and I'm going to hold the circle, going to use the circle and instead of using option from the center out I'm just going to use the tilde key and I'm going to drag it over and then down like this to create kind of a graphic that represents kind of longitude and latitude lines, so that's all I'm trying to do here, I don't want it to be one point, we'll do a .5 and then I'll blow it up just a little bit and on this I want it to be white, and I'm going to drag it down and just overlap this kind of corner down here as if there's almost like a planet.
Now I don't want this to, the value to be 100% we're going to lock this rocket man we should have done that, and I'm going to knock this down to 30 once again just so it's subtle but it's apparent so you can see it when you're looking at it. So that's how I use that feature. Lot a fun, it's working really great, and there's one more thing we're going to add and then we'll turn on a few things and we'll call it done and the last thing is this half tone graphic, we're going to go to our ingredients, grab this shape, copy it, go back, make sure we're on that layer, paste it, and on this one I just think the upper right is a little lonely doesn't have a lot going into it and so all I want to do with this one is I want to position this graphic in such a way that it kind of halos that lander up here, almost creates a glow around it, that's all I'm doing here, and I'm going to go ahead and colorize this white and knock the value down to 50% here and I think that looks really, really cool. Now what I want to do if I was building the final art out on this I'd want to mask it into shape but for the sake of brevity of this movie I'm just going to leave it like that, so aesthetically it's exactly how I intended production wise I'd have to work on this file to get it so it's setup in a way that's going to make it easy to use.
But that's how I would set it up initially to get the look and feel I want. Now the very last thing I'm going to do is drop in the logo for the sci fi convention, select that and apply a nice outer glow to it, so when it's all said and done after I've collaged everything you can see how this artwork looks here I think it looks pretty, pretty cool it was a lot of fun to work it was a great process to go through and I encourage you to give this a try yourself in total I spent about two and a half hours laying this out, I had no idea where it would take me and as I added one thing, it gave me an idea for the next thing to use and that's what makes collage design like this just a whole lot of fun to work on, it's a blast.
It's true exploratory creative work, it all starts with collecting ephemera from any given genre or topic in this case the moon landing and space exploration then without any creative preamble start composing elements and let it inspire and guide you. I encourage you to experiment yourself, pick your own theme and give this creative process a try, see what you can come up with, thank you for watching DVG Lab, until next time, never stop drawing.
Note: Because this is an ongoing series, viewers will not receive a certificate of completion.
Skill Level Intermediate
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