Creating Retro Art Effects in Photoshop CS4
Adapted from Creative Photoshop CS4: Digital Illustration and Art Techniques (Focal Press)
By Derek Lea
There is a certain quality to vintage pop art that usually makes me smile. I am not sure whether it is the perpetually happy and whimsical figures, the coarse halftone patterns and inferior printing, or the gaudy combinations of color. But there is something about that 1950s drive-in style, "everything-is-wonderful" advertising art that is genuinely unique and strangely optimistic.
From a Photoshop artist’s perspective, perhaps a major part of the appeal is just how different it is than most contemporary digital art. As far as execution goes, printed retro art was generally done on the cheap. Registration didn’t always match up so well, colors overlapped, and halftone screens were overly large. Age is almost certainly another contributing factor to the appeal. Whether the artwork was part of a sign that has spent 40 odd years outdoors or on an old cardboard box that has been sitting in a mothball-ridden attic, the signs of age are always evident. Areas of color become worn, and printed inks will eventually display numerous scrapes and scratches.
Photoshop is a tool that allows us to achieve absolute perfection in almost anything we set out to do. However, in this article, I really want to draw your attention to the fact that Photoshop is an extremely useful tool when it comes to methodically reproducing imperfection. Retro art’s simplicity of design, rough and imperfect execution, and whimsical nature is a breath of fresh air for those of us who could use a break from the seriousness and perfection of working digitally day to day.
What You’ll Learn
Creative Techniques and Working Methods
Recognizing Suitable Resources
Analysis of Common Textures
Photoshop Tools, Features, and Functions
Color Halftone Filter
Alpha Channel Content
Part One: The Background and Outline Art
Part Two: Distress the Outlines
Create a Texture Channel
Part Three: Solid Regions of Color
Part Four: Distress the Solid Areas
Hide a Mask
In CS4, you can hide the mask by clicking on the visibility icon at the bottom of the Masks palette as well. In addition to simply hiding the mask, the density slider in the Masks palette will allow you to reduce the opacity of it, making it partially visible if you like.
Part Five: Halftone Effects
Create a Halftone Screen Pattern
Create Halftone Backgrounds
Part Six: Embellish and Organize
Viewing Layer Masks
Inverting Keyboard Commands
The Secrets of Successful Retro Art
Incorporating Type into Your Design
Other Type-integration Methods
|Don't miss the next tip on Graphics.com. Get the free Graphics.com newsletter in your mailbox each week. Click here to subscribe.|
Printed with permission from Focal Press, a division of Elsevier. Copyright 2009. "Creative Photoshop CS4: Digital Illustration and Art Techniques" by Derek Lea. For more information on this title and other similar books, please visit focalpress.com.