Photoshop Tutorial: Airbrushed Film Poster Style Photo Effect

How’s it going everyone this is Chris from
Spoon Graphics with another video tutorial. Now I’ve always loved the style of those classic
movie posters that were drawn by hand with advanced air brushing techniques, from master
artists like Drew Struzan. Imagine the poster art for original Star Wars
trilogy, the Indiana Jones movies, and pretty much any action/adventure film from the 80s! They all feature incredibly life-like depictions
of the the actors and characters, which are almost like photos, but they have a clear
hand painted appearance with subtle brush strokes, outlining marks and quite high contrast
with vibrant colours. In today’s Photoshop tutorial I’m going to
show you a mix of filters and adjustments we can apply to a photograph to mimic that
retro style airbrushed painted look. The effect works best with quite dark and
low key photos, especially those with a lots of grainy details, rather than clean and bright
studio shots with perfect skin tones. The image I’ll be working with is this stock
photo of an old western cowboy from Shutterstock. So begin by opening your chosen image in Adobe
Photoshop. Since the effect works best with gruff details,
start by adding a High Pass overlay to bring out the details. Drag the background layer onto the new layer
icon to make a duplicate, then go to Filter>Other>High Pass. Enter 2 pixels so you can just see the image
emerging from the grey overlay. Change this layer’s blending mode to Linear
Light to dramatically sharpen the image. Create a snapshot of the image as a new layer
by going to Layer>Merge Visible, but hold the ALT key while clicking the option to create
a copy at the top of the layer stack. The first key ingredient for this effect is
the Oil Paint filter, which helps move the picture from a photo to a hand painted image. Go to Filter>Stylize>Oil Paint. Change the Stylization option to 2, the leave
the rest of the settings at 10. Drag this Oil Paint layer over the new icon,
or use the shortcut CMD+J to make a duplicate, then change the blending mode to Overlay to
darken the image and boost the colours and contrast. Switch over to the Channels panel, then hold
the CMD key while clicking on the RGB thumbnail to load a selection of the highlights of the
subject. Switch back to the Layers panel and Copy and
Paste this channels selection onto a new layer. Change the blending mode of this highlights
layer to Vivid Light to increase the colours and contrast even further, which helps replicate
the tones of a hand painted image. Tone it down slightly by reducing the opacity
to around 80%. Head to the Select menu, then choose Reselect
the load the channels selection again, then create a new layer. Fill this selection with pure white using
the CMD+Backspace shortcut. Change this layer’s blending mode to Soft
Light to tone down some of the vibrancy and bring back some brightness to the image. Use the Merge Visible command while holding
the ALT key to make a new snapshot, or using the finger contorting shortcut CMD+ALT+Shift+E. We’ll use this layer to add some brushed outlines
to the effect. Head to Filter>Filter Gallery, then navigate
to the Poster Edges effect under the Artistic menu. Change the settings to 0 Edge Thickness and
0 Edge Intensity, then max out the Posterization. This effect adds some nice darker outlining
marks, but another key aesthetic of those real airbrushed posters is similar highlight
strokes. Create a duplicate of this Poster Edges layer,
then go to Image>Adjustment>Desaturate. Head back to the Filter Gallery, and go to
Stylize>Glowing Edges. Change the settings to 1 Edge Width, 2 Edge
Brightness and 1 Smoothness. Change this layer’s blending mode to Screen
to render the black areas transparent, leaving just the white highlight lines. Reduce the opacity to around 70%. Another common theme of classic film posters
is a heavy grain texture. Create a new layer then go to Edit>Fill. Change the drop down menu to 50% Gray. Head to Filter>Noise>Add Noise and configure
the settings to 20% with the Gaussian and Monochromatic options checked. Change the blending mode of this layer to
Overlay to allow the underlying artwork to show through. To finish off the effect, we can overlay an
old paper texture to replicate the aged look of those real poster prints. You can find this paper texture image for
free from Paste it into the document, then change the
blending mode to Soft Light. The final result does a great job of mimicking
the airbrushed effect seen on those retro film posters. The initial oil paint filter did a lot of
the work by adding brushed strokes to the photograph, then a range of contrast and colour
boosts, along with the outlining marks helped further replicate the hand painted look. The grainy overlay and paper texture finished
it off nicely with a tactile printed poster appearance. So I hope you have some fun using this effect
in your projects. If you enjoyed the video or learnt anything
new be sure to subscribe to the Spoon Graphics Youtube channel to stick around for more,
and visit my website at Spoon.Graphics to find more written tutorials and free design
resources. Big thanks to Squarespace for sponsoring this
video. If you want to set up a great looking portfolio,
website or online store, remember to make use of the code Spooner to get 10% off. So as always thank you very much for watching,
and I’ll catch you all later.


  1. Gabriel Josefson March 2, 2018 at 11:19 pm


  2. neobigdada March 3, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    Spoon you're some legend boiiiiii

  3. MemeQueen March 6, 2018 at 3:53 am

    This was such a good tutorial, that I feel like you just exposed a technique no one should know about! Thank you so much!

  4. TatorB March 6, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    Holy crap, so much information in little time. I got more from this video in 5 minutes than watching hours of other videos! Thanks so much!!!!!

  5. Gustavo Cecille March 7, 2018 at 12:18 pm


  6. Marco Arturo Garcia Hernandez March 9, 2018 at 3:40 am

    no sirve

  7. OtterPops March 10, 2018 at 1:11 am

    Good one, Brother! =]

  8. Gritty Clu Too March 12, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    That was amazing!!! ?

  9. TOOFUTURETV March 13, 2018 at 3:08 am


  10. Film Learnin March 13, 2018 at 9:25 am

    Fantastic tutorial dude!

  11. Jim Valentino March 13, 2018 at 8:18 pm


  12. mike sikes March 14, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    Great tutorial. But, I think I'd rather paint it myself.

  13. Quedro March 14, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    I add the oil effect but it doesnt seem to work anyone know how to fix this

  14. perpetualjon March 16, 2018 at 6:38 am

    Fantastic technique! I love it and can't wait to give it a spin!

  15. Joseph Siciliano March 21, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    First time watching one of your tutorials and I have to say that you sound like one of the Beatles.

  16. Shawal Khan March 21, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    Thanks Sir

  17. Marcio Freire March 25, 2018 at 6:38 pm


  18. Lalo Greiner March 25, 2018 at 11:02 pm

    Veeeeery goooood!

  19. David Fajardo March 30, 2018 at 9:32 am

    Really good effect, but this guy's voice is soo annoying…

  20. Dan Masoomi March 30, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    the best tutorial Ive seen on youtube just no bullshit straight to the point amazing

  21. Nelson Rahi April 3, 2018 at 10:44 pm

    Amazing, thank you!

  22. Jennifer Schalow April 7, 2018 at 3:12 am

    When I create the high pass layer and select linear light – nothing happens??

  23. Michael Prostka April 10, 2018 at 11:50 pm

    Extremely badass! Thank you!

  24. Kazu April 11, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    You should have explained what document size you're using since most filters in photoshop are in relation to that. A 2px oilpaint has more impact on a 200×200 image than on a 2000×2000 image.

  25. Tuvshinbat Sundui April 13, 2018 at 5:21 am

    how about phottoshop cs 2 there is no oil paint//?///??? w

  26. Samuel Elijas April 17, 2018 at 10:19 pm

    Excellent tutorial!!

  27. Marek Marek April 18, 2018 at 9:07 pm

    great tutorial, but….can you try carefully articulate? Sometimes is hardly to understand to non eglish speaker.

  28. DJ VITO April 19, 2018 at 2:31 am

    Best effect and tutorial ever!!!

  29. D Mafia April 19, 2018 at 2:43 am

    cool but you go thru the steps and speaking WAY TO FAST FOR ME I CANT FOLLOW ALONG IT IS A PITY

  30. Slim Jim April 19, 2018 at 9:45 am

    Sell this as an action to skip the steps.

  31. Fritz Kevin Cortes April 21, 2018 at 2:21 am

    It's great Video, but I'm not a fast learner, i hope you slow down a bit, not everybody can keep up with your phase

  32. powerlurker April 21, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    it just magic

  33. F. Norman April 25, 2018 at 6:37 am

    How complicated! I prefer the old way, just using Oil Painting filter..

  34. Caleb Brandalise April 26, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    Holy crap good work!

  35. Wayne Merchant April 27, 2018 at 11:50 pm

    Incredible technique! Thank you for sharing.

  36. Kel Guy April 30, 2018 at 1:52 am

    Great Vid YHAMX

  37. Zoltán Horváth May 7, 2018 at 5:12 pm

    OMG! Thanks a bunch for this awesome tutorial!

  38. Douglas W. Urbiba May 12, 2018 at 8:55 pm


  39. John Guarizo May 15, 2018 at 10:21 am

    One of the best i have seen, fuckin perfect

  40. peblezQ May 18, 2018 at 4:21 am

    Lol, I couldn't figure out how to do this a few years back, so I've been spending the past few years just straight up painting people to get this effect. Haha

  41. Alexandre Lopes May 25, 2018 at 3:34 am

    great tutorial!

  42. RaeGraphix May 28, 2018 at 11:18 am

    tutorial is very dependant on the picture, tried this out and im experienced with photoshop so i knew what i was doing and even still followed the steps exactly as shown and the image came out looking like crap, it was good image, high contrast and high quality, but the effect looks horrible

  43. 90McMike May 31, 2018 at 11:11 am

    awesome, danke!

  44. Gui Coelho June 7, 2018 at 9:16 pm

    First time here. Really like the fast speed. Great!! Thank you!

  45. Matthew White June 11, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Wow! Thanks a lot. I can't wait to try this out.

  46. Patrick J. Boening June 15, 2018 at 3:17 am

    Very good…but too fast…

  47. Roberto Supertramp June 18, 2018 at 5:43 am


  48. Vincent Preston July 4, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    Just airbrush the Damm thing ,it would look better in my opinion!

  49. Sam Oliver July 10, 2018 at 10:52 am

    Great one!?

  50. R.S. July 17, 2018 at 11:15 pm

    One crucial note thats not stated in the video, when you Desaturate the layer (3:46) , make sure you DESELECT first. Otherwise you will only be desaturating the highlight layer, not the entire image, as demonstrated.

  51. WeegieMovies July 24, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    That's so cool, thanks!

  52. Laff Therapy August 2, 2018 at 7:33 am

    What a fantastic tutorial. Straight to the point. Quickly going from one step to the next without useless chatter.

    I love that you understand that there is in fact a pause button but there is no "skip useless dialogue about nothing" button.

  53. Javier Ortega August 14, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    Are you the guy from Censored Gaming?

  54. Moturoais Corporation August 19, 2018 at 4:43 am

    Just awesome! I have now used this for 4 images for the intros for INC Horror Channels "ICONS OF Horror" Show. This is the BEST! Thanks so much.

  55. Teh LaughingMan August 20, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    big assumption made on that oil paint filter

  56. Levvis Bowness August 27, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    Fantastic, thank you!

  57. Marty Wraight October 7, 2018 at 8:42 am

    brilliant brilliant, cheers mate, been looking for something this good for so long.

  58. RetroBlast November 5, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    1:21 I'm american so it sounded like 'shitter-stock' to me. lol

  59. Gerald Trinity November 7, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    Thank you so much for this video I've been trying to get this done on my work for years as a graphic designer.

  60. SAN ART STUDIO November 8, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    This is just amazing

  61. richard mendoza November 11, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    Awesome tutorial, Chris. I'll have to try this technique on a few of my portraits. As with any recipe, I'm realistic that I may have to 'suit to taste'. Thanks for posting!

  62. passsacaglia November 16, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    This is so fucking phantastic!!! Would you mind do a "full poster", just like Stranger Things or Kung Fury as an example poster like 80s style? There's nothing like that on youtube or wherever I searched so it will for SURE generate extremely heavy view rating. Would be the dream! Kindest regards !

  63. Bacon Pancakes November 19, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    Great vid tutorial, easy to follow and straight to the point without any added fluff. Thank you.

  64. Sal Rurua November 21, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    deep appreciation :^

  65. posalajosutca November 23, 2018 at 2:56 am

    If you'd lose that awful accent, perhaps it would easier to understand you and would get more out of your video !

  66. danz beard December 6, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    Phenomenal tutorial. Altered a few things, but came out perfect.

  67. Jyn Meyer Design December 16, 2018 at 12:55 am

    Exactly what I was looking for thank you! Although I was having a hard time understanding everything you were saying. " Hold the alt key while clicking the options create a copy at the top of the layer stack." On a mac the alt key IS the option key….

  68. Wee Tittle December 17, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    Nice tutorial.

  69. originalnilson December 23, 2018 at 6:28 am

    Flippin genius mate. Well done!

  70. François GUILLAUME December 30, 2018 at 4:23 pm

    where r u from mate?

  71. GreatWaterCircus January 18, 2019 at 7:36 am

    very cool

  72. Angelo Civetta January 23, 2019 at 9:30 am

    hello guys / minute 3.01 what he didi?

  73. Paul Young January 25, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    awesome effect but please slow down ! lol

  74. Pate Skate January 26, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    Thanks man this looks sooo cool

  75. Raka Reksadani February 5, 2019 at 7:35 pm

    This tutorial should get 1M viewers.

  76. Doug Drexler February 5, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    Fantastic tutorial! Astonishing!

  77. Richard Casteel February 21, 2019 at 2:28 am

    amazing. thank you for being succinct!

  78. Yvonne van Leeuwen February 28, 2019 at 1:16 am

    wow, what an amazing, indepth and quick easy to understand tutorial, thanks!

  79. Sally Ren March 3, 2019 at 5:41 am

    On 1:58 you Merge Visible that layer, then u still got 3 layers on your panel. but i tried that merge visible, i only have one layer left!!?? Why could that happen?

  80. happydeath TV March 4, 2019 at 2:46 am

    1:53 not sure what is going on O _ O u clicked merge visible and it's made new Layer…..

  81. Maximus Gigantos March 8, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    this is so cool

  82. Kinga Próchniewicz March 13, 2019 at 1:11 am

    this is the best tutorial ever! thank you very much! amazing job! <3

  83. Sam Adriaans April 11, 2019 at 11:08 pm

    Great video, however the speech pattern drives me mad?

  84. Shaik Firoz April 12, 2019 at 8:40 am


  85. Vinnie Camilleri May 9, 2019 at 1:43 am

    This is brilliant, you make it look so easy !

  86. Chosen Idea May 10, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    "The finger contorting shortcut"? Very well done (the video).

  87. FATHERHOOD June 25, 2019 at 10:02 pm

    Cant understand a word you said.

  88. Keith Ten Eyck July 3, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    Amazing video. Straight to the point and dashing technique.

  89. ARTniyet July 8, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    Oil Painting filter is disabled 🙁

  90. Ganil July 16, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    Imagine using Mac in 2017.

  91. MrToekidjan July 31, 2019 at 2:32 am

    mantab … terima kasih sudah upload video tutorial ini …

  92. John Dillinger August 3, 2019 at 7:36 am

    Can one do the same thing in adobe premiere cs5?

  93. Théo Hecquet August 18, 2019 at 8:16 am

    Very helpful thank you!

  94. margee gaeddert August 20, 2019 at 2:13 am

    Thank you!!!!!

  95. David Geo25 August 23, 2019 at 10:22 pm

    Oil paint isn’t opened

  96. Virtual Dino August 27, 2019 at 3:32 am

    sooo "Oil Paint" option is greyed out.. o-o

  97. Kal El September 6, 2019 at 12:26 am

    Wow ??

  98. Lime Master September 8, 2019 at 4:19 pm

    this is how you make gta loading screens

  99. Mobile Filmmaking September 14, 2019 at 2:22 am


  100. Shaggy Rogers October 8, 2019 at 11:37 pm

    Thank you so much was making a James Bond poster and needed to make it look vintage thanks

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