One Sheets

More on Movie Posters.


So what is it about movie posters that fascinates many people?  But more importantly for us; how can we begin to produce graphic design on that supreme level?  How can a newcomer or average designer even hope to come close to designing like the best of the best?

Design & Post houses are keeping the knowledge a closely guarded secret.  But here at PhotoshopDesign.NET and, I'm committed to keep bringing you inside information on how to keep harnessing the power of Photoshop to design such wonderful things as One Sheets.

Throughout the Photoshop Designer Package you will find many Inside the Design: tutorials & techniques.  In the PSDer Ezine & PhotoshopDesign.NET updates, I will also be featuring tutorials and insights on how to produce designs with movie poster-feel results.

But let's just talk about a few things right now though..

All movie posters have perfect selections.  This is very important.  It will take lots of practice to master the art of the selection but it is one of the single most important skills you can have as a designer.

You'll notice in all posters that each person when 'cut out' from their original image (almost always the case except for single image photographs) has clean cut edges.  Lots of time is taken to get that perfect selection.

There are many techniques that are used to gain top-notch selections and then to put a 'character' onto its own layer.  We go over many of them, but the quick mask works quite well and also the Extract tool (which we will be going into in detail in the upcoming: "Selection Perfection" release.  Even loose strands of hair are retained in a really great selection.

The better the original source quality of each image/layer= the better the final product.  When you're dealing with selections of people especially (less with backgrounds) you must have a crisp, clear original image to work with.  You can then experiment from there if you will be modifying it in any way (such as changing the color).

Production stills or promo stills work the best.  These are what are always used.  In our case, it may be tough to come by quality stills you can use unless you're a photographer.  Thankfully, I provide many people (characters) in the Bonus CD (2,000 + Free Images) which you can use to start designing your own movie-style posters.

When using characters from different source photographs and importing them into your .psd file, you will have to make sure that their color balance is the same.  The new Match Color command in Photoshop CS now makes this a quick and easy job.

One of the biggest secret of movie posters is the color balance or (global) hue.  If you begin to study movie posters, you will notice that 40% of them have a general or global color scheme.  The most popular being red or a midnite blue.


Other quick notes for now:

Verisize.  Characters (people) which are on their own layers (and then can be linked or put in a layer set) are of different sizes.  This is done in about 90% of all posters.

Action sequence.  80% will have a small action sequence placed in the design.  Part of a good design is that everything blends together really well.  Certain elements you will want to stick out (like the lead actor sometimes) but you'll want to make sure everything blends together.  Great ways to do this are using layer masking and creating adjustments layers for a set of characters or for the entire image. (I go into these in detail in the program and will also continue to train you in the PSDer).

Look for the official One Sheet Breakdown: Covering all of the elements of a great movie poster (and how you can understand and start designing these) coming up in the PSDer and in my (sometime) future release and very in-depth "One Sheet Designer".

There are over 30 specific things you need to know to produce movie posters (including light-bleeding and shadowmasking).  Keep on the lookout for this information and then you can accelerate your skills as a graphic designer in Photoshop sky high.  One good site to check out is One Sheet Design.  Here you can get some more advice from an insider, Jon C. Allen.


One of the best things I can recommend is just to study movie posters and your VHS/DVD collection for hours (seriously) and start to break them down in your mind (all of the different elements) and think about how they can be reproduced in Photoshop.  This of course works best when you already know the technical basis required for effective Photoshop use. 


If you're curious about learning Photoshop for movie poster designing and more then take a look at the Photoshop Designer Package.  It is guaranteed to get you up to speed in Photoshop.  All graphic designers must continually keep improving themselves, so I recommend studying movie poster design for dozens of hours like I have if you are serious about producing them.


- Orion Williams copyright 2004



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Copyright Orion Williams & PhotoshopDesign.NET 2004

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