How to give illustrations a retro look in Photoshop

07. Fine-tuning the texture

Photoshop retro effect tutorial 07

Select the Eraser tool and start rubbing out any markings you don't want. Now hit B and start filling in the gap you just left with the Brush tool. I'm trying to create a circle but we are missing a bit. In the next step we are going to use what we have to fill in the missing area of the texture.

08. Prepare the texture

Photoshop retro effect tutorial 08

To fill the gap, press Cmd/Ctrl+J to duplicate the layer then Cmd/Ctrl+T to transform it. Hover your cursor above a corner and rotate it around until it fits the gap, and move it into place. Now select both layers and hit Cmd/Ctrl+E to merge them and then Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert the image. Your texture should now be a circular shape and white in colour.

09. Reshape the texture

Photoshop retro effect tutorial 09

Drag this layer into your working document and set it behind your other layers. Use Cmd/Ctrl+T to stretch and align it into the shape you want. My circle didn't fit the shape of the tin, so I squashed it in at the sides and stretched the top and bottom. However, don't stretch it too much as it can distort the pixels and look ugly. You can see the impact the texture has immediately.

10. Add a background

Photoshop retro effect tutorial 10

If the background is too plain for your liking, revert back to your reference material for some more textures. I found some old song sheets, which work nicely.

11. Touch up the textures

Photoshop retro effect tutorial 11

Repeat steps 05-07. I removed the stars from my texture with the Eraser and Brush tools and dragged it back into my working document, putting it above the background layer and under everything else. Next, rotate it slightly for a sense of wear and tear.

12. Finishing touches

Photoshop retro effect tutorial 12

Add some type to give it more of a retro advert feel. Next, find a nice floor texture. Lastly, finalise your colours using the Channel Mixer, moving the sliders in each channel until you are happy.

Words: Peter O'Toole

Freelance illustrator Peter O'Toole has worked for clients including Doritos, NME, Microsoft and Cancer Research UK. He also co-founded Dirtcheap magazine and The Fresh Kids Club. This tutorial first appeared in Computer Arts issue 199.

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