Words – Cosmonaut – How I made the design

Here I shall show how I made the design for the word ‘cosmonaut’. First of all I should say this post is rather detailed and very long as I have used many more techniques than I have done for any design before. Also I wanted to try and make the tutorial accessible to everyone who has the programs I use here, as it is so annoying when you start a tutorial and can’t finish it because you don’t understand it, or it wasn’t written properly etc…

The reason why I have presented this as a tutorial is so I can show what I have learnt and can teach others.

Final Design

Programs Used:

  • Adobe Photoshop CS5.1 (photomontage, photo editing, constructing the design)
  • Adobe Illustrator CS5.1 (creating vector shapes)

Resources Used:

Making the Design: First of all I am going to show how I prepared the images that needed preparing up to the point where they are ready to be placed into the main file. Then I shall show how I created the main file. A note I will add is I am making this to print, show everything will be 300dpi, if you are creating for use on-screen, 72dpi is the recognised standard.

Preparing the Cosmonaut image for use:

  1. Download the cosmonaut image from here. Open it in Photoshop. (File > Open)
  2. Go to Image > Image Size and in the resulting dialog box, change Resolution to 300dpi so it is of a high enough quality for printing.
  3. Then it is a case of wanting to select the space helmet so it can be copied into the main file. To do this I used the Elliptical Marquee Tool, available from the Tools Panel. (You most likely will need to click and hold down the Rectangular Marquee Tool to bring up a drop-down list with other options on it) For a perfect circle, hold down the shift key while you draw the selection as it keeps the selection in proportion and if you want to move the selection while you are creating it, hold down the space key as well. Cosmonaut selection
  4. The selection is now ready to be copied into the main file when required.

Preparing the Rust texture for use:

  1. Download the rust texture pack from here. Unzip the folder and open the texture you want in Photoshop. (File > Open) I have chosen Metal_V1_1081.jpg.
  2. Go to Image > Image Size and in the resulting dialog box, change Resolution to 300dpi so it is of a high enough quality for printing.
  3. I then went to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate as the rust has an orange-red colour which is better suited to Mars than the effect I wanted of the Moon.Desaturated Texture
  4. Then it is a case of wanting to select a circular area within the texture that appeals to you. To do this I used the Elliptical Marquee Tool, available from the Tools Panel, the operation of which I discussed in the cosmonaut image preparation.Selection made
  5. Now we need to make it look spherical to make it more realistic looking as a planet, this can be achieved by going to Filter > Distort > Spherize, which brings up a dialog box where settings can be altered. Make sure the amount is at 100%, and the Mode is Normal.SpherizeReady for use
  6. The selection is now ready to be copied into the main file when required.

Preparing the Earth image for use:

  1. Download the Earth image from here and open it in Photoshop. (File > Open)
  2. Go to Image > Image Size and in the resulting dialog box, change Resolution to 300dpi so it is of a high enough quality for printing.
  3. Then it is a case of wanting to select a circular area tight to the edge of the Earth. Again I used the Elliptical Marquee Tool, available from the Tools Panel, the operation of which I discussed in the cosmonaut image preparation. Selection of Earth
  4. The selection is now ready to be copied into the main file when required.

Preparing the Red Rectangle Nebula for use:

  1. Download the rust texture pack from here. Unzip the folder and open the texture you want in Photoshop. (File > Open) I have chosen Metal_V1_1081.jpg.
  2. Go to Image > Image Size and in the resulting dialog box, change Resolution to 300dpi so it is of a high enough quality for printing.
  3. I then went to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate to remove the colour. Red Rectangle Nebula selection
  4. The selection is now ready to be copied into the main file when required.

Preparing the film texture:

  1. Download the film texture image from here and open it in Photoshop. (File > Open)
  2. Go to Image > Image Size and in the resulting dialog box, change Resolution to 300dpi from 800dpi, as this still ensures the file is of a good enough quality to print but crucially is larger now, so easier to fit to the canvas with less distortion needed.
  3. Save the image. (File > Save) or Cmd/Ctrl + S. It is now ready to be placed into the file when required.

Preparing the Sputnik image for use:

  1. Open the image in Photoshop. (File > Open)
  2. We need to remove the black background in order to put Sputnik into the main file. To do this I selected the Magic Wand from the Tools Panel, and clicked in a black area, one click should be enough to select all the area we want to lose.
  3. We however want Sputnik selected, not the background, so we want to invert the selection, which can be achieved by going to Select > Inverse.
  4. The selection is now ready to be copied into the main file when required.

Sputnik selection

Creating the vector rocket:

  1. Open a new Adobe Illustrator document, of which the size does not matter as we will be creating a vector shape that can be re-sized if too small or large.
  2. Select the Rectangle Tool from the Tools Panel and make the shape fill the canvas. To colour it, go to the Fill box near the bottom of the Tools Panel, double click and choose a dark colour such as black. While not strictly necessary, this allows for the creation of a white rocket on it that will not be lost against the canvas.
  3. Lock ‘Layer 1’ by going to the Layers Palette and clicking the right box to make the padlock appear.
  4. Create another layer by going to the small drop-down icon in the top right corner and select New Layer. This will be where we draw the rocket.
  5. Start by selecting the Rectangle Tool from the Tools Panel and draw the fuselage of the rocket. Change the colour to white (CMYK 0,0,0,0) from the Color Picker, accessed through the Fill BoxRocket fuselage
  6. Then using the Pen Tool, also available from the Tools Panel, create a triangle that can be placed on top of the fuselage. Screen Shot 2012-12-02 at 20.22.20
  7. Then create a triangle running up one side of the rocket fuselage. Go to Object > Transform > Reflect and in the resulting dialog box, ensure Vertical is bulleted, and then click Copy. Then it can be moved into place using the Selection Tool from the Tools PanelRocket
  8. Moving back to the Rectangle Tool, make a thin rectangle down one side of the rocket to add a level of depth to the shape. To fit it into the colour scheme though, make sure it is a bright red using the Color Picker.Screen Shot 2012-12-02 at 20.22.44
  9. Using the Selection Tool sweep across all of the shapes and go to Object > Group (Cmd/Ctrl + G shortcut)
  10. The rocket is now ready to be copied into the main file when required.

Creating the vector rocket contrail:

  1. First of all I am going to use the same Illustrator document as I made the vector rocket in, so to keep the vector files for this design in one place.
  2. Select the Ellipse Tool from the Tools Panel, (you will more than likely have to click and hold the Rectangle Tool to access a drop-down list with it on) and draw a small circle. Screen Shot 2012-12-04 at 07.38.38
  3. Then select the Pen Tool from the Tools Panel, and click on the line created by the Smart Guide that runs from the centre of the circle. From there click on the anchor point half-way down the left side edge of the circle and drag to get the curve you want, before clicking the other anchor point of the circle on the right side, then click and drag back on the top point to form a shape that matches both sides. The end result should be something like you see below:Screen Shot 2012-12-04 at 07.42.37
  4. Using the Selection Tool sweep across both parts of the shape and go to Object > Group (Cmd/Ctrl + G shortcut)
  5. The shape is now ready to be copied into the main file when required.

Installing the League Gothic typeface: Many people may know this, but I thought it may be of help to those of you who do not or need reminding of the process. I’ll talk about how to do this on a Mac as that is the computer I use for 99% of my time.

  1. Go to this webpage, and download the typeface. Save it somewhere where you can find it for the next step.
  2. Go to the location where it is saved, and double click on the file to open it. Open League Gothic typeface
  3. This opens Font Book automatically on my Mac and provides a sample of the typeface. At the bottom click the button Install FontInstall League Gothic typeface
  4. It should be ready to use in any program but if it is not, try quitting that program and re-open it.

Creating the main file.

Step 1: Open a new Photoshop document (File > New) with these settings:

New Document

Step 2: To start, go to File > Place and select the Capodimonte Deep Field that will form our background. Once in, press Ctrl/Cmd + T as a keyboard shortcut to enter Free Transform mode where the image can be rotated and resized to fit within the canvas as you want.

Step 3: Then I added an adjustment layer for Hue/Saturation (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation) in order to non-destructively edit the image allowing for future editing so you so wish. I lowered Saturation to -45 and Lightness to -35, to fade the background so the focal points can stand out properly when added.Screen Shot 2012-12-02 at 11.59.50

Step 4: Go to the cosmonaut image where the selection is made, so it can be copied and pasted into the main file. (Edit > Copy or Cmd/Ctrl + C, then Edit > Paste or Cmd/Ctrl + V) Once in, press Ctrl/Cmd + T as a keyboard shortcut to enter Free Transform mode, where the image can be rotated and resized to be placed.

Step 5: For a slightly faded look with perhaps a couple of stars visible beneath depending on the background, I am going to decrease Opacity (positioned at the top of the layers palette) to 70%.

Step 6: I then went to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation and in the resulting dialog box changed the settings as follows: Hue: +3, Saturation: -35, Lightness: -10. The reason for doing this is so to fit it into the background better.

Cosmonaut in placeStep 7: Next I am going to place in the selection of the Earth I prepared. For this I will Copy (Cmd/Ctrl + C) and Paste it (Cmd/Ctrl + V) into the main file. and re-size it to the size I want (Cmd/Ctrl + T) I have placed it in the bottom right corner, bleeding off the page so as to emphasise the size and magnitude of importance of the object.

Step 8: I then went to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation and in the resulting dialog box changed the Saturation to -40. The reason for doing this is so to fit it into the background better, over time graphics lose their colour, and colours of the brightness we are used to today could not be produced back then. Earth in place

Step 9: I wanted something to highlight the Soviet Union on the Earth as it is the area we want to focus on for the globe. Luckily the image I have linked to covers the old Soviet Union. In the end I have literally ended up highlighting this area. How I did this was to go to create a new layer (click the top right corner icon in the Layers Palette, and select New Layer). I then ensured the Foreground Color was black (by clicking on the icon at the bottom of the Tools Panel and entering the value of #000000 in the bottom box) and selected the Paint Bucket Tool from the Tools Panel, and clicked once on the layer.

Then by going to Filter > Render > Lens Flare it brings up a dialog box where the Lens Type needs to be changed to Movie Prime, and ensure the Brightness is at 100%. Once that is done, the Blend Mode of the layer needs changing to Screen and I positioned it using the Free Transform (Cmd/Ctrl + T) tool right over the area I wanted.

Lens Flare

Step 10: I now want to add a shadow to the Earth. Instead of using Layer Styles as I could not get a finish I liked, I ensured the Foreground Color was black (#000000) selected the Ellipse Tool from the Tools Panel, (click and hold the Rectangle Tool for a drop-down list of options) drew a circle the same size as the Earth and decreased the opacity to 90%.

I then went to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur, as I wanted a very blurry edge to the circle I had just created, so in the resulting dialog box, I moved the slider to 250.0 pixels. I then used the Free Transform tool (Cmd/Ctrl + T) to move the circle to a point in the lower right corner of the screen where I could only see the blur at the edge as a light shadow.

Screen Shot 2012-12-02 at 17.40.21

Step 11: Now I am going to place in the Red Rectangle nebula image into the file by going to File > Place and finding the right image. I then re-sized it to the size I want (Cmd/Ctrl + T) and have placed just left of the centre at the top.

Then I changed the Blend Mode from Normal to Screen, (can be found top left corner of Layers Palette) to remove the darker areas, lightening the overall image. This probably will not remove all the dark areas so to blend it to a higher standard, I chose the Gradient Tool from the Tools Panel (keyboard shortcut is G), set the Foreground Color to black (#000000), selected the Foreground to Transparent preset in the Gradient Editor in the top left corner of the screen, and drew a few gradients to soften any remaining visible edges of the image.

Step 12: I then selected the Brush Tool from the Tools Panel (or keyboard shortcut B), right-clicked on screen to bring up the Brush Editor, and chose the top-left brush. Being a soft brush it creates a glow when used (which can be edited using the Softness For the brush size you can alter the Size slider although I prefer to use the bracket keys [ + to decrease and increase it.

To keep to the main colour scheme in Soviet space propaganda posters (black, white and red) to provide the suitable connotations, I then set the Foreground Color to a bright red (#e50000) and brushed over the nebula keeping within the image boundaries, and placed a few spots to resemble stars in the background. I then decreased the Opacity of the layer to 50% to reduce brightness.

Red Rectangle Nebula

Step 13: Go to the rust texture image where the selection is made, so it can be copied and pasted into the main file. (Edit > Copy or Cmd/Ctrl + C, then Edit > Paste or Cmd/Ctrl + V) Once in, press Ctrl/Cmd + T as a keyboard shortcut to enter Free Transform mode, where the image can be rotated and resized to be placed. As this will be the Moon, I have chosen to place it in the top left corner bleeding off the screen, to maximise the distance between it and the Earth. It also lends a structure to the page that draws the eye in multiple directions, engaging the interest of the audience for longer.

Step 14: To make the moon more realistic and to fit it in better to the background, I will add a layer style. To access them , it is a case of double-clicking on the layer in the Layers Palette. The one I want to add is an Inner Shadow. The addition of this shadow is there because it adds realism to the shape of a sphere as well as suggesting the dark side of the Moon, which of course, is turned away from the audience.

Clicking on Inner Shadow automatically selects it, and from there it is a case of choosing the settings. Below is a screenshot of the settings I went for and the end result.

Inner Shadow for Moon

Moon

Step 15: Go to the Sputnik image where the selection is made, so it can be copied and pasted into the main file. (Edit > Copy or Cmd/Ctrl + C, then Edit > Paste or Cmd/Ctrl + V) Once in, press Ctrl/Cmd + T as a keyboard shortcut to enter Free Transform mode, where the image can be rotated and resized to be placed. I have placed it around the Moon so it looks to be in orbit. I included it in the design as it is an important part of Soviet pride in their space program being the first artificial satellite to be put into space.

Step 16: To help the Sputnik image fit into the design better, I am going to add some Layer Styles (accessible by double clicking on the layer); an Inner Shadow (to add a small grey tone to dull the brightness a little), Outer Glow (to make the thin edges more visible)<strong Inner Glow (to stop the Outer Glow dominating) and a Color Overlay (which works well to add a splash of red to the design, helping the colour scheme along). My settings for all these layer styles are below, as well as the result of them all.Inner ShadowOuter Glow

Inner Glow

Color Overlay

Sputnik

Step 17: Go to the rocket vector image where the selection is made, so it can be copied and pasted into the main file. (Edit > Copy or Cmd/Ctrl + C, then Edit > Paste or Cmd/Ctrl + V) Once in, press Ctrl/Cmd + T as a keyboard shortcut to enter Free Transform mode, where the image can be rotated and resized to be placed. What I am wanted to achieve here was to have the rocket at a relatively small size to make the audience feel the rocket is isolated, as it’s a very long way from the Earth to the Moon. That distance also highlights the achievement of the Soviets not just putting a satellite and people into space, but doing it first! I have also rotated it to head in that direction. Rocket added to design

Step 18: To add another connotation to the design, I have made the Soviet Monument to the Conquerors of Space feature in an abstract style. This was the rocket contrail vector shape we prepared earlier. Go to the selected object, so it can be copied and pasted into the main file. (Edit > Copy or Cmd/Ctrl + C, then Edit > Paste or Cmd/Ctrl + V) Once in, press Ctrl/Cmd + T as a keyboard shortcut to enter Free Transform mode, where the image can be rotated, resized and stretched to be placed.

What I was looking for when I created my design was the contrail to start under the lens flare, and rise to the base of the rocket as you can see in the below image. To ensure it is not above the Lens Flare layer, I dragged the contrail layer under that of the lens flare, which blends it in very well I think.

Screen Rocket contrail location

I then added some layer styles, both to better integrate it into the design, and to match the general colour scheme I am building up. Double clicking on the layer in the Layers Palette brings up the Layer Styles menu, where I have added a Outer Glow and Color Overlay, the settings for which are below, with the end result.

Outer GlowColor OverlayDesign with contrail added

Step 19: Now I am going to add some text into the design. First of all I wanted the CCCP text (Russian for USSR) to be positioned over the Earth, next to the Lens Flare used earlier on. But to fit the curvature of the Earth, it needs to be curved. To do that I selected the Pen Tool from the Tools Panel, and drew a curve I wanted the text to follow. Then I selected the Type Tool from the Tools Panel and clicked on the path where I wanted it to start. Then I could type CCCP and edit the settings.

I chose to use the League Gothic typeface, which has very strong connotations to the Soviet era with its thick, bold letterforms. The settings of which can be changed through the Character Palette. To make this visible, go to Window > Character. The settings I made can be seen below:

Screen Shot 2012-12-04 at 09.17.01

The final stage for this step is to drag the layer below the Lens Flare, as we did in Step 18, and you should have something similar to this: CCCP text in place

Step 20: Now I am going to place the main C O S M O N A U T text into the poster. Again I will use the League Gothic typeface and set the word in capital letters, as would be seen in actual Soviet space propaganda posters. Below are the settings I have gone for: Cosmonaut text

Step 21: Underneath the C O S M O N A U T text I am going to place the definition for the word. Technically the definition is just ‘A Russian astronaut’ but I felt that was not descriptive enough, so I merged it with the meaning for the word ‘astronaut’. I chose not to set this in capital letters so as to give the text some hierarchy. Definition for cosmonaut word

Step 22: To add some light to the poster, I am going to brush in some green and pink tones in order to add a sense of depth and colour to the background as well as some white tones to illuminate the path of the contrail I added in Step 18. Each different colour will require their own layer as I will use different opacity levels for each so I started by making three new layers by pressing Cmd/Ctrl + shift + N three times.

For all the brushing, I used a soft brush. This can be chosen by selecting the Brush Tool (B keyboard shortcut) and right-clicking to bring up the Brush Editor menu. For the green layer, which covers the Moon, I set the Opacity to 40%. For the pink layer, which I brushed around the edge of the Lens Flare, I set the Opacity to 50%. For the white layer which should be visible around the edges of the contrail between the green and pink layer, I set the Opacity to 10%. Design with brushing added in

Step 23: We now need to select everything we have done so far and copy it into a new layer. To do this press Cmd/Ctrl + A on the keyboard and then go to Edit > Copy Merged. Press Cmd/Ctrl + shift +  N to open a new layer. Then paste the contents into that layer, either by going to Edit > Paste or using the Cmd/Ctrl + V keyboard shortcut. Name the layer something you will remember like ‘original’ and set the Blend Mode, accessible from the Layers Palette to Soft Light. Soft light layer added

Step 24: Duplicate the ‘original’ layer twice. This can be done by pressing the Cmd/Ctrl + J keyboard shortcut twice and set the Blend Mode for both layers to Multiply.Screen Shot 2012-12-04 at 09.43.13

Step 25: Select the layer just above the “original” and then apply Filter > Stylize > Find Edges. Lower this layer’s Opacity to 20% and change the Blend Mode to Overlay.

Screen Shot 2012-12-04 at 09.47.52

Step 26: Next, click on the other duplicated layer (which should be on top of the first duplicated layer). Go to Filter > Stylize > Glowing Edges and use the following settings of Edge Width: 2, Edge Brightness: 8 and Smoothness: 10

I then desaturated this layer by going to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate (Cmd/Ctrl + U + shift) before inverting the layer’s colours by pressing Cmd/Ctrl + I, and finally set the Opacity to 40%.

Screen Shot 2012-12-04 at 09.48.43

Step 27: Go back to the ‘original’ layer and apply a noise filter (Filter > Noise > Add Noise) In the resulting dialog box, set the Amount to 25%, for Distribution choose Gaussian and make sure that Monochromatic is selected. Noise added to design

Step 28: To give a rough aged look to the poster, I will go to File > Place and select the film texture to add to the image. I have distorted the file to fit using the Free Transform tool (Cmd/Ctrl + T). I would normally advise against distorting an image like this, but in this case it does not matter as we are going for a detoriated look. Finally I set the Blend Mode (in the Layers Palette) to Linear Light and Opacity (also in the Layers Palette) to 10% as I do not want it to be that visible, I want a few faint markers to suggest the deterioration of the piece. Film texture added

Step 29: The final step for the actual design is to add an adjustment layer to give the poster a retro feel. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map to add an adjustment layer. This will appear above all the layers so what happens here will affect them all. In the resulting dialog box, create a gradient going from a dark purple (#1c004b) to a pale orange (#fa9900), then lower the Opacity of the adjustment layer to 40% so it does not overwhelm the design features we have constructed. Gradient Map added

Step 30: The final stage now is to add a old paper texture to form the background. To do this I first of all selected all the layers I had created so far for this tutorial and grouped them in a folder to make them easier to manage. To select them all, click on the top layer, then go the bottom layer, which should be the background of the Capodimonte Deep Field and click, while holding the shift key at the same time. Then go to the little drop-down button in the top right corner of the Layers Palette and click Group Layers.

Then I went to File > Place and selected the old paper texture to place it into the document. Make sure the layer is below the group named Poster. This can be simply done by clicking on the Paper layer and dragging it below the Poster group in the Layers Palette.

To make it visible I clicked to select the Poster group, and then chose the Rectangular Marquee Tool from the Tools Panel and drew a selection over the design, leaving a small space for the border. Once done, I went to the bottom of the Layers Palette and clicked the second button from the left that states Add a Layer Mask. This makes the areas of the poster outside the selection invisible, allowing the paper background to be visible.

Final Result:

Paper background added

Now you should have a design like the image above! Hopefully this tutorial has been of help, if so how about leaving a comment? Could this tutorial have been better? If so, leave a comment, as long as it constructive.

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