Create an “Inception” Inspired Movie Poster

In this tutorial, author Mark Mayers will take inspiration from the Inception movie of a few years ago. The film used breathtaking special effects to create a world of impossible reality. This concept is by no means new, in fact the most well-known illusions of reality were created almost a century ago by the Dutch graphic artist Escher.

His woodcuts and lithographs featured impossible constructions, explorations of infinity, architecture and tessellations. If you are looking to take your print design and photo manipulation skills to the next level then View Now





Tutorial Details
  • Applications Used: Photoshop/Illustrator CS5
  • Difficulty: Advanced
  • Estimated Completion Time: 3h +

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Final Product What You’ll Be Creating


As far as techniques go, I’ll show you how to combine multiple images with advanced masking and blending techniques to create an impossible city. You’ll also use InDesign to create a template, as well as producing error-free artwork. Let’s get started!


Step 1

All movie posters are designed to a range of standard sizes. For the purpose of this tutorial, well work at half size to keep the layered Photoshop file at a manageable size.

Launch InDesign, then go to InDesign > Preferences, highlight Units & Increments, then change the Horizontal and Vertical Ruler Units to Inches and click OK.


Step 2

Create a new InDesign document, set the Number of Pages to 1, select Letter-half from the Page Size pull-down menu, then uncheck the chain icon in the Margins box and enter 0.5 in for the Top and Bottom and 0.57in the Left and Right fields. We need an equal amount of bleed all round, so activate the chain icon in the Bleed and Slug box and key in 3mm, which will automatically be converted to inches.


Step 3

Choose New Color Swatch from the fly-out menu situated top right in the Swatches tab. In the following window check Name with Color Value and choose Process under Color Type, CMYK under Color Mode and set the Magenta slider to 100%. Your new swatch will now appear at the bottom of your current swatch list.


Step 4

Set the Reference Point Locater in the Options bar to top-right. Select the Rectangle Tool (M) and snap a box to your document edge (not bleed). Open the Color tab and give the box a fill of 50% Black and a 0.5pt Magenta Stroke. Now adjust the Width and Height values in the Options bar if required to match the document size. With the box active hit cmd / ctrl + L to Lock its position.


Step 5

Grab the Type Tool (T), snap a text box to the document width and place it near the bottom. Choose a chunky sans-serif font (I used Geometric 706 Black),enter the movie title, then press shift + cmd / ctrl + C to centre it within the text frame. Now color the text with a new red swatch (C=0, M=100, Y=90, K=15).

It?s vital when using large font sizes to adjust the spaces between individual characters. This is called kerning and should not be confused with tracking which adjusts the spacing between whole words.

To adjust kerning, click between each character pair in turn with theText Tool, then hold down Opt/Alt and tap the left or arrow key to tighten the space shown in the Character tab. You may wish to revist InDesign?s Units & Increments preferences and set the Keyboard Increments Cursor Key to 0.0139 for smaller increment jumps. You’ll see that I? ve tightened up the spacing between each character by eye for a pleasing result. When you?re happy, resize the text to meet the verticalguides.

…and that’s the end of the preview!



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