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In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a psychedelic poster in Affinity Photo. This psychedelic style became popular in the 1960s, and it’s a revival of the Art Nouveau movement of the early 1890s. The psychedelic art of the 60s was used a lot for rock concert posters, album covers, murals, advertisements, and more. These designs consisted of bright colors, surreal visuals, kaleidoscopic and paisley patterns. It also included warped typography and hand lettering. Some popular psychedelic poster artists of the 1960s are Wes Wilson, Victor Moscoso, and Stanley Mouse.
Before you learn how to create a psychedelic poster in Affinity Photo, go to the following links to download the images and font used in this tutorial.
Go to File > New. Set the Document Units to Inches. Next, set the Page Width to 11 in. and the Page Height to 17 in. Set the DPI to 72. Leave it at 300 if you plan on printing this. Then click Create.
Now, go to the Swatches Panel. Double click on the white fill color to bring up the Color Chooser. Enter the following hex code color #68BBB8.
Grab the Flood Fill Tool from the Tools Panel. Take the tool and click on the document.
Next, make sure you have Snapping turned on in the Toolbar. Grab the Move Tool. Take the tool and drag a guideline from the left ruler side and place it in the middle of the document. Then, take the Move Tool and drag a guideline from the top down to the middle.
After that, go to the Tools Panel and select the Double Star Tool. In the Context Toolbar, set the Points to 20, Inner Radius to 5 %, and the Point Radius to 100%.
With the double star layer selected, click the Layers Effect icon in the Layers Panel. Check the Color Overlay box and select it. Go to Color. Then, go to the RGB Hex Sliders and enter the following color code #FFD95C.
Now, go to the Filter menu. Then, select Distort > Twirl. I set the Angle to 300 degrees and the Radius to 500 px. In the Layers Panel name this layer Twirl.
Grab the Rounded Rectangle Tool from the Tools Panel. Take the tool and draw a rectangle that covers the document.
With the rectangle selected, go to the Swatches Panel and turn off the fill color. Go to the Context Toolbar and select the stroke. Set the Width of the stroke to 100 pt. Then, go to the stroke color. Click the Color tab and select the RGB Hex Sliders. Enter the following hex code #F5855B.
Grab the Triangle Tool from the Tools Panel. Press Shift + X to change the stroke color to the fill color. Then, take the tool and draw a triangle in the left corner.
Once you’ve drawn the first triangle, press CTRL + J to duplicate it and place the duplicated triangle in the top right corner. Press CTRL + J two more times and place the triangles in the bottom left and bottom corners.
After that, select the rounded rectangle and the 4 triangles. Then, go to the Boolean operations in the Toolbar. Select Xor.
Select the new frame layer. Go to the Layers Panel and click the Layers Effect icon. Check the Outline box and select it. Go to Color and make it the same color as the background. Drag the Eyedropper Tool and click on the background to get the color. Then, click the circle next to the eyedropper to activate the color.
Now, set the Radius to 10 px and make sure the Alignment is Outside.
Go to File > Open and select the first image you downloaded.
In the Layers Panel, click the Adjustments icon and select the Brightness/Contrast adjustments. Set the Brightness to 20% and Contrast to -27%. Select both layers in the Layers Panel. Right click and select Merge Visible and turn the original layers off.
Grab the Selection Brush Tool from the Tools Panel. In the Context Toolbar, make sure Add is selected and that Snap to Edges is checked. Take the tool and make a selection of the man.
Once you’ve selected the man, Press CTRL + J.
With the new layer selected copy the layer and paste it onto the poster document. Go to the Transform Panel and turn on the Lock Aspect Ratio. Then, resize the man the way you see him on the screen.
In the Layers Panel, click the Adjustments icon and select Gradient Map. Drag the adjustment inside of the layer with the man. Click the green color stop and delete it. Select the red color stop. Then, go to Color and set it to the color you used for the Twirl. Grab the Eyedropper Tool and place it over the twirl area to select the color. Then, click the circle next to the eyedropper to activate the color. Now, select the blue color stop. Go to Color and make the color of this the same color as the frame. Use the Eyedropper Tool to select the color. Click Reverse to switch the colors around.
Select the layer with the man. Then, click the Layers Effect icon in the Layers Panel. Check the Outline box. Go to Color and set it to the same color as the background color. Use the Eyedropper Tool for this. After that, set the Radius to 10 px and make sure you set the Alignment to Outside.
The final part to creating a psychedelic poster in Affinity Photo is to add some text.
Grab the Artistic Text Tool from the Tools Panel. The font I chose to use is called Flames. Take the tool and type the first word or first word of your phrase. Select the word and go to the Font Family. Then, click the Flames font.
In the Swatches Panel, set the text to the same color as the frame.
With the text selected, go to the Character Panel. Set the Tracking to 30%.
With the text selected, press CTRL + Enter to convert the text to curves. Or go to the Layer menu and select Convert to Curves.
Now, take the Move Tool and double click on the L. Then, double click on the L again to activate the Node Tool. Delete the nodes that you see get removed on the screen.
After editing the L, press CTRL + J to duplicate it. Then, in the Layers Panel, drag the L outside of the group and turn it off.
Select the word group. Next, grab the Mesh Warp Tool from the Tools Panel. Click on any of the 4 nodes and start to move parts of the words around. You want to make the text free flowing and wave or over exaggerated. Once you’ve changed the font to your liking, click Apply.
Next, grab the Artistic Text Tool and type out your next word. Go to the Character Panel and set the Tracking to 30%. Press CTRL + J to duplicate the text. Then, type your next word. Press CTRL + J two more times.
Now, grab the Mesh Warp Tool. Select the second word in your phrase. Take the tool and adjust the text to you own liking. Then, click Apply.
Select the third word in your phrase. If you’re using the same phrase I’m using, grab the Move Tool and rotate the text -60 degrees.
After that, grab the Mesh Warp Tool and start distorting the text.
When you get to the fourth word or a word with an L, select the text. Press CTRL + Enter to convert the text to curves. Then, select the L we edited and press CTRL + J to duplicate it again.
In the Layers Panel, turn one of the Ls back on. Open the text group and delete the L. Then drag the other L inside of this group. On the document, place the L in place of the other L, and resize it if necessary.
Now, select the group. Then, grab the Mesh Warp Tool and distort the text.
Select the final word in the phrase. Press CTRL + Enter to convert the layer to a curve. Then, delete the L in the group and replace it with the other L as we did before.
With the group selected, grab the Move Tool and rotate the group to 90 degrees.
After that, grab the Mesh Warp Tool. Make sure the group is selected first. Then, distort the text.
In the Layers Panel, select all the word layers. Click the Layers Effect icon in the Layers Panel. Select Outline. Go to Color. Set the color the same as your background color. Then, set the Radius to 4 px.
Select all the poster elements. In the Layers Panel, right click on the selection and click Merge Visible. Turn off all the other layers.
Another thing we can do with this psychedelic poster in Affinity Photo is add some texture.
With the merged layer selected, go to the Filter menu. Go to Noise > Add Noise. Set the Intensity to 15%. Select Uniform and uncheck the Monochromatic box.
Once you’ve done that, go to File > Open and select the paper texture. Copy the texture and place it onto the paper document.
Rotate and resize the paper texture so that it’s covering the poster. Set the Blend Mode of the paper to Vivid Light and lower the Opacity to 60%.
Congratulations, this tutorial is complete! You now know how to create a psychedelic poster in Affinity photo. For more Affinity Photo tutorials, check out this article on how to create a kaleidoscope effect.