Enigmatic Black and White Flyer Design Tutorial with Photoshop

With this tutorial I wanted to create a club flyer design that was not your typical “scantily clad” affair that appeals to the more discerning club goers. So, with a few easy Photoshop and Illustrator effects, and my preference for black and white elegance, I created this enigmatic and outer space type design.

Here is a preview of what we will be creating…

…and here are the source files.

Lets get started…

Step 1


Cut a path out of the girl’s profile from the stock resource (provided at the head of this article). Follow a direct line of the girl’s hair, eliminating the loose hair strands. When using the pathfinder tool on hair, it is much easier to choose a clean path than to try to cut out every hair strand. Plus it’s not necessary for this design that will have objects interacting with the girls face and head.

Step 2


Paste your profile image path into a new document. Your new PSD document should be 300dpi in a CMYK color format.

Step 3


Create a new background layer (black). Then choose desaturate from the adjustment menu to remove the color from the girls profile path.

Step 4


Use your curve options in the adjustment menu (ctrl+m). Adjust curves in the CMYK channel and bring more definition to your face image.

Step 5


Create a new layer from a copy of the girls head and hide the original girls head layer. Go to your filter menu and choose the gaussian blur option. Create a blur radius of approximately 39 pixels.

Step 6


Unhide your original girls head layer. Turn the opacity down from your gaussian blur layer to around 60%. This produces a soft-glow effect around the girls face.

Step 7


Open Illustrator and start creating your 3D shapes. Draw simple rectangle and triangles and turn them into 3D shapes by using your extrude and bevel feature in the effects menu. Add a perspective value to create depth.

Step 8


Add a stroke to some shapes and create some without any style or stroke. Experiment with the positioning of these shapes – rotating them and placing them in juxtapositions. You want to produce a group of shapes that look like they’re floating and rotating.

Step 9


Paste these shapes into your Photoshop document as a pixel layer. Rotate and resize as you go.

Step 10


Repeat this process – adding the shape layers behind the main face image.

Step 11


Paste large versions of your 3D shapes as background textures. Take the opacity down on these layers to 20%.

Step 12


Create a black layer on top of your background shapes. Go to filter>pixelate > mezzotint and set the mezzotint effect to “fine dots”. Bring the opacity down to 35%.

Step 13


Select your Swirl/Fractal Brushes (brush resource at the beginning of this article). Apply each brush as a new layer so that you can edit each brush pattern individually.

Step 14


Add more brush pattern around the neck and head. Experiment with the opacity of these and use your warp tool (edit>transform>warp) to alter the shapes to fit the composition.

Step 15


When you’re pleased with your spiral brush textures, grab some of the tree textures from our organic brush pack (brush resource at the beginning of this article). Make a new layer for the organic brush textures before adding them to the design.

Step 16


Add a few tree brush textures to your document. Then go to filter>distort>wave and adjust your variables to create a wave effect. The wave filter can be temperamental, so you’ll have to play around with the variables until you get the right result.

Step 17


Create a few layers using this same wave effect. Again, there’s a certain amount of experimentation required in the position and placement of these swirls before merging them into one layer. Once you’re happy with the effect and position, merge them, and grab your circular marquee tool from your tools menu. Draw a circle over a selected area.

Step 18


Invert your marquee selection (shift+ctrl+i) and delete.

Step 19


Repeat step 16 through 18 and create more swirly wave-ball effects. Place the wave-balls around the edges of your document. Add a drop shadow effect (layer>layer style>drop shadow.)

Step 20


Add more organic brush effects around the girl’s hair. Use the circular marquee tool to cut simple “black hole” spaces out of the brush texture – following the natural flow of the girl’s pinned-back hair.

Step 21


Create a circular pattern of receding tones and shapes by overlaying black to white colors. Copy and paste this into Photoshop as a pixel shape.

Step 22


Go to your filter menu and choose gaussian blur. Set the blur radius to around 17 pixels. This action turns the crude vector shape into a realistic 3D circle.

Step 23


Add a dark stroke effect to the 3D circle (layer>layer style>stroke) to give a sharp definition to the shape edge. Set the stroke size to 5px with a 44% opacity.

Step 24


Copy, paste, resize, and place your ball shapes in your design space. Experiment with differing opacities to create bubble effects.

Step 25


Draw a white rectangle in your design space. Go to filter>pixelate>mosaic to add a simple fractured image effect.

Step 26


Rotate your rectangle effect and place it at the edge of your document. Copy, flip, and paste your rectangular shape the opposing corner of your document. Reduce the opacities of these layers to around 70%.

Step 27


Add some lighting texture to your design. Select your gradient tool and choose the “white-to clear” effect from your gradient menu. Set the gradient range to a circular pattern. Drag the gradient from the edges of your document to the center.

Step 28


Time to strip the bluish hue from her face and to convert your design to a true black and white image (To optimize black and white documents for print, I always design in CMYK mode before converting to grayscale) select the mode menu and change the document to grayscale.

Step 29


Once the file has been converted to grayscale, you can add some deep contrast to the design via your curves adjustment layer (click on the half-moon icon at the bottom of your layers menu and select curves.) Drag the curve pointers until you are pleased with the more intense black and white contrast produced.

Step 30 – Finished!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial :-)

Author: (1 Posts)

Ben Fellowes is a seasoned designer, writer, and marketing expert for NextDayFlyers.com a leader in club flyer printing. He's designed and produced content for some of the world’s top agencies and marketing companies. He's currently working (and getting his fair English skin burned) in Southern California! He loves art, punk rock, horror films, Sc-Fi, comic books, real beer, cooking, eating, laughing, and crying (sometimes!)

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