Prepare to shock! Terrify! Amaze! Mark Mayers demonstrates how to recreate the shlock B-movie posters of cinema’s golden age.

This spoof movie poster design is a simple but effective way of tackling those graphics challenges where there seem to be too many thoughts to fit in: it enables the designer to combine slogans and other textual elements with the bare bones of a storyline and striking images, all bound up in an iconic format that everybody will recognize.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be the classic 1950s B-movie style that you adopt – the entirety of cinematic history is at your disposal. Take your pick from gangster movie, romantic comedy, war film or chick flick.

In this tutorial, Mark Mayer shows you how to combine 3D renders with stylized photography, text and smoke to capture all the camp horror of an alien invasion.

Step 1
Open City_render.png from this month’s cover CD in Photoshop. In the Channels palette, click on the Create New Channel icon at the foot of the palette. Next, open Alpha_1.psd select all, and copy and paste it into your new channel. Repeat for the remaining masks: Alpha_2.psd to Alpha_5.psd (leave Alpha_6.psd for later).

Step 2
To fix any flaws on the render, create a new layer and make selections from your Alpha channels by holding down Cmd/Ctrl and clicking them. Ensure the Clone Tool has the Sample All Layers option checked and work within the your selections. Don’t sweat over areas that will be hidden in the final composition. When you’re happy, hit Cmd/Ctrl + E to Merge Down.