Monday, December 14, 2009

Assignment: The Prestige Poster, Vintage Redesign

A while back, in one of my Poster Trends articles, I mentioned that I thought the poster campaign for The Prestige really missed a great opportunity to pay homage to that late 19th Century style of magic posters. And instead came up with this:

And these, which are definitely more creative, and at least hint at the setting of the film more overtly:

Well, I ended up actually putting my money where my mouth is, so to speak, by making the posters myself using Photoshop and Illustrator. This was for a class, at first. We had to propose a redesign of something we thought was poorly designed. Initially, our final project was to actually create that redesign, so I got started on it early. But then our teacher announced that the final project assignment had been changed, so this ended up being extra credit.

I learned a hell of a lot, putting this thing together. I'll go ahead and document some of the steps that went into making it.

First, I took two of those posters from above and used the figures of the Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale as reference and isolated their figures in Photoshop.

I discovered that the process is like the digital equivalent of chiseling a form into stone. I used the pen tool to create jagged shapes of different colors, then used the airbrush eraser to whittle the shapes down and fade into each other so the face looked soft and rounded.

Once I had his and Hugh Jackman's figures ready to go, I started laying everything out.

When I started making the characters for those bottom circles, I used the same technique as I had for Jackman and Bale, but tried to make it less realistic and more like the kind of sketch you would see on those old magicians posters. I didn't quite pull off the authenticity, but it definitely turned out more cartoonish than the Jackman and Bale's faces.

So I tried to keep that in mind so the style would be the same with each of the four heads. But when I got to working on Scarlett Johannsen, I got a bit carried away:

I'm really proud of how it was starting to turn out, but it's definitely too realistic for this poster. However, it's very cool to know that I'm capable of that kind of trace work at this point. When the right project comes along, whether in school or not, I now know I can pull that off. For this poster, though, this was more appropriate:

So, the final layouts went like this:

The sepia-toned version is just for kicks. I don't particularly like it without the color. Below is the latest draft of the poster. I tried to make it look old, gave it some texture and wrinkles.

I'm reasonably happy with it. It was a learning experience, first and foremost. I might tinker with a few details, but overall, I'd be happy to frame it and hang it on my wall.

In related news, I want to do another one! Here's the rough layout, so far:

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