How to Create a Grunge Ultra-Violet Photo Manipulation Poster in Affinity Photo | How To

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

Today, we will be learning how to use simple shapes and textures to a grungy party with a mystical edge!

This tutorial will focus on shapes, applying textures, and learning how to layer different adjustment layers on top of each other to completely transform an image’s mood and overall color, otherwise known as color grading. 

What You’ll Need

You’ll need the following resources in order to complete this project:

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  • Blond Model with Trendy Hairstyle
  • Solar System Planet Icons
  • FLOREN Typeface
  • Violet Liquid Marble Backgrounds

Find more resources on Envato Elements!

1. How to Create a Flat Minimal Background

First, we will be creating the base of our poster, which consists of simple flat shapes, to create a minimalistic starry night sky. 

Step 1

Create a New Document that is 1911 px by 2725 px.

Create a new Pixel Layer and, using the Flood Fill Tool (G), fill the pixel layer with a dark grey #1C1C1C.

grey background

Step 2

Create a triangle using the Triangle Tool, which can be found within the Rectangle Tool (U) by right-clicking, and create a large white triangle in the lower part of the canvas.

create white triangle

Step 3

Add an Outer Glow to the triangle by applying the Outer Glow layer effect located at the bottom of the Layers panel.   

Settings: 

  • Blend Mode: Screen
  • Opacity: 20%
  • Radius: 120%
  • Intensity: 59%
  • Color: White 

glow triangle

Step 4

Using the Rectangle Tool mentioned earlier, create a bunch of 4 px wide lines around the triangle. The heights can be different, and we want the placement to be a bit random. 

Feel free to copy and paste multiple lines at once to help quicken the pace!

add lines

Once you are happy with the line placement, group all the lines together into a group called “Lines” to help keep our Layers panel tidy.

Step 5

Let’s create some four- and eight-pointed stars ourselves using the Diamond Tool, which is also located within the Rectangle Tool. 

Create a very skinny diamond as you see below.

create a diamond

Step 6

Now, create a second, slightly shorter, skinny diamond and place it horizontally over the middle of the first skinny diamond.  

create a cross

And that’s how you make a four-pointed star! 

Step 7

Create an eight-pointed star in a similar fashion by placing two more shorter skinner diamonds diagonally in the middle of the four-pointed star in an “X”-like shape.

create a star

Group all the skinny diamonds that create the four-pointed star together and name it “4-Point Star”, and then do the same for the eight-pointed star. 

Step 8

Copy and paste the stars around the triangle!

current layers

2. How to Extract and Light a Subject 

Next, we will be placing our main subject, the Blond Model, into the center of our canvas and triangle. 

Step 1

Extract the subject from the background using your preferred method.

Today, we will be using the Selection Brush Tool (W) as the rougher cut edges will match the grungy style of our poster. 

Create a selection around the model by clicking and dragging with the Selection Brush Tool. Hit Delete once you are done selecting the background of the model. 

extract model

Step 2

We will be adding some quick lighting effects using layer effects. Normally, we would be hand painting most of our lighting and shadows, but in this case, layer effects work fine!

First, add an Outer Glow to the subject.

Settings: 

  • Blend Mode: Screen
  • Opacity: 20%
  • Radius: 120%
  • Intensity: 50%
  • Color: White 

Second, add an Inner Glow to the subject.

Settings: 

  • Blend Mode: Soft Light
  • Opacity:100%
  • Radius: 32%
  • Intensity: 50%
  • Color: White 

glow model

Step 3

Create a new Pixel Layer and nest it inside the subject layer by dragging and placing it on top of the subject layer. 

With a very large, soft, round brush, paint white towards the bottom of the subject to fade her into the triangle. 

light model

Step 4

Create a very large triangle using the Triangle Tool again, and place it at the bottom of the canvas. 

Set the triangle’s layer mode to Soft Light, located at the top of the Layers panel to the right of Opacity.  

create triangle

Step 5

Add an Outer Glow layer effect to the large triangle.

Settings: 

  • Blend Mode: Screen
  • Opacity: 20%
  • Radius: 120%
  • Intensity: 50%
  • Color: White 

current layers

3. How to Add Stylistic Hair Highlights 

Next up, we are going to do some very basic painting to give our subject’s hair some almost neon-looking hair highlights! 

I will be using a Wacom Intuos graphics tablet. However, I will include some tips for those of you who only have a mouse! 

Step 1

Create a new Pixel Layer above all the previous layers.

Select the Brush Tool (B) and make sure the “Force pressure to control size” button is pressed. Also, I’d recommend turning on the brush Stabilizer and setting it to Rope Mode with a 50 Length. 

Using a small, hard, round brush, paint white lines on top of the model’s hair strands. Try to trace over the already existing hair strands, painting in quick, short brush strokes. We want the white lines to be tapered and almost blend in with the subject’s hair, as if they are highlights. 

Change the size of the brush as needed!

paint hair

Don’t have a tablet? 

Use the Smudge Tool set to 72% Strength and smudge out the ends of your lines to give them the same kind of tapered effect you’d get with using a tablet. 

Step 2

Add an Inner Glow layer effect to the hair strands.

Settings: 

  • Blend Mode: Screen
  • Opacity: 50%
  • Radius: 29%
  • Intensity: 50%
  • Color: White 

glow hair

Step 3

On the same layer as the hair strands, and using the same brush and techniques, paint some highlights onto the subject’s side hair, jawline, and ears. 

paint face highlight

Step 4

As one last finishing touch to the model, add a crescent moon shape from the Solar System Planet Icons pack to the middle of the model’s forehead.

current layers

4. How to Add Text in  

Next, we will be adding some text to our poster. We will be keeping it very minimalistic to go with the rest of our composite! 

Step 1

Make sure you have the FLOREN Typeface downloaded and installed on your computer. 

Floren is a simple serif font perfect for a bold, high-fashion look. You’ll want to use something similar to it at the very least. 

Step 2

Select the Artistic Text Tool (T), set the Font to Floren, and type out the words “Ultra Violet”

Settings

  • Font Size: 71.8 pt
  • Align Center 
  • Tracking: 492%
  • Leading Override: 88.5 pt

The last two options can be found by clicking on the Character button on the right side of the text tool’s toolbar and looking under Positioning and Transform.

type title

Step 3

Now, type out a date—in this case, 08.12.18 or August 12th, 2018—using all the same settings as before, only in a much smaller font size. 

Settings:

type date

Step 4

To finish up the text, add an Outer Glow to the larger font. 

Settings: 

  • Blend Mode: Screen
  • Opacity: 50%
  • Radius: 29%
  • Intensity: 50%
  • Color: White 

current layers

5. How to Do Ultra Violet Retro Color Grading 

Next up, we will be bringing everything together by giving everything a monochromatic color story using adjustment layers! 

The adjustment layers menu can be found at the bottom of the Layers panel toward the center-left. 

Step 1

Create a Gradient Map adjustment layer. 

Settings

Black to white gradient. Click on the circles to change the colors to black accordingly.

gradient map

Step 2

Create a Curves adjustment layer. 

Settings

Replicate what you see below by dragging the leftmost curve point up. This will fade all the blacks and shadows. 

curves one

Step 3

Create another Curves adjustment layer. 

Settings 

This time, we will be adjusting the Red, Green, and Blue curves. To change what curves you are adjusting, change Master to one of the three colors—in this case, we will be adjusting both the Red and Blue curves. 

Replicate what you see below. 

curves two - red
curves two - blue

Step 4

Create a Split Toning adjustment layer.

Settings

split toning

Group all the adjustment layers into a group and name it “Color Grading”.

current layers

6. How to Add Noise and Apply Texture

Next up, we will be adding in a splash of color so our poster has some actual on it. We will also be adding in a noise effect to give our poster some more texture.

Step 1 

Add “02” from the Violet Liquid Marble Backgrounds texture pack and place it vertically over the subject’s body. 

Set “02” to the layer mode Lighten. 

bottom texture

Step 2

Duplicate “02” and flip it vertically and horizontally. 

Place the texture over the subject’s face.

top texture

Step 3

To add some non-destructive noise to any image, create a new Pixel Layer and fill it with the color black. 

Set the layer mode to Screen which will “hide” the black.

Step 4

Go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise.

Settings

  • Intensity: 25%
  • Gaussian
  • Monochromatic 
current layers

7. How to Add Chromatic Aberration in Affinity Photo

To finish everything up, we are going to add some chromatic aberration to our poster.

Make sure you are happy with how everything looks before doing this step, as you won’t be able to go back and change anything without having to redo this step again! 

Step 1

Select all current layers and Right-Click > Merge Visible to make a flattened copy of the image. 

Name the layer “Copy”. 

Step 2

Duplicate the flattened image three more times, for a total of four layers. 

Rename the three new copied layers “Red”, “Blue”, and “Green”, and make sure they are above the “Copy” layer. 

Step 3

Change the “Red” layer’s layer mode to Add.

Create a Channel Mixer adjustment layer and nest it inside the “Red” layer. 

We will be using the different color channels, which you can change by clicking on Red located on the top of the Channel Mixer panel to the right of RGB and then changing it to the desired color. 

Settings (In the Red channel)

  • Red: 100%
  • Green: 0%
  • Blue: 0%

Settings (In the Green Channel)

  • Red: -200%
  • Green: -200%
  • Blue: -200%

Settings (In the Blue Channel)

  • Red: -200%
  • Green: -200%
  • Blue: -200%
red channel adjustment

Step 4

Change the “Green” layer’s layer mode to Add.

Create another Channel Mixer adjustment layer and nest it inside the “Green” layer.

Settings (In the Red channel)

  • Red: -200%
  • Green: -200%
  • Blue: -200%

Settings (In the Green Channel)

  • Red: 0%
  • Green: 100%
  • Blue: 0%

Settings (In the Blue Channel)

  • Red: -200%
  • Green: -200%
  • Blue: -200%
yellow channel adjustment

Step 5

Keep the “Blue” layer’s layer mode set to Normal. 

Create one more Channel Mixer adjustment layer and nest it inside the “Blue” layer.

Settings (In the Red channel)

  • Red: -200%
  • Green: -200%
  • Blue: 0%

Settings (In the Green Channel)

  • Red: -200%
  • Green: -200%
  • Blue: 0%

Settings (In the Blue Channel)

  • Red: 0%
  • Green: 0%
  • Blue: 100%

The image should look exactly as it did before. 

blue channel adjustment

Step 6

Now that we have our RGB layers set up, shift each color around by a few pixels either up, down, or to the left or right. 

For instance, shift the “Red” layer up 3 pixels, the “Green” layer down 3 pixels, and the “Blue” layer to the left 3 pixels. 

Group all the RGB and “Copy” layers together into a group and name the group “RGB”.

Current layers

We’ve Done It!

Just adding some simple shapes together can go a long way when combined with the right amount of imagery and texture. Along with adding effects that are normally retouched out of a photo, like chromatic aberration or noise, it’s the perfect way to give your composite an edge without compromising its minimalistic design. Sometimes less really is more! 

As always, keep experimenting with different techniques, and don’t forget to post your version below, along with any questions, comments, or critiques!

final product

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