Parody Poster: Heroes

Here’s the first of a new series of posts describing how I created various TV show parody posters using Photoshop.

First, here’s the original reference desktop graphic that I used as inspiration:

Heroes poster

The first step was to come up with a font that was similar. In Photoshop, I typed “HEROES” and changed the font several times to find a close sans-serif font. I wanted to be close, but I didn’t care about being exact because of the short deadline I was working with. I finally settled on Futura; the “S” is slightly different but the shape of the “R” was the closest of the fonts I had on my system:

Trying to match Heroes font

Next, I worked on the eclipse graphic. First, I created a black vector circle shape and applied a slight outer glow effect to it. (My examples are on a blue background so you can better see the effects.)

Eclipse - vector circle.

I added a new layer and, using the brush tool with a soft edge, painted a white fuzzy blob behind the vector shape. The strongest part of the lighting effect is at 1-2 o’clock, with another stronger edge at 7-8 o’clock. In the diagram below, I’ve lowered the opacity of the black circle layer so you can see the relative shape of the white blob layer.

Brush layer

I used the smudge tool with a soft brush shape to drag out “rays” in the white blob layer:

Smudging the white layer

With the smudging, the effect was a little too big for me, so I transformed the layer and shrunk it slightly.

Slightly smaller effect

Next, I created a new layer over the black vector shape and made a small fuzzy white blob. Using the smudge tool again with a slightly smaller brush size, I dragged out from the center of the shape to make the sharper highlight points.
Highlight layer

A little more tweaking to the various smudge layers, and here’s what I ended up with:

Final text effect

Now for the blur to the words. I duplicated the text layer, right-clicked on the layer in the Layers palette and chose “Rasterize Type.” I applied a motion blur filter (set to vertical). Then I lowered the opacity slightly (60%) of the blurred layer:

Text effect with blur

Now for the photo collage. I had two istockphoto images and a photo of youth staff and volunteers taken by someone else:

istockphoto - corporate office

istockphoto - dramatic clouds

Original photo

I started by creating a document that had a very faint background gradient – pure black at the top, #08090b at the bottom, and moved in my recreated Heroes logo:

Starter document

I pasted in the people photo and used the dodge tool to slightly darken the bottom edge of the photo:

Adding people

I applied a Levels adjustment layer to get the background to be blacker and to increase the contrast slightly.

Levels adjustment layer

I added a Channel Mixer adjustment layer to give the picture a sepia tone:

Channel mixer layer

The original had a bit more tonality in it as opposed to being a flat sepia image. So under the Channel Mixer layer, I added a Curves adjustment layer and played with the different channels until I got something that worked better for me.

Curves adjustment layer

After curves adjustment

I pasted in the two stock photos under all the adjustment layers, flipping the office building and lowering the opacity of both layers to 38%. Then I added layer masks and used a soft brush to mask out the edges of the photos and blend them over the people photo.

With stock photos

The last step was to add in the little “FBC Studios” logo in the corner, and my poster was complete:

Final Heroes parody poster

See other articles in the Parody Posters series.

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