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Graphic Design: Create an Anaglyphic Poster

Beginner level Adobe Illustrator Adobe Illustrator

Introduction

Before starting, I want to welcome you to a new tutorial. I hope you enjoy all the steps and, if by any reason you have any doubts, I encourage you to use the tutorial's forum so I can help you. In this tutorial, we'll learn to turn vector elements into an anaglyph, though this time we're going to apply it on a poster.

An anaglyph is just the overlaying of images of complementary colors in order to look three dimensional. This was used before the 3D cinema existed as we know it today, in which you would need the classic 3D blue/red glasses that we can hardly find nowadays.

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Step 1

First, we'll create a new document in Adobe Illustrator. In the case of today's tutorial, we're going to focus the project as the real poster of an exhibition, so we'll work on the real measurements of a movie poster: around 70x100 cm (don't forget changing the measuring unit from px to cm). Certainly we'll choose CMYK color mode.

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In the case of this poster we'll work with a white background, so it won't be necessary to discuss whether we should include bleed or not. Still, I'll set the bleed on the image to 3 mm, so we'll have to calculate 3 mm in cm (0.3 cm).

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With this, we'd have our document ready and the only thing left would be to start working.

Applying the Anaglyph Effect to the Text

In this part we'll see how to apply this effect to a text layer, over which we'll create that three-dimensional illusion. It's possible that many people may tell you 'it feels dizzy' or 'it looks blurry'. But that's what this effect is about, playing around with the position of the elements. Are you ready to start?

Step 1

First we should choose a motif for our poster. In this case, I'm going to work only with text, and I'll use a placeholder text for the explanation. It's important that, when developing your own designs, you patiently choose the motif of your poster, because the final results will depend on that greatly.

Another very important step before you start designing your posters is selecting a good typography that meets the expectations you're looking for. For this tutorial I decided to work with Bebas Neue, a robust stroke typography and a good X height that makes it highly readable. This is something we'll be thankful for, because with this anaglyphic effect we'll lose some readability on our text. I found the following example from here, and you can use it so you can see the original source.

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Step 2

For starters, we'll just place the placeholder text and we'll adjust its size a bit to our taste. Newer Illustrator versions already include the placeholder text when creating a new text box using the Type tool (T), but in case you create the box and it's empty, you can include the text navigating to the Type menu → Fill With PlaceHolder Text. 

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Step 3

Now we'll adjust the text box in order for it to occupy the entire surface of our design. Don't worry, I didn't forget about the margins. If we needed to fill with more placeholder text, we could repeat the previous step, but it's okay for now.

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Step 4

We select our text box and go to Type → Area Type Options...

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In the panel that pops up, we set Inset Spacing to 6 cm approximately (though you can readjust this length afterwards if necessary by reopening this panel).

Once applied, you'll see that it generates an inner margin inside the text box, something very useful if you want the text boxes to have the same length of margin.

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If the box disarranges, adjust it again to the document's margin. Now you'll see that the text box has some uniform margins, so that's one less thing to worry about.

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Step 5

We increase the size of the text until adjusting it to the needs of our composition. For composing this text, I've worked with Bebas Neue Bold at 330 pt and an interlining of 300 pt. Besides, from the Paragraph panel I've disabled the Hyphenate option so no word separation is executed.

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Now we select the whole text and we'll change the color to a bluish tone. You can try out which one fits your composition better, but I worked with a duller shade of blue (#73c8d8) so the harmony of all the colors in the composition is the best posible.

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Step 6

We create a copy of the text layer pressing Ctrl / Cmd + C and pasting it in the same place using Ctrl / Cmd + Shift + V. Now we see this newly pasted layer will remain selected, so we take advantage of this and change its color to a reddish tone (#e6302c).

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Step 7

We'll move the layer with the red text in our design. You could just drag it (while holding Shift so it moves along the X axis) or use the keyboard arrows, but I'll teach you another way that could be useful for other projects and that, in this case, will help you so both text boxes are not displaced one over the other.

While the layer is selected, we'll go to Effect → Distort & Transform → Transform...

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And using the panel we move it 0.5 cm.

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Step 8

Once we've moved the text and while having the red text layer still selected, we apply the Exclusion blending mode from the Transparency panel.

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With this we would have finished creating our poster, though, in order to put an extra touch, I'm going to add a logo to which I'll also apply this effect at the bottom so the design doesn't look as empty.

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Besides, since we didn't turn the text into a path, we can use it to create other compositions with a bigger text or displacing the effect even more in order to achieve a stronger effect, as long as we remember that we must make the changes in both text layers.

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With this we can consider our tutorial finished, but maybe we want to work on a more interesting concept and apply it on a project, so now we're going to create a design proposal and see how we can develop it.

Final Composition

Let's start from this briefing: a company calls us and asks us to design a poster for a retro film festival. And, what a coincidence, the theme is early 90's 3D cinema, so everything we've learned in this tutorial will be wonderfully convenient for us.

Step 1

The first thing we have to consider once we get this information is the concept towards we'll be focusing our design. When I think in a poster with these features, I think in 3D glasses, so that must be one of the elements present in my final composition. For starters, we'll apply the effect to the vectors of some glasses that I'll download from Flaticon. If you want to use the same that I do, you can click here.

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Step 2

Since we'll be working with a purely vector poster, we'll use an A4 format, even if we later decide to resize it because we might work with a bigger scale project. Inside we'll introduce the 3D glasses.

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Step 3

We now have considered one of the elements we want to appear in our poster. But we can't compose our poster only with glasses, since we need one of the most important parts on a poster — the text. 

Trying to find a connection between these, when we think about the text and the glasses, the idea that pops into my mind is those typical posters the eye doctors use to assess your sight. Why don't we try to make a composition with these elements?

For this text I also looked for some Flaticon vectors that we'll use now as an example, but I invite you to write your own creative texts. Anyway, if you want to use the same as myself, here it is.

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We have our resources ready now, so let's start composing our poster.

Step 4

We drag the eye chart into the A4 format document we created before and where we already had the 3D glasses.

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With this, we would have the purely visual part, but, before we can apply the effect, we're going to think of a text to go with what we already have. Right off the bat something like this is comes to my mind: 'X Tutpad Retro Film Festival, a Tutpad Production by Freepik Company'.

Step 5

We create a text box and write the title and subtitle that we want to name our poster. As a typography I used Open Sans' Bold and Regular styles. Don't forget to enable the All Caps button.

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Now, in order to generate a bigger contrast, I'll select the text 'a Tutpad Production by Freepik Company' and I'll only set to Bold letters 'Tutpad' and 'Freepik Company', while I'll set the rest to Regular.

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Step 6

Now, we'll contour the text. While having the text box selected, we'll right click → Create Outlines (Shift + Ctrl / Cmd + O).

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After creating the outlines, we press Ctrl / Cmd + Shift + G in order to ungroup the letters. We select the first row of text and press Ctrl / Cmd + G in order to group (this can also be done from the Object menu). Repeat the procedure for the second row.

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Step 7

Create some guides and place them in both ends of the glasses. If you don't have the guides enabled, press Ctrl / Cmd + R to enable them.

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Step 8

We scale up both sentences until the width of both is between the two guides. Don't forget to hold Shift when scaling so the text is scaled proportionally.

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We can delete the guides now.

Step 9 

With this the composition of the poster would be finished, but we're forgetting about the most important thing, which is to apply the anaglyphic effect to the letters. Because of how I planned the project, I will apply this effect to the text from the eye chart and the title at the bottom. In order to do this, you'll only have to repeat the steps we saw in the previous explanation. Come on, let's see how the final composition looks and then it's your turn.

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Conclusion

Well, that's it. With this we can say our project is finished. But why don't we make the most of the fact that the resulting piece looks so nice and place it on a mockup? (I'll leave one in the attachments that you could use). If you don't know how to work with mockups, I invite you to visit the course we have from my colleague Emma Hall, where you'll learn everything you need to know in order to create and work correctly with this essential designing tool. I hope you enjoyed it and that you share your final results with me and all the Tutpad community. Take care, and I'll see you on the next one :)

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What do you think of this tutorial?

Discussion

3 months ago

http://www.ign.es/3d-stereo/docStereo.pdf Lentes

http://www.ign.es/3d-stereo/docStereo.pdf Lenses

3 months ago

For me, Step 8 of applying Analglyphic effect choosing "exclusion" doesn't produce desired transparency effect. I had to choose "darken" or "color burn."Could that be a difference in settings, or is exclusion an error in this lesson?

Edited 3 months ago

Hi! The tutorial explains it correctly, I used the Exclusion effect. Perhaps there’s a problem with the layers’ organization. Make sure the red layer is over the blue layer and apply the Exclusion Blend Mode to the red layer, not the blue one (use Normal here). I hope that you found it useful. Regards! :)

3 months ago

@Carlos , yes exactly right! Layers were mucked up. Thank you !

3 months ago

Great

Do you want to take your designs to the third dimension? Look no further! With this tutorial you'll learn everything you need to know in order to teleport your posters and illustrations into the next dimension. Stop thinking flat and let's start, what's your view?

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