How to Make a Worn Vintage Beach Ad in Photoshop


Here’s the design we’ll create together in its full size. If you’re going for a poster design, you’ll need to scale up your dimensions.


Resources Needed

Step 1: Preparing the document

Create a new document (Ctrl/Cmd + N) in Photoshop and set the dimensions to 600px by 750px. If you intend this artwork to be a large poster, you may want to consider changing the dimensions and other settings throughout this tutorial.

Preparing the document

Step 2: Creating the ad’s background

Get the Wooden Texture #2 from my site and place it onto our canvas. Scale the texture (Ctrl/Cmd + T) to just about the same size as the document. Lessen the saturation of the wood’s color by first using a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation) and then a Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Brightness/Contrast).

Here are the settings for the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer:

Creating the ad's background

And then here are the settings for the Brightness/Contrast adjustment layer:

Creating the ad's background

We can also just use the Image Adjustment tools such as Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation or Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast but what’s great about putting these effects as adjustment layers is that that you’re able to adjust them later on if you decide to.

Step 3: Creating the ad’s paper

Get this paper texture and once again place it onto our canvas. Notice that our paper currently has a lot of contrast so we will need to lessen this by using Levels (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels) and Brightness/Contrast (Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Brightness/Contrast).

Apply the settings shown in the images below.

Note: make sure you apply these different settings for the 4 different Channels under Levels.

Creating the ad's paper

Photoshop brightness/contrast

Step 4: Adding and wearing out the surfer photo

Download this surfer photo and place it onto our canvas. Change this photo’s Blending Mode to Vivid Light and Opacity to 29%.

We will now be adding some effects to our photo by using Photoshop’s Smart Filters Tool (Filter > Convert for Smart Filters). The great thing about Smart Filters is that you are able to modify them later on in case you need to. Add a Dry Brush Filter (Filter > Artistic > Dry Brush) with these settings:

Adding and wearing out the surfer photo

Step 5: Grunging up the edges

Let us now make sure that the surfer photo stays within the paper texture. To do that, first load the Painted Borders brush set into Photoshop.

Click on the little Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers Panel to add a layer mask.

Photoshop layer mask

Make sure that our Foreground color is set to #000000 and Background color is set to #ffffff.

Using any of the brushes from the Painted Borders brush set, mask off the sides of the surfer photo. Refer to the photo below. The red areas show which areas and how much you need to erase.

Try using different brushes each time you erase. One of the key things when using grunge brushes is not to repeatedly use one brush at the same time. Try using different brushes at random.

Step 6: Adding a little more wear and tear

Duplicate our masked surfer photo layer (Ctrl/Cmd + J). Note that the Smart Filters in this photo will also be duplicated automatically.

Change this photo’s Blending Mode to Overlay and Opacity to 100%.

Let us again add some effects by using Filter > Noise > Add Noise with these settings:

Step 7: Some final wear and tear touches

Again, duplicate the surfer photo then right-click on the duplicated layer and choose Rasterize Layer. Then get rid of this layer’s mask.

Using any ordinary feathered brush tip, erase almost all of the surfer photo except the surfer itself and move it a few pixels to the left.

Now this may seem like an unnecessary effect but note that little touches to the design that we may sometimes overlook always add to its entire beauty.

Step 8: Adding the colors

Now we’re going to add some colors on separate layers.

Step 8A: Adding the color Gray

First, let us add the bottommost color. Using an ordinary feathered brush tip, set its size to about 300px and color to #aeabae (grayish).

On a new layer, brush over the bottom area of the artwork and change this layer’s Blending Mode to Difference.

Step 8B: Adding the color Flesh

Second, we add the color #f1d19f (flesh colored). Create a new layer. Using the same brush change its radius to about 200px. On a new layer, brush over the area on top of the grayish color’s layer and change its Opacity to 94%.

Go to Filter > Noise > Add Noise to add some slight noise to the color. Set the Noise Amount to 3, Distribution to Uniform and the Monochromatic option must be checked.

Step 8C: Adding the color Yellow

Third, we add the color #fafeac (yellow) on a new layer. Repeat the same step as Step 8B but set this layer’s Blending Mode to Multiply and Opacity to 33%. Also, we need to make sure that we add the yellow above the flesh color.

Step 8D: Adding the color Red

Finally, we add the color #fe4c0f (red) on a new layer. Repeat the same step as Step 8B but set this layer’s Blending Mode to Normal, Opacity to 31%. Also, we need to make sure that we add the red above the yellow color.

Step 9: Adding the clouds

Open this sky and cloud photo in Photoshop. Using the Marquee Tool (M), select just a portion of the clouds and copy it onto our canvas.

Change the clouds layer’s Blending Mode to Color Burn. Grunge up the edges of this layer just like in Step 5, but this time, make it more grungy and erase off more areas as shown below:

Step 10: Drawing the sun

What’s a beach without a sun? On a new layer, using the Elliptical Marquee Tool (M), draw a circle and fill it with the color #fde401 using the Paint Bucket Tool (G).

Once again, using Smart Filters, add some effects to our sun. Choose Filter > Gaussian Blur with these settings.

Next, apply some noise (Filter > Add Noise).

Step 11: Touching up the colors

Create a new layer and using the Paint Bucket Tool (G), fill it with the color #0b3239. Grunge up the sides of this layer again just like what we did in Step 5. Change this layer’s Blending Mode to Overlay.

Now notice that the colors on our artwork seem to be too strong so we need to lessen its saturation. Go to Layers > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation and apply these settings:

We should now have something like this:

Step 12: Adding the title

Select the Type Tool (T). Set its font to Airstream and color to #ff4e00. Type the word Hawaii on top area of our artwork. Use these settings for the Type.

Rasterize this text layer and set its layer’s Blending Mode to Linear Burn.

Lessen the saturation of our text. Select the text of this layer by holding the Ctrl/Cmd key and clicking on the text. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation and apply these settings:

Step 13: Adding the subtitle

Select the Horizontal Type Tool (T). Set its font to Airstream as well and color to #ff4e00. Type the words come ride the waves underneath our main title. All character settings remain the same except that we need to set the font size smaller than the main title.

Rasterize this text and set its layer’s Blending Mode to Linear Light.

Using the Eraser Tool (E) and its brush set to any of the Painted Borders brushes we downloaded, erase off some areas of the text.

We should now have something like this:

Step 14: Adding the coconut tree

One of the many things we can find in beautiful beaches are coconut or palm trees; at least on tropical island beaches. Let’s add one to our artwork but let us not make it too prominent. Open up this stock image: cocos nucifera and place it onto our canvas.

Next, Flip it (Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal) and Scale it (Edit > Transform > Scale) down a little bit.

Crop out the coconut from its background by using the Magic Wand Tool (W).

Change this layer’s Blending Mode to Linear Dodge and Opacity to 29%.

Make sure that the coconut tree does not exceed our paper by again masking out the excess areas.

Step 15: Final color touch up

Our artwork may appear too dark, so to wrap up, let’s lessen the saturation of the entire artpiece by placing an adjustment layer as the topmost layer of our Photoshop document by going to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Brightness/Contrast and applying these settings:


We have now successfully created a worn out, low-saturation-colored vintage beach ad in Photoshop. Now you don’t just have to look at those beautiful vintages ads as you sure have learned some tips and tricks on how to create one of your own!

Download Source Files

  • Well done Jan. Looks great.

  • Zab

    I would like to see this in a video tutorial ppl have no more patience to read just me i gave up on half way but if want to get content to your site, than i keep quite. Nice tut by THE way.

  • Video tutorials is in our roadmap. We know the advantage of a multimedia format to education that engages you visually and auditorily, so we’re definitely making plans to incorporate a video tutorial section. However, we don’t have a definite date for this yet and we have our eyes set on some new site features that we want to roll out before we begin to tackle video streaming.

  • Ah thats a cool idea, nice tutorial!

  • i usually prefer a picture-book style format, such as the one above, over video – because the picture-book style allows me to scan the contents and absorb some knowledge without committing to the entire tutorial in depth.

  • Awesome tutorial.

    my only gripe (and a small one) is how the tree lays over top of the surfers head 🙂

  • I am the same exact way as you.

  • Good call on that actually. It could’ve been behind the head instead.

  • See, I’m the exact same way. And if we’re to have video format tutorials, I’d want both a written and a video tutorial. I’ve seen this done before in other sites. A video can be too high-paced to be able to absorb and commit to memory. You’d also have to pause, play, rewind, forward. Whearas a this written format, you can learn in your own pace.

    One of the ideas we’ve had was a PDF format of each tutorial so that you can print it out and take it with you even when you’re offline. We’re still on the fence about that though.

  • Minde

    Mister Retro filters = quicker, easier, better result.

  • I’ve noticed some people that use this on some of my tutorials kind of a clever idea for a site.

  • @Matthew Heidenreich: Nice find Matthew! Thanks for that. Maybe I can create a resources page or tools page here on Design Instruct that will help you read the tutorials better, including this tool. Thanks for the idea!

  • That would be the beauty of having both, of course: you can watch the video to get the general drift and to enjoy watching a craftsperson in action, and then go to the written tutorial for the detail.

    Just sometimes, too, things are clearer in a video than in text/pictures.

    Love it already, really looking forward to seeing how it grows.

  • I agree wholeheartedly. Video just does not engage me like a written tutorial will. I happen to love this tutorial. (Thank you, Jacob.)

  • Fun tutorial – I’m going to give it a try for some of my beach stuff. BTW, I like the current format because I can skim for what’s new technique/idea to me.

  • Windows 98 4 life! 🙂

  • I may be wrong, but Jan may have just switched her OS theme to “Windows Classic” for the sake of this tutorial. I do the same thing too sometimes, so that the operating system UI is not too detracting towards the tutorial; plus the rounded corners and dropshadows of Vista (and up) dialog windows makes it so that you have to crop a lot more if you want to overlay the dialog window capture onto an image (or else, it looks horrible). Also, and I may be wrong, but I don’t think Photoshop CS+ can run in Windows 98.

  • This reminds me of Vice City, great tutorial!

  • Thanks for the great feedback everyone! 🙂

  • Haha, that’s funny Windows 98 🙂 I have Windows XP. Kind of outdated, I know. And I actually like the Windows Classic theme better than than the default blue or the other themes they have.

  • wonderful tutorial, and a kick…blog, too..brava!!

  • Be aware that not everyone prefers video tutorials. I will stop reading this site if you switch to video, for the simple reason that I don’t have time to watch videos. Unlike an article like this, a video requires my full attention, and I can’t skim it. For experienced designers, the benefit in tutorials is not walking through them step-by-step but rather skimming them to discover new techniques or understand how various techniques are put together to achieve a final whole.

  • @Scott Buchanan: If we have video tutorials, it will also have a written tutorial along with it. Read my thoughts about this below.

    For the foreseeable future, we will always be “text-based”, but of course, we recognize the advantage of multimedia online, so we’re not going to shrug it off. We will provide both versions (video and text) whenever we decide to go the video route.

  • nice! very helpful for beginners like me.

  • Olakunle fadairo

    nice.but visual option could be better.

  • Nicola

    Nice tutorial. Please stick to “non moving” tutorials. I prefer these. Some of your images aren’t loading properly or at all but it could be the Firewall here. Great work!

  • Wow Jan that is awesome! You’re not just hot looking but also talented.

  • Beautifully done, Jan, and extremely helpful. Was especially impressed with your providing links for all the needed paper textures, brushes, etc. Great job, many thanks!

  • Thanks for sharing, Very informative Tutorials

  • Tim

    I think I’m missing something. When I place my beach scene, add vivid light and decrease opacity to 29% I can no longer see my image. Even when I go through the tutorial and get to Step 7, it doesn’t look like the tutorial. I even used the original image….

  • Thanks for the tutorial, my little poster looks grate 🙂
    if you’ll like to see it i will happily send it to you,
    cheers men, thanks again

  • Chyna

    so did i lol….its just to confusing to read….but i love this design so much 🙁

  • dmk

    Maybe this is not up to date with the current version of photoshop. Really bummed. That or the instructions are not detailed enough. My surfer at step 8 looks nothing like what you have above and step 8a only gives me a gray stroke across the image even with the difference blend. 🙁

  • Pere Pujol

    Thank you very much.

  • Result is much different in colors. I don’t know, there’re a lot of unclearnesses for me. Anyway thank you for tutorial and inspiration

  • Steven

    Hi Debra,

    Did you need the permit or copyright of this tutorial or anything in it to create yours and to be able to sell it?

    I am doing a own version too.

    Thank you in advance!

  • crippling depression

    i hated this it was so fricking hard bud

  • Ana Marie

    thank you for the great tutorial! very informative! however, i’m very inexperienced and i think a video would help gravely so i can see exactly which buttons to click. Thank you anyways!