Unit 34 Image Manipulation Using Computer Applications

At the moment, I can’t seem to upload presentations to wordpress, I think the internet at college won’t allow it for some reason, and my internet at home is playing up to. So for now, heres the link to my development presentation for my film posters on Google Drive:


When I began thinking ideas for graphics for my posters I couldn’t think of any ideas just off the top of my head, so I thought it would be best to expand on the ideas I came up with in my mind map and think of possible storylines. I tried to think of more than one genre and came up with Romance, Action, Thriller and Sci Fi. Although I liked the romance and sci-fi ideas best, I felt I should experiment with some drawings first because the better stories might not necessarily mean good ideas for graphics. I struggled to think of ways to incorporate corners into my designs. For both action and thriller I used a labyrinth to sort of reflect this idea and for sci-fi I literally used a corner that is meant to show the corner of the universe (in my actual design I want it to look like there is a flash of light behind this, but couldn’t work out how to draw in on paper!) For romance I used a line and thought it could either be a trail of a gunshot, a break in the middle of a heart or just somewhere for the text to flow on. For the one with the text, I still used a gun and like the idea of the letters exploding away from the shot, with maybe bleeding love hearts coming off this too. I then chose to expand on the romance, sci-fi and thriller ideas, as I liked action the least. In case its hard to see, the action idea is supposed to be two people in a labyrinth, with a gun shot firing through a timer in the centre.

Here is a bigger version of my original thriller idea. It’s supposed to be the stalkers head with a labyrinth inside his mind and a reflection of the main character in his glasses. When I started this idea, I like the idea of making it look like a collage, like the Frido poster in my research. But I decided more could maybe be added to the image and liked the idea of using a skull to symbolise death. The outcome of this is below.

I like this idea better as it gives more information about the story and I think just looks much more interesting. For this design, I want the skull to be in the bottom half of the page, to allow for the title and other information above this.

This is an idea for a sci-fi poster. It’s quite similar to my initial idea, except that I’ve used earth as the planet in the eye instead and made the pupil look like some sort of colliding planet or asteroid. I like this idea but if I was to pick this as one of my final designs, I’d want to experiment with how I incorporate the corner into it because I don’t feel happy with where it is at the moment.

This is also quite similar to one of my original romance ideas, except that I’ve made the love heart the pupil instead, and used the title as eyelashes. I like this idea but I’m not sure that its interesting enough. I had thought of adding a reflection to the eye, maybe of the couple with the backs turned, so if I choose this as one of my final designs, I’ll have to experiment with this some more once I’m on the computer.

Finally, I would like to experiment further with this design, where the type explodes aorund the gun shot. I think I need to get onto illustrator to do this though, because I’m struggling on to do it on paper and would like to have a look at possible typefaces I could use.

In terms of the style of my designs, prompted by my research for my contextual studies project, I would like them to have the look of old book covers like those above.


Image manipulation is relevant to all aspects of art and design. Image manipulation skills are highly sough in media and graphic industries. Digital-based design and production is firmly established within the skills requirements for many graphic design positions.

Art house films are generally serious, with complex or intense themes that do not conform to the excepted ‘Hollywood Blockbuster’ format. They will often use unknown actors and can be much more adventurous in their stylistic treatment. They are usually shown in independent movie theatres rather than at the multiplex and their aficionados are usually well educated and demanding in their visual entertainment.


I have to design two different posters for an unfilmed movie. I don’t have the luxury of famous actors, not images of location, period or visual style. My task is to provide a credible promotional tool to enable the film-makers to generate the income in order to realise their idea. Normally, there would be access to a script and directors notes , but for this project all that is available is the title of the film. Mine is called Seeing Around Corners.

The following information must feature on the poster design:

 Spurious Films, Curiously Bright Entertainment, and Channel 4 present an 02 Filmes production, Your Film Title, By Your Name, Director of Photography Heloisa Passos, Edited by Pedro Kos, Music by Max Richter, Executive Producer Fernando Meirelles, Produced by Hank Levine, Directed by João Jardim & Karen Harley, http://www.your Logos, credits and graphics that can be found on Learn must also be included.  


Week 1 Introduction to movie posters – presentation and starting research
Week 2 Assigning film titles and brainstorm possibilities. Continuing research.
Week 3 Briefing. Discussing ideas and establishing some experimental direction.
Week 4 Sketches, ideas and initial visuals
Week 5 Development of work
Week 6 Preparing images and typographic files
Week 7 Digital manipulation
Week 9 Development of work
Week 10 Development of work
Week 11 Completion of all work
Week 12 Presentation of final work. Deadline and submission.
Week 13 Assessment. Student research for next project.
Week 14 Assessment Feedback.

Following on from my last research where I looked at mainstream film posters, in our last lesson we looked at alternative designs that would probably be more suited for an arthouse film. At the start of the lesson, Chris introduced us to a designer called Jason Munn, most of his posters are promoting music, but the minimal style and clever little features he used could be translated into my designs, his website even features a few of posters for films incuding Bonnie and Clyde and Texas Chainsaw Massacre (below.) His work is extremely simple on appearance, but the designs are so clever and actually fairly complex, using images that hint at what the subject is about to create one overall image, that they dont need to feature much else.

I then looked on Pinterest and Ffffound for inspiration. One of the first things I came across on ffffound was this poster, not a film poster, but an advertisement for RAM trucks. The image looks like a lino print and the overall look is quite vintage – I like how it consists of only a few colours and I think this technique looks quite handmade and fits well with the look of independant/art house films. I’m not sure about creating a poster using lino printing though, as when we were practising this technique last year I found it quite difficult, and obviously I would like my poster to look at tidy as possible! However, this look can be achieved on illustrator, but I think it may look less authentic if its created digitally? 

I quite liked this vintage look so following on from this I had a look for vintage film posters on pinterest. I found this poster from 1963 for a film called Frigo. The design sort of looks like a collage and I like the simple shapes, and again the limited colours. Though their actually old, I think some vintage posters actually look quite minimalist and modern with their paired down designs, I suppose because for a while mainstream design as a whole has been quite maximilist, but recently a more simple approach is beginning to be adopted again.

This can be seen in this vintage polish film poster below, in that though its probably years apart from Jason Munn’s designs, they are really quite similar.

This is another poster that features a collage sort of design. The poster is for Krets Film Festival and features a series of eyes, made by what looks like layers of cut out paper. Its quite simple, but interest is given in the deep colours contrasted by a pale background and again I like the handmade feel of a non-digitally produced image. 

Below is an alternative poster for the film Paul that like the RAM poster features a limited colour palette, but in a modern way, showing that a design like this created digitally could still look quite effective, although I feel that it no longer has the same authentic, handmade appeal. Again, I like that the illustrations are quite simplified; blocks of colour have been used to create light and shade and there isn’t too much detail.

This is a set of three posters for the film Back To The Future. Each poster features a part of a car that makes up a whole when put together. The illustration in this one is much more complex than the poster above, but the addition of white space allows for a more simple overall look and lets the title stand out rather than compete with the detailed image. Focus is placed onto the car by making the architectural backgrounds all one colour.

This is a film poster for a short film that features another quite complex illustration that seems to be made up of quite geometric shapes and clean lines. I like the design of this, especially the simple colours and how it still remains quite simple with the use of a simple typeface – it manages to not look too fussy despite the fact that the illustration is quite busy.

Finally this poster is from the film Drive. The film is quite mainstream, but I’ve seen the film and the techniques and story seems much more complex and unique than the usual hollywood films – this is reflected in this overly simple poster that is quite unusual for a well known film. The poster features only a block of information in a very small font and then the films title in the form of a neon light on a white wall. There is another version of this poster with a black background where the light is turned on. I really like this design, it’s simple with hints of elements included in the film.

Here is a mindmap I made to brainstorm ideas for what the title of my arthouse film – Seeing Around Corners – could possibly suggest:


(Click to see a larger version. As in similar posts – sorry the quality of the scan isnt great!)

I started off with the obvious – someone waiting for something/looking around a corner, but then tried to progress to the less obvious and more what it suggests (like what could this be a metaphor for? or what other meanings could this have?) than what it literally says.

We have been seen a project to design a movie poster for an art house film. We havn’t been given a brief yet, so I will put that on here when we have one. To start the project, I began researching the common themes in the design of posters for big, blockbuster films. Because of the speed at which new films are produced and released nowadays, the number of movie posters available is huge. I wanted to find some sort of starting point for researching the common design techniques so I decided to find similarities within the different genres.


There a number of clichés seen in the design of movie posters time and time again. In designs made for posters advertising romantic comedies, the most recognisable trend is probably the use font. In this way, they are quite similar to adult comedies aimed at both sexes, but the typeface is usually slimmer, making for a more feminine or elegant look. Red, pink, white or black are the most common used for these fonts. Like pretty much all mainstream film posters nowadays, they almost always feature photographs or film stills of the main characters. This is used as a way of attracting a larger audience because if a successful or popular actor is featured in the film fans will automatically be interested – if someone is a fan of a particular actor, it is likely they will want to see the film just to see them in it, rather than because they are interested by the actual story. Like in the poster for Love Actually above, if a film features a large number of well known actors, they will be presented in some sort of collage. This can also be seen in films such as He’s Just Not That in to You and Valentines Day. The colour scheme for these posters is typically quite soft, and much like the films they’re as a rule easy to look at, there’s nothing challenging or upsetting about them – these films are meant to make the audience feel good and this starts with the happiness conveyed in the poster designs.


In almost all posters advertising animated childrens films the space mainly compromises of an image of the main characters (most protagonists and antagonists – a distinction between the two is frequently made) placed in the films setting. Bold fonts are often used and are usually made for the specific film, or series of films. The colours are always bright and fun and the images need to be child friendly, so obviously anything considered upsetting is avoided.


It is common for film posters in the action/thriller category to include the setting, usually because they play a big part in these films. The overall look is usually quite masculine; colour schemes usually feature shades of blue, red or brown. In the images above, you can see that all three posters include the main characters and are usually photographed holding a weapon. The images are typically photographs or stills that aren’t included in the film and see the actors in the midst of action, or waiting for something unknown to the audience to happen. This technique builds excitement and tension in the audience, enticing them in to seeing the film. In all three posters above, the main or most well known character is featured above the title.


Visible in the posters above, Trajan is the font commonly chosen for use in poster for horror films. The colours usually used are quite bleak and often dark, establishing the setting and feeling of the film right from the start. An image of an actor is usually featured on the poster in the form of a still from the film or a digitally manipulated image so that they appear to be in the midst of some sort of suspended danger, making the audience feel uneasy even before watching.


A recurring theme in the design of posters for adult comedies is the inclusion of a photographic image of the main actors, often featured in an awkward or humorous pose, with at least one of them staring straight into the camera. The photo has usually been taken away from the film and stills are seldom featured. Bold font is almost always used in these posters and the colours used are bright and cheerful.

Films based on Comic Books

The colours used for the posters are usually quite bright and saturated and are also more masculine. Often, the font or symbol associated with the comic book is used for the title. A recurring trend seems to be a photograph of the superhero or main characters, in their alter egos suit, in the middle of some form of destruction.

As well as the clichés that can be recognised in a certain genre, there are also recurring trends across all genres and featured more often in the design of film posters than one may think. French blogger Christophe Curtois ( has made a collection of fourteen different trends seen in the layout of hundreds of posters including; actors stood back to back, actors in bed, an image seen through the legs of a woman, an image of a characters eye, type layered over a photo of a characters face, a woman in a red dress, the colours black and orange (or blue and orange) floating heads above an image of a beach and a face formed from a digitally manipulated image. He has also pointed out that many lesser known films have a yellow background, documentaries or films about animals are often dominated by the colour blue and thrillers that include actors running from something feature muted blue and grey colours.

The reason these trends and techniques are used time and time again is most likely due to a mixture of; the film makers know these types of images sell and therefore don’t want to attempt to try something new or more ‘out there’ in case it fails, and because the audience sees these images, recognises them as something familiar and more than likely want to see them based entirely on the actors shown and though they may not realise it, the similarities the designs share with the posters for films they have already seen and enjoyed.