Re-Create The Dark Knight Poster

Re-Create the film poster for The Dark Knight from scratch.


First grab a picture of a brick wall that you like best. The one I liked was even grittier and more fractured than the original version. This is your interpretation so it doesn’t have to be identical. Besides, I enjoy this gritty, cracked version of the Joker in this movie so thought this wall was even more fitting. Go to Image>Adjustments>Desaturate to take out all the color value.

Create a new layer and fill it with blue. I chose the color with the numerical color of #637F9F. Choose the blending mode “Overlay” on the blue layer and this should color the grey bricks beneath it. Now flatten both layers by going to Image>Flatten Image on the top menu.

Next we will duplicate this layer and add a lighting effect on it. Copy and paste the background layer with right click>duplicate layer and on it go to Filter>Render>Lighting Effects on the top menu. Use the spotlight and spin the module so that the light source is on the upper left hand corner and click OK. On the Layers panel in the blending mode area choose “Linear Dodge”. Lastly, pull the opacity down to 40%.

Now Duplicate this newly dodged spotlight layer. Choose “Luminosity” for the blending mode and you should have a subtle light source coming from the corner now. Make this layer 40% opacity as well.

Now for some shadows. Create a new top layer and choose the gradient tool. In the gradient tool’s properties panel select foreground to transparent. Choose black for your color and drag diagonally from the bottom left to the upper right. It may take a few tries but play around a little until you get your desired effect.

Here’s what it looks like with another shadow with the process repeated on another layer except this time use the radial option chosen for the gradient.

Now it’s time to get bloody. We’re going to go through the work-up stages in making the bat-symbol. First I’ve made a blank canvas by making a new layer above the wall we just made. Then on a layer above that start with a deep maroon dark red color and draw the basic shape of the bat and fill in with solid color.

Dried blood gets darker and darker so we’ll take magic wand tool and select the area that we’re going to paint black. Pick the paintbrush and on a lowered brush opacity, paint the outer parts of the wings and touch edges of the bat shape.

Now choose the eraser tool select some different shapes. There are some pre-made brushes like the scattered splatter brush, hard thin brush and your basic defaut. Experiment with different sizes and stroke movements.

As you’re taking away with the eraser, select the smear tool to begin simulating finger painting. Try not to be too stiff while smearing. Channel your inner Joker and smear all over in between making eraser marks.

Now delete the layer with the white blank layer to reveal the wall. Let’s start adding little spots of black where the mortar is between the bricks. Begin smearing the black across the mortar to simulate blood that had dripped in between the bricks and have dried up.

Once you have your bat art the way you like it we’re going to give it a bit of a shininess to create an even more bloodlike consistency. Duplicate your bat layer and on the bottom choose the “Vivid Light” blending mode and drop the opacity on the layer to 50%. On the top one, choose the “Hard Light” blending mode. Here’s how I’ve got my Layers set up:

Now we’re going to make the eyes for that smiley face! Choose one of the spongey brushes available and wildly spin circles around to create the eye shapes. I turned the opacity and flow of the brush both to about 80% so you could see though the medium a bit. It really helps to imagine Joker himself spinning circles around like a maniac to draw the eyes. At some point decrease the size of the brush to simulate varied pressure application that would occur when spinning marks like this. Here is where you have to stress your individual style as you interpret Joker’s brush strokes. Smearing the blood should have given you some exercise in this.

Once you’re happy with all of your work go to Image>Flatten Image. Select the dodge tool and with a huge brush, dodge down the diagonal of the spot light to pump up the contrast even more.

From a typographical standpoint I had always appreciated how they had chosen Arial for the Batman Begins movie title. Batman Begins was somewhat of a back to basics approach to the films and I always thought that using the simplest of fonts such as Arial was incredibly appropriate for Chris Nolan’s run of the movies.

By Mark Rivera

Mark is an animator and ad designer for WebProNews. He has a passion for illustration and 3D art.

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