Creating an Impactful Disco Party Poster

This tutorial will show how we can create an impactful disco party poster. There are some new methods in making lighting burst and streak effects. We will also touch a little on using the settings in Brushes Panel, so let’s check it out!

Preview of Final Image

The texts and images are copyrighted to 10Steps.SG and their respective owners. You CANNOT copy the whole tutorial, either in English or translate to another language.

Create a new document of size 595×840 pixels. On the Background layer, make a vertical gradient with top color #1E0A3B and bottom color #000000.

Create a new layer and rename it as “Floor”. Make a rectangle selection to half of the document height and fill the same gradient again as shown below.

Create a new layer and rename it as “Spotlights”. Using the Brush tool, size 400px, Soft-Rounded and color #14434B, paint two big spots at the top left and right of document.

Create a new layer and rename it as “Color Overlays”. Using the Brush tool, size 600px, Soft-Rounded and color #1091B1, paint a big spot like the one shown below. Set the Blend Mode of “Color Overlays” to Overlay.

With the same method, make a green overlay at the top right corner.

Create a new layer and name it as “Circle”. Using the Elliptical Marquee tool, make a big circular selection similar to the one below. Fill the selection with white color (#FFFFFF).

With the “Circle” layer selected, change the opacity of this layer to 20%.

Create another new layer and name it as “Ring”. Similarly, make a circular selection slightly smaller than the earlier one you have made. Fill your selection with white (#FFFFFF). Keeping the selection active, go to Select > Modify > Contract. Set the radius to 10px. Hit OK and you can see the selection reduce in size. Press Delete and you will get a nice white ring like the one below.

With the same techniques for making a circle and ring, create more of them where each one is smaller than the one made before. You can also adjust the opacity to get a more random look. Align all the circles to center of the document. Merge these circles and rings into a single layer and rename it as “Circles”.

Select the “Circles” layer and go to Filter > Blur > Lens Blur. Set the radius to 40px and hit OK. Set the opacity of “Circles” layer to 60%.

Download the beautiful DJ girl from Shutterstock. Resize and position it to the center of the document.

Crop the DJ girl out from her background using the Layer Mask method. You can check out other extraction methods in this post.

Create a layer below the girl and rename it as “White Glow”. Using the Brush tool, size 30px, Soft-Rounded and color #FFFFFF, paint around the border of her.

Using the Smudge tool with size 20px, pull and drag the border irregularly so it looks like white smokes.

Repeat the same processes with other contrasting colors to live up the image.

Create a new layer and rename it as “Inner Glow”. Using the Brush tool, size 20px, Soft-Rounded and color #FFFFFF, paint along the inner border of the girl. Focus more of the lower body than the hair area.

Download the swirling water splash from Shutterstock. Open up the image and go to its Channel Panel. Click once to the Red Channel. Press CTRL+left click on the Red Channel to load its selection. Click once on the RGB Channel and go back to the Layers Panel. Go to Select > Inverse. Using the Move tool, drag the water splash into the design document.

Place the water splash behind the girl. Right-click on the “Water Splash” layer and choose Blending Options. Select Color Overlay and input the settings below.

Select Outer Glow and input the settings below.

Create a new layer and rename it as “Outer Glow”. Using the Brush tool, size 20px, Soft-Rounded and color #FFFFFF, paint along the outer border of the girl. Set the Blend Mode of “Outer Glow” layer to Color Dodge.

Create a new layer and rename it as “Burst”. Make a white rectangle as shown below.

Go to Filter > Stylize > Wind. Select “From the Right” and hit OK. Press CTRL+F several times till you get long streaks like I have.

Go to Edit > Transform > Rotate 90 CCW. Go to Filter > Distort > Polar Coordinates. Select “Rectangle to Polar” and you will get a nice set of circular streaks.

Resize the “Burst” layer to a smaller size and fit around the water splash. Make a Layer Mask on the “Burst” layer. Using the Brush tool, size 300px, Soft-Rounded and color #FFFFFF, hide some streaks by painting on the mask. Apply a blue outer glow to the “Burst” layer.

Repeat same processes for few more lighting burst effects with other contrasting colors and smaller sizes.

Create a brand new document with size 300×300 pixels. Using the Custom Shape tool, make a music note with color #000000. Select the entire document, go to Edit > Define Brush Preset.

Now select the Brush tool, go to its Presets Panel and find the music note brush created earlier. Open the Brushes Panel, select Shape Dynamics and enter the settings below.

Select Scattering and enter the settings below.

Create a new layer and rename it as “Music Notes”. Using the Brush tool, size 40px and color #FFFFFF, paint the music notes in a random fashion. Apply outer glow to the Music Notes layer and set its opacity to 70%.

Download the vector set of party people from Shutterstock. Open up the file using Illustrator, and copy (CTRL+C) on the middle set of vector people.

Go back to the design document and press CTRL+V to paste the vector people. Choose “Paste as Smart Object” and hit OK. Resize and position the vector people nicely behind the water splash. Right-click on the layer and choose Rasterize. Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the radius to 10px. Set the opacity of this layer to 50%.

Download the speakers from Shutterstock. Resize and position it at the bottom half of the design document.

Create a new layer above the speakers and paint some black to blend into the DJ girl.

You are now ready to fill in your text for the Disco Party poster! I hope you have fun with this tutorial. Thanks!

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72 Comments | Write a Comment

  1. congatre_hp says:


  2. Pritam Chourasia says:

    how to learn about Photoshop

  3. Jafar says:

    Awesome dude!
    but i strongly recommend using fixed size on eliptic selecting tool instead of using the select – modify – contract setting

    this will make your cicrle not a perfect circle if you choose to high pixels!

    Using the fixed size on eliptic selecting tool makes your circle perfect at all time! just use “add from selection” and “subtract from selection” to make the circles as this tutorials showed!

    Awesome stuff! next time try not putting to sexy pictures so small kids can follow your tutorial too 🙂 just saying buddy.

  4. MATT says:

    Nice tutorial – just wondering why the typography took a back seat to the design? The text looks out of place next to all of the nice image editing.

  5. Andrea says:

    Complimenti!! sarebbe cosa gradita il tutorial in italiano con cs5


  6. jaydeb says:

    very nice tutorial

  7. ama says:

    what program is this or how can i make posters ? 🙂

  8. marques says:

    which program is this? or where can i make theese posters? 😛

  9. Paris says:

    exelente idea , está buenísimo.

    • Armen says:

      Exellent job. May have the pictur of the DJ girl because we must pay on the website for downloading pictures :/

  10. ahmed says:

    thanks man it’s amazing

  11. Biswajit says:


  12. otdr says:

    been working like a nice deal. her facial expression had better be 🙂

  13. 风羽 says:

    This is a beautiful picture processing, too

  14. raggamuffin says:

    I love all of your tuts but this is my favorite, here’s my shot at it:

  15. Leon says:

    can anyone send me the pic of the water splash?… cant buy it now for dis one tutorial.. but i really liked the concept…

  16. G13 Media says:

    Awesome tutorial as usual, creative and quality write up keep up the great work this site rocks!

  17. Josekun says:

    Have a problem with the Crisis. No puedo pillar las imágenes, que dificil está todo ya.

  18. Josekun says:

    This fantastic the tutorial that has hecho.

  19. Koke says:

    Awsome tut ! Had a lot of fun. Thanks !
    Didn’t want to include a turntable in order not to cover the DJ’s legs 🙂
    this is what I got:

  20. CraZyKId says:

    Nice Tut… cAn u help me how to Michrosoft Powerpoint

  21. allan says:

    This tuts had me jumpin, thanks!

  22. 夜间狸猫 says:


  23. Michaël says:

    Wow man, this tut was awesome,
    I made this out of it:

    Thanks alot!

    Greets from the Netherlands

  24. carlos says:

    Hello jhonson koh from peru, I have seen your tutoriales a lot of time ago and I like them very much. It becomes me slightly difficult to do it because not very much English, but I have had result very good.
    It(He,She) wanted to ask you: porfavor traduscas your tutoriales to Spanish also because we the Latin people also love the design. Thank you very much and that GOD blesses you and you of a lot of work and life

  25. Johnson Koh says:

    I apologize for the confusion created at “making the circles” portion. More steps are included to help in explaining the task better.

  26. Curious says:

    Good day,

    Creating the circles and rings is a task not completed by me.
    How can i go about it???
    Can someone help???

  27. Ian says:

    Maybe im just really rubbish but im stuck on the bit where you make the circles using the marguee tool … all mine does is draw a circle … no white space anywhere then when i try draw another the existing one dissapears … is there meant to be multiple circle layers? Or did the author get that bit wrong an he actually mean the elipse tool (not the marguee tool) ? ?

  28. Vicky says:

    Just wonder is there any website that share picture like Shutterstock but free?
    anyway.. all of the tutor pretty cool..

  29. VIVROCKS says:

    cool background effect.

  30. flyming says:

    I do not quit understand the step draw say “make several circular shapes and rings with various opacity values”,but whatever i do,it looks dark than it appears in this tutorial.

  31. Beth McLain says:

    Brilliant Artwork… Real Eye Catcher..

  32. Tony says:

    Another awesome tutorial Johnson!!! Thank you for sharing. =D

  33. Matthew says:

    Thanks for the quick response.

    Just signed up to sxc 🙂

    It seems pretty cool ,

  34. Renamer says:

    wOw..!! That is a really cool feature and graphics. It can do any effect for it.

  35. Matthew says:

    Please warn me fist that i actually have to purchase files to make this

    • Johnson Koh says:

      Hi Matthew, the images used in this tutorial are sponsored by Shutterstock. The main purpose is meant to share techniques and it can be practiced with other free images to form an equivalent effect. I will recommend you Cheers.

  36. Matthew says:

    Just wondering, and maybe i missed it somewhere but where did how did you do the text at the end with the colours like that?

    • Johnson Koh says:

      The text is made with the typical glass effect which I probably will create a separate tutorial for it due to the multiple steps. This tutorial will just focus on creating lighting bursts and brush settings.

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