Creating a Lego Movie Poster

The first thing I do with every project is some research, in this case I created a colour palette from the Lego movie 2 poster, and spent a couple of days trying to recreate a logo, using an image of a lego board from unsplash for texture.

Sampling the purple and yellow from the poster, the background was created from scratch, using brushes to create stars and sparkly bits, and a white elliptical gradient to blend the ‘sky’ and lego ‘ground’.

Composite in progress

The next step was to mask the couple from the original photo and lay it over the new background. Colour and tone had to be adjusted to blend the image. For example the grass reflected a lot of green, especially in the dress, which had to be removed to make it look as though they were in white light.

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Each of the lego figures from the head table was masked individually. At first I tried to have a few flying and floating like the movie poster, but without the benefit of being able to draw them from scratch, the best result came from the hero V formation! At this point everything looks very ‘stuck on’.

Composite in progress

One of my favourite bits comes from blending it all together and adding finishing touches. I can spend half a day just choosing a font from the thousands I’ve collected(!). Extra light effects were added, then tone mapping, colour grading and some tweaks to blend the photo element to the graphics. At this stage it often becomes an iterative process, repeating previous steps to align them to the final result. Occasionally it simply doesn’t work, and I just start again!

Lego movie themed poster

This was the first time I had created a background from scratch to contain the photographic elements, and I had tremendous fun with the brushes and light effects. The key thing was adding noise to the background and vector elements. Photographs contain noise naturally, even if we don’t ‘see’ it, we perceive the difference between a block of pure colour on a screen and a pixelated image. Many movie posters have heavy texture and grain effects, mainly to add to the atmosphere of the image, but also help to make it feel like one unified image.