We take a screen-shot from the scene we want to recreate and we open it with Photoshop. In this case I selected two, the alignment of the planets with the monolith and Bowman coming back to the Discovery with the Rescue Pod.
We increase the image resolution to 300 from 72 with the Bicubic Smoother mode. This step will lead us to two things. It allows us to work with a big canvas to gain detail and we prepare the future image to be print-ready.
We create two new layers, one transparent to the top and one white to the bottom. We’ll start working in the transparent and we’ll use the bottom one to follow easily our work. We will continue to create as many new layers we need to draw the path of what we want to recreate.
Now it’s time to set up our brush. I usually use with big canvas a normal 10 px brush. You can change this for other kind of works, playing with the size value. For example if you are working with a character you probably want to make the outline bigger in size but the details smaller.
With the value of the brush already selected now we start to work on the image. We have to use the “vectorial” tools of Photoshop like the Pen Tool or the Polygon Tools. We create and stroke the path we want. We select the Brush Tool and if you need it you can check the Simulate Pressure box.
Repeat this step to create the image we want. It’s important to follow a pattern creating the image. You don’t have to create matching paths since you can make them in different layers and erase what you don’t need easily without destroying what you have already drawed. Also it’s useful if you create folders for the layers to know where everything for quick changes is.
When you are finished, remove the layers like the screen-shot or other you might have created that you don’t need them anymore for the final image. Crunch all the layers [Ctrl+Shift+E] and save the image as a TIFF file with these parameters.
Now open the new file with Illustrator. We’ll use the Live Trace Tool. In Tracing Options we select the Comic Art default option. If you feel to, you can try other options.
Then all we have to do is to Expand and Ungroup. Now you can group the areas that will have the same colors [Ctrl+G]. Also remove the background area since you want it to be transparent.
Now you can add color to groups or separated areas if you prefer. Don’t forget to add color to fill the area but also add the same color to the stroke.
Once you’re done export the new file as an EPS file and back to Photoshop you’re ready to work with it. Now all you have to do is make a photo composition you like, add the typo and you’re done.
To add the stars you can use an image of space with stars. Create a new layer filled with black bellow it. Then change the opacity to a low value since we don’t want to make a big deal about the stars, we just want them to fill the empty space.
For the title I used a font called Optimus. You can download it from dafont.com . I thought it would be nice to change a little bit the title writing 2001 with letters rather than numbers. You can always modify what a font looks like easily with the Character Tools, changing the tracking or kerning.
To add easily a border you can use the Crop Tool. Select all the image area and instead of making it smaller just make it bigger. Then add a new layer and fill it with white and place it in the bottom.