How to Make Cover Art Simplified
Posted 11 August 2005 - 06:08 AM
If you are an experienced graphic artist and comfortable with Photoshop check out the guidelines for making cover art Spawn posted:
How to Make Cover Art
If you are new to graphic design and a Photoshop newbie, read on through the posts below for a more detailed tutorial about making coverart.
Posted 19 August 2005 - 10:33 PM
Before you start making cover art, be sure you are familiar with the basic techniques and functions of Photoshop. Read through some of the Photoshop Basics Threads and tutorials posted here an on many different sites over the web. It is not necessary to be a Photoshop expert to create kickass cover art, but having a good understanding of Photoshop Basics makes creating the art much easier.
Text, Fonts, and Lettering
Working with Photos Used in Cover Art
Posted 20 August 2005 - 02:45 AM
Note: All the instructions from here on will be Metallica specific, but can be applied to any other bands you wish to make covers for.
Preparing to make a cover is an important first step. If you are a walking Metallica Encyclopedia, you will know the era, album, tour etc that corresponds with the date of the show you want to make a cover for. For those of us who do not retain such a vast knowledge in our heads, it is important to do a little research to find out this information so that you are using images, artwork and pictures true to the particular era or album the particular show is from and/or promoting.
Some good sites to look up this information are:
MetPage.org Metallica Page
Metallica Video Archive
SiNGeMFRC Metallica Page
Once you have the era, album etc down, look for appropriate artwork, logos and pictures. Quoting Spawn: “Most people prefer to use covers that have pics from that particular show, especially if they were at the show. Being at a live Metallica concert is an awesome experience and people like to feel that in the cover adorning their bootlegs. However, the greatest cover art is that which utilizes live pics with art in harmony. It is both powerful and artistic.” Usually when video cover art is requested, the requestor will provide screenshots. However if they are not provided or if you are making CD, VCD cover art, here are some great sites to get pictures from:
MetPage’s Photo Gallery
Metallica Video Archive
Another great source of pictures is from some of the Metallica Bootleg Traders sites such as (if you have a trader site and are willing to let MetCoverArtist use your screenshots, please PM me and I will add your site to this list):
Metallica Video Archeive
Leglessmoof Live Music Trading
Speed Damage Metallica Trading Site
Metallica Pushead Art and Other Graphics
Pushead art is often used in the Bootleg Covers. It can be found in the link below.
If you are promoted to MetCoverArtist status you can gain access to the PSD Files with extracted and modified graphics and Metallica logos for each era.
MetWorld’s Metallica Logos
When preparing to go a cover to get inspiration I will often peruse The MetCoverArt Gallery for other covers made from that particular era. I also look through the tutorial sites for ideas for backgrounds and textures (see the background posts below).
Once you have the information you need, the photos and graphics selected, and ideas on how to put it all together it is time to begin the actual work in Photoshop. By the time the prep work is done, I find that covers will “fall into place” when I open a Photoshop document and begin the actual work.
Posted 20 August 2005 - 08:02 AM
Open an appropriately sized Photoshop Document or one of the Templates posted above. Determine which layer is to be the background and label it as such. Now to create the background to be used in the cover. There are many ways a background for cover art can be created. Pictures, posters, textures, solid colors, etc are most often used.
Solid Color Backgrounds
Solid Colors Backgrounds are simplest to make. Choose your background layer in your layer pallet. On the basic tool pallet and click on the Background “Color Picker”, this opens the color swatches; choose the color you want, hit ok to set it at the Background Color. Go to Edit>Fill, choose Background Color with Transparency set at 100% and OK. This will fill your entire document with the Background Color of your choice.
To create a DVD cover that has different colors used on each of the sides. Use the Marquee Tool to define the are you want to fill. Go to Edit>Fill, choose Background Color with Transparency set at 100% and OK. This will fill the area you defined with the Background Color of your choice. It is possible to later resize the colored area by using the Free Transform Tool (Ctrl + T).
Here are some covers from the MetCoverArt Gallery that are made using solid color backgrounds:
Example One with Solid Color Background
Example Two with Solid Color Background
Example Three with Solid Color Background
Creating backgrounds using photos makes for some great cover art. When selecting photos to be used, choose large photos (800 pixel width or above is good) so when they are sized to fit the cover being made, they do not become blurred and pixilated. Once you have chosen the photo to use there are a few different ways that you can insert it into your Cover Art Template. First, Open the photo, unlock the layer if necessary by renaming the layer, make any needed adjustments: Cropping, Sizing, etc. Then chose a method to insert the photo into your Cover Art Template:
1. Right click on it and choose 'Copy'. This will copy it to the clipboard. Now select you Cover Art Template and paste the poster (Ctrl + V).
2. Use the Move Tool and drag the picture to your Cover Art Template.
As you will notice either method pastes the photo as a new layer. Now choose the Move Tool to move the picture where you want it. To size it to fit your cover, use the Free Transform Tool (Ctrl + T) and adjust the size. When making DVD Cover Art, one photo can be used to fit across the front, back and the spine as seen in example three below. Or separate photos can be used for the front and back covers. In this case repeat the process for the opposite cover. The photos can be sized to over lap and meet to cover the spine or the spine can be filled in with a solid color as described above.
Below are links to Covers from the MetCoverArt Gallery that use large photos as the background:
Example One of Photos used as a Background
Example Two of Photos used as a Background
Example Three of Photos used as a Background
Textured Backgrounds are most often used in creating cover art. A textured background adds fascination, and appeal to covers. There are thousand of Textures that can be created in Photoshop and just as many tutorials to be found on line to create any texture imaginable. Check out MetCoverArt’s Textures and Patterns Tutorial Thread for some ideas and links to a few “Metallica like” textured that have been used in covers and menu art by the MetCoverArtists.
Examples of covers using Textured Backgrounds:
Example One of Textured Backgrounds
Example Two of Textured Backgrounds
Posted 21 August 2005 - 04:13 AM
Once the background is created graphics, photos, screenshots, and text can be added. How to add text is discussed below. Photos and graphics can be used in many different ways to add interesting effects to the cover art being created. Photos and Graphics can have boarders added to them to create a framed photo look. They can be extracted from their backgrounds or cut and feathered and blended into the cover’s background. The can be transformed and given a distorted or new look to match the motif of the cover. The possibilities are endless. Browse through the Galleries and look at other covers for examples of how they have been used by other MetCoverArtists. For ideas, detailed instructions and links to tutorials on how to use photos in Cover Art check out MetCoverArt’s Working with Photos to be Used in Cover Art Thread.
Note: See the Research, Preparation and Inspiration Post above for tips on finding photos and graphics to use in your Cover Art.
The most basic way to insert photos into your cover art template is once you have chosen the photo to use there are a few different ways that you can insert it into your Cover Art Template. First, Open the photo, unlock the layer if necessary by renaming the layer, make any needed adjustments: Cropping, Sizing, etc. Then chose a method to insert the photo into your Cover Art Template:
1. Right click on it and choose 'Copy'. This will copy it to the clipboard. Now select you Cover Art Template and paste the photo (Ctrl + V) onto your background.
2. Use the Move Tool and drag the picture to your Cover Art Template.
As you will notice either method pastes the photo as a new layer. Now choose the Move Tool to move the picture where you want it. To size it to fit the space it is to be used in on your cover, use the Free Transform Tool (Ctrl + T) and adjust the size.
Tips to remember when adding photos and graphics:
1. Create a composition. Cut and paste type of covers put together with no thought or creativity, are amateurish looking and not very pleasing to the eye. Plan out how the cover should look. Design a composition that is attractive, attention-grabbing, and interesting. The amount of thought and effort put into the cover makes the difference between a “good” and “that’s freaking sweet dude!” cover.
2. Place each of the images, photos, and graphics on separate layers to be able to easily manipulate and move them as the composition is created.
3. A nice touch when using screenshots is to crop them to create clean edges before adding them to your cover art.
4. Adding little touches like shadows, outer glow, stroke, etc found on the Blending Options makes the photos and graphics both blend well and stand out from the background.
5. Adjusting the Blending Mode and Opacity in the Blending Options can dramatically change the look of the images you are adding to your cover.
6. Photos can be sized once they'be been added to the cover but they cannot be cropped. Photos should be cropped prior to adding them to the Cover.
Here are some examples of some Covers from the MetCoverArt Gallery that make good use of compositon when adding photos and graphics to the Cover Art:
1. Mix of screenshots, graphics and a poster
2. Extracted images added over graphics used in the background
3. Extracted Images and graphics mix
4. screenshots and extracted images over a photo background
Posted 21 August 2005 - 06:30 AM
Metallica Logos and Other Prefabricated Text
Metallica Logos and other Prefabricated Text should be added the using the same method as described for adding any other graphic or photo. Links to obtain logos are provided in the Research, Prep and Inspiration Post at the beginning of this thread. Doing Internet image searches can yield some interesting graphics. Save these images to your computer, open them in Photoshop to be cropped, extracted, or otherwise manipulated and then pasted into the Cover Art being created.
Entering Text Using Photoshop Text Tools
Most Covers contain the Bands Name, the venue, the date of the show, the set list, and the MetCoverArtist’s Name and the url to MetCoverArt (www.MetCoverArt.com). The use of the Metallica Fonts are nice but not necessary. There are plenty of fonts out there that compliment the Metallica Logos and look very nice in the Cover Art. Metallica and other types of Fonts can be downloaded from various places on the net. Some links are provided below. When entering text to Cover Art remember the following tips:
1. Make sure you have a basic understanding of the Photoshop Text Tools.
2. Enter the various sections of text to be used on the cover on different layers so they can be easily sized, transformed, and moved as adjustments are made to the overall composition.
3. Text should be legible. That's actually a problem when a cover is printed, as most people do not have high resolution printers.
4. Text should be of a contrasting color of the background, or have a shadow effect directly behind it to make it stand out from distracting backgrounds and easier to read, especially when printed. For example use the following settings in the Blending Options: Drop Shadow; Multiply blend mode; 100% opacity, 0 px distance, 44% spread, and a 6 px size. Toggle the settings for different effects on different covers.
5. Text should also be large enough to read, keeping in mind that most covers get resized to a certain degree when printed so your already small text may end up even smaller
6. Credits: Don’t fill half your cover with a logo or text crediting you, the creator. Logos are perfectly acceptable, and should be on a cover to give you credit Try to use a small pic or text at the bottom or other edge of the back cover, just like on a CD cover released by a record company.
Adding Text to the Spine
1. DVD Cover Art: The text on the spine should be placed with the bottom of the text facing the back of the cover.
2. CD/VCD Cover Art: The Text on the spines should be placed with the bottom of the text facing towards the back of the cover. Look at a factory printed CD Cover if you are confused.
3. To create and place the text on the spine, Use the Horizontal Type Tool to type the Band Name, Show Date, etc, choose the font size etc so that it fits nicely to the spine width then rotate it 90 degrees clockwise using one of the following methods:
(a) In Photoshop CS (v8.0) you can just hold 'Ctrl' and the Free Transformation rotation handles will appear. Start rotating by clicking and dragging it around. If you hold 'Shift' after you have started rotating it will rotate in set angles so that you will always get it a perfect 90 degree rotation. Press 'Enter' to complete the transformation or click the tick on the top toolbar.
(b ) In Photoshop 7 (which also works in CS) press 'Enter' to complete the text entry. Select the Rectangular Marquee tool and right click on the text, choose 'Free Transform', hold 'Ctrl' to make it rotate, click and drag it around (remember you can use 'Shift' here too to make it rotate it in set angles). Press 'Enter' when done to complete the transformation.
Track List vs. Set Lists
A set list is the complete list of songs that are played during a show. A track list is the list of songs on a CD according to how they're split. For example, a set list might say:
The Four Horsemen
While the bootleg might be split into the following tracks:
The Four Horsemen
Crowd Speech / Band Introduction
Quoting Spawn: "Quite different, eh? Personally, I find it useful to be able to use a cover the way it's supposed to be used -- to look at the tracks and select which track it is on the CD. It's very annoying when the tracks don't match what's on the cover."
It is good to reference the track list against a set list to find missing or cut tracks or to verify the validity of the bootleg and the dates etc. Set Lists for most every Metallica Show can be found on these sites:
Metpage Tour Setlists
Track lists are harder to find. Most of the major trader's websites do post info about the bootleg, including the track lists. If you are making a cover for which you were not provided a set list, looking through the various traders' websites may yield the set list. Be forewarned that this can become a long and tedious process, that is why MetCoverArt Admin asks members who request a cover to post the set list with the request.
Links to Download Fonts:
Cool Archive Fonts
1001 Free Fonts
FlamingText.com - lots of text effects
And the ever coveted Metallica Fonts can be downloaded from this file provided by Spawn of Cthulhu:
Posted 20 September 2007 - 05:05 PM
Note: for disc stomps, you should hide or delete the inner hole guideline layer before saving the final JPG file. This will ensure that the stomps can be used on full-face discs, too.
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